Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Mackinac Island


The weather Gods have not been with us much on this trip. Today's 115 mile ride to Macinaw City was cold, rainy and windy. Of course, the rain comes at a point where there is nowhere to pull off the road and "gear up" with our rain gear. And, to make matters worse, I learn that my grip heaters and seat heaters are not working. Thank you MAXIM Honda! I recently had a hand control unit swapped out on warranty and apparently something did not got re-connected. So, my hands were freezing.

We arrived at the Sheppler's Ferry dock around 10am and took the ferry over to the island. The ferry ride is only about 15 minutes and they run every half hour. When we arrived on the island, the weather was still windy, cool and cloudy. Some people were running around in shorts, obviously expecting warmer weather. The island is very "touristy" with tons of shops and restaurants. There is a fudge shop every 20 feet or so. Apparently, fudge is a big thing here. Ice cream too. Even on a cold (for us) day like today, people are eating ice cream.

We stopped for lunch at Chuckwagon, a local burger joint. The hamburgers were as good as we had been told. This place is definitely worth a visit for lunch. After lunch, we bought tickets for an island tour via horse drawn carriage. There are no cars or vehicles allowed on the island, so everywhere you look are horses, carriages or bicycles. The island tour is pricey at $22 per person, but it is one of those things you have to do. It might have been a stroke of luck that we visited on a cool, breezy day. I can only imagine the horse smell on a hot, humid day with no wind. The island tour takes about an hour and a half and was interesting. We have done so many tours all around the world that I get bored very quickly. However, our tour guide was very clever and funny and did an excellent job.

After the tour, we walked through town one last time before boarding the ferry back to the mainland. The weather was no better when we got back to the bike. My leather gloves were still wet and cold from the ride up from Traverse City. Of course, I had left my larger, warmer Olympia gloves back at the hotel in the trailer. So, we made a stop at a Bass Pro Shops to look for a pair of gloves. All they had were fleece-lined mittens for $45! In my desperation, I bought a pair and we mounted up for the cool, windy ride "home". Fortunately, it was not raining, just cold and windy. In fact, if it had not been windy, the temperature would have been pleasant.

Our route back to Traverse City took us through the Tunnel of Trees (M119). This was probably the nicest stretch of road on the entire trip so far. The narrow, winding road is nearly covered by a canopy of trees for close to 20 miles. We arrived back at Cambria Suites at around 7:30pm, opened a bottle of our Michigan wine and reflected on a crazy day of riding.

Tomorrow we will ride down the east shore of Lake Michigan to Valparaiso, Indiana as we begin our trip back to Texas.

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