Bicyclists traveling entire perimeter of Lake Michigan enjoy Indiana Dunes

Lake Michigan bicyclists '15By Suzie LaBelle

Editor’s note: Suzie LaBelle and Will Heelan, both of Wilmette, IL, are bicycling around the entire perimeter of Lake Michigan, and they recently passed through Indiana Dunes Country. Their trip is scheduled to go from May 17 to June 15, 2015, starting in Wilmette and going counterclockwise around the lake. They will cover 1,370 miles, averaging 55 miles a day. Follow their journey here. Here, Suzie describes the Indiana Dunes leg of the journey.

 

It’s hard to put into words how absolutely perfect this day was. Everything: the temperature, the sunshine, the tailwind, the people, the Indiana Dunes, Lake Michigan, the tailwind, the view of Chicago from the dunes, the route on various Lake Shore Drives, the tailwind, the food.

And did I mention the tailwind?

For those of you who don’t ride a bike long distances, a tailwind is a gift from the gods. It makes your riding easy, almost like having a sail attached to your bike. A long 65-mile day becomes a “breeze.” Well, not quite. You still have to work at it, but it makes the whole day much more pleasant and it turned our great day into a perfect one.Lake Michigan bicyclists '15

After a short 15-mile ride through the last of Indiana’s Prairie Duneland Trail, we finally got back to Lake Michigan at Indiana Dunes State Park. Several months ago, I’d gotten in touch with a group of people from the Lake Michigan Trail Network who are working on getting an official “Lake Michigan Trail” designated and signed for the entire circle around the lake. One member, Christine Livingston, the assistant director for Indiana Dunes Tourism, asked if we wouldn’t mind being interviewed while at the dunes. It was a perfect day for it and in we rode. We ended up being featured in the local newspapers and on radio. This blog features a few of the great shots they took while we were there.

From there we proceeded east to the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore for a look at some 1933 Century of Progress Homes that had been moved there by barge after the Chicago World’s Fair ended. Strange to see a pink Florida-like building right there on the south shore of the lake.

We all agreed, the most surprising thing of the day was how BEAUTIFUL and bike friendly Indiana was. Months ago, we decided to do a counterclockwise rotation of Lake Michigan because we wanted to get what we thought would be an industrial wasteland out of the way first. How WRONG we were. This is so lovely! As we only got to sample a little, Will and I are already planning a return trip, like  offering a four-day. self-supported Evanston Bike Club ride down here to see the dunes, travel up the Michigan coast a way, with the possibility of a train ride back on the South Shore Line. Now, that’s a great dream, too.

Turning the corner and crossing from Indiana into Michigan, we moved northeast and the warm tail wind took on a light coolness as it came across the lake before it hit us. Did I say PERFECT or what?

The rest of the day proceeded in kind as we got blown from one lakeside town to another, each with their stately lakeside homes, picturesque harbors and oh so welcoming white sand beaches. If ever you wanted to drop say a million or two on a house, I guess this would be a great place to do it, especially if the weather were always as today.

Bicyclists traveling around the entire perimeter of Lake Michigan stopped at the Indiana Dunes.
Bicyclists traveling around the entire perimeter of Lake Michigan stopped at the Indiana Dunes.

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