Here is breakdown of one of the loveliest rides we at OOFD have put together to date. It is a long time dream come true. Check out what's happening day by day. There are options to cut out one or two of the days if you can't make the full 5 days happen though it is one standard price regardless.
All camping and most meals provided. For 5 days! Crazy affordable compared to other rides of this caliber, and all proceeds, as always, go to support the most excellent mission of our 501c3 non-profit org.
Day 1 - Thursday
It is July in Chicago, and you are in that pure summer mode. All you want to do is be outside, on your bike, in the sun, near or in the lake, ideally sleeping outside. So you make a short work week even shorter, you take off Thursday and Friday (maybe even Monday too). Instead of making the commute to the office or over to your home desk this morning, you ride your loaded bike for likely the longest bike camping trip of your summer. OOFD’s first ever SWMI ride to South West Michigan. Pronounced “Swimmy” because there will be plenty of swimming.
We meet bright and early at 12th Street Beach near Chicago’s Museum Campus. You roll up to a small herd of bike adventuring folks that have that giddy, first day of a long vacation feeling buzzing in them. Some of y’all maybe even jump into the lake, that oh so beautiful and sweet lake of ours. Because that is what this loooong
weekend is all about. Celebrating Lake Michigan.
So we roll out and get the longest day of the whole trip done on Day 1. 70 miles to The Indiana Dunes National Park, the Dunewood Campground. We crack a cold beer on the beach when we arrive, and we swim in the lake as we watch the sun set over our beloved city across the lake. We have a handful of folks meet us at the campground as they couldn’t take the day off of work so they caught the South Shore train out. We rock around the fire until we so please. Tomorrow will be a nice, chill day with a late start and only 40 miles to ride with plenty of swimming stops.
Day 2 - Friday
Today, we wake up slow. The OOFD guides have coffee and breakfast going. We have a few more folks take the train up from Chicago and meet us at the campground on Friday morning. We start riding around noon. It’s only a 40 mile day, up the beautiful coast of Michigan City and the small coastal towns with gorgeous houses and peaceful pedaling right alongside Lake Michigan. We stop off for a nice lunch after we cross into Michigan. Likely have a couple beers. The day, overall, is lovely. A perfect distance. 40 miles. Not too much but enough to feel good about the ground covered and certainly enough to earn a good night’s sleep. Overall, lots of time to stop, swim, smell the roses (and native flowers) before we arrive to Weko Beach Campground in Bridgman, MI where we will be posted up for 2 nights.
The campground is only a 4 minute walk to the beach. Tomorrow is an off day, so we make sure to stop in town for some prime Michigan beverages, and we hang out around the fire and do our best to make it to the lake in time for sunset and a special Weko Beach sunset tradition. If we are lucky, we watch that orange ball slowly set into the lake. Tomorrow is going to be a good day.
Day 3 - Saturday
Today, we also have the option to wake up slow. We are in full vacation mode. OOFD guides again have the coffee and breakfast going. Some of us head over for an early morning swim in the lake. And over coffee, we discuss who wants to do what today. Some of us will decide to take the day to ourselves, maybe hike 20 minutes down the beach to climb the epic Warren Dunes or just lay on the beach and read a book. Others decide to hang out at camp and ride into town a little later for some lunch or a beer. And a number of us decide to join the OOFD guide on a 15-20 mile ride around the country roads of the area to visit a few of the famously delicious breweries and wineries of the region. Transient, Greenbush, Watermark, Haymarket, North Pier, the list goes on and on and on.
We all meet back at camp for dinner and then to watch sunset and have an evening swim. We close out in fine fashion around the fire. After this day of rest, tomorrow’s 40 miles will be nothing.
Day 4 - Sunday
Today, we are up a little earlier. Some of our pals weren’t able to get Monday off of work, so we bid them goodbye as they ride either 40 miles to Dune Park to catch the South Shore Line or 20 miles to New Buffalo if they were able to snag a ticket for the Amtrak train. As for the rest of us, we saddle up and ride the country roads of SW Michigan up to just about South Haven to Van Buren State Park. Along the way, we roll through endless orchards of fruit, peaches, grapes, apples, blueberries as we cruise along the rolling hills of farm country.
We get into camp in time for what else but a swim and a sunset! We hang out on the awesome dunes of this delightful state park, and feast for our final dinner together around the fire, laughing over all of the stories and adventures of the last 4 days. We do our best to turn in early, because tomorrow will be a big day.
Day 5 - Monday
We get up early. Have a solid breakfast, pack up our gear, ideally get one last jump in the lake and roll. Today we have 60 miles to cover to get to the South Shore train station in South Bend, IN. There, OOFD has a UHaul truck to bring our bikes back to the city, and we will hop on the South Shore Train. Normally, we could bring our bikes with us on the train, but due to construction on the tracks, that is not possible. But our bikes will be waiting for us near Millenium Station once we arrive back to the city.
The pedaling today carries us through a number of interesting small to medium sized towns a bit more inland from the lake. We get to ride on some really fun trails for a little bit. We make sure to have a final meal together and cheers to a most excellent adventure before we hop on the train, back to the city. At Millenium Station, we unload the bikes from the UHaul, give our crew of adventurers a goodbye hug, making plans to ride together again soon, and we ride home for a nice shower and chill Monday evening. One of our most epic vacations of the year in the books. A story we will be sure to share with others and maybe, just maybe, inspire them towards their own adventure. There is still plenty of summer ahead!
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"To immerse , educate, preserve & advance the history, culture, trails and native habitats of the Lower Lake Michigan Basin Area"