Tuesday, 11th June 2013; 8:28 pm

After leaving Traverse City, I headed northwest on M-22, taking the long way. (Most of my day would be spent on or near M-22.) I didn’t go all the way up the Leelanau Peninsula, only as far as Suttons Bay on the east side and Leland on the west. Leland has a little sentimental attachment as the port of departure for North Manitou Island, a reclaimed wilderness where I’ve backpacked a couple times; I also stopped there for dinner on my first big scooter ride four years ago. I didn’t stay long – no time to indulge nostalgia – just a stroll through Fishtown (the über-rustic old waterside market).

From there I headed south, the reverse of the route I’ve usually taken through this area. But still on M-22. As required by state law, I stopped at the Dune Climb in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. And yes: I climbed the dune. Not just to the first spot where it kinda levels off a bit. I went all the way to the (nearest) lookout point. Which also has a little sentimental attachment: when my extended family visited the area around a decade ago, we came to this spot. And on a more recent solo visit, I hiked there from the other side, from a stop on the Stocking Scenic Drive. And yes: I did it to prove that I (still) could. If not for the beating my legs had just taken, it would’ve been fairly easy. Don’t get me wrong, I still had to stop to catch my breath a few times, but I handled it like… a healthy person of my age. My calves will still punish me for it tomorrow, I’m sure.

On my previous ride through here, I stopped to do the Scenic Drive, which winds its way through the woods with some overviews of the dunes, and lots of twisty hills. I skipped it this time, figuring that time was limited, and I’d already proved that my scooter could handle it.

My next destination was Frankfort. Dedicated readers of this blog will recognize that town. It was where I drove after breaking a brake lever four years ago on the Leelanau Peninsula, as the location of the nearest Genuine Scooter dealer. The owner (whose name escapes me at the moment, I’ll fix this later) of Bayside Cycles pulled a replacement fro one of his stock Buddies, and literally saved my trip (and possibly my life), for a nominal fee. I had to stop in and say “hi”.

He wasn’t there when I got there. The shop was open, with no one around. A minute later he returned: he’d stepped out to test a newly prepped scooter. You can do that in Frankfort. I wasn’t sure if he’d remember me, but he did. Seeing my overpacked red Buddy parked in front jogged his memory. We chatted for a little while, with me filling him on what I’d done since our first meeting. He asked how I’d done on the Mackinac Bridge, and was suitably impressed that I’d passed 20K miles. (He’d recently rebuilt a similar engine after 18K.) I left him with my thanks, figuring I’d never see him again. I was wrong.

A few miles after leaving Bayside, the “add oil” light came on. I keep a 3-ounce bottle of oil on the scooter for such emergencies, but I’d need a full quart pretty soon. Now… where did I know nearby that would have 2-stroke motor oil? Bayside, I course. As I stashed the oil on the bike, he offered me a “Bayside Cycles” sticker for my scoot. Considering that the dealer I’d bought it from doesn’t exist anymore, and I’d been to Bayside more times than any other Genuine dealer, I accepted. He also tipped me off to a scenic detour just across the bay. Cool guy. The world needs more scooter dealers like him.

Remarkably, I kept pretty close to the really rough schedule is put on my calendar, arriving at the Old Mission Peninsula around 11 and leaving TC around 1, then reaching the Dune Climb about 3 and being on M-22 drinking past the southern sections of SBNL around 5. I’d penciled in “dinner in Manistee” for 8-9, allowing for the latest acceptable arrival, and that’s roughly the time I spent at TJ’s on historic River Street.

I’m staying at Orchard Beach State Park, a couple miles north of Manistee. It’s… a lakeshore state park. Nice enough, with easy access to the beach, but otherwise unremarkable. It’s maybe 1/10 full (making my reservation pointless) which I guess isn’t too bad for a Tuesday night I the cool part of Summer.

One Response to “M-22”

  1. Taj says:

    Yay for The Dunes! My family is from Frankfort, Honor and Beulah. Uncle had a barber shop/gun shop in Frankfort, very manly. Sounds like a good day.