To the bridge


What is a continental breakfast anyway? The hotel breakfasts I’ve had in Europe, which is, I assume, the continent referenced here, have been lavish buffets of cheese, bread, cereal, meat, yogurt and pastries. In this country is has never been clear what the hotel will offer until you get to the counter in the morning. I guess they mean that it’s a simple, self-serve assortment of cereals, toast and coffee. Still, I take what I can get, and the Knights Inn had fresh coffee, bagels, oatmeal (instant) and cream cheese- nothing to sneeze at when the alternative is McD’s or an overpriced tourist trap.

Again staying to the two-lane blacktop, I head up Rt 31, a remarkably lovely road for the most part that goes through the a number of beach and harbor communities, most notably Charlevoix and Petoskey. Each of these has its charms, and each seems fairly prosperous. Charlevoix has its front to Lake Charlevoix and it’s back to Lake Michigan, or that’s the way or seems when you just drive down the picture-perfect main street. The two lakes are connected by a channel, and boating is big business around here, but it’s pleasure craft that rule the view from the main street park, not fisherman.

Petoskey, the county seat, is bookended by very prosperous planned communities to the north and south, each involving a country club; Bay Harbor and Bay View. The town itself is more extensive than can be grasped by a quick drive-through and well worth a closer look than I can give it. A quick stop for bread and fruit and on I go. I’m a man on a mission today: UP or Bust!

The Mackinaw bridge is a thing of beauty, but that is not evident on the southern approach. Here it’s all highway signs and construction warnings. Once over, a side trip to the park labeled only as “Bridge View” is worthwhile. From here, at the edge of St. Ignace, the causeway stretches out to rise with increasing grace into the longest suspension bridge (26,372 feet total length and 200 feet above water) in the western hemisphere. iPhone images (at least mine) give no sense of the majesty of the real thing, but then, that’s not really surprising. The rain keeps me from setting up the 4×5, and I have to make do with some TLR shots from under cover. I think they’re destined to be underwhelming.

The trip west on Rt 2 is pretty much what Road Trip USA says it is; stretches of scruffy country interspersed with glorious views of the lake and sand dunes. I cut north on Rt 77, on the advice of Tim and Melody, and eventually come into Munising, where a side-note on Trip Advisor (certainly not their advice) sends me to Scotty’s Motel. It’s now in the low 40’s with frost warnings and still raining. More on all that tomorrow.

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