Riding the Houghton Lake loop

Jane and I met up in the small village of Wooden Shoe Michigan for this ride. We only had a few hours to kill before meeting friends there and wanted to make the best of it.

We used the Shoe bar as our hub and from there planned our ride. After checking the map I decided we had just enough time to do the loop around Houghton Lake.

Houghton Lake is the largest inland lake in Michigan and our run would take us right between it and its sister, Higgins Lake. Higgins Lake is rated the 6th most beautiful lake in the world so combined with the newly turning fall leaves this would be a good run.

We headed north up M-30 and quickly ran into the Secord Lake Dam. This small hydroelectric dam powers the area with good clean power. The lake covers over 2000 acres and is a favorite with fisherman in the area.

We took a ride along the water and before hitting the big road we took a break at the Secord Lake bar for a bit of local flavor. We were just in time to watch the Detroit Lions win their 1st game since 2007! I don't give a crap about sports but it was still fun to watch everyone go crazy...

From there we wiggled around the back roads and little towns heading northwest. We passed Wagerville, Podunk and Butman before hitting the big road of M-18 which led us up the the southeast corner of Houghton Lake.

We then hooked up into the small weathered residential road running counter clockwise around the lake.

The wind was heavy, blowing from the west and kicking up whitecaps making the air smell fresh.

We took our time and eventually popped out on old 27 at the northwestern corner of the lake. This was a major throughway across the state in its day but has since been replaced by the modern 4 lanes of I-127.

Running 27 is akin to the old RT-66 saga. Old remnants of a once bustling highway from a dying era. The old shells of peoples lives, dreams and hard work standing like old ghosts waiting for time to erase all together.

As we rounded the southwestern corner of the lake we stopped and paid our respects to one of the last original businesses still kicking from the 1940s.

On 27 just north of M-55 is a piece of local history called the Nottingham bar. It's a time machine taking you back to a bygone era when most of us weren't yet born.

A time when men were men, women were women and cigarettes were considered healthy.

Nottingham bar has over 60 years of stories within its heavily nicotine stained walls. The tables and chairs are all original chrome and vinyl art deco in less than perfect condition.

Draught beer is warm and only a buck and you can choose between Bush or Milwaukee's Best.

Virginia was working the bar while we were there. She is a spry old bird a fair bit older than the bar. She was great and kept everyone entertained.

It's a friendly place and the patrons are always the salt of the earth whenever I have been there over the years.

After settling in a bit too much, Jane noticed the time and with an "oh crap" we paid our bill and hit the door running late to get back to the Shoe on time. Everyone said their goodbyes like we were old friends and we were off.

Due to time restraints we blasted down I-127 to M-61 back to Wooden Shoe arriving only 10 minutes late.

In all we spent three hours rambling including the two hours total riding time and we covered just over 100 miles. I highly recommend touring the Houghton Lake area if you get the chance. The place parties on the weekends year round.

The southern shoreline is a major tourist trap with anything you want at your finger tips.

With beer tents on the lake ice in the winter and boat parties in the summer Houghton is a legend among Michigan's residents.

Everyone in Michigan has a Houghton Lake story...

Out tearing up the roads of this great nation