Conquering the Mother of All Iron Grate Bridges

Once again we decided to put some miles behind us before we sat down to breakfast. Spencer has done a magnificent job of picking mom-and-pop diners so he once again was in charge of the selection process. The town of St Ignace holds fond memories of our Americruise adventure mention in my blog from 6 days ago. Spencer thought it would be fun to have breakfast in St Ignace, Michigan. We once again found a great place right on Business 75 in the downtown area. Bently’s BML (not sure what BML stands for but we think the B is Beulah who is one of the owners). The diner is really small and customers are kind of wedged in. You have to be careful that you are not eating off of someone else’s plate.

We were now facing the one aspect of this trip that I was actually dreading. We were a mere half a mile from the Mackinac Bridge which is know by several names but most frequently referred to as the Mighty Mac. Motorcyclists have their own name for this thing but I can’t repeat it here. Let me explain.

Road surfaces are more important when you ride a motorcycle than if you’re cruising along in your family SUV. Potholes have deadly potential. Sand and gravel in the roadway can cause great consternation. Moisture on the pavement means slippery conditions. You get the idea. If you’ve never ridden a motorcycle across an iron grate bridge you wouldn’t understand how disconcerting it is to have your front and back wheels meander in and out of different lines as they bounce between bars of the iron grate. It’s like both ends of the bike are dancing but to very different tunes. Every inch of back and forth feels like you are on the verge of losing control. That describes travelling on this bridge. The right hand lane in each direction is concrete but of course today on the southbound side (our side) there was bridge construction which blocked the concrete land and forced us to ride the iron grate. Ugh! We both needed a break once we were safely on the Mackinac City end of the bridge.

This isn’t my picture. I was too busy trying not to crash to take pictures.

The next pinpoint on our trip map was at Leg’s Inn at Cross Point Station. It is a quirky place that got it’s name from the stove legs that decorate the roofline of the restaurant. Unfortunately the restaurant didn’t open until noon and we were there at 11:15. We decided not to wait (since we had just eaten 2 hours before).

The Legs Inn is at the northern end of Michigan Highway 119. The section south of here is known as The Tunnel of Trees. The road is a very winding, narrow pathway along the coast of Lake Michigan. It is about 1 and 1/2 lanes wide with no center stripe and, as the name implies, is under a canopy of green. It is a fun ride on the bikes but you need to stay aware that drivers coming in the opposite direction may not be thinking about their lane position. Spencer and I rode the entire 21 miles and could have had great fun if it hadn’t been for watching for approaching vehicles sometimes around blind corners. Tunnel of Trees can be checked off of our list of accomplishments.

There are 2 towns in this part of Michigan that lay claim to having the “world’s largest cherry pie pan”. The argument comes from the fact that the pan in Charlevoix is reportedly larger than the pan in Traverse City but Charlevoix baked a dessert with no bottom crust which means it was not officially a pie. We went looking in Charlevoix for the pan but road construction prevented us from getting to it. We did however manage to make it to the one in Traverse City which did bake a pie (bottom crust included). Neither town saved a piece of their dessert for us to sample.

We were about 2 hours early for check in time at our hotel so we decided to grab a sandwich at a local eatery called The Rare Bird. It was a strange experience. Due to staffing shortages you actually had to place your order via their on-line portal. There was no server assigned to your table. I found the food selection pretty limited and the bartender started to charge me for a refill on my ice tea. The GM happened to hear him and corrected the situation but I was not impressed. The was not a great experience and since we did all the work, the tip was reflective of no service.

The traffic on the way to the hotel was crazy. The rate at our hotel was outrageous. It turns out that this weekend is the Cherry Festival in Traverse City and it’s a really big deal. All the hotels are booked and restaurants are packed. I’ve suddenly lost my taste for cherry anything.

We racked up about 200 miles today and are considering turning on the afterburners tomorrow and heading straight to the ranch which is about 350 miles away. That’s a haul on a motorcycle but there are no iron grates or cherries in our path. We’ll see what tomorrow brings.

One thought on “Conquering the Mother of All Iron Grate Bridges

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s