September 2005: Lake Michigan Loop

We started out of Indy Saturday morning, following the old alignment of US 52 (Lafayette Road) out of town, hooking up with current 52 north of Lebanon, then merging onto US 41 west of Fowler, IN. We took 41 through NW IN, and then followed it along Lakeshore Drive through Chicago. We found our way onto Sheridan Road which stretches from Chicago well into Wisconsin. Through Kenosha, we found the list of motels (most of them) in question. Some were nice…others were…well, you know. After going through Milwaukee, we jumped on the Evil I for a while. We roamed around Port Washington for a while, then stopped at a Piggly Wiggly in Sheboygan for some Kringles.

Lake Michigan

We planned on staying in Green Bay our first night, but upon talking about a trip my parents & I took in 1985 in the same direction, we decided to retrace part of that trip to see if I could find some spots we ate and slept. Alas, the Holiday Inn in Green Bay at the Marina was still there! In ’85, the folks & I were in its parking lot at midnight trying to find a room. We were outta luck that weekend because the big airshow in Oshkosh was that same weekend and there was nary a room to be had for a couple hundred miles in either direction of Oshkosh. I vividly remember sitting in the back seat of my dad’s ’77 Impala, 17 years old and listening to he & my mom have a “disagreement” on the future of our trip to the UP of Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. It was midnight and we had nowhere to stay. Mom wanted to turn around and go home (some 400 miles away, mind you) and dad (aka, the driver) would have no part of it. Sooo, in an effort to make lemonade out of our lemon, we decided to keep driving north. I remember pulling into a neon lit cafe somewhere on US 141 north of Green Bay and having a 1am “dinner”. We finally found a place to stay at 2am at the Holiday Motel in Iron Mountain, MI, just across the WI/MI border. So this trip last week, I didn’t quite find the cafe, but since it was dark (not 1am dark this time!) there were a few possibilities (one of which we ate at), but I’ll have to make another trip to confirm the locale of the cafe, if it’s even there. So forging ahead, we made it to Iron Mountain. I knew there was no longer a listing for a Holiday Motel there, but I was hoping they had just changed hands, and they did. It was now an “America’s Best Inn” or something along those lines, located on US 2. I had a picture from ’85 of the exterior of the room we stayed in, so I knew where it was, but I was too tired to think of asking for that particular room upon checking in. So for memory’s sake, I took the same picture, some 20 years later. That’s where Jennifer & I ended the retracing of that ’85 trip. We were heading back east on US 2…in ’85, we continued north on 141. That was fun to relive that little memory for me. That was the last trip I took with my mom, as we lost her a year later. So it was neat bridging back to the past. Speaking of bridges, Sunday we made our way east on 2 towards Mackinaw City. 2 is one of my favorite 2-lanes to travel…even back west into Minnesota & Wisconsin. I’ve always had an affection for the Great Lakes, and 2 skirts it in several areas. We got to Mackinaw Citymid afternoon after crossing the Mackinac Bridge (Note: Traveling 300 feet above water on a 4 mile suspension bridge when there are wind warnings is a bad thing.). We had pasties for lunch and roamed the shops in Mackinaw City before getting a room at the Northwinds Motel on US 23, on the shores of Lake Huron with a great view of the bridge. We went out after playing cards and watching the Colts game on ESPN to take some night shots of the bridge.

Sunrise - Mackinaw City, Michigan

Monday it was time to head home. We had breakfast at The Embers and stumbled upon a full service gas station on old US 31 south of town. I was surprised when the attendant came up to the car & asked if I wanted a fill-up. I was even more surprised when he and another attendant cleaned my windshield! We followed 31 south along the east side of Lake Michigan and encountered many produce markets along the way, specializing in cherries and apples. We found a place near Charlevoix,
MI that had Cherry cider, but it wasn’t anything close to that at the Jack Rabbit in Arizona. We found a fudge place and then said aloha to Lake Michigan in southern Michigan and crossed back into Indiana in South Bend and took 31 back home to Indy.

Slideshow of All Photos

[flickrslideshow acct_name=”roadtripmemories” id=”72157604305685049″ width=”500″]

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One Response to September 2005: Lake Michigan Loop

  1. Pingback: Road Trip Memories » A drive like we took back in the day….

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