Day 86 & 87 – Menominee To Manitowoc To Ludington (Total Miles = Still Not 1500)

Even in a 10′ U-Haul stuff happens.

We arrived in Manitowoc and got our hotel for the night.  We drove over to the Badger in the morning to secure our tickets, before returning the truck, and found out the Badger was cancelled for the day due to high winds.  We know all about those high winds, but we were surprised that for a huge ferry like the Badger, they would cancel the sail for them.  We bought our tickets for the next day and returned to the hotel for another night.

That is when my calculating mind began working overtime.  I thought…wait!  We could drive around the big old lake and still be in Ludington today and be on the road to our next adventure, Cedar Point Amusement Park in Sandusky, Ohio.  It was Tuesday September 15.  The plan had been to head to Ken’s brothers in PA for a few days, visit Ken’s buddy Bill who he hasn’t seen in years, then head over to Cedar Point, which is now only open on weekends (but was still 4 days away).  We both really wanted to ride every rollercoaster in the park, and there are a LOT of coasters to be whipped around on.  We tried to do it last year, but, ironically, the rides were closed down most of the day due to, guess…high winds.  We had both felt so denied, that I purchased tickets for this year back in February determined to get my thrills!  But, getting there was all about the timing, and now I was forced to re-calculate…again.

So, the re-calculating began…we could cancel the hotel, cancel the ferry, and change the return location of the 10′ U-Haul to Michigan.  We called U-Haul and the young man agreed to change the drop off location.  The hotel agreed to cancel our room for the night, and we got a refund for the ferry tickets!!  Yes!  We were back on schedule and, with a full tank of gas, headed out of town when the young man at the U-Haul called back.  Blah-Blah-Blah-Yada-Yada-Yada…whatever…I needed to re-re-calculate.

We would have to return the U-Haul, and then complete a whole new contract to drive it over to Michigan.  Hmmm…we drove over to the Manitowoc drop off location and told the man what we wanted to do, but that we were concerned about the price of this new rental contract.  He did his thing, and then told us the price would be $550.00.  Ken and I looked at each other and sadly agreed that was out of the question, we would need to UN-re-re-calculate.  We told the man we would keep the truck as originally planned and thanked him, when he said he had already closed out our original contract!  Nooooo…my sad eyes got me nowhere.  We pulled our traveling companions out from the truck, loaded up the packs, and pedaled down the road.

Oh!  With that first pedal stroke, I felt this joy overwhelm me.  Unexpectedly back in the saddle again, if only for a few short blocks to the nearest hotel, immediately gave me this sense of freedom.  With our ferry tickets re-ordered, in the morning we rode our bikes to the ferry and it felt like the journey was beginning all over again!  We met some fantastic people on our half-mile ride over to the ferry and the sail over to Ludington.

I talked with a guy departing from the ferry, who was also heading home after a 4 week bike tour.  He asked me if I knew about the road heading out of Grand Marais!  The 18 miler that forced Honey Badger and Traveler to throw us off into the dirt multiple times!  He had ridden it, too!  We enjoyed commiserating about our experience on that gravel dirt road.

Mike and Mary were Christian folk singers back in their day.  We talked about their days in the band, Mary’s stroke, the Badger ferry, and Pilgrims.

Ken O’Shay borrowed a guitar from another traveler and entertained us, while we sailed across Lake Michigan.

And then there was Nick.  Another impressive young man who just graduated from college.  He was finishing his bike tour before heading home to start his career.  We shared stories, and laughed together about them!  His parents should be very proud of him!!  I told him, once you find work, don’t forget to stop and smell the roses.  Don’t forget to live, not just survive.

We disembarked from the ferry and found our car.  It was covered in intricate spider webs, rust, and dirt…and was dead as a doornail.  Ken found a guy to help us out with a jump, and we were officially on our way home.  Not wanting to wait around for the weekend, we decided to pass on our play date with Cedar Point, and left it on the bucketlist for another time.

I have to reflect on this one last day in our journey.  It dawned on me that I needed to take the advice I had given Nick.  We thought our journey was over when we rode into Menominee and picked up our 10 footer.  But, wonderful journeys are there for the taking, each and every day.  It is up to us to make them happen and allow ourselves to step out of our percieved security.  Because, in those journeys, we connect with others.  We can be that person who changes a life, or be the recipient of a life changer.  Stepping out also allows God to do his best work.  Without the experiences, we cannot change or grow.  We would miss God’s masterpieces, like the simple pleasure of seeing migrating butterflies, a swan in the early morning fog, or a moose hidden within the trees.  Most importantly, we would miss the opportunity to share and praise those masterpieces creatively designed by our Lord God.

Sometimes, calculations just don’t add up.  Sometimes, it’s for the betterment.  Sometimes, you just need to let God do the calculating.

Me And Honey Badger In Front Of Her Namesake

The Badger Sailing Into Port

Mike And Mary – Christian Folk Rockers


Ken O’Shay Entertaining Us

Manitowoc Breakwater Lighthouse

Sunset Over Lake Michigan From The Badger Ferry

Big Sable Point Lighthouse – Ludington



Day 85 – Wells State Park To Menominee (Total Miles = 1440.5)

Only 1440 Miles!!??  We have to get back on the bikes and round it out to 1500 miles!!  I like things rounded out, even, balanced.  We must!  I just couldn’t talk Honey Badger into it, or Traveler for that matter.

We made it to Menominee!  Our Michigan starting point, now our Michigan finishing point.  We looped around the entire upper peninsula of Michigan in 85 days.  I thought I would cry, but I didn’t.  We wanted to lift our bikes above our heads like the riders in Tour Da Yoop, Eh do at the end of their ride, but we couldn’t find a crane large enough to help hoist them up.

We did have one last, small adventure.  Wanting to get off the highway, we followed a back road toward Menominee that Carolyn had told us about.  I had to stop and take a picture of a vibrant red tree, and thought I should double check the map.  We had already ridden about 4 miles before realizing that the route we were choosing would never get us to Menominee in time to pick up the U-Haul truck we had reserved.  I must say though, that it would have gotten us over 1500 miles!!!  Anyway…we decided to head south, stepping down backroads to reach Menominee.  We turned south and happily rode car free, when we came to our first step (right turn) in the road.  Ken and I looked at each other…you all know what that means…something we have encountered before, something that requires a decision, something we need to both agree on, in short, trouble…it was all there in the gravel road laying before us.  You will be proud of us!!  We finally, on this last day of riding, made the right decision and turned in the opposite direction of the gravel road, and chose pavement that led us back to the highway.  I certainly didn’t want any kind of that crying going on today!!  So, we backtracked, but saved 8 miles off the highway, and gained 6 miles for the days total and final mileage total (which was not 1500 miles!).

In Menominee we met our new mode of transportation!  We reserved a 10′ U-Haul truck to drive back to Manitowoc, and the Badger ferry that would sail us across Lake Michigan, to our car in Ludington.  Manitowoc would have been another 3 days of riding, so the truck was a good option for a one-way rental.

We stopped for lunch in town before heading out, and celebrated with our last…   …   …wait for it…   …   …hehehe…Ice Cream!!  Actually, a fellow we asked to take our picture and spoke with in the shop, bought the cones for us.  He was just so happy for us finishing the loop, that he wanted to be part of the celebration.  So sweet!!  Meaning him…and the ice cream, too!

Ken also drove me over to see the Menominee Pierhead Lighthouse.  The lighthouse began its’ commission in 1877.  When first built, the lighthouse had an oil lamp chimney made of ruby glass and the red light was visible for 12 miles.  I can just imagine what that ruby red glass looked like from out at sea…a glimmering red strobe guiding sailors safely into shore.

We also stopped at The Outback on Old Peshtigo Rd. to say goodbye to Melissa.  She was one of the first people we met who took good care of us.  The oasis was closed that day, but Melissa came out and welcomed us back in, just like she did the first day we came down that road.  We had a quick beer, and she gave us Outback t-shirts, then we were on our way home.

Finding Beauty In The Trees

High Fiving Our Finish

Honey Badger And Traveler Checking Out Their Ride

Long Overdue Rest For The Steeds

Menominee Pierhead Lighthouse

Our Final Ice Cream…It Will Be Back To Vegis, No Oil, No Meat…No Dairy!!

Day 83 & 84 – Escanaba To Wells State Park (Total Miles = 1412.5)

It did rain for an entire day in Escanaba.  We hung out in the hotel room, and ordered in pizza, which was nice.

We woke up on September 13th and it was still raining, but by 9am, it had cleared to be a great day for riding.  Knowing we only had 32 miles to ride, we were not as pressed to push it.  That is so funny now, because when we started out 84 days ago, I was crying over a 30 mile ride!!  Remember?  Yet, I spent too many days in a hotel of late, and my mind kept playing over, and over again, the theme to Jeopardy!  Ahhh!!  It was driving me crazy, but I couldn’t shake it!  Doo-doo-doo-dah-doo-doo-doo…as I pedalled along the highway…doo-doo-doo-dah-do, do, do, dah, dah, dah…

Even though we had to ride on the highway, the butterflies were still out in full force making their way south.  I was able to quit pedaling to the tune of Jeopardy long enough to stop, and get some pictures of the flittering monarchs along the way.

I still was not ready to end our adventure, and when we reached the campground and people started asking us about our journey, I began to cry.  Man!  I have done a lot of crying this summer!!

We met Carolyn, who worked at the campground.  She came out of the office, and pulled 2 bundles of wood to our site on a cart.  She said it gave her a chance to get outside and get some exercise.  She spoke with us for some time about her life…her triumphs and her losses.  She was crying, too.  I guess us girls do that sort of thing.  Ken and I prayed for her before she reluctantly had to leave to go back to work.

We also met Sebastian.  He was a lone cyclist out for a 3 week jaunt.  He was already wanting to get home to Chicago.  We learned things about Chicago we never knew.  My idea of Chicago?…big city life.  He disproved that!  Sebastian said, the one reason he lives in Chicago is to be able to get outdoors, right from his front door. He can bike, run, kayak, and swim within walking distance, and spends most of his time outside!  I will definitely look at Chicago differently from now on.  He too, was a late starter in the morning, but was still able to get on the road before we did.  I spoke with him about Jesus.  He is not a believer, but was raised a believer.  He would not share why he no longer believes, but he did allow Ken and I to pray for him before he left.  We hope that maybe, the seed was replanted.  He will have 4 days on his own, with the help of our Lord, to think about it.

Ken and I had our last campfire, with some marshmallow roasting, too.  In the morning, I took a look around and saw color in the trees.  I saw the tape on the tent, my breath in the air, and the rough waves in Lake Michigan.  I am moving closer to accepting the fact that this journey will end.

My Thug!

Monarch Butterflies On The Highway South


Our Last Campfire


Trees A Changing

Green Bay Waters Of Lake Michigan

Our Taped Up Tent

Luxury Pit Toilet!  Potpourri And Everything!

Day 82 – Kitch-iti-kipi To Escanaba (Total Miles = 1380 Miles)

After immersing ourselves in the beauty of the sunrise, we packed the bikes up and headed out.  Before we left, Bradley explained that seeing swans on the lake this early, meant winter was coming on fast.  I guess the swans spend the winter on the lake.  Bradley said they will swim in circles together to keep an area of the lake free from ice.  Boy, I wish I could see that!!

With that in mind, Ken and I hoped to make it to Escanaba.  That meant pedaling over 50 miles.  With no stops planned, except for lunch in Rapid River, it was going to be a grueling task.

It wasn’t really the pedaling, or the wind that made this ride difficult.  It was riding on Highway 2.  The berm is wide enough and clean enough to keep us far away from the cars, and the road is flat, so no hills to climb…but the sound of the accelerating vehicles is maddening.  It can just suck the energy from you.  We can’t hear each other talk, let alone think.  And, even though we were on highway, there are still no restaurants or gas stations to be had!  Other than our 1 hour stop for lunch, we were out on the road for almost 7 hours.  6 hours of non-stop vehicles coming up from behind.  We were spent by the time we made it to Escanaba.  And, guess what?  We had to get a hotel because rain was coming through, again.

But, because of my earlier calculations on timing, and factoring in knowing the 7 day forecast, we were already prepared to spend an extra day sitting in the hotel staying dry.

So, no pictures to share today, but we are expecting some nicer days and plan to camp one more night before rolling into Menominee on September 14.

BTW, we heard from B&B (Remember Brad & Betty?) and they informed us that the Badger ferry is closing early this year.  They will stop sailing on September 27.  We probably would have made it by that time, but it is good we stepped up our game to get home.  Thanks B&B for the heads up!!


Day 81 – Manistique To Kitch-iti-kipi (Total Miles = 1328)

The next morning was all we hoped for!  A beautiful, sunny, relatively warm day!  Joyous!!  And, we were headed to Kitch-iti-kipi, Michigan’s largest spring.  200 feet in diameter and 42 feet deep, the crystal blue water can mesmerize you for hours.  These waters can stand shore-to-shore with the blue waters of the Caribbean.

The spring has a self-operated raft that glides along a cable so that you can see the spring from the middle of the pond.  Large, no huge, brown trout swim the waters of this spring.  The trees, the clouds, our beloved sun, all reflect straight through to the bottom of the pool.  It is difficult to tell where land starts and water begins!!  A stunning maze of all that nature, and our Creator, has to offer!

Although Kitch-iti-kipi was the highlight, the cabin and grounds where we stayed the night was phenomenal in its own right.  Gerometta’s Resort was located right on the shores of Indian Lake.  Sally, and her husband Ted, built this resort from the ground up 51 years ago.  Sally lost her husband 2 years ago, and tears well up as she talks about him.  Not wanting to give up her heaven on earth, as she lovingly calls it, she convinced her son, Bradley, to move back home and begin to take it over.  For now, the two of them manage the resort together, but I can see the day when Sally will be able to just sit on her back porch, watching and praying, as the sun rises over the lake she calls home.

We woke up early enough to experience the sunrise.  Indian Lake was covered in fog.  The air was quiet, except for the sound of the swimming ducks dipping their bills into the water for a drink, and the far off call of a sandhill crane.  Then behold!  We saw the most elegant, white swan quietly savoring the first light of day…dipping her head down to savor the flavors below, then arching her long neck up toward the sky.  What an extraordinary unwrapping of the day.

The Self-Propelled Raft

You Can See The Water Below From The Raft

Ancient Logs Laying In The Depth Of The Waters

Huge Brown Trout!

Pressurized Water Bubbling Up Through Cracks And Layers Of Sand

The Reflection Of People Watching From Shore

Indian Lake

Sunrise Has Begun

Our Cabin

Day 80 – Naubinway To Manistique (Total Miles = 1313)

We actually hit the road early today!!  It was 8:30am.  We could have left even earlier, but I had to go to the post office to ship off my new stellar wall hanging.

We made 41 miles in 4.5 hours!  We had hoped to make 52 miles, but it began to rain, so we stopped at a motel for the night.  I did not stop to take pictures during the ride, except when we were stopped at a construction site.  I saw the beauty in some roadside wildflowers and snapped a quick one to share.

That is all I have to say about that…

Day 78 & 79 – Hog Island State Park To Naubinway (Total Miles = 1272)

We woke up early so that we could get on our way.  We knew the day was going to be windy, and we also knew more rain was on the horizon.  Yet, as usual, Sandy and Brent were up, packed, and on the road before we had our first cup of coffee!!

Where the western side of the peninsula was all about the sunsets, the eastern portion is all about the sunrises.  I admit, it is harder to catch the sunrises since we sleep in so late, but I have caught a few, and I am hooked!  Just as special as the days evening counterpart, the sunrises are full of promise and wonder.  Sunrises fill us with gratitude that our Lord has given us another day, and it feels as if He is sending us on our way with a cherished gift.

Here too, the monarch butterflies were migrating.  Just wow!  I saw one, after another, after another, but I just couldn’t get a picture fast enough.  They flit and float away in an instant.  They migrate to California or Mexico for the winter and can go as far as 50-100 miles a day!  It can take them up to 2 months to make the journey…quicker than we are riding the perimeter of the Upper Peninsula!

With the tent dried out, we were able to get on the road in pretty good time.  We turned west onto Highway 2, and the wind pushed us back.  Not really sure where we were going for the night, but very much aware of the forecast, we just knew it would have to be a motel along the way.  We only made it 8 miles.  We stopped at the first motel we came to!  The U.P. is so unpredictable, with the internet availability sketchy, and long stretches of highway empty of businesses, we didn’t want to take the chance of being stuck in the cold and rain, with a useless sleeping bag, and a leaky tent.

We signed up for a 2 night stay in the little town of Naubinway.  It had everything we needed!  A warm, dry room…a restaurant/bar…and ice cream.

The rain did come, but not enough that we couldn’t get out and enjoy this small town that most people miss in the blink of an eye.  First, we stopped in King’s Fish Market and Sporting Goods Store.  Oh what fun!  It really was more of a second hand store, as it was full of a menagerie of this and thats…but not much in the way of sporting goods, or fish, for that matter.  I found another hanging for my travel wall.  I could not pass it by.  It is a handmade leather snowshoe with a stained glass picture of the Big Mac set in the middle; a one of a kind piece of art, made by Sally’s daughter and son-in-law.  We met Sally, the owner, and admired her large collection of deer antlers, all taken by her during hunting trips with her husband.  She mourned the loss of her husband, her best friend, her hunting partner.  But, she still hunts, only now, with her granddaughter.  Something tells me that there will be more trophies to add to that old wall in the store.

We had dinner at Moofinfries.  As the name suggests, they serve hamburgers (moo), fish (fin), and fries.  That’s it.  All deep…deep fried.  Really deep fried.  I think that people who love deep, deep fried food, would love Moofinfries…we loved the ice cream we awarded ourselves after eating the deep, deep fried fish and fries.  BTW, Ken and I suffered that evening…from the fried food, mind you…not from the ice cream!

The next day we left the fried food to the people who actually eat it, and had dinner and a beer at the Cove Bar.  I wish we had checked this out the first night because the food was really good here, as were the locals.  I played pool with Jimmy, while Ken talked with Dave about the local happenings.  The music was fantastic, as it always is in Michigan gathering spots.  I miss music while riding and camping, and so really appreciate hearing it when I can.

Ken and I had a heart to heart on finishing our tour.  He is ready to get it done…he has been ready.  I am not ready for it to end, there are still things I want to see, people I want to meet.  I have been hoping the weather would turn back to those beautiful, sunny, warm days we saw when we first rode across the border from Wisconsin into Michigan…an indian summer to go out on.  Yet, the days have been cloudy, rainy, and cold.  I had to admit to myself that fall and winter are in the air.  The days are getting shorter.  The tourists have left, and the locals are stocking up on wood for their woodburning stoves.

Pulling from my successful calculation experience…The Tour Da Yoop, Eh route is still 235 miles from our Michigan starting point of Menominee.  Assuming the weather would hold out each day, that would take us about 10 days to finish at our typical 25 miles per day.  So, we compromised.  If Ken would let me see my last, off the beaten path tourist destination, I would get him to Menominee in 6 days.  Taking the shortest route, it would be 153 miles, plus an additional 9 miles to see the tourist spot.  That is 162 miles.  With the benefit of having 7 day forecasts, and if we rode 30 to 35 miles per day (or 50 if we had to) we could do it in 6 days…easy!  It is September 8th…we will be in Menominee September 14th to pick up an already reserved U-Haul truck (the only rental I could find!!) and be on our way back to the Badger II ferry to Ludington, and our car.  We will have completed riding, in full, the entire perimeter of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

Sunrise At Hog River State Park

Day 77 – St. Ignace to Hog Island State Park (Total Miles = 1264 Miles)

Gosh Darn…we had to say goodbye to Tom today.

So, if you ever need a car rental anywhere in the U.P….forget about it.  Ken and I found one in Marquette, but they are far and few between.  We needed to get Tom back to Sault Ste. Marie.  We thought certainly there would be a car rental place in tourist town, St. Ignace!  But, noooo.  We even tried to recruit a guy at Cattails Cove Restaurant in Cedarville to drive him back, but to no avail.  The only way for Tom to get to his airplane in Sault Ste. Marie was to ride back, alone.  He was ecstatic!!

Tom loves to ride his bike!  With the rain, we lost what he had really longed for on this trip, to ride it!  Plus, when we are at home on our triathlon bikes, I can give Tom a run for his money!  It is usually the two of us, racing each other, finding out who will win the fast prize for the day and reveling in the victory.  Honey Badger is not built for speed.  She is built for endurance.  I am 123 lbs. pedaling a bicycle that weighs that much, or more, with the packs.  I am made for speed, not endurance, and…Oh, how I wanted to keep up with Tom!  And, oh, how he wanted me to keep up with him.  But, touring is a different kind of riding.  It is difficult to take it down a notch, or two, and ride for the journey, the scenery, the stories.  It takes a whole other mindset that Tom had not yet reached, in his short time on the road.  I wish I could have been a bird following him on his ride back to Sault Ste. Marie!  I would have loved to see the joy on his face as he rode his own journey…fast and furious and loving every moment of it!  He made 53.5 miles riding at an average pace of 13mph, with packs!  We miss you Tom, but we will meet again soon, friend!

As for Ken and I, by the time we left St. Ignace, it was after 1 o’clock.  Tom was already halfway to his destination!  We were in touring mode again, and rode 38 miles, with the wind at our back.  I stopped and saw the scenery and took a few pictures along the way, as we rode to Hog Island State Park.

The one major stop we made was at Cut River Bridge.  Lucky for me, it was directly on our route.  Ken waited for me as I walked the span of the bridge.  The bridge was built 147 feet above Cut River, which feeds into Lake Michigan.  The view made me swoon, like the real kind, not the lover poetic kind.  I actually got dizzy!  I was so afraid I would drop my phone down into the gorge!  It was a truly incredible view, and I am sure most people never stop to take a look.  It was definitely worth all the swooning!

We met Sandy and Brent at the campground.  They met through the Adventure Cycling Association.  Originally, there were going to be 4 riders, all strangers to each other, but because of Covid, they were the only two to follow through for a 3 week tour.  It made me smile that Sandy, like myself, a female, was willing to venture off the route to sightsee.  Brent was just out for the ride, and had made it to the campground about 2 hours before Sandy did.  She went to see a lighthouse that was 7 miles off of their course.  That was 7 miles in and 7 miles out, in addition to, their planned route.  Way to go Sandy!!

I tell you though, Ken and I can finally get a fire started without lighter fluid!!  It wasn’t even with purchased wood!  We scrounged around for wood and starter pieces.  And some of it was still damp!  We were talking each other up and high fiving ourselves.  We got that fire blazing hot…just in time for the rain to snuff it out.

With our tails between our legs, we plopped down in the tent for an early night.  No sooner did we plop, when Ken felt rain…in the tent.  Our poor little tent has been through a lot.  Two major, high wind, thunderstorms and a few smaller ones, she is beginning to wear thin…literally.  We had been patching some minor holes with gorilla tape here and there, just to be sure the rain wouldn’t come in.  We obviously missed some spots.  We sat there and gave each other the look, and began sopping up the water.  Thank goodness, the rain only lasted about 2 hours and it never poured down hard.  But, I have to tell you, it was at that moment we knew we had to put some Tom on, and think about getting ourselves home, fast.

Honestly, the moment I wrote those words tears began to fall.  I am not ready.  I am not done.  But, it has gotten very cold.  With my sleeping bag only rated to 40 degrees, my nights in the tent are numbered.  Riding has been colder and we have had to put on our leggings and warm gear.  The leaves are beginning to change and there has been more rain.  And, now, we have a leaky tent.  Except, I am not ready to have this journey completed.

View Of The Gorge On Cut River Bridge

Cut River, The Bridge, And Me Taking Photos

Cut River Bridge Overlook To Lake Michigan

The View From Our Campsite At Hog Island State Park






Day 76 – Mackinac Island

We had the perfect day to explore Mackinac Island!  We arrived at the ferry for the 10am lift to the island.  This particular time on the cruise schedule takes you under the Mackinac Bridge and we wanted to experience that.  The ferry started out and threw up a magnificent rooster tail as we sped along the Straits of Mackinac.

The Mackinac Bridge connects the upper peninsula of Michigan with the lower mitten of Michigan across the Straits of Mackinac.  The Straits of Mackinac connect two of the Great Lakes, Lake Michigan and Lake Huron.  The bridge itself is 26,372 feet long, or 5 miles, and has been there since 1957.  It’s a beautiful suspension bridge as seen from the road, but even more so by water!

A bit of trivia:  The Yoopers call the lower Michiganders trolls (below the bridge, get it?)…so Michigan consists of Yoopers and Trolls!??

I remember driving across the bridge and/or going to Mackinac Island as a kid.  I guess I have always loved to write, too, because I remember keeping a travel journal as a young girl.  I specifically remember an entry of when my grandparents were taking me to Mackinaw City and we ran out of gas 50 miles out.  I don’t remember actually running out of gas, or how we got gas, just the entry in the journal.  It’s funny the places and events in time you remember.  Some of these times are so insignificant, yet ingrained in our memories.

We passed by Wawatam Lighthouse while on the ferry.  This lighthouse has quite a past.  It was originally built as a welcome center in Monroe, MI!  After restructering the center, the lighthouse was no longer needed and was sold in 2004 to the town of St. Ignace.  It was shipped in 5 pieces and reassembled in 2006.  It was certified by the U.S. Coastguard and officially began it’s new life as a true lighthouse in August of that same year.  Today, the lifesaving beacon can be seen from 13 miles out on Lake Huron.  A real-life Cinder-lighthouse story.

Mackinac Island is just as charming as I recall.  The homes and businesses carry you to a place only found in dreams.  Because motorized vehicles are not allowed on the island, our only traffic for the day were humans, bicycles, and horse carriages.  There were plenty of all of them, but it sure beats whizzing cars and trucks!

Our first adventure of the day?…Biking, of course.  We rode the 8 mile shoreline loop around the island.  As usual, I drove Tom and Ken crazy because I wanted to stop and read the historical information along the way.  With those two, one is never fast enough…even on Mackinac Island!!  Good thing I am a fast reader!  I was able to find out that the island played a large role in fur trading.  It was originally home to the Odawa (Ottawa) Indians before Britain took it over and built Fort Mackinac in an effort to control the Straits of Mackinac, and ensure profitable fur trading endeavors.  There were even two battles fought there in the War of 1812.  I also found out that the island is considered a sacred place by the Odawa and became a burial site for many tribal chiefs.

I like to ride Honey Badger and look around as I pedal.  That is how we were able to see the sandhill cranes, the eagles, the deer, the moose, and most everything I have written about!  On the island, the guys would have rode right on past the Arch Rock, along with the historical markers.  I myself, do not recall ever seeing this arch, so I was pleasantly surprised when I spied it…and so were the guys.  The Arch Rock is 146 feet above the water of Lake Huron and is 50 feet wide.  I even think Tom stopped long enough to take a picture!!

After the ride, we hung out in the park as we waited for a table to open for lunch.  There was a gazebo, with a pretty garden, that was being prepared for a wedding.  Talk about a fairytale wedding…getting married on Mackinac Island would certainly qualify!  Later, we did see the bride and groom ride through the streets of the island in a horse drawn carriage.  If I did not have my face in a slurpy ice cream cone, I would have been able to snap a picture of the wedding couple.

Speaking of ice cream cones…don’t expect that just because I haven’t written about them lately, that we have given them up!  No chance.  As a matter of fact, in Sault Ste. Marie we found this delicious ice cream parlor!  For two nights we were able to nosh on the delectable treats, and Tom even joined into the obsession.  But, by the time we got to St. Ignace and to Mackinac Island, he jumped off the bandwagon!  An ice cream aficionado he is not.

Needing to get back to camp to get Tom ready for tomorrows departure back to Sault Ste. Marie, we got back on the ferry…essentially waking up from the dream.  As a kid, my island enthusiasm was always about the horses.  Today, I would like to learn more about its’ history.  I still have not seen all there is to see on Mackinac Island, and would be willing to go back again, and again, and again.

The Rooster Tail

Wawatam Lighthouse

View Of The Bridge From The Ferry

The Old Round Island Point Lighthouse

The Old Round Island Point Lighthouse

Mackinac Island Lighthouse

The Mackinac Island Harbor

Grand Hotel On Mackinac Island

The Streets Of Mackinac Island on Labor Day Weekend

The View Of Big Mac From Mackinac Island

Rock House Town

Tom Off His Bike!

The Boys Waiting For Me To Move Onward

The Rock Arch

The Park – A Sailboat Race Was Going On That Day

Gazebo And Garden

Even The Seagulls Were Enjoying The Park

A Horse Drawn Carriage

Day 75 – Cedarville to St. Ignace (Total Miles = 1226)

Seeing as we lost a day in Cedarville, we hightailed it out of there by 9:30am.  It would have been earlier, but Tom and I were obsessed with our early morning visitors…the sandhill cranes.

From the time Ken and I started this bicycle tour, the cranes have been watching our every move.  They have always stayed far enough away that we couldn’t get a good look at them.  On this day, the cranes lost their shyness and moved in, as if to see what we were all about.

Sandhill cranes live and migrate near freshwater and wetlands.  I didn’t know that they will eat mice, snakes, and worms, along with plants and grains.  The cranes can grow as tall as 5 feet and have a 6 foot wingspan.  Absolutely beautiful when seen up close, they are one of the oldest species that have gone physically unchanged.  I must have taken 50 pictures of these two cranes!!  If I could have, I would have stayed to just watch for hours…but, the road was calling.

Actually, our ride that day was brutal.  One of the hardest yet.  We had head-on winds at 19 miles per hour with gusts that tried to stop us in our tracks.  Tom got a real taste of life on the road, but he is such a good cyclist it seemed like it didn’t bother him at all.  I have been saying all along that you can only go as fast as the slowest person…so I held the two guys back.  They could have made it to St. Ignace long before we did had it not been for me.  We all pushed through the wind for 18 miles until we finally came to our turn south and we got some relief.  Tom flew off like he loves to do, and enjoyed the remainder of the ride unfettered.  We met up again at the campground in St. Ignace, set up camp, and then had to do laundry and eat.  It was a long day, and we all looked forward to a good nights sleep so that we could go explore Mackinac Island in the morning.

Cranes Checking Out Honey Badger

Tom And The Cranes Getting To Know Each Other

Is It A Bird? A Plane?  🤷‍♀️

First Glimpse Of The Mackinac Bridge From Lake Huron

Castle Rock

Paul Bunyon And Babe The Blue Ox