Thursday, August 23, 2007

Bicycle Ride from Northport to the Grand Traverse Lighthouse

On Monday (August 20), we took a bicycle ride from Northport to the Grand Traverse Lighthouse. It's a very easy ride, about 16 miles round trip, that's relatively flat. Traffic tends to go pretty slow and there's a decent shoulder on the road most of the way.

Leaving Northport, the first part of the ride is along the bay. It provides some really great views of Grand Traverse Bay.

Many of the people who live across the road place decorative items along their path to the beach. We aren't sure what this was, but just had to snap a quick picture!

You then head inland - although that's all relative. The peninsula is only two or three miles wide at this point - and pass the Woolsey Airport. It has two grass runways and a really interesting building made of rocks. There are also picnic tables set up close to this building, allowing people to watch the flights come and go, or wait for their plane.

You then pass a few farms and orchards. The rolling hills are pretty scenic here as well, and we passed a fruit stand selling peaches on the honor system. We bought a quart, and ate most of them, on the return trip.

Before long, we arrived at the Lighthouse Park. The lighthouse building is not used for navigational purposes. There's a separate tower light for that. People volunteer to tend the grounds and staff the souvenir shop in return for getting to live in the lighthouse for a month.

There are nasty looking shoals here that extend pretty far out into the water. That's why, when we were passing by this point the day before, we stayed over a mile offshore.

There are a number of interesting structures on the lighthouse grounds, including some rock planters and a birdhouse that we thought looked kind of weird (ok, Bernie thinks they look like a project the keepers did over the winter -- there probably wasn't much else to do way out here except wait for ships to go by. Phil thinks "look what a long winter can do to you"). We saw much of this decorative rock work around Northport and that's the subject of a future blog.

On the return trip to Northport, something happened that has become all too common on our bicycle rides. They are doing some sewer work in Northport and began tearing up the roads.

At one point the road bed, from which they recently removed the blacktop in order to do the sewer work, became so soft that it was not suitable for bike riding. So, you guessed it, there we go having to push the bikes along again!

That only lasted for a block or so, though, and we were soon back in Northport where we did the walking tour of historical buildings that evening.

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