Pine River Bicycle and Canoe Trip, 2010


Day Itinerary
1 Evanston, IL to Kenosha, WI
2 Kenosha, WI to Whitehall, MI
3 Whitehall, MI to Ludington, MI
4 Ludington, MI to Pine River Campground
5 Canoeing on the Pine River
6 Canoeing on the Pine River
7 Pine River Campground to Ludington, MI
8 Ludington, MI to Sheboygan, WI
9 Sheboygan, WI to Glendale, WI
10 Glendale, WI to Kenosha, WI
11 Kenosha, WI to Evanston, IL

The Pine River, in Michigan’s Manistee National Forest, is classified as a National Wild and Scenic River. Few private homes are found along the banks. Beautiful scenery and some of the fastest average water flows of any Lower Peninsula river make the Pine River a favorite for canoeists, kayakers, and many other users. The U.S. Forest Service uses a permit system to limit congestion on the river.

We met friends from the Chicago Group of the Sierra Club at a campground near the Pine river on Memorial Day weekend. Yvonne and I have canoed the Pine River with this group many times. The Pine is not a big river. Tight turns with some stretches of fast water make this river challenging, but fun.

This was the first long self-contained bike trip for Yvonne. We tried to average forty to fifty miles per day staying in hotels. It does require a lot more planning than a bike trip run by an organization. Except for a major mistake heading out of Muskegon after arriving on the ferry at 4:00 p.m. that forced us to ride until 9:00 p.m., we did not have any major problems. George had three flat tires. We had hot sunny days the first week. Only on the last day did we ride our bikes during a little light rain.

North to Milwaukee with an overnight stay in Kenosha

  • We left home at 10:00 a.m. A couple hours later we stopped for lunch at Bluffington's in Lake Bluff.
  • Yvonne heads north in Carol Beach a few miles south of Kenosha. Lakeshore Drive has many beautiful lakefront homes.
  • Kenosha’s vintage street cars run in a loop from the train station to the lakefront.
  • The different color street cars come from different cities, and are about 60 to 70 years old.
  • Yvonne heads north on the Kenosha County Bike Trail on the way to Milwaukee.
  • We took the Lake Express ferry from Milwaukee to Muskegon. This ferry has a top speed of over 30 miles per hour, and crosses Lake Michigan in two and a half hours.

North through western Michigan to the Pine River

  • George enjoyed the caboose museum at the south end of the bike trail in Montague, MI.
  • A travel information office is conveniently located in the old depot at the south end of the bike trail.
  • The Hart-Montague Bicycle Trail is about 23 miles long running north-south.
  • The ice cream parlor in Pentwater was a nice break on a warm sunny day.
  • Getting ready to check in to our hotel in Ludington.

Canoeing on the Pine River and camping in the Manistee National Forest

  • Our cabin at the Pine River Paddlesports Center.
  • Mary Ellen and Barbara cooking a delicious supper: turkey tetrazini over quinoa!
  • Sunday morning we used one stove for bacon, and one stove for blueberry pancakes.
  • Everyone ate well on this trip!
  • Saturday we stopped for lunch at Elm Flats. We all used the shady area in the grass instead of the picnic table.
  • Our group taking a mid-afternoon break
  • Mary Ellen and Tom;
    Saturday we canoed from Lincoln to Dobson, and almost had the river to ourselves. Sunday we canoed from Dobson to Low Bridge, and the river was very crowded because people prefer this stretch with faster water.
  • Karen and Barb approaching the Dobson landing.
  • Kris approaching the Dobson landing

Across Lake Michigan on a steamship

  • Yvonne boards the S.S. Badger. In 2010, she was the only coal-fired steamship operating in North America, but was ordered to stop burnig coal.
  • The 60 miles across Lake Michigan from Ludington to Manitowoc takes about four hours on the badger.
  • A view of the bridge from the bow

South through southeast Wisconsin and northeast Illinois

  • Wisconsin has an excellent network of rural roads that are designated by letters. County OK, just south of Sheboygan was actually pretty good!
  • The Ozaukee Interurban trail runs almost all the way from Sheboygan to Milwaukee. The trail is about 35 miles long, and paved the entire distance.
  • Yvonne southbound on the Interurban Trail
  • When the trail converted to a bike lane in Port Washington, we enjoyed a great buffet lunch at a Mexican restaurant right on the route.
  • Yvonne on the historic Interurban bridge in Cedarburg. The electric railway system linking Milwaukee and many surrounding communities stopped operating in 1951.
  • George on the bridge in Grafton
  • Yvonne southbound on Route 32 in downtown Milwaukee
  • George heading south on Milwaukee County Parks' Oak Leaf Trail
  • We enjoyed a delicious Thai food lunch on Route 32 in downtown Racine.
  • The DQ on Oak Creek Parkway brings back memories. This was the lunch stop and turn around point on the Evanston Bicycle Club’s round trip ride to Milwaukee.
  • Yvonne on the bike path leading from Carthage College into Kenosha
  • Yvonne and George in Kenosha, after meeting George's step–sister Margaret for dinner.