Sunday, August 4, 2002
The weather reports were a little wet this morning... in fact they were
downright wrong. Instead of wind and rain, the morning arrived with a flat calm
sea and only a mild overcast. So we decided to move on. An eight-o'clock
departure was one of our earliest yet, but that's
about the way it's got to be in order to miss afternoon wind and waves. And,
from what we've heard, on the east side of Lake Michigan wind and waves are
things to be avoided.
Kay didn't even need her happy pill this morning as we cleared DeTour Light and
clicked off the last thirty miles of North Channel. Our plan was to try for
overnight docking at Mackinac Island. As usual, the island was full up, so we
pressed on to Mackinaw City on the south side of the Mackinaw Strait. Notice the
spellings of all these Macs... some end in "aw" some in
"ac". However they are spelled, they all are pronounced
"aw". Mackinac Island is mackinaw island. Wherever you turn, you
must remember that your "acs" are always "aws". Get this
simple idea memorized and you've got the whole thing licked!
We requested docking at Mackinaw City Marina and were told we would have to wait
until check out time to see how many boats were leaving. We had left
DeTour so early and made such good time we were ready to tie up in
port before most of the day trippers were ready to leave. Kay made an
early lunch while Pearce monitored the radio, and we were given a slip to pull
into just as the last bites of sandwich were being devoured. Jean and
Garret on Boat of Us pulled in right behind us, and we went into town for
lunch. Kay and Jean visited the shops while Pearce went back to work on
the computer. He was finally successful in connecting the web site to the
server, so everyone received the last two weeks of the Log.
Monday, August 5, 2002
Since we couldn't stay in Mackinac Island harbor, we boarded a ferry to take us
over as day trippers. After looking at a map of the island, we decided to
take our bicycles with us. The ferry took us between the two lighthouses
that mark the channel through the Mackinac Straits. We could look over
the transom and see the Mackinac Bridge which spans the waters from lower
Michigan to the Upper Peninsula. This five mile long bridge was completed
in 1957 and added another attraction to encourage tourism to this area.
As we approached the Island, we could see the town spread out on the hill.
The road to Fort Mackinac was a bright white path leading up to the top of the
hill. The Grand Hotel was just as prominent on the left side of
town. There were gorgeous mansions lining the hills around the town.
After we arrived in the harbor, we rode our bicycles down Huron Street filled
with shops that catered to every whim of every tourist. We parked the
bikes at the bottom of the path leading to the Fort and spent the next hours
visiting all the buildings. The Fort has an involved history. It was
built by the British during the Revolutionary War after they decided that the
fort in Mackinaw City on the mainland might not be easily defended. The
Island offered better defense. The view toward the east, south, and west
is spectacular. One can see for miles in all three directions. The
British lost the Island as a result of the treaty signed at the end of the
Revolutionary War. When war again was declared in 1812, the English landed
on the far north shores of the island, crept through the woods to the heights
overlooking the Fort, and surprised the Americans who were outnumbered and
surrendered the Fort. This was the first battle of the War of 1812 and the
young nation didn't do too well. It wasn't until the end of the war in 1815 that
we got our island back in the peace treaty. The Fort remained a military
installation until the end of the Nineteenth Century when it became a national
park. It is now a National Historic Landmark and is run by the state of
Michigan. It is beautifully maintained, and the various buildings are
shown as they were during the 1800s. After watching the parade and rifle
drills and touring the buildings, we had lunch on the porch of the former Officers
Quarters. The restaurant is run by the Grand Hotel, and the food and
service were excellent.
After we left the Fort, we rode our bicycles through the town and visited some
of the other buildings on exhibit. Many of the visitors were like us on
bicycles. Most were courteous, but we had to watch out for the messengers
and delivery people who traveled at great speed. Horses pulling carriages
full of tourists vied for position in the narrow streets. Pedestrians had
to look in all directions before stepping into the street. There are no
cars, therefore there are no traffic lights, stop signs, or other methods of
traffic control. We saw very few people using hand signals to indicate
their intention to turn. This may sound confusing. It wasn't.
You just had to keep alert. We rode up a long gentle hill toward the Grand
Hotel. Horses and bicycles are not allowed on the road in front of the
Hotel. Only people who are registered at the Hotel are allowed to enter
unless you want to pay an entry fee of $10. Men have to wear jackets and
ties after 6 pm, and women are not allowed to wear slacks. Kay's mother
has stayed at the Hotel and said we should be sure to have dinner there.
Pearce refused to carry a jacket, and Kay didn't want to chance a skirt on a
bicycle. We had been very happy to find that we could sample their food
while enjoying the view of the harbor from our perch earlier in the day at the
Fort. And we were comfortably dressed! By the time we arrived at the
Hotel, it was cocktail time. Since we couldn't go inside the Hotel, we
parked our bicycles and sat in the Cupola Bar overlooking the golf course and
enjoyed a vodka and tonic. It was time to return to the ferry for our ride
back to Mackinaw City.
Tuesday, August 6, 2002
Pearce awoke at 5 am, ready to leave the dock early on our
next leg to Lake Michigan. He looked out the door, saw the flags standing
straight out from the flag poles. The stays in the sailboat next to us
were whistling. He shook his head and went back to bed. This was not
the day to go through the Strait and cross the open water into Lake
Michigan. We spent the day doing nothing -- visiting with other boaters,
doing chores, checking our e-mail, visiting the Mackinaw Crossings Mall.
One of the famous products here is fudge. There are many stores that make
and sell fudge, and the people who buy the product are called Fudgies.
There is a story that someone on Mackinac Island perfected a fudge recipe which
appealed to the tourists. We succumbed to the lure and bought
chocolate mint, chocolate walnut, and plain chocolate (buy two get one
free). Now the evening snack is not ice cream, it's fudge. We ended
the relaxing day with a concert presented by the Strait Concert Band. We
enjoyed their music as the sun set. The wind has subsided and the forecast
is good for tomorrow.
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to Lake Michigan, heading south for the winter