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Thursday, September 5, 2013

Pedal Til You're Pooped

This was one of those days where I didn't know where to begin in writing my post.  We saw so much on Mackinac Island (pronounce that Mack-in-aw) that it was hard to know how to tell the story.  Most of the day on Wednesday was spent on our bikes, so I decided to go with that.

Mackinac Island, for those not in the know, is near the Mackinac Bridge that connects the Upper and Lower Penninsulas of Michigan.  Ferries scuttle back and forth at regular intervals, loaded with visitors to this tiny island that has done its best to keep things as they have been on the island since visitors began arriving in the late 1800's.  Today 80% of the island is a state park and costumed interpreters are on hand in Fort Mackinac, where battles have been fought including during the war of 1812.  Most travel on the island is conducted by foot, bikes or horse.  It doesn't take long to get used to the sight of horses everywhere, or the smell.  Truthfully I was more bothered by whatever they were putting on the horses as an insect repellent than by their plentiful droppings.  A gentlemen with a little clean-up cart attached to his bike keeps the street clean, I realize now I should have taken a picture of that!

Getting to the island cost us $25 each round trip, $8 extra apiece for the bikes to come with us.  We took the Mighty Mac excursion which only ran once today to get a close look at the Mackinac Bridge.  More on that another day, I'm saving all my bridge pics to show together!

Leave it to me to find a large sculpture on the island, it was right behind Fort Mackinac, our first stop after wheeling our bikes off the ferry.  I'll tell you about the Fort tomorrow, for now you'll have to settle for looking at this giant likeness of President Gerald Ford. The sculpture is new to the island this year, and I think it's only here for the summer.  He was the only sitting U.S. President to visit the island, but others have stayed here, including Kennedy and Clinton.  Ford was a big supporter of the Boy Scouts and the bust sits outside the Scouts Barracks.  I like Ford, so I'll overlook his affection for the Boy Scouts organization.  You all know how I feel about that subject.

Wayne's into sculpture of a different sort.  He likes his sculpture wooden and floating.

We made our way down the main street and it wasn't long before we were past "town" and circling the island.  The road around the island is mostly flat and a very easy and picturesque ride.  The weather is fantastic here this time of year, the sun broke out minutes after we arrived on the island and it was sunny and in the low 60's all afternoon.  Here's some of the scenery we saw on our ride from downtown to British Landing.

After making it almost halfway around the island we turned onto British Landing Road to cut down through the middle and see what the interior was like.  Not much to see, some woods, a few houses, an airport, a golf course, and then back into town where we stopped at the Grand Hotel to have a gawk. 

We were starving after all that exercise so we inquired about lunch.  The buffet was $41.80....each.  We passed on that, I'd never be hungry enough to pay that price.  All the other restaurants down in town had their menus and prices posted outside.  We settled on Mary's Bistro which had a lovely view of the harbor and one of the best tomato basil pizzas I've ever eaten for only 12.95.  Two entrees, tax and tip for less than the price of one meal up on the hill with the rich folk.  Score!

We left our bikes chained up outside the public library and wandered the sidewalks to peek in the shop windows.  Like Gatlinburg there is no shortage of fudge shops, so if you like that this is the place for you.  We're not shoppers or fudge eaters so our walk did not take long and a quick look at my watch told me we had five minutes to grab our bikes and catch the 3:00 boat off the island.  We were there a total of five hours and had a lovely time, probably one of the most unrushed vacation days we've had in awhile.  Getting rid of the cars really does something to slow everyone down, no one was cranky or pushy like they would have been in Lake Geneva.  I always blame it on those "Chicago people" but this place is full of those Chicago people too and the ambiance was very different.  I didn't see anyone texting or using the phone except to take pictures, maybe not quite stepping back into the Victorian age, but far enough back to be refreshing! 

Our day zipping around by boat and bike left us totally pooped and we spent the rest of the afternoon and evening just hanging out at the campsite after a stroll around the campground. We enjoyed the island but truthfully I liked the solitude of Grand Island by Munising and the scenery of Madeline Island by Bayfield much better and once was enough of this overly popular island for us.  Been there, done that was what Wayne said to me on our boat ride back to the mainland. 

One last image before you go, I took multiple shots of the  passage between the two lighthouses, but this was the last shot I took as we were leaving the island and I liked all the cormorants lined up.  Sorry it's crooked, we're using Wayne's work laptop and it has absolutely no editing properties.  I really miss the straightening feature, not to mention simple cropping! Tomorrow I'll tell you about Fort Mackinac.


  1. Awesome place to visit, pity there are not more in the world. I was in the Boy Scouts years ago so you might hav eto tell me the story of Ford. I did recognise who he was btw.

  2. I don't know - I think that bust of Ford is kind of scary looking.