A couple weeks ago I took my wife on a surprise road trip in northwest Michigan's lower peninsula. We had a pretty good time, and I wanted to share. A no-agenda, 750 mile round trip, over 3 days; a trip I was unsure if my anti-road-trip-wife would enjoy. (I only told her she'd be gone for 3 days, but told her nothing else.)
For last year's anniversary we did a Groupon for a winery in northern Ohio, and it turned out to be a disaster. In spite of the disastrous location/weather & lack of activities, we ended up having a fun time together. I wanted to replicate the “good times” we had last year without the lameness that we found in OH.
We drove from Detroit to Grand Haven on a Tuesday evening. Managed to get to our destination right before sunset.
What the Googles says would take 3hrs, only took 2.5 (with traffic). I'm pretty sure I could have done it in 2hrs without the traffic. As soon as we got into town, we bought some Bell's Oberon, J.D. Honey whiskey, water, and a bunch of munchies.
We stayed there for 2 nights. Hiked around PJ Hoffmaster State Park, and downtown Grand Haven.
The day of our anniversary, we went to a local brewery in Saugatuck – Saugatuck Brewing Company. Chatted it up with a couple locals, and the bartender. Bought a case of Neapolitan Stout for $30 (yum!), and a growler filled with pepper ale.
From Grand Haven, we drive up to Charlevoix. The 3hrs it took us was reasonably nice; we don't usually get to travel on that particular stretch of highway. (Actually pseudo-caravaned with a bugeye for about 60 miles.) At one time, I looked in my rearview to see the lights of a state trooper. Freaked out a little until I realized he was heading somewhere else. My wife spent a good portion of that drive on Facebook telling all her friends how cool it was for me to keep this trip a secret.
(I look much better than this in person)
Charlexoix is a nice little town; plenty of shopping (of which we didn't do). Instead, we stopped in at a local pub; talked with more locals, and some of the bartenders. Then of course, a walk on the beach.
On the way home we stopped in a no-stoplight town called Bellaire. Shorts Brewery was our destination. Another growler, and conversations with the bartender was the result. The 2-lane from Charlevoix to Belaire, was full of twisties and slow-pokes . Two hands on the wheel with plenty of downshifting proved to be the highlight of the trip for me (don't tell my wife). Her vocal protests were directly proportional to the G-forces, but she claimed that she was only nervous of deer. (We don't get many 2-lanes around here in the D.) Even though I was cruising right along at ~10 over the speed limit, I was easily passed by a couple Michigan hillbillies in their pick-up trucks. I was astounded by their high rate of speed.
Overall this was a pretty awesome road trip. I learned that not all motorcyclists drive at >10mph over the speed limit; no matter how awesome your car is, there's always a hillbilly in a pickup that will drive like an *******; and a simple road trip can still be awesome.
Even though we seatbelted in the growlers, one of them still managed to leak. (A boon to the leather seats' ease of cleaning.)
The drone of the SPT exhaust never got annoying, the seats stayed comfy. I managed to average 24MPG over the entire trip, but at highway speeds of ~80MPH, this is to be expected. (I would've liked a 6th gear.) The trip for the two of us could've been done in a sedan, but I liked having the option of bringing home some driftwood in the hatch.
The BUGS! OMG THE BUGS! (Actually ran out of windshield washer fluid on the way home.)
Next year I think I'm going to make our trip an official Michigan Brew Tour. Michigan Breweries & Michigan Brewery Map | Pure Michigan
Michigan Beer Guide