Posts Tagged ‘Leelanau’

Leelanau State Park night

Sunday, 9th August 2009; 9:46 pm - Location:

The surf abruptly picked up at 9:30pm. My original hopeful hypothesis was that a passing freighter had kicked it up. But after 5 minutes I had to conclude that it was probably something atmospheric on the other side of the Lake. Presumably coming this way. The forecast is pretty confident about rain tomorrow morning especially, so I have to take it as a presumed fact. Everything has to be water-secured tonight. Anything in the tent or under the rain fly is safe; I know that from experience on Isle Royale. The scooter’s pet carrier looks safe, but I haven’t tested that yet. For the rest, the rain cover I bought for my backpack (tested only for that use) and my raincoat, combined with placement up on the picnic table, will have to do.

Based on the forecast, tomorrow could be the most miserable day of the trip. Rain could certainly spoil what might otherwise be the most scenic day of the excursion, following the shore of Grand Traverse Bay. The forecast does hint that the chance of rain will be less in the afternoon (instead of just “rain” it says “rain likely”), so it could turn into another day of waiting out the weather.

Leelanau State Park

Sunday, 9th August 2009; 7:51 pm - Location:

My WordPress iPhone app doesn’t support replying to comments so I’ll post this response as a regular entry:

Traffic hasn’t been bad. I’ve had a few jerks tail me too close and then blow past me, and at one point near Muskegon I was convinced that the county had an unusually high number per capita. But for the most part the worst I’ve experienced have been people passing me when I didn’t think it was safe for them. I’m such a mother. 🙂

After yesterday’s improv, I mostly stuck to my planned route today. I skipped some of the Sunday-driving sightseeing detours in my plans just because they were too much hassle to keep track of. For example I just stuck to M-22 and the county roads that lead to Leelanau State Park rather than winding my way through the peninsula. I planned out a complex route to maximize my Bay time on the Old Mission Peninsula tomorrow, but I’m sure I’ll just wing it.

The state park here is rather nice. It’s at land’s end on the Leelanau Peninsula, and my campsite has a great view of the water. The ranger said “great site” when I signed in, and another camper said the same thing when she overheard him giving me directions. They’re right. It’s technically the only site “on the shore”, which means there’s no road or substantial treeline between it and the shoreline, but it’s still a good distance from the water itself.

The park service also described the site as being next to the foundations of the original lighthouse, which is true… but there really isn’t much to see: just a bit of a indentation in the ground with some rocks and trees lining it. The later lighthouse (a fairly traditional-looking house with a light on top of it) and the current light (a rotating beacon on antenna-style platform) are a little more to look at.

This park is “rustic” (no electricity or flush toilets), and nowhere near as busy (or as parkinglotty) as Ludington. It’s heavily wooded (arbor vitae), so the sites have a little privacy, and there are quite a few vacancies. So I didn’t need a reservation here… except probably to get this site, which is why I reserved it way back when.

Reservations, with reservations

Tuesday, 7th April 2009; 5:57 pm - Location: , ,

I’ve made my first concrete commitment to making this trip: I made some campsite reservations. I only made a couple, since I want to keep my options open as much as I can for a while, but circumstances forced my hand on a couple.

Ludington State Park is already nearly full for the weekend I’m going. In fact, the only spots left in the road-accessible campsites are “auxilliary” sites that aren’t on the park map, and don’t have electrical service. Which is fine with me, because I won’t have any use for the electricity. What’s annoying is that the state park (like most of the popular ones in the state) doesn’t allow reservations for only Saturday night, so I had to reserve – and pay for – the Friday night before as well. My donation to the state government’s solvency, I guess. I don’t plan to use it, but if I decide to ride up after work on Friday, I have that option.

I considered the other location option, which is Ludington’s “hike-in” campsite. It’s an appealing alternative to the the big “parking lot” site, just off the beach, but it’s a couple miles from the road. The hike wouldn’t be a problem if I had a backpack, but it’d be a definite hassle since my “pack” will be a 200-pound motorbike. Instead I’d have to leave the scoot alone at the road overnight (which would make me a little nervous), and carry all my gear to the site somehow. I have to keep in mind that this isn’t a wilderness trip; its a road trip… so better to stick to the road.

I’ve also made a reservation at Leelanau State Park the following night. Leelanau is less than half full at this point, but it’s a small park at the very tip of the peninsula, so that doesn’t leave a lot to choose from. And there was one site that caught my eye as I was reading the descriptions and looking the park map. It doesn’t have another site immediately adjacent to it, which I always appreciate. In fact it’s the only site actually on the lakeshore, and it’s next to the foundation of the original lighthouse. That sounds cool, so I reserved it.

I’m holding off on reservations for later in the trip, mostly because I can. There are still plenty of open sites at the other parks (getting progressively farther from the big cities), so I have time. I’ll keep an eye on them and maybe I’ll be able to get away without making reservations at some of them altogether, which would save me $8 at each one. Either way, at $12-26 per night (plus reservation fees at each) it adds up, and cash’ll be a little tight after buying a new scooter, so I’ll put that off until I have a few more paychecks in the credit union.