Airstream Time

Exploring North America in an Airstream

Archive for ‘October 1st, 2018’

Bike the Heritage Trail and Kayak the Platte River

Saturday, September 29, 2018

With temperatures struggling to reach 50, we drove north to take the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive. On parts of it, I felt like I was on the Skyline Drive in Virginia. Then it opened out to immense sand dunes, one being 1000 feet tall. 

Then we took the bikes to the northern end of the park and biked the Heritage Trail that goes 27 miles through the park. Part of it is paved and part crushed gravel. It was Saturday, so lots of serious bikers were on the road biking in teams. You can bike Rt. 22 around the top of Michigan. It was 49 degrees with a little wind, but it was fine once you got going. We just needed better gloves.

We got back about 3:30, and put my kayak on the Platte River. They said it was a 2-hour float, but paddling steadily, I made it to Lake Michigan in an hour. It’s a great way to see how the fishing is. Weaving my way around and behind fishermen, some were catching, some not. One guy was fishing at the bottom of Loon Lake with the place all to himself. He said it was the best day ever, catching pike, bass and salmon, all on a TDK (?) wet fly. 

Martha fixed a great fish stew in the slow cooker using Walleye.

Scouting Betsie and Platte Rivers

Thursday, September 27, 2018

It was a chilly, blustery morning with dark, fast-moving clouds. The Platte River is a perfect river for us to kayak, so we went to check it out. It is a beautiful, free-flowing, clear stream that travels 26 miles into Lake Michigan in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Seashore. The trouble is the salmon are running and the river is lined with fishermen. We met a nice young couple locking their bicycles to a tree so they could ride back to their truck after kayaking. He said he grew up here and the fishermen are used to kayakers, and you just try to stay out of their way. We talked with two fishermen who had been roommates in college. Now in their late 50’s maybe, they had been here three days and were heading home. Seeing my camera, they suggested going to the weir where we would see Coho salmon jumping up the rapids and weir. 

I love to watch the salmon run, so we drove to Benzonia, took a left at the McDonalds and followed signs for the Betsie River Dam. Above and below the dam, fishermen lined the stream. Somehow hundreds of salmon ran the gauntlet, rested holes and then jumped the steps up the dam. Not always successful, they would just miss the top and get washed back down. Some jumped sideways and some backwards.

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At check-in, the ranger said it might be better to float the Betsie River, so we drove some crazy roads to check it out. It is a much longer river, and also beautiful. Put-ins and take-outs are a little more remote. Since we don’t have two cars, we were hesitant to float it. I’m sure there are people who will take you and pick you up, or even guide you. This is a beautiful river winding through varied terrains flowing with a pretty good pace (3-4mph).

Off to Michigan

Monday, September 24

We managed to get loaded before the rains came.  Driving was a bit tense all day, partly due to the rain, and we were in it all day. We finally arrived at Deer Creek State Park southwest of Columbus. It is a nice, modern park on a pretty lake. The paved campsite was so level, we didn’t have to unhook the trailer – perfect!

We took a walk around the campground in the drizzling rain to get the blood flowing a bit. We took showers in the morning and got on the road about 8:30. West on I70, north on I75 to 469 to 40 through Sturgis, and checking into Holland State Park by 4:00. 

We hiked up and around Mt. Pisgah once we got settled. There were nice views of sailboats on Lake Macatawa as the sun set. A big storm was heading across Lake Michigan with tornado warnings for Holland. Fortunately they never came, and the rains passed quickly. It did bring a cold front, so it was chilly in the morning and only got up to 60° during the day.

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Holland is a nice town on Lake Macatawa. First stop was the very nice and large farmer’s Market where we found some nice quiches and meat pies, some bread, a quash, some apples and of course a blueberry donut. We enjoyed driving through neighborhoods, then parked downtown to poke around the shops. After a few nice stores, we carried quite a few bags. In the cooking store the sales lady recommended lunch at Cranes, just up the street. We split a chicken salad sandwich and a piece of apple crisp. 

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After wandering around downtown a bit more, we heading back to the Airstream and a little relaxation before dinner. At 7:00 we went to Tunnel Park beach to watch the sun set. Winds blew off Lake Michigan making it quite chilly, but it was a good one.

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Tomorrow we will head north to Sleeping Bear Dunes National Park.