Cruisin' The Loop Aboard Kibon
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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. 

Back to Log Index page to Lake Michigan, heading south for the winter