C2C Day 37 Milwaukee WI to Grand Haven MI

Welcome to Michigan

And so it begins… again. A 9:30 arrival in Muskegon Michigan on-board the Lake Express, after a 6am departure from Milwaukee. A strong south wind whipped up 5 foot swells atop Lake Michigan, swaying our morning ferry boat ride back and forth. Land-lubber passengers appreciated free Dramamine, while the vehicles one deck below appreciated a sturdy parking brake. Two wheels on solid ground felt amazingly stable.

Muskegon Beach Road

A breezy 20 mile warmup ride was the agenda for today, including a leisurely stroll through Pete Marquette Park where Jax broke out the paddleboard and added a windy Lake Michigan to her conquered bodies of water.

Pete Marquette Beach, Muskegon MI

A Low 70s day with high humidity and soggy roads, thanks to overnight storms from the previous night. Our prior two days of car travel from Denver to Milwaukee were ominously stormy, as heavy rain seemed to follow us from west to east. Darkening skies on this day seemed to be further taunting me.

Journeying Southward, the same wind that rocked the ferry boat was gaining intensity, to the tune of 15-20mph, turning today’s stroll into a headwind battle. Although the tree-lined coastal dunes provided some welcome shelter and swaying scenery.

Spring Lake, MI

Eventually, the winds unleashed some drenching thunderstorms. Thankfully, today’s ride was a short and I made it to our Grand Haven Holiday Inn before the skies unleashed. And as I write this blog from a warm and dry hotel room, the wind is dying and the skies are clearing. Maybe this really is a Grand Haven after all.

2022: Great Lakes Segment

It started with a barefoot wheel dip in the Pacific Ocean. Fort Stevens State Park, Near Astoria, Oregon in 2018. Pointing eastward, this clean-shaven, barefoot, and back-lit photo guy set out to cross the continent on a bicycle.

Fast-forward to 2022, and the 4th segment of this coast-to-coast journey is about to commence. Returning to last year’s finishing point of Milwaukee Wisconsin, the journey continues with a ferry crossing over Lake Michigan (and no, I will not be pedaling-in-place during the ferry ride, despite numerous suggestions!). From Muskegon, the plan is to ride along the western Michigan coast line to South Haven, the starting point of Michigan’s Lake-to-Lake trail, connecting Lake Michigan to Lake Huron.

A converted rail line, the Lake-to-Lake is mostly off-road, a safe and immensely enjoyable way to ride across what will be the seventh state thus far (following Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, South Dakota, Minnesota, and Wisconsin). Then, from the southern tip of Lake Huron, the Blue Water Bridge will welcome us into Canada for an exploration of three more great lakes: Huron, Ontario, and Erie. The only Great Lake not on the itinerary is Superior. We will wrap up this Great Lakes segment by crossing the Peace Bridge into Buffalo, New York.

Stay tuned for words and images describing the 2022 segment of this cross continent adventure!

C2C Day 36 Madison to Milwaukee WI

Lake Michigan

I cycled thru the rain until I came upon a huge lake, and determined I could cycle no more. At least in an eastward direction. So Milwaukee’s Lake Michigan shoreline is the terminus for this year’s coast-to-coast adventure.

Today started in Madison with threatening skies. A 50% chance of thunderstorms.

Madison is a great cycling city, with many off-street paths and folks enjoying some outdoor recreation. It’s also a booming city with active construction. Perhaps there is a correlation with outdoor lifestyle and city desirability? Being a college town (University of Wisconsin) might also be an attractor.

Bike Path in Madison

Eventually, I made it to Cottage Grove and the start of the 52-mile Glacial Drumlin Trail, named after a geologic landform very common in the area.

Start of the 52 mile Glacial Drumlin trail

Yet another great Wisconsin state trail, devoid of vehicle traffic and loaded with straight-line scenic bridges – crossing over the meandering Koshkonong creek numerous times.

Koshkonong Creek, along the G-T trail

The trail eventually passes right along Rock Lake and a nice sandy beach, smartly named ‘Sandy Beach’, where Jackie busted out the paddle board again. We were so far dodging those forecasted thunderstorms, getting some good paddling and cycling in.

Jackie prepping for paddle boarding at Sandy Beach
Jax joining me on the trail for a spin

And then came the rains. At mile 50, the 50-50 chance turned to 100%, turning into a dousing at the village of Dousman (coincidence?). Then some more trail magic… just as the gravel path started to get slick and muddy, it miraculously turned to pavement. And then, seeking shelter from a heavy downpour, the trailside building (and former rail depot) in Dousman turned out to be a bike shop – called the ‘Bicycle Doctor’. After a brief rest (and a cool bike jersey) from the Doctor, it was back on the trail in a light but steady rain.

Hank Aaron State Trail, Milwaukee

On the outskirts of Milwaukee, I came upon the Hank Aaron state trail. A quick side-story: My Dad visited Wisconsin as a kid and watched a Milwaukee Braves game. At that game in 1954, he got a signed baseball from the entire Braves team – including a signature from a young, upstart rookie by the name of Henry Aaron. ‘Hammerin’ Hank’ would have a hall-of-fame career, breaking the major league record for home runs and setting several hitting records that still stand today. Aaron, who passed away in January 2021, was a man of integrity who broke down many racial barriers and fostered goodwill throughout his celebrated career and life. That trail ride was for you, Dad.

Menomonee River, downtown Milwaukee

That wraps up the 2021 segment of this coast-to-coast journey. 650 miles from Sioux Falls to Milwaukee, across the farms and lakes of southern Minnesota, and the trails and towns of Wisconsin – with my favorite Trail Angel Jackie providing support and encouragement. A memorable trip for sure, and looking forward to more.


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