Yesterday Ross & Marge spent the day getting acquainted with Mackinaw City. They drove into town and learned where the ferry terminal for the ferry trip to Mackinac Island is located because they plan on touring Mackinac Island the next day. They attempted to get some better pictures of the Mackinac Bridge but the spot they were told had the best picture opportunity was absolutely smothered by the damn May flies. They didn't even want to get out of the truck.
They drove back towards downtown and stopped at a coffee shop and each had a mocha coffee. After coffee they visited a small shopping mall and Marge purchased a tee shirt for a friend of their daughter, Kathy. Kathy won't get the gift until after Ross and Marge return home in August. The town, Mackinaw City, is very small with only 500 year round residence and the nearest large town is about 15 miles south where there is a Walmart. Marge wanted to get new refills for bug fans they have and they had to drive into Cheboygan where they found a Walmart and a large sporting goods store. Marge went into the sporting goods store and found the refills she wanted as well as some new wrist band bug repellants. They are not sure if they are going work very well but at this point they are ready to try almost anything. Returning to Mackinaw City they had a very late lunch.
Today they boarded a ferry for Mackinac Island. As they were walking up to the boarding area four school buses pulled up and a whole pile of grade school kids climbed off the buses and headed for the boarding area. Not only did they have the kids on the ferry they wound up bumping into the kids all day as they toured the Island. They took a horse drawn trolley that took them around the town and the Mackinaw State Park. Ross and Marge did not visit the old fort as both have seen several forts. After the trolley ride was finished Ross and Marge had a very enjoyable lunch in the downtown hotel which had no noisy kids. The lunch was quite, the food was good, and so was the service.
After lunch they started walking back to the ferry terminal for the ride back to Mackinaw City and sure enough they ran into the rug rats again. So the return trip was basically at the same decibel level as the trip out.
Mackinaw Island is a very unique place because no powered vehicles such as cars, trucks, motorcycles, scooters, etc., are allowed. The only forms of transport on the island are walking, bicyling, horseback riding, horse and buggy, or horse drawn trolley. The only exceptions being the police department that has two patrol cars and the fire department that has one fire truck and an ambulance. There is a small hospital and medical clinic.
The trolley tour guide said there are between 500 and 600 horses on the island during the summer tourist season not including some of the wealthy summer residents that also have their own horses. The most surprising thing was that it is possible for a visitor to rent a horse and buggy without a guide or horseman and likewise you can rent a horse with or without a guide. There are warning signs for tourists stating that Michigan has a law that holds the horse operators harmless and not liable for any injuries or deaths that occur due to what is considered to be the normal and routine risks of working with horses. The sign does not illustrate what is considered as normal and routine risks associated with horses although it is likely very broadly defined in the actual law itself.
The one thing you notice as soon as you get off the boat is the smell of horses. They have a crew of workers that patrol the streets and trails and their job is to clean up the road apples deposited by the horses. The tour guide on the trolley carrying Ross & Marge announced that the puddles you see should not be played in because it has not rained here for over a week and you should be able to deduce what the puddles contain.
Apparently Mackinac Island is a very popular vacation spot for tourists but frankly, neither Ross nor Marge understand the attraction. There are some very interesting buildings and the largest hotel on the island is a very impressive structure, and there are numerous large and very attractive summer and full-time residential buildings on the island. That said, Ross and Marge have seen the island and neither Ross or Marge would not say others should not visit the island as you can let your mind wonder what it was like 200 years ago when towns had no paved roads, no workers cleaning up road apples, and then a rain storm turning the entire mess into a stinking stew.
There is a lot of history associated with the island and any history aficionado would be in seventh heaven reading the Mackinac Island Visitor's Guide and visiting all of information available located at the historical spots all around the island. There are four cemeteries that contain a lot of history and one very unique cemetery where soldiers of the 1812 war are buried. The flag at this veteran cemetery always flies at half-mast because of the 108 burials only 40 are identified. This cemetery was closed after Fort Mackinac was abandoned in 1885. As far as Ross & Marge know the other three cemeteries are still open and people are just dying to get in.
Tomorrow Ross and Marge will spend the day trying to clean-up all the dead bugs inside the motorhome as well as the bugs splattered on the windshield.
That is all for now,
Ross & Marge