Thursday, July 25, 2013


Natural teepee of fallen trees

Lighthouse on nearby island
Total tent collaspe

The sky at 10 am as we waited for the ferry. Soon yet again, we were running for cover

Rocky shores

Flowers all around

My back after being caught in the rain
cute houses

cute church

The Grand Hotel

Giant Ford head I keep seeing in various places: first Onaway, then Grand Rapids now here
Onaway also has Lincoln and Washington heads. Wish I made the driver pull over for a photograph

The Petite Grande owned by Dr. Putz as the sign says

leaving on the ferry.  Way way in the background is the Mackinac Bridge
principal means of transport
My  friend photographing the beauty Note bridge again

Arch rock..look carefully and you can see little people on the shore

The day did not begin well. After breakfast, not good, we surveyed the tent. Usually it is the easiest to find as it is so tall. Well the nail that sticks up gets hammered. Staking in sand proved useless against the strong winds of the night before. The poles ended up sticking our neighbor. Added bonus, the tent collapsed on her and she needed help to get out. No one was amused and lots of blame pointed at me.

We tried to dry things out, a Sisyphic task as it would rain on and off for the whole day( and the next night), our rest day. We decided to go to Mackinac Island (note strange difference in spelling between the city and the island even though they are pronounced the same) and hope for a few moments of sunshine. That didn't look promising as a storm blew in while waiting for the ferry. Suddenly we were cold. I kept trying to guess the weather. It did look like it would clear up. It was dry for the ferry ride itself and for the first half hour we were there.

 We took the bikes. No cars are allowed on the Island. Transportation is largely performed by teams of Belgian horses.Drayage, the term is.Even Federal Express has a team of Belgians. The island is ringed by a 8 mile road where I ran a race maybe 27 years ago during the Lilac Festival. Finished in an hour flat! Yeah I know how tiresome it gets with reminders of my former awesomeness. Odors become more intense while exercising as one sucks in more air. I remember the bizarre olio of horse poop, lilacs and fudge. No lilacs now but they have added citronella to the miasma.  I guess it keeps the bugs off the Belgians.

But what a pretty place!! Flowers all around, cute little houses, impressive mansions, limestone formations, cairns on the beaches, pretty horses, impressive interior forests, art work, quaint shops. It is the gem of Michigan: Pure Michigan as they would say. 

We started off on the 8 mile loop. Lots of people rent bikes, people who must never have been on a bike in years and forgot that a straight path is the safest for all involved. And although these people must drive cars, somehow they think riding on the left is OK here. And without helmets. Kids are unpredictable and I am not shy about giving them pointers on safe riding but the parents.... Three miles into it, an hour long storm hit. By radar, it looked that we had an hour of rain free existence but then this popped up. My friend was sick still and extra mad. She tried to get a prescription then learned that there is no pharmacy in either Mackinaw or Mackinac. We took shelter in an abandoned nature center that although dark, was dry. I am not mad at you, I am mad at myself for listening to you.

Yep we were having fun. The rain stopped but the inch of rain that had dropped plus the considerable run off of the surrounding hills had made the path a mess. No avoiding the puddles now as the whole road was a puddle. And then there is the horse poop. In the 'city' someone goes around and cleans it up as fast as possible (talk about a sucky job) but on the 'outskirts', it is allowed to fester and mix in with the rain. So with no fenders, a good part of this ends up on our backs.  Recently there have been a series of races with names such as 'tough mudders' in which people pay to slither in the mud under concertina wire and are timed. Lots of them inhaled the local dirt and became quite ill. Horse poop again?I stupidly wore cotton, impossible to clean in a sink. My friend bought a new shirt and offered me her jersey which is much easier to clean. Unfortunately she is about a zillion sizes smaller so I literally oozed out of that shirt. It was an effort to even zip it so for the duration it remained open showing off my lop-sided cleavage (thank you cancer). 

But we were sort of clean enough for lunch. And the sun came out so the afternoon was very nice. We explored the island on foot. Again the place is just so precious. We had ice cream at the Grand Hotel, walked through woods, saw the picture perfect Arch Rock, walked along the East Cliffs where the mansions are. Pretty, pretty, pretty.

No wait for the ferry this time, a quick ride to camp to try to further right things and pack up the few things that were dry leaving them in a softball dugout.  Reasonable dinner (good make yourself salads)A bottle of wine, some hot tubbing, and off to dreamland.

But yet another storm blew in this time wiping out the remaining tents. People huddled for safety in the ice arena. We were however high and dry a mile away.

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