Yesterday morning we caught the sunrise on Drummond Island through the sailboat beside us, slipped the lines, crossed our last big stretch of Lake Huron, and returned to mainland U.S.A. Our next island marina probably will be on Vaca Key.
One of us wanted to go straight to Cheboygan, mostly because it’s a fun word to say. Cheboygan. Cheboygan was out of the way. We’ll just have to settle for saying it. Cheboygan.
Mackinaw (pronounced just as one might expect) City isn’t much fun to say, but it’s on our way to Chicago so that’s where we went. Great day on Lake Huron, right until we reached the Straits of Mackinac. (Mackinac is pronounced exactly the same as Mackinaw. There’s some really goofy etymology up in these strange lands.) Wind wasn’t the problem. Current wasn’t the problem. Ferries were the problem. Wake-throwing SOBs were right on our line to the marina and weren’t too worried about it. At one point one of us wanted to hold a phone to video the troughs that were tossing spray over the pilothouse when we plowed into them, but the other one said something to the effect of “keep both hands on the wheel and both eyes on the ferries” but with a bit more color and insistence. The point is that we have no video. But we got to the City Marina safely, which probably is more important.
If you think the ferries only jack with boaters during the day, you’d be wrong. Long after bedtime they zipped in and out, rocking us in our slip like Galloping Gertie in the wind. Even at no-wake speeds in the no-wake zone 50 yards off our beam, they churned up wake. Does this look like no wake? Nope.
On dry land in developed countries certain things are a given. No boat will wake you. You’ll have passable internet. And when you take a shower, you’ll have water. Not so on a boat. We live off of fresh water tanks that require a pump to generate pressure. Two days ago in the midst of Dana’s shower, suddenly no water. Well maybe we misread the sight gauge and the aft tank was empty, so let’s refill it. Yesterday in the midst of Dana’s shower, suddenly no water. Hmmm. The tank’s full. Either Dana needs to stop showering or we have a bigger issue. What the heck, let’s figure it out tomorrow. Which was today. So when we woke up to a beautiful sunrise, it was clouded by the need to get fresh water. Fortunately we’ve been carrying a new pump just for this purpose, the installation of which solved the problem. Ain’t she a beauty? It wasn’t Dana after all.
Then off to Mackinac Island. To get there, we had to patch things up with the ferry. If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em sort of thing.
Mackinac Island has roads but no cars. Everybody uses bicycles so we rented a couple. And a trailer for the boys. Since we took the pink pillow for them things turned out ok. And before anyone judges Doug’s biking posture, please understand that his bike was stuck in a high gear while his endurance is stuck in a low gear.
The circumference loop took us through areas where the waters of Lake Huron almost looked Carribeanish. There was an arch to rival Rainbow Bridge, albeit much smaller. And the Grand Hotel indeed was pretty grand, although a hotel that charges $10 just to walk in the door is way too uppity for us. Somewhere in Time was a passable movie despite the absurd time-travel element, but looking at a lobby is not worth $10. Or $20 if we both went in.
Ultimately we concluded that Mackinac Island is sort of a cross between Catalina Island (Avalon in particular) and Coronado, with a dash of Gatlinburg, although instead of Smoky Mountain Salt Water Taffy, here every third store sells fudge. None of those places have horse poop everywhere, of course, so maybe we’re off just a tad.
A wonderful dinner with Second Wave and Texas 2 Step. Weather looks good for tomorrow.
*Concept stolen from Samuel Coleridge. Obviously.