Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Mackinac Island

Roger here....  The opening picture is along the bike, pedestrian and horse-only road on Mackinac Island.  Pretty, huh?

Yesterday, we traveled from Sault Ste. Marie to St. Ignace, a short, hour-long drive.  We are still in the Upper Peninsula, but just a bridge away from the "mitten" of Michigan.  We are staying at Straits State Park and will write about our campsite in a future post.

The main purpose of our stop here was a visit to Mackinac Island.  Since the weather forecast was mid-seventies and sunny, after taking the boys for a long walk, we did that today.

The drive to the ferry dock was a short one.  It took more time to unload our bikes (which we took with us) from the car rack, than it did to drive to Shepler's Ferry Service.  Dianne snapped a quick photo of the St. Ignace Lighthouse as we left the harbor.

Shepler's Ferry Service was extremely well-organized and customer-friendly.  An agent met us in the parking lot to make sure that our bicycles made it to the ferry -- an amazing absence of hassles.  The boat left on time and took us on a quick side trip underneath the Mackinac Bridge.  The fifth largest suspension bridge in the world is pretty impressive from this angle.

We encountered a parasailer along the way.

On the way into the harbor at Mackinac Island we were able to take a pic of the Grand Hotel ($10, just to walk on the grounds -- not for us), really nice houses on the hill, and yet another light house.

Our main activity was to be an 8.2 mile bike ride around the perimeter of the island.  Since no motor vehicles are allowed on the island and the ride was billed as flat, the trip fit Dianne's criteria for the perfect ride.  But first, lunch.

We searched the main street for quite a while to find an open space to park the bikes.  As you can see, the hundreds of bikes allowed for very few open spaces.  It reminded me of trying to find a space to park our car when we visited our daughter in Chicago.

When we finally snagged a space, we were in front of the Chippewa Hotel and the Pink Pony Bar & Grill -- love the mural behind the bar.  The menu looked good, so in we went.  

We picked well.  Our whitefish sandwiches were delicious.  Our table was right by the street so we had a view of the street traffic --  The Grand Hotel Carriage, and an actual beer wagon pulled by horses, heaped with boxes of various brands of beer.

The main street experience on Mackinac Island was reminiscent of the Main Street area of Disney World (including the crowds).  The difference...  these buildings were more than facades.  

Okey Dokey... on to the bike ride.  I already laid out Dianne's bike riding criteria: flat, no cars, etc.  The ride had other attributes -- perfect weather, no wind, beautiful landscaping and amazing seascapes (as seen in the opening photo).  Dianne was happy.  I was happy.

I REALLY enjoyed all the cairns that hundreds of people have erected along the rocky coast over the years.  This is usually Dianne's domain, but after a few miles I decided that we must leave our mark.

As we neared the end of our ride and re-entered the town area we passed some amazing Victorian houses.  (Our last house was a 1902 Victorian house, so these magnificent houses had an impact on us.)  Here are a few shots:

Before I leave this part of the blog we did, indeed, buy some fudge :-).  We also bought some American Spoon Mango-Habanero salsa and some Sour Cherry Preserves that we sampled in one of the shops (thanks, Steve).

Back at the campsite.  Bob and Linda, our friends and neighbors at Retama Village, are also staying at Straits State Park.  We had a delicious dinner at their place last night.  More about that in the next post.  

We took the pet picture of the day at the Aune-Osborne Campground in Sault Ste. Marie.  Dianne ran into a couple walking FOUR whippets.  (It is hard to have just one.)  Dianne took Chaplin to meet the four female whippets the next day.  He was very excited to meet the pretty girls!


Nancy and Bill said...

WOW, what nice bike ride!! Then add a ferry ride to that, some fudge and beautiful weather and I believe you have a PERFECT day:o))

Royal ABCS said...

I've been internet-less for several weeks, and giggled today when I saw where you were... I chased you west (we just got back from 2 weeks touring the Utah parks - Zion, Arches, Brice, etc...) to find you were camped out near my neighborhood back home :) We spend our summers in the Sleeping Bear Dunes area - Honor, MI - just west of Traverse City. If you want/need any tips on this area, we're "experts" on Leelanau country wineries :) and other fun places to visit in the area. Happy Travels - love reading your adventures!! (and jealous I can't keep up my blog nearly as well as you two!!) ;) Stephanie King and Co.