January 18, 2016
9 – the drive backsunrise – 7:40, sunset – 5:21
9 hours and 41 minutes of daylight
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During the winter months, the area between the Mackinaw Bridge and Grayling is infamous for raging storms. The area is also the narrowest part of the peninsula with Lake Michigan/Grand Traverse Bay on the west and Lake Huron on the east. Winds from the west are generally considered the mildest and most favorable, but up here they are deadly, because they mix with the winds coming down from the Arctic. These two systems sweep over Lake Michigan/Grand Traverse Bay picking up moisture and then dump it onto this 100 mile strip. The area is a micro-climate, a snow-belt.
We drove through white-outs where visibility was non-existent; we got caught behind a foolish driver and ended up swerving into the left lane; and at Gaylord we were routed off I-75 and onto local roads. The miserable conditions didn’t end until we made the bend east at Roscommon. Once out of the snow-belt, driving conditions were amazingly good.