Day 9

Friday, 5 Jun 2009
  St. Ignace, MI to Cheboygan, MI
38.5 miles, 3h37m, 10.6 mph
Elapsed Time: 6h33m, Max speed: 25.5mph
Total Climbing: 1181ft, Max elevation: 894ft
Total mileage: 542.6

Copyright 2002
        DeLorme. Topo USA. Data copyright of content owner.

Today was what bicycle touring is supposed to be like. The weather was perfect, the cool stuff to see was along the way, and I didn't have to ride very far.

I finished my leftover pizza for breakfast, and then added a cup of coffee and bowl of oatmeal from the hotel. I rolled out at about 8:15 looking for three things: 1) a trash can to throw away the extra food I bought yesterday, 2) an ATM, and 3) a place to buy ferry tickets for Mackinac Island. I found the ferry tickets, then I had to hustle to make the boat, so I didn't get to throw away the food or get money. Pretty exciting stuff, huh?

So I rode the boat to Mackinac Island. I'm sure everyone but me has already been there, but I'm going to talk all about it anyway. I'd never realized that there are no motor vehicles on the island (except for the front-end loader I saw, and the pick up truck I think I caught a glimpse of, and the tractor-trailer rig that was sitting on a deserted pier on a remote corner of the island) and that everyone travels by bicycle, horse-drawn conveyance, or on foot.  I thought it was charming. Sort of a bicyclist's paradise. I went for a ride around the island on the road that runs around the island's perimeter, and then into the interior and up to the top of the highest point on the island. Everything was great until I returned to town and discovered that it was overrun by tourists and school children. The charm was gone, now it was a tourist trap. I grabbed a burger for lunch and got on the 12:00 boat for Mackinaw City.

The harbor at Mackinac Island.

In the morning, when it was still charming.

The awesome road around the island.

Lake Huron. I actually touched it but I totally botched the picture.
There will be other opportunities.

This is where the Americans landed in 1812 to try to take the
island from the British. This canon wasn't actually there at the time,
but it might as well have been. The Americans lost.

It takes three large draft horses to pull the average American tour group
up a hill.

The ole bike in good weather trim. That's the last you'll see
of that for a while.

The Grand Hotel

By 11am the streets were clogged with tourists and children.

If you look closely you can see that they are using forklifts to load horse-drawn wagons.

Mackinaw City is a lot like St. Ignace. Both tourist towns that serve as gateways to Mackinac Island. I rode north to get a look at the bridge and to see Fort Michilimackinac, but to get to the Fort you have to go through a visitor center and pay $10. The $10 was not a problem, but the visitor center was choked with children and I couldn't get through. So I rode to Cheboygan.

Ye Olde Mackinaw Lighthouse

Ye Olde Mackinaw Bridge

The nice weather ended sometime between five and six this evening when the temperature dropped 10 degrees and it started raining. It's not supposed to rain tomorrow for my 80 mile ride to Alpena, but it will be cold again, then crappy for three days after that. Sunday is looking particularly lousy.


"Great Lakes Tour 2009" Copyright © 2009 By Bob Clemons. All rights reserved.