Saturday, May 30, 2009

Biking on Mackinac Island

All though the weather forecast was for clear skies, clouds and fog greeted us as we unloaded our bikes off the ferry. We had just rode a catamaran ferry across the Mackinac Strait, from St Ignace, and were hoping to ride around the island.
Our first stop was the visitor center, which was not yet open, so Renita went into a grocery store and got us coffee as I watched the bikes. Armed with some warmth we talked about the ride until the center opened.
Once inside, one of the workers, told us of the biking on the island and also told us of the rules of the road. Quite simply, pedestrians have the right of way! He also told us not to worry about the horses as they were so use to bikers and walkers that they would watch for us,(No cars or trucks are allowed on the island!)! He also suggested that we ride the eight mile road around the island first, and then eat lunch followed by a ride in the interior and to the fort.
Finishing our coffee, we started our ride, psst one of the most beautiful displays of tulips we have ever seen! The guide had told us that the ride would take an hour, but we stop so often for pictures that we had packed a lunch. As we continued past the flowers the trail followed the waters edge and soon we reached Arch Rock. A family had passed us and were heading up the wooden stairs, and a school group pulled in, as we parked our bikes. The fourth graders, all wearing green shirts with their schools name and grade, raced past us and up the bluff. It was ok as the little germ laden bunch minimized their contact with us and so thoughts of swine flu quickly faded,(I taught for 30 years and have had every flu and cold known to man).
The hike up the trail was short but steep and we soon reached the arch. The brecciated rock had been weathered into a sea arch and was really quite impressive!
A short trail led us to a monument to the first white person to canoe through the straits. A bike road actually led to the fort from here, but we had left our bikes down below and so we returned down the trail and continued to ride.
The skies, cleared off and a cold north wind fought us as we rode by the water. Hooded mergansers were common as were ring billed gulls. Large holes, left by pileated woodpeckers scarred the trees, with huge chips pilled at the bases! We didn't see any pileated woodpeckers but the chips they left were bigger then my fingernail!
We continued to struggle against the wind. As the island curved we rode past point after point, hoping each was the northern most tip and that the wind would be at our backs. Our layers of clothes kept us warm and we stopped often for more pictures so it was still enjoyable.
Finally, we reached the four mile marker and we headed south. A science center was closed but we were able to use the restrooms and peer in at the displays. A little further there was a concessions booth and ice cream and drinks were available but we passed by. A sign told of the British landing during the War of 1812-1815.
Stopping for lunch we sat on a rock in the sun. Bikers went past and waved or smiled in greeting.
The Devils Den was a little further, a small sea cave really, and it wasn't long before we rode back into town. The main street was really quite busy, and we dodged the horse apples and rode back to the visitor center.
I asked Renita if she wanted to check out the stores so we rode to the middle of the shops and parked our bikes. As Renita shopped I noticed that the horses, pulling the taxis, were almost all matched pairs, and so I amused myself by taking pictures of each pair. Walking by candy store after candy store, 23 on the island, I finally went in and bought an ice cream cone. The Mackinac Island Chocolate Fudge ice cream was maybe the best I have ever had!
Finishing both sides of the street we returned to our bikes and rode off of Main and down Market Street. There, we found a bead store that Renita wanted to check out. They had a lot of pretty stuff but she didn't buy any and mentioned to me that she wondered if I noticed she didn't have any sacks?
Both of us were tired and decided to call it a day so we returned to the ferry landing. It wasn't long before the ferry pulled in. Loading our bikes we climbed to the top deck where we took images of the town and a Coast Guard rescue craft. The ride back was cold and windy, but we wanted to see the island and straits from the water so we wandered the deck before playing the "Titanic Scene, where we stood facing into the wind. Almost all the others had already headed into a lowered protected deck and so we enjoyed the moment.
Too soon we reached the dock at St Ignace. We had to wait a bit for our bikes but we were in no hurry. The day had been worth the waiting for,(it had been raining for two days), and the ride had been easy and fun. Clear skies.

1 comment:

Art In The Sun said...

Watch out for the little rug rats, they are everywhere, like a plague. I notice that I sometimes have that same gut reaction to children also....but then I remember I don't have to go to school tomorrow and it is OK. Sharon and Allan