I am astounded that Indian Trails bus line, based in Owosso Michigan, actually follows highways that follow old Native American trails. I have no idea if the Federal Highway from Sand Lake or Cedar Rapids up to Big Rapids once was a path tread by Michigan tribes, but the path definitely saw stagecoaches bearing Native American passengers in the settlers days of Michigan. To my delight, our bus departed US-31 to swing into Howard City and followed the Federal Highway all the way to Big Rapids and Ferris State University, founded in 1888. I had to wonder if an Indian Trails bus delivered a group of young people to their studies in 1902, when Indian Trails was a new company and bus travel was perceived as exotic. Going to college at a fourteen year old career school must have seemed the equivalent of going to the moon.
Our pass through allowed me a good look at the stagecoach hotel in Howard City, now the home of Latitudes Restaurant and the Steelhead Lounge. The owner had been addressing his second floor, replacing windows. One window had no glass at all, a second had a covering of plywood. I wonder how long until a banquet room opens for business? The streetscape on Main Street looked ready for upscale tourist business.
Morley welcomed us with a view of water sluicing over a dam, the millpond water looking brown with tannin from oak forests. Morley has the Mo Zee On Inn, which might be the spot with the talked about weeknight steak dinner, offered at a special price. The pizza joint had a sign declaring itself the Motown Pizza, and I guess Morley calls itself Motown for fun, an inside joke.
The Muskegon River crossing has the power to make a man who lives near its joining with Lake Michigan a bit misty. It also had a tannic brown tint, and a wake raised up by a pontoon boat had a tint of Lipton tea. A man and woman piloted their craft down river, already on the water for the weekend.
I have no idea what route this bus chooses to go from Manton to Traverse City, but I am looking forward to a high seat overlooking a run up a forested blue highway.