Saturday, July 28th
It promised to be a gorgeous day, with highs in the 80s and plenty of sunshine, so shortly after breakfast we blew up the tubes and loaded everybody in the trucks for the drive to the Platte River at the southern-most end of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.
The Platte River is a shallow, gently flowing river that ends at the Lake Michigan beach, and is very popular for canoeing and floating. You can rent both, or you can bring your own. Everybody except Tom and Paul got out at the fishing weir, where it was just a short walk to the river where tubes can launch. They parked our truck, with all the beach gear, down at the end – and were lucky to get one of the last parking spots at the beach! Then they brought Paul’s truck back up to the weir, where they met up with us.
The float trip from the weir to the beach takes about 2 – 3 hours, and being Saturday, it was mighty crowded! It was a great day though, perfect for a leisurely float down the river!
When we reached the beach, we packed up the tubes and grabbed the towels and coolers out of the truck, and headed out to the beach for a picnic lunch.
Surprisingly, even with the number of people floating down the river, the beach wasn’t too crowded. We ate lunch, did a little swimming, and rested in the sun until it was time to pack up and go back to the RVs to rescue the dogs.
We did have one little glitch as we left . . . Paul had kept his key in his pocket, and these new electronic keys don’t do well when wet! The key fob wouldn’t work to unlock his doors, and although he could unlock them manually with the key, it set off his alarm! Then, he couldn’t get the truck started with the key! Since it was 5:30pm on Saturday, we thought he might be in real trouble! After 20 or 30 minutes with the key fob taken apart, though, he was finally able to start his truck!
So, if your truck or car has one of those new all-in-one key fobs, don’t get it wet!!
Back at the campers, the kids set up for a cornhole tournament, and we got a fire going to cook our dinners of brats, hot dogs, and pizza hobo pies.
Tom read his book for awhile before joining the tournament (I think he’s read more than me this trip – he’s really enjoying this book, “American Icon – How Alan Mulally Saved Ford Motor Company”)
Casey kept her eagle eyes on anybody who was eating, waiting for anything that would fall (or get tossed!) her way!
Once it got dark, we all sat and enjoyed the evening around the campfire. We called it a night pretty early, though – all that water and sunshine tends to make you tired!
Sunday, July 29th
After mass on Sunday, we said good-bye to Paul & Tari & the kids, as they headed home, and we loaded the bikes into the truck to drive to Glen Arbor to check out the new Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail. It’s a wide, paved, multi-use trail, and the first phase just opened on July 4th.
It’s just over 4 miles long right now, and goes from Glen Arbor, through national park land, to the Dune Climb.
There’s no parking lot at the trailhead in Glen Arbor right now, but people park along the side of the road, or in the church parking lot just up the road. That’s what we did, and then we were off on our bikes!
The trail takes you through the woods to the D. H. Day State Park – Michigan’s 1st State Park, and then to the beach in the historic village of Glen Haven.
We stopped at the Glen Haven General Store,
which is part store and park museum. Nicolas was checking out the pictures of the old “dunemobiles” that used to take people for rides on the sand dunes (before it became a national park).
Continuing on, we rode along the edge of the dunes until we reached the other end of the trail at the Dune Climb.
We took a bathroom and water break here, and watched people climbing up and running down the dune.
Nick and Bryce had already had their fill of climbing dunes, so they passed on this one! But Bryce did have enough energy to chase a seagull!
Once everybody was rested,
we got back on the bikes and made the return trip to Glen Arbor, where we treated ourselves to an ice cream!
This was a really nice bike trail, and definitely something to check out if you are in the area!