The next morning we arrived at the Arnold Transit Company pier, just next door to the Clarion Hotel, for our 20 minute jaunt across the channel (Mackinaw Channel? Mackinac?) to Mackinac Island.
|That dude scratches like me.|
The ferry that Arnold runs is a catamaran hull with twin hydro-jet engines. Imagine two ginormous jet skis with a mobile home filled with aluminum park benches glued to the top.
Over the years since the ferry has been in service, the general girth of passengers loaded to the gills with fudge and butter burgers has made slight alterations to the structure of the benches necessary.
No word on if Mayflies enjoy butter burgers. They were everywhere though, so if you are blood knotting a Parachute Adams to your tippet you are in luck. If you are from the U.P. you probably have no idea what that means, and would rather just shoot the fish or maybe chuck a few sticks of dynamite into the water and just net harvest the dead.
Arnold Transit Mackinaw City dock.
Port side arriving at Mackinac Island, this is Round Island Passage Light, built in 1948 and automated in 1973.
Arriving, Arnold Transit dock, Mackinac Island.
Early, the streets of Mackinac Island are empty. They would not remain this way for long. Cars are not allowed on Mackinac Island, so everything is done by either horse and wagon or bicycle. That man riding on the left there has a plumber shirt on as I recall, and the horse cart on the right in front of the blue passenger buggy was delivering drinks and sodas to the hotel on the right. The man is clearly filled to the gills with butter burgers and fried cheese curds. No word on what the horses eat.
This is looking up the hill to the fort from the main street directly across from the docks.
We rented bicycles and hit the M185, the only state highway in the nation where motor vehicles are not allowed. M185 rings Mackinac Island and is 8 miles long. I rented a 400 pound Electra single speed beach cruiser and a third wheel trailer for Jane and pedaled the entire distance. With nearly 1281 pounds of bike/gear/child/gut to lug around it was quite the workout.
But the views were spectacular.
|Northeast side of Mackinac Island|
This was my rented pig of a bicycle.
Which weighed as much as this historic hotel; The Island House. Ironic in that I rented the pig of a bicycle from the Island House. Residents of the Island House sit in the row of Adirondack chairs shown above and bet on the success or failure of folks renting 400lb bikes from the rental shack.
'Think he'll make it, Clem?"
|Carriage House Restaurant at Iroquois Hotel|
|Beer and Weed|
Fort Chapel near the entrance to the Fort
Before we left, we stopped for fish and chips and a few beers at the Grand Hotel's newly affiliated downtown restaurant, Cawthorne's Village Inn. Very nice meal and cool drinks made for a calming wind-down for a very busy day trip.
Looking across the marina as we boarded the Arnold Transit double-decker mobile home jet ski for the return trip to Mackinaw City.
A patriotic moment as Round Island Passage Light passes behind the flag flapping wildly in the breeze off the stern of the double-decker jet ski. Passage Light is on the Starboard side as you are leaving Mackinac Island.
|Tending this light should be a job still available to a grump like me.|
And to Port is Round Island Lighthouse. This lonesome little sucker was built in 1895, automated in 1924 and deactivated from 1947 to 1996. It fell into disrepair in the 50 years it was unused and battered by Lake Huron. It was restored in 1978 and sits today as a vigilant reminder of a lifestyle long since gone from the Mackinac Island region. Today Round Island is still uninhabited and is now managed by the National Forest Service. Round Island Light, as well as many locations across Mackinac Island, were used in the movie, "Somewhere in time".
A peaceful view to close out a very busy day.
Next stop, Charlevoix.