2020 Moto Trip - Day 5 - Mackinac and Tunnel of Trees

By: Kevin JohnsonFeb 18, 2021

Day 5 (8/16/2020)

Since we got a good amount of rest the night before we were up pretty early and ready to hit the road.  I was excited since today we were going to go around the U.P. of Michigan, head over the Mackinac Bridge, and ride the Tunnel of Trees.  We donned our trusty steeds and got out of Norway, which really wasn’t anything exciting until we got to Lake Michigan.  As I’d not been to any of the Great Lakes before I wasn’t really sure what to expect, but they reminded me of the ocean.  You can’t see across, it happened to be a beautifully sunny day, and it’s a shit-ton of water!

We adventured around Lake Michigan, stopping for fuel in Manistique, and carried on for a while until we hit quite a bit of traffic.  Given that it was still pretty early I wasn’t sure what it was all about until we realized that it was the line waiting to go over the Mackinac Bridge.  It’s okay we were only assholes for a short distance, riding past the line of cars before weaseling in.  There are quite a few billboards up in this area advertising the “Mystery Spot” which was intriguing to us, but not so much to make us pull over so we carried on over the bridge and looked it up later.  I won’t spoil it for anyone who is dreaming to go one day, but you should probably save your money.

We paid the toll to the bridge trolls (who were actually very friendly) and made our way back into mainland Michigan.  It was quite pretty crossing the bridge except we got stuck on the grooved metal side of the road which was a little sketchy on two wheels so it’s a good thing we’re professionals.  Getting off the bridge was a little wonky too, it seemed like there were a ton of entrances and exits and since we’d not been to the area before trying to be in the correct lane with limited space to get to where you need to go was a bit interesting, but we were off the highway in no time and riding through farmland on our way to the Tunnel of Trees.  At one point I thought we were lost because it felt like we were back in Nebraska but the GPS reassured me we were headed the right way, and sure enough we turned from one road to another in Cross Village and there we were at the north entrance to the Tunnel of Trees.

For those of you who don’t know, this road is basically a no-lane, very narrow road which exactly as the name suggests, a Tunnel of Trees.  It’s a very beautiful ride, with lots of twisties making it ideal for a motorcycle, so I can see why it was on basically every list of top motorcycle roads in the US when I looked them up.  At first I was taking quite a few pictures when we started down the road and then after I got a few good shots I put the camera down and really hammered the throttle.  I probably should have been a little more careful, but we’d gotten lucky and were on the road when not too many others were so it was fine.  I pulled over at the end of the road in Harbor Springs to wait for Bob and was surprised at how long it took him to catch up.  Perhaps he’s less of a wild man and stayed behind the few cars he encountered rather than fly by them like a jackass (me).

We had a quick bite to eat in Harbor Springs, where I lost the coin toss to pay, but luckily I had covered the pizza the night before despite winning the coin toss so I gave up my freebie and made Bob pay the tab because I’m a gentleman like that.  We topped the tanks off on our way out of town and hit the freeways again on our way down to Grayling.  It was a boring ride the rest of the way, but we made really good time so I guess that’s my glass half full attitude toward that.  Upon entering Grayling it appeared to be a recently deserted town, perhaps pillaged by pirates or ransacked by war?  Oh no, it’s just a non-destination spot on a Sunday night during COVID…okay this makes more sense as to why no one is out and about.

As we’d done most ride nights, we checked into the hotel, kicked off our gear, and took it nice and easy for a while before finding a spot to eat.  Dead Bear Brewing was just across the parking lot and had food and libations so we strolled over there for a bit.  It wasn’t anything special but I think we’re a little spoiled with good breweries living in the Denver, CO area.  They also had a sign for expecting mothers only parking, which is pretty ironic to me now that I took this picture since my wife was unknowingly to us pregnant at the time.

After dinner we walked across the street to the truck stop to pick up snacks for the morning, and while we were there discovered these lovely “Rap Snacks” which I found hilarious.  We strolled back to the hotel and then took it easy again since we knew the next few days would be a little more lively in Cleveland.

Kevin Johnson
Kevin was destined to ride motorcycles from a young age since bikes are a family pastime.  Only recently did Kevin become an internet motorcycle influencer and change the lives of no one while blogging about his exploits, both on and off the road.  He is currently (and constantly) thinking about the next places two wheels might take him, much to the dismay of his wife, so stay tuned for what's to come!
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