7/3/19 Acme, MI to Empire, MI : 69.4 miles
Even though no rain fell last night, the damp night air felt like we slept through a deluge. Unsurprisingly, fog greeted us when we awoke. About 7 am, we headed down Brackett Road and turned south on US 31. After two foggy miles, we reached Acme and soon got on the Traverse Regional Area Trail (TART). We enjoyed the paved trail for 5 miles to Traverse City. Then spotty signage helped us lose the trail. We rode a mile in the wrong direction before we recognized our error.
We biked north to Grand Traverse Bay to the site of the National Cherry Festival, now under way. Problem: The local cherries were nowhere near ripe: details, details. We rode along busy M72 for a ways looking for TART. When we stopped at a public bathroom, the guy cleaning the johns told us to take the first left and catch the trail in a quarter mile. As we did so, a fellow stopped his car and wanted to know if we needed help. How about that?! We rode on a smooth paved trail for 16 miles to Sutton’s Bay and for more breakfast.
After getting air in our tires, we rode east for 6 miles across the Leelanau Peninsula to Lake Michigan, then south for 4 miles to Glen Arbor, teeming with tourists. We bought a quart of chocolate milk and ate lunch in front of the grocery store, watching the throngs move past. A fellow who rode the TransAmerican route last year stopped to visit. Two other guys lounging in their chairs joined the conversation. Onward we journeyed for 2 miles to D H Day Campground to see if we could secure a campsite, but no luck. Camper Mike overheard our conversation and offered to share his site. We declined because Betsy had lined up a camp site at the Empire Township Campground.
We continued south, past Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore and saw the spot where the energetic tourists climb to the top of the dunes (see photo). Curiously, we found few tourists in Empire but we bought food and checked out the Visitor Center. We got back on the bike for 5 hard miles to the campground. We got a large, shady tent site in open forest. It was another wonderful day!