Mackinaw City, MI

On Monday, August 30, we left the Marquette Tourist Park at 9:30. Acey had 76,871 miles and Thor 91,566 miles. We drove thru Christmas, MI and Santa waved as we passed by.

Before long, we saw the Mackinac Bridge

we crossed over the bridge

and arrived at the Tee pee Campground in Mackinaw City. We can see the bridge from our campsite!

We went for a ride around Mackinaw City on Tuesday and rode several miles down the North Western State Trail.

Much of the trail was crushed gravel and there was a lot of shade. We rode just over 14 miles.

We went back to Acey and had lunch. Linda’s friends Nancy and Jan came for a visit. It happens to be Nancy’s birthday. Nancy loves a road trip! We walked around the Michilimackinac (from the Odawa, meaning “Big Turtle”) State Park which is right by the bridge. The Old Mackinac Lighthouse was there. It was established in 1889. For over 60 years, four generations of lighthouse keepers and their families lived at the station. The grounds include three original buildings restored to their 1910 appearance.

Such a pretty lighthouse – it looks a bit like a castle. The light was visible to ships sixteen miles away. It was in operation until 1958; the lighthouse is now a maritime museum.

The sun was shining on the bridge, making it glow. What an impressive structure; always amazing to see! The Mackinac Bridge is the longest suspension bridge in the Western Hemisphere with 7,400 feet of roadway suspended in the air over the Straits of Mackinac. Total length of the bridge, including its approaches, is approximately five miles. It opened to traffic on November 1, 1957, and ferry service between the peninsulas was discontinued that same day.

We walked around Fort Michilimackinac, but decided not to pay the entry fee to go in – maybe next time! The fort was an 18th-century French, and later British, fort and trading post at the Straits of Mackinac. Built around 1715, it was abandoned in 1783,

The skies cleared up and we really enjoyed walking around the area.

Jan and Nancy are childhood friends of Linda’s – we were in school together for many years!

Jack seemed to enjoy the walk too, but he is not a swimmer.

Just beyond the park were some homes on the lake – this one is HUGE – and still under constuction – or being remodeled.

This door was gorgeous!

According to the plaque over the door, this neighboring house is “TIP O’ THE MITT”. Cute name!

We passed by this memorial to the five workers that died building the bridge.

As terrible as it is that 5 men died, its kind of amazing that it was only 5!

We had a fun dinner out – then Nancy and Jan drove back home. It was great to be reunited with old school chums!

On Wednesday, we took the ferry over to Mackinac Island. Being curious about Mackinac and Mackinaw – why the spelling varies but pronunciation is the same; Mack – in – aw – we were told the French influence left the “c” on the end and generally refers to the island and the bridge and anything to the north. The city, south of the bridge, is Mackinaw; perhaps due to the British influence; they preferred to spell it like it sounds! The morning ferries featured “Mighty Mac Departures” where the ferry goes under the bridge – no extra charge – so that sounded good!

We came really close to one of the cable bent piers; these concrete anchorages secure the ends of the suspension cables that hold up the roadway.

a close up view – love it!

A freighter was also passing under the bridge – the American Mariner ( 730 feet long, 78 feet wide

Looking up, we could see right thru the span above us

A whole different perspective!

As we got closer to the island, the Grand Hotel was in view!

As we approached the island, we passed by two lighthouses.

The early inhabitants named the island “Great Turtle” and you can see how hilly it is; they likened the shape to be that of a turtle.

We brought our bikes over on the ferry. No motor vehicles are allowed on the island; lots of horses pull all kinds of carts, including garbage. Here were a couple we saw.

We rode around and came to Arch Rock sitting high up the hillside.

Wikipedia describes “M-185, the United States’ only state highway without motorized vehicles, makes a circular loop around the island, closely hugging the shoreline.” But a good part of the road is being repaired, and is closed – we turned around just past Arch Rock. We rode past the downtown area and along the shoreline. This house was nice – except for the mattress on the front steps…

Though it was a clear day, the bridge was barely visible on the horizon

We came to another rock formation called “Devil’s Kitchen”

And soon we came to the other end of the road closure. Seeing the construction equipment kind of took away from the “magic” of the island – but how do you think they built the alphalt roads?!

We rode up and across the island on Britishh Landing Road – going the OTHER direction would have been easier as this was uphill most of the way! We rode past the golf course and saw the airport.

And before we knew it, we were at the Grand Hotel. Some movies have been filmed on the island – This Time for Keeps in1947 and Somewhere in Time in 1980 being the most well known.

We could not go in the hotel without paying a fee – no riff-raff allowed?! We rode on down the hill and back downtown. Up on another hill was Fort Mackinac.

We took a look at the Missionary Bark Chapel

Inside, we saw Father Marquette ministering to one of the locals.

A statue of Jacques Marquette was in a park named for him

The Peace Garden nearby was dedicated in 2015, commemorating 200 years of peace with Canada following the war of 1812. The eagle, indian and lion all stand on the turtle’s back.

We noticed a Statue of Liberty replica down by the marina. The statue has been on the island since 1950, donated by The Boy Scouts of America to celebrate its 40th anniversary with the theme, “Strengthen the Arm of Liberty.” It was restored in 2014.

After riding over 10 miles and walking around as well, we decided to call it a day, and headed back to the ferry.

We said good bye to the Mighty Mac – tomorrow we are heading south to Saint Clair.

We enjoyed our time in northern Michigan and the beautiful Great Lakes!

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Please be sure to comment – at least every now and then – to let us know you are reading the blog and keeping up with our adventures. Thanks for stopping by!


2 thoughts on “Mackinaw City, MI”

  1. Wow, what a fun time you had in the Mackinac area. Loved the pictures of the bridge, kind of makes me want to go there myself. The statue of the Indian, the eagle and the lion on the back of a turtle; I’m impressed with how much you capture. Thank you!

    1. Every time I see the Mighty Mac it just amazes me how it can hold up the roadway over such a long span. It is one of our modern marvels for sure! We rode our bikes around Mackinac Island in 2019 – the road was open all the way around the island then – so we did not get real close to the Grand Hotel – only saw it from the ferry. We saw more of the island this time since we rode across the middle. Marquette Park was fun to explore – and the 3 statues we saw — well – we totallly missed them in 2019!

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