Thursday, May 11, 2017

Searching for cherry blossoms

Miss Hannah
We rushed to catch the one ferry that detours under the Big Mac
The famous Mackinac Island arch
me feeding clover to a draught horse
The great room of our inn had huge Norway pine beams
At dawn
The perimeter road at dawn during my run. I didn't see anyone until the very end. No cars or trucks are allowed on the island. Everything is transported by horses or golf carts. The road is 8,2 miles long. Long ago during a race, I ran it in an hour flat. Yes I was fast. Sadly I didn't get nearly as far in the same time
The arch from below made gold by dawn
Usually Mackinac Island has spectacular gardens. However, due to very late spring and how far north it is all they had to prettify were hyacinths and daffodils
our taxi to town. We were about a mile from the docks. Our luggage got a ride both ways but we opted to take it  ourselves just one way
Pretty Victorian where we stopped in Bellaire for lunch the next day
cute art gallery in Elk Rapids where we  stopped to get coffee. Favorite coffee shop closed but I bought a beautiful wind chime here. Found coffee at Thanks a Latte in Grayling. Note cherry blossoms We saw zero cherry blossoms on the most northern cherry blossom route. Too early though some towns had them lining the streets. Must be a bit warmer in town
Finally some cherry blossoms south of Elk Rapids. There would have been some for sure in the Leelanau Peninsula even further south but I was guessing Steve was tired of driving in circles

We are back from our mini vacation up north staying overnight at Mackinac Island, usually very expensive, but since it is very early in the season, we got a good discount. We rushed to get to the 10:30 ferry, the last one of the day that would go out of the way under the bridge so we could be in two Great Lakes (4 out of 5 Great Lakes prefer Michigan)and see the bridge close-up. Things in our favor: speed limit increased to 75 in Northern Michigan. Downsides: texts from Josh pleading for us to drop off Hannah's diaper bag. No can do. Construction dropping the speed to 40 mph for 10 miles, a rest stop that  4 buses at once unloaded a bunch of middle schoolers causing lines, and needing gas.

We pulled up at the ferry dock at 10:28. Information person said she'd try to get us on the 10:30. While I got the tickets, Steve got rid of the luggage and parked the car. They left a few minutes late for us. Rush, rush, rush. Once aboard, I realized I left my coat in the car and it was very, very cold. Steve left his phone in the car so he missed a text about a family medical scare (still being investigated). My luggage was' checked' and would be delivered by horse directly to the resort. Fortunately I found it sitting on the dock and took out a fleece I was going to run in. Not as warm as my coat but much better than nothing. It was about 38 and windy. Later in the day, the wind died down and it went up to 48, still cool to be just sitting but I did anyway. The island is so pretty. Steve was the only one on the outdoor deck of the boat as we passed under the bridge. At some point I will post his photos.

We walked a lot. There are numerous paths throughout the island.  Although the perimeter road is flat, the island is quite hilly. Those poor horses that have to drag stuff to the Grand Hotel! To get to the top of the Arch Rock, we climbed 107 steps. Once wee got out of town, we would not see anyone else.

There were clouds of black bugs called midges, roughly the size of a mosquito. Although they don't bite or even try to land, some areas were so thick with them, one had to keep ones mouth closed. They hatch en masse when the ice first melts. I never had seen them before. The 3 times I had been there before was in the summer. When I got up at dawn to run, it was too cold initially for them but on my way back, I ran through clouds.

We also did not bicycle. years ago, we rented a tandem but the second person had to have short legs. I pedaled with my legs splayed. Not so fun. I brought my own bike over during the Michigander 4 years ago but we got caught in a storm on the unpopulated side of the island. and once the storm passed, the road was still wet. We ended up with a lovely stripe of horse poop up our backs.

The main lodge was nice built with enormous pine logs. We ate dinner overlooking the Straits. Very pretty.

Sometime it pays to be stupid. When I got back from my early morning run, Steve was annoyed. great room you selected, the shower is broken. I looked at it for a minute and couldn't figure how to get the water to come out the top spigot. I called the desk to see if there was some special trick. Instead the lady said that she'd send an engineer to look at it. A high school aged boy shows up. I asked him if he could get it to work. No. The engineer would have to fix it. We didn't feel like waiting around all day for this 'engineer' (we had called about turning the heat down and the promised engineer never came so we slept with the heat and air conditioner blasting at the same time)I went to the desk in person to complain and asked if they would comp our breakfast buffet. They would but she said that the engineer had just called to say our shower was working. After breakfast, I went back for the long awaited shower. It didn't work until I pulled some hidden ring on the tub faucet. Perhaps it was never broken but it certainly was not obvious. The front desk person could have told me this. I can't believe we were the first people ever to complain about this. Part of the problem was language. Most of the island's work staff comes from Jamaica. Yes they speak English but sometimes they are hard to understand. The staff was very friendly. An American born manager called me later in the day to apologize

It was so nice to run early in the morning listening to various waterbirds and just the sound of the water lapping the shore. Until the midges woke up..

Cherries from NW Michigan are one of Michigan's main crops. Shouldn't the trees be in blossom now? I couldn't find any current cherry blossom hotline though from reading, I knew they were in bloom about this time last year. We went on two cherry blossom routes. The blooms only came out 1-2% on the most northern route trees but we found some further south that were about 50% in bloom. Probably today (2 days later) they all are in bloom. The special cherry liquor place was closed but we did go to Short's Brewery which now seems to be a destination place. Good food and good beer. Who can ask for more?


Elephant's Child said...

It looks a beautiful place. Love that arch.

Starting Over, Accepting Changes - Maybe said...

My husband grew up in Michigan and he and his family have often talked about the beauty of Mackinac Island. I am glad you got to see some cherry blossoms. On the east coast where I live, the blossoms were s bust. A late frigid blast did them in.


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