Thursday, 10th June 2010; 3:33 pm - Location:

I’ve made reservations at all of the state parks (and one recreation area) I’ll be sleeping at along the way.

What’s annoying is that the state charges an $8 reservation fee for each one. If I’d simply booked a site at a single campground for a week, the fee would be $8 total. But because I reserved sites at six different campgrounds, it’s $48. That’s in addition to the fees for each site itself (which range from $18-$27 per night for a single person in a single tent), and the $24 annual pass for my vehicle. So the parks add up to $236, or nearly $34/night. Still cheaper than motels, though.

Another annoyance is that they won’t let you reserve just a Friday night or just a Saturday night. If you want one, you have to reserve both. Because of this, I had to schedule my ride so that I’d be someplace when I got to the weekend where I actually wanted to spend two nights, which is why I’m leaving on a Thursday and my last night is a Wednesday.

Anyway, without further ado, here’s the itinerary:

  • North Higgins State Park, in the middle of northern Michigan. Back in college, a couple friends and I had car trouble on a road trip to Mackinac, and very nearly got stuck for the weekend here in Roscommon instead. (I’m sure it’s very nice.)
  • Cheboygan State Park, on Lake Huron, first city to the east of Mackinaw. This will be my two-night stay, giving me time to visit Mackinac and/or Bois Blanc Island, or something else in the area.
  • Tawas Point State Park, along the state’s index finger on a promontory nearly encircling a small bay. This will be the first of three days along the Huron coast itself.
  • Albert E. Sleeper State Park, near the tip of the thumb. This day will be a ride around Saginaw Bay, through Bay City.
  • Algonac State Park, just north of Lake St Clair. I’ll follow Lake Huron to Port Huron, then follow the St Clair River.
  • Metamora-Hadley State Recreation Area, east of Flint. From Algonac I plan to take a day trip into Ontario, to Lake Erie, then turn back. M-H is a short distance west of Algonac, mostly to shorten the following day’s ride.
  • Grand Rapids, home. I’ll detour around Flint then head west.

This is one day shorter than my planned itinerary last year, which (at the time) I felt was about a day longer than I really wanted to be out on the road. Unlike last time, if at any point I just don’t feel like staying out any longer, on just about any morning of this trip – except the two in Cheboygan – I’ll be within 5-6 hours’ ride of home, so I could bail out at any time. Not that I expect that to happen.

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