Charlevoix, Michigan, August 2020

Sandra planned this trip to get the three of us out of the house, in a way that would allow social distancing in this, the summer of covid-19. We drove two cars, one carrying my mountain bike, hoping that I would be able to find somewhere to ride. I had been doing a lot of road riding this summer, since my regular mountain bike trails had full parking lots. A boom in bicycle purchases because of the shutdowns had put many new people out on the trails.

We had a whole AirBNB house to ourselves, right on the shore of Lake Michigan. The view was great, sunsets were pretty on the water, the wind howled at night, and the screened-in porch kept the mosquitoes off of us. There were stairs going down to the water, where there used to be a beach, but the water has risen over the years and it has been swallowed up.

A nearby (walkable) township park had a large sandy beach and several smaller beaches, mostly deserted, were inside the state park that adjoined it. I rode my bike on the dirt road, suitable for jeeps only after a certain point, and enjoyed the forest, popping down to the smaller beaches as I saw them from the road.

Here's a video of some of the highlights of this trip:

The lake house

This house was right on Lake Michigan, with stairs down to the water. The house itself was nicely remodeled, and we could see from earlier pictures that they had redone the deck to be wider and lower to the ground. That made it easy to get up and down from anywhere, a lot more convenient. There was a balcony on the second floor that looked out to the lake, a view due west that allowed a great view of the sunsets.

As you can see from the pictures, it was nicely decorated, with lots of comfortable seating.

The private beach

Unfortunately, the water was so high and the waves so strong that we couldn't go down to the bottom. That is, until the last day, when the water and wind were down and there was a tiny beach covered in pebbles. It was pretty rough on the feet, but we went down and enjoyed it for a while, happy that we got the chance at all. The caretaker said that she would share the pictures with the owner, because they didn't think it ever got low enough to see a beach. On an earlier day, I did actually go down to the bottom and wade, it was only a few inches deep that day, and I walked on large, flat rocks. Suprisingly, on the day of the beach, those large flat rocks were gone, we think they were buried underneath the pebbles (and a small bit of sand).

Fisherman's Island State Park

Not far from the house was a nice public beach at the edge of a state park. While the beach looked like one in the Dominican Republic, it was almost completely empty, even though it was the middle of summer! I don't know how cold the water was, but I saw a couple of people swimming. I followed a rough dirt road that stayed not very far from the lake, with little deserted beaches every few hundred yards. I found a nearly dry creekbed that would make a great place to build some mountain bike trails, features, and bridges! I just don't want to run into whatever left those tracks.

Bay View

We drove north through Charlevoix along the lake, and ran into a town with a lot of victorian buildings, so we stopped and explored a bit. This town turned out to have an .