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Petoskey is the longest regular season ski trip a Kentuckian will take. It is not a difficult trip, being all but the last 30 minutes on the interstate and being on all flat land. You pick up I-75 in Kentucky and follow it all the way north to Exit 282 (Gaylord). Take route 32 11 miles through Elmira to route 131. Turn right (north), and look for Boyne Mountain Resort on your left. If you are staying there, you will see the lodge and the slopeside chalets from the road. if you're going on into Petoskey, just keep driving a few more miles.

Ths drive from Lexington to The Apple Tree Inn in Petoskey averages eight hours and 45 minutes, including stops. We leave at 9 am and usually arrive close to 7 pm.

We recommend taking 475 around Toledo, taking 23 to Flint (Mich.), then rejoining I-75. Five miles north of the Ohio state line is the halfway point. We always stop at the Pilot McDonald's you will see on your left (west).

We suggest a rest room and snack stop at Saginaw, and you might top off your gas tank. From there on, you head across the Michigan Wilds, much of it Ausable State Forest or Huron National Forest. Gas stations and convenience stops will grow few and far between.

This is a classic drive to observe the transition from the mixed mesophytic forest of the Ohio Valley to the northern boreal forest of the Upper Great Lakes. The trees, birds and animals will change. Coming up in midwinter, of course, is not the best time to observe this, but it's such a drastic change even at this time it's fascinating to watch from the van window as the forest slips by.

In addition to downhill skiing, the further north you drive the more you'll see of cross country skiing, ice fishing and snowmobiling. This is a region where Winter is a participant sport and equipment is visible in yards, driving down the highway, and in any stores you go in.


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