Tunnel of Trees

 November 3, 2020

And now for something different. Amid all of the negative news, I thought it was time for something not related to the election or COVID – pictures from my trip to the Tunnel of Trees!

I read about the tunnel of trees between Harbor Springs and Cross Village, Michigan, in an online Mlive article. I have always loved autumn colors and make a point of going up north each year to enjoy the show mother nature puts on in the fall. With the uptick in the coronavirus, this seemed like a relatively safe option for a weekend trip.

How It Began

The morning began with a beautiful sun rise over Lake James, Prudenville.

Over breakfast I asked, “Should we gas up before we go? You never know what you might run into.”

“Nah. I’ve got half a tank. There’ll be plenty of gas stations if we need them.”

Mistake

The Drive to Petoskey

We started our drive up I-75, heading to Petoskey. The Mlive article had recommended driving along the Lake Michigan shore from Petoskey to the tunnel.  Some of the prettiest trees were when we got off of I75 and headed towards US131. The forests there were filled with shades of red, along with yellows and oranges. A bald eagle surprised us, swooping down out of nowhere, landing alongside of the road, but we were past him before I could get a picture.

When we turned on US131, heading north to Petoskey, the sun shone on colorful trees, against a back drop of menacing clouds. I quickly got out my iPhone and started recording the sight.

By the time we reached Petoskey it was raining, sleeting and hailing. Google maps took us through side streets so we missed the actual city of Petoskey. We ended up in a traffic jam due to construction.

I pointed out a gas station.

“Nah. We still have plenty gas.”

“I could use the restroom,” I said, but it wasn’t urgent so I didn’t push it. Traffic was congested, the weather bad. Not a good time to stop.

Another mistake

The Tunnel of Trees

I entered Tunnel of Trees into Google Maps and was directed by an inner route to Cross Village. It didn’t seem right to me, but who was I to question the Google gods? Another mistake. The article had said the tunnel was along the Lake Michigan shoreline.

We were well on our way by roads that were nowhere near the shoreline when I insisted we turn around, go back to Harbor Springs and look for M119 that went along the Lake Michigan shoreline. Who would have thought the tunnel of tree did not have any markers pointing the way?

We found M119 and started north. I stopped at a breath-taking view of Lake Michigan, breath-taking not just because of the view, but the wind which threatened to blow me down the side of the hill.

 

As we continued along M119 we unceremoniously entered the tunnel of trees. No marker, just trees branches covering the road. We were joined by other cars as we went through miles of winding, tree covered roads. The leaves were mostly yellow, pretty, but not the red I hoped for. Through the trees we caught glimpses of Lake Michigan.

Cross Village

After an hour of winding along we came into Cross Village and out again as it consisted of two restaurants with gift shops.

“Time to get gas,” my husband proclaimed.

No gas station. We continue to drive into the wilderness while I checked for the closest gas station on my phone. No service. I quietly panicked. Would we end up stranded along some empty road, no gas, no phone, and no bathroom?

We rode along pretty roads, trying to find our way back to civilization and phone service. The map I found in the glove compartment was little help. We kept driving, waiting for phone service to kick in. At one point the road was covered with over two inches of slush, resulting in a car on the side of the road.

We finally saw a road sign giving the option of going right, back into Harbor Spring, or venture into unknown territory to a place whose name we didn’t recognize. We opted for Harbor Spring. Two hours since we passed that gas station outside of Petoskey, we were back in Harbor Springs at a Marathon station.

Over the course of the six hour trip, we encountered sunshine, rain, snow, sleet, hail. Pretty typical fall day in Michigan!

Have you taken any road trips during the pandemic? I would love to hear about it.


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