We begin this abbreviated episode with a pleasingly alliterative slightly smoky sunrise over St. Ignace, and a Public Service Announcement for the benefit of anyone needing to build a secure mounting solution for their super-cool wicked-fast Starlink dishy: If you forget to bring your nice Dewalt drill when you drive across the country to the boat and then you go back to Phoenix for some unrelated matters but figure you’ll just throw the drill in your carry-on bag and bring it back to the boat, don’t. Apparently handheld power tools are right up there with five-ounce bottles of sunscreen in terms of terrorist threats. The nice drill bits you’ll want to use with the drill? Also not allowed.* Who knew?
Despite airport shenanigans, after a few days doing stuff in Arizona we made it back to Tumbleweed. Our dude Dustin and his helper had her creamed and buffed with a fine chamois to a standard even Judge Elihu Smails would appreciate.** Most of the bugs have died, so we have that going for us. Which is nice.***
We’re happy to report that we found a few new things to do while in Mackinaw City after all. Colonial Michilimackinac, for one, was fabulous. The area around here once was occupied by Native Americans, but then the Jesuits presumptuously decided to convert them all to Catholicism because otherwise the traditions and beliefs passed down by generations of ancestors doomed them to spend a hellish eternity with Satan and Alabama fans. Then the French built a fort, then the British took the fort, then the Indians took the fort, then the British took it back.
In 1780, so the story goes, the British abandoned the fort and moved the entire community to Mackinac Island, either because the mainland location was proving hard to defend or because they heard there were better fudge shops over there. We’re a bit skeptical that the British actually left, however, because when we were exploring Fort Michilimackinac this afternoon we personally witnessed Redcoats marching around and a peasant girl mechanically pretending to split wood.
We also found that another good thing to do when in Mackinaw City is to leave Mackinaw City and drive across the bridge to St. Ignace. If you think the Village of St. Ignace was named for Saint Ignace, you’d be mistaken. Because there was no Saint Ignace. Father James Marquette—yes, the same Father James Marquette we’ve referenced several times in the past—decided that the Indians on the Yoop needed saving as well, so he founded a mission and named it for Ignatius of Loyola, choosing the hip nickname “Ignace” over the less-hip given name “Ignatius.” In fairness to Pere Marquette, there’s not a name much less hip than “Ignatius.”**** Anyway, we visited Marquette’s grave on St. Ignace, and plan to visit his city in a week or two.
While in St. Ignace we had a delicious dinner at Bouy’s and also popped by the Wawatum Lighthouse. This is one of the last lighthouses built in the United States, but when completed in 1998 it was a non-functioning roadside attraction welcoming I-75 motorists to Michigan rather than an aid to navigation. When MDOT decided to tear it down, the current Fathers of St. Ignace had it moved to the coastline and put a light in it. The light mostly serves as a beacon for snowmobilers who are screwing around at night after the Straits of Mackinac freeze over, but still.
We also discovered the veggie dogs at Weinerlicious.
Demonstrating our surprisingly good judgment, we’ll avoid the temptation to insert sophomoric double entendres.
There’s a big motorcycle rally scheduled here for this weekend so our departure tomorrow is quite timely. We did stop by though. This photo also tempts comments that would offend several groups of people, but again with the good judgment thing.
Tomorrow, a new stop for us in DeTour Village. Back to the Upper Peninsula for a while.
*We’ve seen enough prison movies to know that resourceful convicts can whittle a lethal shive out of a toothbrush or a spoon, among other things, so allowing toiletries and utensils but not drill bits on an airplane seems more than a tad arbitrary. Also, a satchel of Harry Potter hardbacks would make a better weapon than would a small drill that lacks the electricity it needs to operate. The civil servants with TSA badges, however, don’t care to debate the issue.
**“Porterhouse! . . . Chop, chop!”
***This will be the last Caddyshack reference you’ll find in the second paragraph of today’s post.
****It’s unclear whether to honor Saint Ignatius even further, Father Marquette also gave James Osterberg—the “Godfather of Punk” who was born in nearby Muskegon, Michigan—the stage name Iggy Pop. “Iggy Pop” is way more hip than even “Ignace.”