Saturday, May 28, 2016

Glasgow Road: the Gateway South

Riding out of Fairfield, Glasgow Road slants off Burlington Avenue at the Little League baseball fields. Extending thirteen miles south and east, this country road is one of the bicycling gateways out of Fairfield and into adventure cycling. 

A short mile or so of rural, residential housing quickly transforms to farmhouses and then to bean and corn fields, pasturage, and some wooded areas, which are mostly bordering creeks. The two-lane black topped county road is maintained, and although there is not much verge, traffic is usually light and drivers courteous. I keep an eye to the mirror for safety, and to be aware when vehicles coming and going are going to meet near my line of travel, especially at the crests of hills. Speaking of those lovely hills, there are plenty of them for your enjoyment, although there are also sections of flat farmland.
Up and down the hills will get you to the first Glasgow “gateway,” Osage Avenue, a gravel road that leads to Jefferson County’s Turkey Run Wildlife Area, about nine miles from Fairfield. Enjoy almost four miles of Glasgow Road before grinding gravel for the rest of the ride.

Just past the Osage turn lies Zillman’s Hills Recreation Area, four and a half miles into the ride.

A touch over seven and a half miles is the intersection with Stockport Road, Route W30. This paved road leads south to turn-offs to Morris Memorial County Park (about 15 miles SE), Van Buren County, and, of course, the small town of Stockport (15 miles south).

Ten miles down Glasgow Road heralds the turn-off to Round Prairie Park on Tamarack Road, two miles of gravel getting you to the county park. If you wish, traveling further on Tamarack will also get you to Morris Park, the two parks being close together, Round Prairie in Jefferson County and Morris in Van Buren.

At mile thirteen Glasgow Road ends, but traveling east on gravel surfaced 250th St., destinations in Iowa’s Henry County await. Most notable (and closest) are Oakland Mills County Park (21 miles from Fairfield) and Geode State Park (38 miles).

There are, of course, alternative routes south and east from Fairfield, since gravel roads abound, but good old Glasgow provides easy egress from town to country for day rides, overnighters, weekend excursions, or longer treks east or south that just begin in SE Iowa. 

Glasgow Road, take me home . . .

--from my iPhone 6+

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Bicycling Week in Traverse City, Michigan

My wife and I decided it was time to get away for a week this May, and we decided that the Leelanau Peninsula in Michigan was our destination, based on articles we'd read in a couple of Adventure Cycling magazines (May 2015 and March 2016).

Traverse City is at the southernmost point of Lake Michigan's Grand Traverse Bay. We chose to stay for a week in a condo on TC's "Magnificent Mile" of beach resorts. It was busier than we expected, with US Highway 31 right there along the beach, but it was quiet in our little apartment, and we had a great view of the beach. 

Even though the streets were busy with cars (and it wasn't even the busy tourist season yet), the town has a number of off-road bike trails and designated bike lanes on streets that made commuting easy. Our first bike trips were for food supplies, and we soon were familiarized with the routes. 

Branching out after that, we rode the Boardman Lake Trail, and later the bike trail out of town to the north. 

We wanted to explore more, though, so we took a day ride out of town to see the big lake. 

We also visited some of the little towns on the peninsula, Suttons Bay, Glen Arbor, and a couple of others on our car ride. We think maybe next year we'll stay in a smaller town like Glen Arbor, which is close to the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. TC is only about a half an hour away for supplies. 

Our day in the car also included riding about 12 miles (6 miles out and back) on the 17-mile Leelanau Trail, a rails-to-trails paved bike route between TC and Suttons Bay. We started from Suttons Bay. 

It was a great day and a great week. We were comfortable in Traverse City and would stay there again, yet we also would like to try some time in a more rural village, if such is possible with the tourist development. 

It was great for Sandy and me to get away and spend some time together--on our bicycles! 

Composed on my iPhone 6+