Michigan: A Quest for Pie

Text: Steve Mauk • Photography: Steve Mauk, Sharon Mauk

Polishing off a pre-tour mahimahi taco and Key lime pie dinner while watching the sun slide behind a row of tethered yachts, I wonder if my preconceived ideas about the tour are about to be blown out of the water. I envision four days of sleuthing small town diners with glass cases full of tantalizing home-baked pies, but our present view has more in common with the Sunshine State than the upper Midwest.

Why Michigan? My wife, Sharon, and I don’t know the answer to this question as we scramble to squeeze in this round-trip tour during early September before the end of riding season. Once on the road, however, it becomes apparent why a post-harvest outing in a state famous for its fruit production makes perfect sense. My cherry-red Suzuki V-Strom 650 is pressed into RoadRUNNER service once again, although I personally feel that a Harley-Davidson Fat Boy might be a more suitable mount given the theme.

Heading north from Saugatuck along the eastern shore of Lake Michigan, the vast expanse of water plays hide and seek with us through the trees. Side roads leading toward the lake tempt us, but we know that numerous forays into coastal towns will provide access to the lake, and we resist the urge to explore. Ever-changing scenery keeps things interesting as we enjoy a sedate, yet satisfying, jaunt up the coast. 

Pie, Pie Everywhere but 
Not a Slice to Eat

We’re taking our tour theme seriously, but the search for a morning coffee and pie break location has been in vain. Diners have been as rare as hen’s teeth, and we find that a promising bakery has sold out of pies. We’re also getting the impression that it is sacrilege to cut a pie and sell the individual pieces, so we decide to slide the pie search into the proverbial warming drawer and focus on the ride.

Always on the lookout for good campgrounds, we take a quick look through Muskegon State Park. It’s one of the nicest we’ve seen with heavily wooded sites, nice shower houses, and access to Lake Michigan’s beautiful beaches located a short walk from the campsites. Our existing lodging reservations and lack of proper gear quashes our camping thoughts, but we vow to return next summer.

Finally! A Pie Sighting

It’s midafternoon when we spot the roadside Orchard Market on Rt 31. The informal restaurant in the corner of the large market building features homemade soup and pie. We sample both, choosing pumpkin pie to christen the tour. It’s very good but not quite up to mom’s standards, to be honest. 

(End of preview text.)

For the complete touring article, including facts & information, map(s), and GPS files, please purchase the November/December 2015 back issue.