Monday, July 17, 2017

Mackinac / Mackinaw

Mackinac Island.  I've wanted to visit for so long, but I was afraid that the reality would not live up to my imagination.

And, did it?  Ahhh, I'm so glad you asked.

First though, let's get this factoid out of the way.  The island is spelled Mackinac, but it's pronounced Mackinaw.  But don't confuse it with Mackinaw City, which is just across the water on the mainland. Why are they spelled differently but pronounced the same?  I don't know.

So, back to your question.  Did it live up to my expectations? Or was I disappointed?

Well, what do you think?

Beautiful, isn't it?  
I could live here.  At least, during the summer.
The best part...temp was around 65 degrees. 
In the afternoon.  In July.

But.  Lovely as it is, I could not live in this area of the island, 
which is nearest the dock where we got off of the ferry.
So many people!

There are no motorized vehicles in the island (except lawnmowers, 2 police cars, 2 ambulances and 2 firetrucks).  But there are horses and bicycles everywhere.  You could barely cross the street for all the bicycles.  And this whole area smells to put this nicely...remember I said there were horses everywhere?  Yeah.  The horses do what horses doo, and they doo it in the street.  The aroma can be quite overpowering.  Especially right at first.  

Can you see the horses on the street, and the wagon they are pulling?  That is the type of carriage we rode in to tour the island, and see all of those beautiful views above.  It was surprisingly comfortable, and our tour guides were informative and funny.  

So yes, it lived up to my expections.  As soon as we got away from the more touristy area.  Right there by the docks, and on the main street, it was more crowded than DisneyWorld.  

The island has a fascinating history.  I won't try to tell it, because some of you would be bored, and I'd probably tell it wrong anyway.  But if you are interested, this looks like a pretty good website:

So, no, I really wasn't disappointed, once we got away from the crowds.  I should have known better, but I really expected it to be much quieter and laid back, since there are no motorized vehicles.  But it is a tourist area after all.  And, since they use horses for much of their transportation, I should have expected the smell.  We own horses!  I do know what they smell like, for goodness sake!

There is no bridge to Mackinac, so the only way to get there is by ferry.  But there is a beautiful four mile long bridge connecting Peshtigo on the upper peninsula to Mackinaw City on the mainland.

I took this photo on the Peshtigo side.

Another odd little factoid.  The bridge is named the Mackinac Bridge.  But it goes to Mackinaw City, not Mackinac Island.  Why?  I do not know.

This bell was used to warn ships before they installed a foghorn.  This is what the placque says:
"South Tower Fog Bell
When the Mackinac Bridge was constructed, a bell was placed at the base of each tower to guide approaching vessels during times of poor visibility.  In March of 1961, a foghorn was installed. The bells have been silent ever since. On April 24th, 2002, the South Tower Fog Bell was removed from the bridge to be displayed at the Bridge View Park."

A sweet girl offered to take a picture of the three of us.  
Charlie Chihuahua tried to eat her.
(Sorry I don't have any makeup on.
Forgive me to subjecting you to this.)
(Tim is actually laughing in this picture.  
But he looks like he's about to cry.)

Castle Rock in the background.  
I'm not sure what Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox have to do with Castle Rock.  
But there they are.

Tim at the top of Castle Rock.
Again, he says he is smiling.

This week we are camping at Camelot RV Park in Jones, Michigan, just a few miles north of Elkhart, Indiana.  This is another area I'm super excited about visiting.  We plan to be here until Friday.  I hated to leave the upper peninsula, but there's always something else to see down the road.

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