Think about this. At the far east end of this route you’ll be straddling the Barry/Eaton County line for one mile. Look to the east in wonder. That’s another land. Glorious Eaton. You may ride there someday.
Most of this ride is on relatively quiet country roads, both paved and dirt. It’s relatively gently rolling terrain. It does cross some main highways, such as M-66 and North Avenue (which tend to run north-south connecting the larger cities and towns), and it does ride along M-37 for about a mile, which is somewhat busy at times with trucks and other traffic, but it also has a good wide shoulder.
The rest of the ride is past large farmsteads, expansive fields and dotted with woodlands. It’s all quite picturesque, but the highlight is in a valley between Case Road and M-66 on Butler Road. The usual straight line east-west orientation of the dirt road deviates into a winding route through a marshy lowland that crosses Wabascon Creek.
The landscape is transformed into another world altogether. There are areas of marsh grasses in still water, tamarack stands, and long views over a marshy landscape both north and south of the road. Wabascon Creek wends its way south through a long stream valley to eventually empty into the Kalamazoo River near the city of Battle Creek.
The most prominent area of habitation on this route is the unincorporated community of Dowling. It’s about half a mile north of the Clear Lake parking area. There might actually be available parking in Dowling, though nothing is designated as such. At the corner is a general store for refreshments. There’s also a gas station/ party store just a short way north up M-37.
The general store has the date 1864 posted over its name. It’s not clear what this date signifies, as the settlement was originally known as Baltimore as early back as 1842, and the name changed to Dowling in 1880. Perhaps that’s the date of the store’s founding. There’s also a small library just east of the general store on Dowling Road.
The general store and gas station are the only places on this ride to find refreshments. The rest of the route is rural and non-commercial.
We leave you with cows.