The Kal – Haven Trail

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when the weather is too perfect to stay home, we try to head out on a little adventure.

so we locked our bikes onto the suv and headed west to the Kal – Haven Trail, a 34 mile limestone trail between Kalamazoo and South Haven, Michigan, formily a rail trail.

within two hours we arrived at the trailhead in Kalamazoo, Michigan. we grabbed a water bottle, packed some snacks and headed west.  no plan on how far or how long we were going to ride.  we just peddled away.

tip one:  check your tire air pressure and bring cash, including a few quarters, before you park at the trailhead and head out. once you start on the trail you are 13 miles away from a gas station to fill your tires.  

nine miles in we stopped in Kendall.  there was a convenience store to refuel and hydrate.

tip two:  if there is a spot to stop and purchase food or drink, stop. the ride is a long one with only a few towns in between to grab something right off the trail. 

we needed to fill my husband’s back tire with air, so we stopped in the town of Gobles. his tire was low for 13 miles, yikes. this was where that cash came in handy.

once our tires were filled and checked, we headed west again to the town of Blomingdale, the midway point of the trail.

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there was a gas station, a grocery store and a museum.  the museum was free and we received a tour a from a volunteer.  she asked if we wanted to sit in an antique electric chair that was from an institution, “helps with blood circulation.” we did and it still worked.

sit in it if you get a chance. not sure if it helped my blood circulate, but my whole body vibrated including my eyeballs.

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when we were ready to get back on the bikes, i was positive my husband was going to ask me if i wanted to head back, but instead he asked me, “Are you ready to go?”  i said i was, and we were off again.

almost five hours after the start of our ride we made it to the end point, South Haven.  we were hungry and ready for some food, so we continued riding into town for another mile.

we had no idea it was such a happening place.  people were out and about.  the town was packed with people.  we grabbed a lemonade and burger at Captain Lou’s, relaxed for about an hour and reluctantly headed back.

tip three:  we found biking from Kalamazoo to South Haven was a good choice.  we had to ride our bikes for an additional mile at the end of the trail, but ended up in a town with a few restaurants, people walking about, sort of a tourist area due to the beach and port. only disadvantage was we didn’t want to leave.

we took advantage of a store nearby to grab more water and headed back to Kalamazoo.

​but the ride back was rough.  we stopped in Bloomingdale again for a bit to hydrate and rest.

warning:  there is a bit of an elevation heading east.  not bad for a few miles, but after biking for 35 miles it was a bit rough on the quads.

by the time we arrived back at the trailhead parking lot in Kalamazoo and locked in the bikes, it was 8:30pm.  70 miles logged and 10 hours after we headed out.  yikes.

i was dizzy and i wanted to laugh and cry at how far and how long we rode.  my quads ached. and i hadn’t felt that much pain in my muscles since i ran the Chicago Marathon last October.

tip four: don’t underestimate the workout intensity of a long bike ride.  you should work yourself up to 70 miles, not go from 20 or 30 miles to 70 like i did.  think of it as training for a half or full marathon.  you build up the mileage.

we stopped at Chipotle to chow down on some grub, downed a couple of Advil and headed back home.

and i slept the entire way.

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