One of my favorite rides is Lories Lakeside Century. After Kathi spent a year listening to me go on about it she decided to join me for this year's ride. Instead of getting up early and driving to Chesterton we decided to go up the day before and make a mini-vacation out of it. We left Friday at noon.
We got to the hotel after a visit to the Harley shop in Valporaiso. I wanted to look at the new 2013 Ultra Classics that they had there, but the “salesman” was pretty involved with Mitt Romney on Fox News and couldn't really spend much time answering my questions. Business must be FANTASTIC at that shop. But I digress.
We checked in, checked the weather, and then headed out to explore a bit.We headed north on SR49. Instead of going into Indiana Dunes State Park we headed east on US12 looking for a left turn to take us near Lake Michigan. Turning on 300E, it started looking familiar, and I realized that we were now on tomorrow's bike route! Up the hill and at the top a great view of the lake. We followed Lakeshore Drive until we found a parking spot and walked down to the lake. It was beautiful, looking almost like an ocean. We could even see the skyline of Chicago off in the distance. It sounded like the ocean a bit too, with some pretty good waves hitting the shore. “Noisier than most days”, a beach comber told us. She was there looking for some specimens of something that were 35-million years old. No, really, and she had a baggie with several in it.
Leaving the beach we drove up Lakeshore looking at the lake and the houses on the sides of the road. We headed back to US12 and up to Michigan City for some further beach exploration. The beach there is more commercially developed, but it has a nice lighthouse at the end of a jetty that has a catwalk overhead. Once you get out to the lighthouse there are really nice views of the Dunes, including Mt. Baldy as well as the nuclear power plant's cooling tower, located about one half mile from the lighthouse.
Kathi figured out why you shouldn't walk long distances the day before a bike ride. Altogether we walked about 5 miles or so. Then it was back to Chesterton and dinner at Sages restaurant. Very nice, a little foo-foo and a limited menu, but good food. After we explored downtown Chesterton by car and then back to the hotel.
The weather for the ride on Saturday was perfect! Middle 50s at the start, warming to the middle 60s when we got done. Kathi rode the 28 mile route and learned that we I say that a road is hilly I mean the ENTIRE road. Not that there is A hill on the road. I did a modified route, continuing from the first sag on the 28 mile loop (lakeside and beautiful!) to north of Michigan City along the lakeside. I ended up with 47 miles. Not bad considering I had shoulder surgey five weeks earlier. I wrote a review of last year's ride here if you're interested.
Back at the ride start we had a nice lunch of beef or veggie sloppy joe, salad, fruit, and even ice cream for desert. Kathi took advantage of the masseuse and got nice and relaxed. Just in time to climb Mt. Baldy!
Mount Baldy is near Micigan City and is the highest point of the Dunes. There's a parking area and trail that will take you either to the top of Mt. Baldy or directly to the beach. We headed up Baldy and were rewarded with a nice view from on top. It's hardly a mountain, but it is a couple hundred feet up and offers a pretty nice view of the lake. We went down the other side and hung out at the beach for a couple hours before heading back to the car and a short drive to New Buffalo, Michigan.
New Buffalo is the northern most point on Lories Ride. It's pretty much a tourist town that reminded me of Long Beach Island. The shops did anyways. We were there for a quick look around town and dinner. We looked at Brewster's Italian Cafe, highly rated in Yelp but more fine foo-foo dining than we wanted. We opted for a nice meal at Casey's Bar and Grill and a couple of well earned drinks. Then it was time to head home.
We had a great time on our mini-vacation, and especially enjoyed the excellent bike ride. Lorie's Lakeside Century is a ride you should not miss. The organization of the ride is fabulous, the ride benefits a very good cause that you can read about here, the scenery is just outstanding, the sags are second to none, and you get a nice post ride meal. If you decide to go I really recommend including some time to explore the Indiana Dunes State Park and the beaches of Lake Michigan. We had great time and think you will too!
2012 Lories Lakeshore Century Travelogue Photos