"We are all of us living in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars." ~Oscar Wilde
"Adventure is worthwhile in itself." ~Amelia Earhart

September 8, 2008

Summer 2008 Bicycle Tour - June 30

June 30, 2008 - 12 miles

It's Mackinac Island day! I was excited about this point of the trip for two reasons. One, it was the halfway point of the trip. Two, when I looked at websites about the town, I discovered it was a neat little tourist destination filled with restored historic homes and hotels and other buildings. I'd never heard of it before deciding to go. It's a small island at the eastern end of Michigan's Upper Peninsula. What makes it unique is that gas-powered vehicles are banned from the island. Everybody either walks or bicycles. A few people choose to take a horse-drawn carriage ride.

I woke up at 8am and rode down to the docks. The only way for most people to get to the island is by ferry. If you have your own boat, I think you can also rent a harbor slip. But, really, how many people have their own boat and are willing to transport it to the Great Lakes? There's three different ferry lines that travel between St. Ignace, Mackinac Island, and Mackinaw City. I chose the Arnold line because...it was the first one I came across. I'm glad I ended up choosing that one, though, because it was the only one that had upper deck seating. The ride took about 20 minutes as we sped across the water to our destination.

Once we landed, I grabbed my bike and began to wander around the island. Apparently, the island is famous for fudge and numerous cafes and shops advertise the candy along with ice cream and other snacks. Almost all of the residences and shops are located in a small town near the docks. Without even trying, I ended up on the eight-mile walking/cycling path that winds around the island and thought to myself, 'Hey, this was supposed to be a rest day!'

There's a few interesting geological formations on the island; Skull Cave, Devil's Kitchen, and Arch Rock. I passed Arch Rock. Later, I ended up passing the route to Skull Cave which seems to be in the center of the island but decided not to go. After my ride around the island, it was still early and I didn't feel like going back.

I wandered back into town and decided to buy a ticket to see Fort Mackinac. Fort Mackinac was the first settlement on the island when it was built in 1780 and was placed there because of its strategic location at the Straits of Mackinaw. Honestly, I don't need to go to any more historic forts. Military history makes me snore. :-p There's tons of historical/touristy places on the island that I didn't have the time to see. I didn't find out about Butterfly House, a until I was off the island.

Around 6pm, after waiting in line and listening to a woman yell at her friend in Russian*, I took the ferry to Mackinaw City.

*Drama is amusing as long as I'm not a part of it and nobody looks like they're getting beat down physically or emotionally.

I spent the night at the Rainbow Motel and realized I really do prefer independently-owned motels. Their rates are usually much cheaper than the corporate chains. Granted, they don't always have services available like in-room coffee or a pool or room service but I've never used any of those things anyway. And I've never come across a motel, corporate or independent, that looked unclean or unsafe.

Statue of Jacques Marquette

Not sure if this is Mission Church
or St. Anne's Church

Sometimes, you take a picture, look at it two months later, and think 'Why did I take this?!?' This is one of those photographs.

A craptastic picture of the ferry

Partial view of Fort Mackinac

Tourists on a horse-drawn carriage

Taken while on the ferry


Ferd said...

Very nice pictures. You had a beautiful, sunny day at Mackinac. It is about a 5-6 hour drive from where I live. I've spent a lot of time in northern Michigan over the years, and have been on the island about half a dozen times. You described it well. To me, the Best Part would be the fudge! My problem while there is deciding just what kind of fudge I want to buy. That's a great problem to have!

Jen said...

I spent my honeymoon on mackinac island. It was a lot of fun, and yes the fudge is the best. I live about 2 hours away from the island, and love the U.P.

Berryvox said...

Ferd - Yeah, it was a beautiful day! And the fudge was awesome! Mine was Rocky Road. :)

Jen - It's a great place. :)