C2C Day 40 Marshall to Whitmore Lake MI

Morning Fog Near Albion Michigan

A beautifully calm morning to start day 40 of this cross continent trek. Winds from the past several days have vanished, and a cool morning fog graced the central Michigan farmlands. Blissfully quite and nearly empty roads for the first 20+ miles into Concord, where we hopped onto the beautiful Falling Waters Trail. A fellow cyclist by the name of Roy in the quaint town of Albion told us the Falling Waters would be a treat, and he was right. All recreational trails should aspire to be like this: A wide, smooth, well-maintained trail with clean rest stops, excellent signage, and stunning scenery. People of all ages were enjoying a wide variety of conveyance methods on this paved trail. Kudos to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources providing this gem of a trail through state lands.

Falling Waters Trail

The Falling Waters Trail connects with the Inter-City Bike trail leading into Jackson Michigan. Home of some outstanding building murals, courtesy of the Jackson School of the Arts.

Greetings from Jackson Michigan

Jackson also boasts Michigan’s first prison, with a unique bike path winding through the historic site and leading right through a fortress wall. Many of the old buildings and walls of the former prison also feature artistic murals, an apparent hallmark of this city.

Michigan’s First State Prison

Breaking out of the prison and riding north-easterly, the landscape turns from rivers to lakes. The gravel Lakelands Trail slices through these mid state lake lands, gradually changing from farm to rural to suburban as one travels eastward towards Ann Arbor. Along the way, this perplexing situation presented a zen-like dilemma… do all endings lead to new beginnings?


A couple rest days at a Michigan lake house are on next on tap, including a visit to the University of Michigan’s ‘Big House’. Stay tuned.

C2C Day 39 South Haven to Marshall MI

Another windy start from the lakeside town of South Haven: clear skies, westerly winds at 10-15mph, and a pleasant 70 degrees. Today marked the start of Michigan’s Lake-to-Lake trail: a designated 270 mile trail connecting Lake Michigan to Lake Huron.

Starting point of Michigan’s Lake-to-Lake Trail: A South Haven Lake Buoy

This ambitious state trail project culminated with a grand opening inaugural ride in 2019. The full trail connects 18 trails and is mostly ‘off-road’, some paved and some hard-packed gravel. From South Haven, the ride starts on the Kal-Haven trail, named after the Kalamazoo & South Haven Railroad constructed in 1869. Trains traveled the route until 1971. Then, in 1973, local citizens interested in transforming the abandoned rail bed into a multi-use trail worked tirelessly to raise funds and overcome opposition (some nearby residents feared the trail would invade their privacy and bring crime). Eventually, over 800 ‘Friends of the Kal-Haven Trail’ prevailed and officially opened the trail in 1989. And what a great trail it is… 38 blissful miles thru a thick tree-covered canopy; enjoyed by joggers, dog-walkers, high-school cross-country teams, stroller-pushing parents, wildlife, and even crazy cross-country cyclists. Deep in the woods, the early-morning air temperature dropped to a chill 56 degrees.

Kal-Haven Trail, mile 31.5

Jax also joined midway for some Kal-Haven trail fun:

Eventually, the Kal-Haven connects with the Kalamazoo River Valley (KRV) trail thru downtown Kalamazoo and points eastward. A 20+ mile paved trail thru urban, suburban, and rural settings. It wasn’t until the town of Kalamazoo that I exited the tree canopy and realized the wind was still blowing. Further upstream and thankfully downwind, the town of Battle Creek also boasts a nice riverside trail, complete with artwork depicting some of the rich history of the area (including a commemorative statue depicting people of the ‘Underground Railroad’, who courageously brought southern slaves northward to freedom). Named the ‘Linear Park Trail’, it serves as an excellent connector between the town’s cultural and recreational facilities.

Resting and refueling along the Kalamazoo river and Battle Creek’s Linear Trail

Lastly, a rural jaunt thru cornfields and blueberry farms to our overnight city for tonight: Marshall, MI. And celebrating 82 miles travelled with beverages at the local brewery’s beer barn.

Dark Horse Brewery, Marshall MI

Tomorrow’s ride will continue on Michigan’s Lake-to-Lake trail for 80+ miles to the town of Whitmore Lake.

C2C 38 Grand Haven to South Haven MI

Today’s ride was Havenly. Hugging the western Michigan coast, 64 miles from Haven to Haven. A little slice of haven. All haven, no hail (and clear skies). For haven’s sake, that’s probably enough haven puns.

Sunny morning departure from Grand Haven

70 degrees and westerly winds on departure from Grand Haven. The severe storms from yesterday gave way to clearing skies, leaving behind some wet spots and scattered twigs and branches. A southerly route along Lakeshore Drive – or ‘Lack-a-Shore Drive’, as the GPS voice likes to say. Lack-a-Shore is actually more apt, as the view was primarily that of beautiful tree-covered sand dunes. Every once in awhile, you could catch a glimpse of the Lake Michigan shore line.

The ride went thru the splendid harbor town of Holland and then into the town of Saugatuck, where the Kalamazoo river winds its way into Lake Michigan. I had planned to take the famed ‘Saugatuck Chain Ferry’ across the river, but alas, the ferry was closed today. According to the owner, all the ferry operators went back to school… presumably to learn a trade other than ‘chain-ferry operator’. Operating since 1857, the Saugatuck ferry is the last of its kind in the United States – a hand-cranked conveyance that utilizes a sunken chain and special gearing to get from one side of the river to the other. The unanticipated chain-ferry labor shortage caused a two mile detour for me.

Saugatuck Chain Ferry, closed due to labor shortage

Jax took advantage of the lack of ferry traffic to take a paddleboard excursion on the slow-moving Kalamazoo. Now that’s a modern chain-free way to cross a river.

The ride wrapped up in South Haven, where we celebrated the day with a sandy beach stroll and a beautiful sunset… a havenly day!

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