Monday, August 16, 2010

Mackinac Island, Here We Come!

We woke up to the sound of....nothing.  Nothing at all.  It was so quiet.  No cars, no kids, no adults, no tv, no jets, nothing.  It was absolutely peaceful.  Kris, Jim, Karol, Steve, Marty, and Lorelei had all left for the river or the grandparents' and so the house was completely quiet.  My leg still hurt really bad, but today was Mackinac Island day so I was not going to let a black and blue, possibly fractured leg bother me!

We got up, got packed, got ready for the day, and we were out the door.  We started to head down the dirt road from their house and these two deer begged for their picture to be taken.  How could I resist?  They were just standing there in the neighbor's yard watching us go by.

Um, yeah, right.  They were plastic.  But, hey, you're in the woods, why not?  Maybe it draws real deer.  I don't know.  Take a look at this road - it was quite the bumpy little thing - but not horrible - just bumpy enough to make you drive a little slower.  It is the road Kris and Jim live on.  I think it helps to slow down the rugrats that race up and down on their four-wheelers.  I wouldn't mind living on a dirt road - as long as it wasn't muddy and rutty all the time.  Bye, Kris and Jim, we'll see you again on Friday!  Thanks for letting us stay with you!

As we left Kris and Jim's we proceeded out to the main road toward West Branch.  You have to cross this set of railroad tracks first and I've always wanted to take a picture down a set of tracks like this.  So, Melon Man stopped on the tracks for me (I know...bad, bad, bad!) and I was able to capture this picture.  I would have loved to have gotten out and gotten on the actual tracks to take it, but I didn't (in some states that is illegal!).

As we headed into town to get some breakfast and some gas, I looked down the road ahead of us and noticed this oddity - everything was so green and lush - and what stood out in the view ahead?  A blue recycling can!  It just stands out among all the green.  How could I help but not notice it?

I guess it would HAVE to be blue - otherwise the garbage/recycling guy might fly right past it if it was black or dark green!  Plus, I'm sure it stands out pretty nice in 8 feet of snow too.

Here are a few of the other things we saw on our way into town:

The towns in Michigan are so spread out that the UPS guy has to haul a trailer behind him since it's a long way back to the hub station.

Li'l Willies Sewer and Septic Cleaning Service - Both Melon Man and I just laughed when we saw this truck and read it.  We like to watch The Red Green Show on PBS and one of the characters on the show has a sewer and septic service company.  You'd have to see it - but it's pretty funny - so that's why we laughed.

Ah, the Ponderosa Steakhouse.  I haven't seen one of these in probably 20 years.  Julie and Kurt both used to work at the Pyuckerosa when they were teenagers.  I had no idea these were still around.  So, of course, I HAD to take a picture for them.

Yes, even West Branch has it's own water tower with its name on it - they actually have two - this one and the smiley face one from yesterday.

My first view of fall colors!  In August!  If there are fall colors this far "south" - there are probably far more in the "north"!  And...West Branch is actually bigger than everyone made me think it was...they have a Home Depot!
After stopping at McDonald's for some morning grub, we soon left the outskirts of West Branch and were on our way north.  So, these are a few more pictures of all the farmland we saw (again).  I never really got tired of seeing all the green farmland, rolling hills, or forests.  I guess I'm just so tired of all the brown, open, cactus-filled desert, that this was like being in heaven for me!

As we were driving throughout Michigan's backroads, I noticed all these little signs along the way.  Most of the time, they were near the lakes and the roads that run a few hundred feet inland from them.  Some signs were simple like this one, others were ornate and all decked out.  I asked what they were for.  Melon Man told me that they are there so people can easily find the turn into their property.  When you're out driving at night and it's super dark and there are no street lights, there's no really easy way to find where you're supposed to turn unless you have some sort of marker.  You can't just say, turn left at the green tree.  If you did that, you'd just be standing in one spot swirling around because there are SO MANY green trees!
Pretty soon Melon Man was saying, "Get your camera ready" again.  I wasn't quite sure why, but before I could find out, another sign we don't see in Arizona was this one:

As we crested a hill, Melon Man said, "There will be a road over this hill on the right.  Take a picture of it."  Sure enough, there it was.  So, I took a picture of it, oh heck, I took a few pictures of it....Papa V - these pictures are especially for you...

Apparently, when Melon Man was a wee lad, his dad would pass that road and say, "Look, there's that new road."  From what I was told, the road wasn't all that new after a few years, but his dad would still say, "Look, there's that new road" every time they passed it. 

We soon passed the road and came into Mio (pronounced my-oh). 

Now, let me tell you about Mio.  I've heard a few things about Mio from Melon Man and his dad, but a few months back when Linda Lu and David were out in Arizona visiting and looking for a house, we were all having dinner one night and I happened to mention that we were going to Michigan on vacation and David asked where.  When I included Mio in my list of places, he exclaimed that he used to live there.  How small of a world is that?  David and Melon Man chatted about all the different memories they had of Mio - including this one...

...the big pink elephant in front of the Mio Pizza Shop.  I have no idea what significance the pink elephant has in regard to the pizza shop, but hey, it's a landmark and everyone who's been to Mio knows the pink elephant. 

We drove the short distance through Mio and I started to complain about not having seen any Amish folks yet.  So, Melon Man took me down this side road into "the country".  Um, hello, this whole trip so far has been in "the country" for me!  I'm a city girl, remember?

Anyhow, we turn left onto this "country" road and lo and behold, what do my eyes see?  A buggy sign!  We ARE in Amish country now!  Now, this picture is a little deceiving because there is a big piece of machinery sitting there on the right and then here is this buggy sign, but that's just to warn motorists that there could be buggies on the road ahead.

We drove about a mile down this road and we came upon this...

At first, I never noticed the Amish farmer standing out here.  Melon Man had to clue me in that he was there.  What?  How could I have missed him?  I think I was just intrigued by the clothes flapping in the wind on the line a little to the right.  Next, Melon Man pointed out the hay in the field on the right side of the road...

I love this next picture.  The sun hit the hay just right and it is all aglow with light.  Gorgeous!  I promise...I did NOT Photoshop that glow in!

Soon, a different Amish farmer came walking through the hay...look at that long white beard!

I'm not sure if the Amish farmer knew I was taking pictures of him or not, but he never looked up to actually see that I was.  We stayed in the car the whole time and I used my telephoto lens, so I don't think he did.  I wouldn't want to offend him by him knowing that I took his picture since they don't believe in having their pictures taken.  Did you notice anything about the hay he was working?  Yep, it's just in a little pile rather than in rolls or bales.  Of course...because they don't use machinery that does that.

I wanted to continue on and see what other Amish sites we could find further down the road, but Melon Man had had enough of that and so we turned around and began heading again toward the far north.

Of course, we came upon ANOTHER "party store."

And more trees....also gorgeous!

As we continued on, we hit this landmark and I MADE Melon Man pull over so we could get a picture!  I probably should have pulled out the tripod I hauled all the way from Arizona so I could get a picture of both of us in front of the sign, but I didn't.

A few more sites along the way...

A cool old wood log cabin

A firewood company.  We saw a number of these today.
Family Dollar is about as common in Michigan towns as Democrats are in Boston.

Someone's "swimmin' and fishin' pond"

A view of downtown Cheboygan - I just LOVE the hanging baskets of flowers all up and down the street!
 We cruised up the lakeshore along Lake Huron and soon, Melon Man was again saying, "Get ready, get your camera!"

We were here!  Finally!  I was SO excited!  Melon Man knew of an awesome rest stop so we pulled into it and we walked down to the shoreline.  I caught a few pictures of this little spotted bird.  He just kind of stood there and let me take his picture. 

Melon Man wore his hat down from the car.  Dude, this is Michigan, not Texas.  But, he looks so cute anyhow.  Makes me want to find a strand of wheat and stick it in his mouth.  I love to take pictures of him when he doesn't know that I'm taking them.  I get such a much more natural look instead of his fake smiles!

As I walked down to the shore, I looked across the water toward Mackinac (pronounced Mack-in-ah) Island.  What did I see?  The Grand Hotel!  Yep, that's it right there in the center - that long white line.  Look at the different colors in the water too.  Beautiful!

Melon Man is telling me to come down to the picnic table with him.  Why?

So I can see this!  The Mackinac Bridge!  Finally!

Some interesting facts about the Mackinac Bridge...

The Mackinac Bridge is currently the third longest suspension bridge in the world.  The bridge opened to traffic on November 1, 1957.

Total Length of Bridge:  5 Miles
Height of Roadway Above Water at Midspan:  552 feet
Total Length of Wire in Main Cables:  42,000 miles
Total Number of Steel Rivets 4,851,700
Total Number of Steel Bolts 1,016,600
100 millionth crossing:  June 25, 1998
Number of Lives Lost in Building Bridge:  5

My Cowboy Melon Man.

We continued on to Mackinaw City which is the city on the south side of the Mackinac Bridge and what was one of the first things we saw?  Yep, another Party Store.  These things are everywhere!

We drove past the entrance to Fort Michilimackinac on our way to get on the bridge - yeah, say that one fast three times!  Okay, so this is how it's pronounced... Mich-eh-leh-mac-in-ah.  Yeah, I had to practice it a lot before I got it.

So we passed Fort Michilimackinac and got on the ramp to get on the Mackinac Bridge.  Here we go!

A view of Mackinac Island from the Mackinac City end of the bridge.  You can see the Grand Hotel from here too.

We're about 1/3 of the way across the bridge at the first tower.  The bridge from beginning to end is 5 miles long.  It sure didn't seem like it!

In the center of the road there is grating instead of solid road.  This is to make the bridge lighter and helps lessen the sway.  As it is, the bridge already weighs over 1 million tons, so cutting down on the concrete in the center lessens the weight quite a bit.  Plus, it makes a really cool sounds when you drive on it!

These cross sections of the towers are highly riveted.  They look kind of nifty too.

Another view of the water from the bridge.  The different depths causing the different shades of water are so incredible.

The speed limit across the bridge for all regular vehicles is only 45 miles per hour.  High profile vehicles often have to go much slower because of the high winds that cross the bridge.  Today, we were under one of such warnings.  I thought for sure we'd be able to feel the wind blowing us, but we didn't.

As we neared the end of the bridge on the St. Ignace side, we could see the island even better, including the Grand Hotel.

As we got off the bridge, a sign made sure to lead us to the boat docks for the ferries that go to the island.

Yes, it costs money to drive across the bridge...$3.50 each direction.

Essentially, it costs you $3.50 to get "into" the upper peninsula of Michigan!  I guess this is their way of "seceeding" from the union like they want to do!

Our toll master.

We were finally in the "U.P." and headed off to St. Ignace to catch our ferry out to the island.

It was kind of weird to think that this little town was founded over 300 years ago! 

As we drove along the docks looking for Shepler's, I caught this picture of this quaint little lighthouse.

It wasn't until I downloaded all of the pictures for today that I realized I'd caught this fish (in the picture).  It may be a little blurry, but, I thought it was still cool.

Shepler's ferry service.  It was recommended by the resort, so we took it.  We had a few tense moments when we couldn't find our reservation printout.  We had to look through every single bag and suitcase.  Melon Man wasn't too happy with me that I'd "lost" it but I finally found it tucked in among some other papers where I'd put it so I wouldn't lose it.  I'd just forgotten that I'd done that!

Melon Man liked this Gray Fox boat, so he took its picture.  It's a Canadian warship.  Now, why on earth would a Canadian warship be sitting in a U.S. harbor?  They were doing a Great Lakes tour...

Another very quaint and cute lighthouse, lighting the way into the boat docks.

A Starline ferry taking off out onto Lake Huron with its rooster tail flairing out for all to see.

A view of the Mackinac Bridge from the boat docks.  What a beautiful bridge!

As we took off out onto the water, I handed my Nikon camera over to Melon Man and let him take pictures of whatever he wanted.  But, I took pictures with the fancy pants camera too.  The waves were causing the water to be kind of choppy and I was getting a little nervous about how much the boat was rocking.  There were a couple of times that my side of the boat was close enough to the water that I almost could reach my hand out and touch it!  Instead of focusing on my impending death, I decided to focus on taking pictures during the 20 minute ride across the straits. they are along with Melon Man's pictures too...

The rich folks' homes on the West Bluff of the island.

Then, as we came around to the South side of the island where the main town is, we noticed the rich folks' homes on the South and East Bluffs.  Gorgeous!

I was snapping pictures like crazy.  The ride was so bumpy that I hoped even just one would turn out.  Luckily, quite a few did!  I love that Melon Man caught this picture of me taking pictures!

The Grand Hotel, in all its glory, as we approached the island.  I'll explain more about the Grand Hotel later.  We really would have loved to have stayed here, but it was just too much and kind of too pretentious for us.

I have been corresponding with a lady who permanently lives on the island.  She is a school teacher at the island school and to help supplement her income, she makes "Mackinac Mittens" to sell in a couple of the island shops.  I definitely plan on finding some and buying them while we're here!

A few more huge, beautiful homes on the island.  These are much closer to the water, however.

The Iroquois Hotel below.  I don't recall why we didn't stay there, but, maybe we should have.  More on that coming up.

A few of the hotels and homes along Main Street.  That tower kind of off to the right is the observatory tower at our hotel.

A view of the Mackinac Bridge from the ferry just as we were coming into the harbor at the island.

One of the lighthouses on the way into the harbor. This one didn't really seem like a "lighthouse" to me, but everyone said it was, so I guess it is.

Now, this one below IS and looks like a real lighthouse!  It's the Round Island lighthouse and is quite close to Mackinac Island.  And, in case you keep calling Mackinac MAK-IN-AK, that's wrong.  It's pronounced MAK-IN-AW.  I would say MAK-IN-AK just to irritate Melon Man.

Another view of the Mackinac Bridge from the harbor.  Just magnificent!

This is St. Anne's Catholic Church on Main.  There are only 2 churches on the island and the other one is NOT an LDS church!  So, if you're LDS and you live on the island, you have a little ways to travel each Sunday to go to church - on the mainland.  And, in the winter, you either have to fly to go to church or you have to ride a snowmobile across the frozen ice.  I bet that's fun in a dress!

We finally disembarked from the ferry.  We didn't have to worry about our luggage because that was all part of the "package."  The ferry line delivers the bags to the hotel and actually to your room!

We weren't too sure what to do next.  From the description on the hotel's website, it appeared we could catch a "taxi" near the docks and it would take us to the hotel upon arrival.  We walked out to Main Street and a taxi was waiting.  I inquired as to if it was going to Mission Pointe Resort and was advised yes.  So, we jumped on.  Soon, the crotchety old man driver told us it would be $9.50 for the two of us.  Huh?  I mentioned that we believed the ride was free to the hotel, but was quickly put in my place and told no.  So, I guess it was a good thing that we'd gotten some cash beforehand.  I took pictures of all the wonders of Mackinac Island as we "cruised" along Main Street at a whopping 2 miles per hour.  Of course, one of the first pictures I got was these two horses' butts!

Even this Mennonite girl decided to come to the island for a little relaxation and fun!

Check out all of these bikes!  So, the reason for them is that there are no vehicles allowed on the island.  Mackinac Island has not permitted motorized vehicles on its land for more than one hundred years.  The only vehicles permitted on the island are emergency vehicles and periodically, with expensive permits, large construction vehicles such as cranes and diggers.  People ride bikes, take horse-drawn taxis, or walk - EVERYWHERE.  Oh the winter, you can ride a snowmobile.

Ryba's Fudge Shops are a landmark on the island.  I plan on getting a bunch of different flavors of fudge before this trip is over!

These are the UPS horses....

...and this is the UPS truck dray...

This is how UPS works on the island...

Each day, there is a ferry that leaves Mackinaw City or St. Ignace with a UPS truck on it filled with packages.  The ferry parks at the docks and is unloaded onto a dray.  Then, all of the packages are delivered via dray to the different residents and stores on the island.  The dray also picks up any outgoing packages and then the UPS guy loads them into the UPS truck sitting on the ferry at the docks.  Then, at the end of the day, the ferry goes back to the mainland and UPS service continues like normal.

This is the only grocery store on the island.  So, you can guess that the prices are kind of high.  I read on a Mackinac Island blog that a gallon of milk costs about $5 in there!  Of course, everything that comes on to the island has to be freighted in, so that adds extra cost to everything.  In the winter, when the ice in the straits freezes over, things have to be snowmobiled or flown in.  The flower boxes in front of the store are beautiful!

As we continued down Main Street toward our hotel, we were able to see Fort Mackinac on the hill.  Fort Mackinac was a military outpost garrisoned from the late 18th century to the late 19th century on Mackinac Island.  Before 1763, the French had controlled the Straits of Mackinac by the similarly named Fort Michilimackinac on the mainland on the south shore of the passage. After the 1763 Treaty of Paris, the British occupied the French fort but deemed the wooden structure too difficult to defend. During 1780-1781, Patrick Sinclair, the lieutenant governor of Michilimackinac constructed a new limestone fort on the limestone bluffs of Mackinac Island. The British held the outpost throughout the war. After the 1783 Treaty of Paris, the British did not relinquish the fort to the United States until 1796.

The information below this picture comes from Wikipedia...

In June, 1812, at the start of the War of 1812, the British General Isaac Brock sent a canoe party 1,200 miles (1,900 km) to confirm that a state of war existed. This party returned with an order to attack Fort Mackinac, then known as "Fort Michilimackinac."

At that time, Fort Mackinac was manned by a small U.S. garrison of approximately 60 men under the command of Lieutenant Porter Hanks. While a diligent officer, Hanks had received no communication from his superiors for months.

On the morning of July 17, 1812, the fort was attacked by a combined British and Native American force of seventy war canoes and ten bateaux under the command of British Captain Charles Roberts. Coming from Fort St. Joseph to the north, Captain Roberts landed on the north end of the island, 2 miles away from the fort. The British quietly removed the village inhabitants from their homes and trained two cannons at the fort. Hanks, taken by surprise, realized his garrison was badly outnumbered. The officers and men under Roberts numbered about 200, supported by a few hundred Native Americans of various tribes.

Fearing a massacre by the Native Americans on the British side, Hanks accepted the British offer of surrender without a fight. The American forces were paroled (essentially allowed to go free after swearing to not take up arms in the war again) and the island inhabitants were made to swear an oath of allegiance as subjects of the United Kingdom. After capturing the island, the British, under the command of Colonel Robert McDouall of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment, built a stockade and blockhouse on the island's highest point, naming it Fort George. In an interesting epilogue to the capture of Fort Mackinac, Lt. Hanks made his way to Detroit and the American military post there. Upon arrival, he was charged with cowardice in the quick and bloodless surrender of the fort. However, before Hanks' court martial could begin, British forces attacked Fort Detroit. Lt. Hanks was killed in the ensuing battle, apparently decapitated by a British cannonball.

In July 1814, the Americans attempted to retake the island as part of a larger campaign designed by Colonel George Croghan and his superior General William Henry Harrison to capture control of the Great Lakes and sever the fur trade alliance between the British and the tribes of the region. The two-pronged campaign included an assault on Prairie du Chien on the Mississippi River.

On July 26, a squadron of five U.S. ships arrived off the Mackinac Island carrying a landing force of 700 soldiers under the command of Croghan. To his dismay, Croghan discovered that the new British blockhouse stood too high for the naval guns to reach, forcing an unprotected assault on the fort's wall. The Americans shelled the fort for two days, with most of the shells falling harmlessly in vegetable gardens around the fort.

A dense fog forced the Americans back from the island for a week before returning. Upon their return the Americans, led by Major Andrew Holmes, assaulted the north end of the island, near the location of the 1812 British assault. The Americans worked their way to the fort through dense woods which were protected by Native American allies of the British, finally emerging into a clearing below the fort.

McDouall, in the meantime, had placed a small force bearing muskets, rifles, and two field guns, behind low breastworks at the opposite end of the clearing. When the Americans emerged from the woods into the clearing, they were easy targets for the British guns. Thirteen Americans, including Major Holmes and two other officers, were killed, and 51 were wounded. Because of the heavy losses, Croghan was forced to order his men to retreat back through the woods to the beach. The Americans rowed back to their ships, leaving the fort in the hands of the British through the end of the war.

After the War of 1812, Fort Mackinac gradually declined in military significance. No longer needed as a front line border defense against the British in Canada, the fort instead took on the role of a strategic troop reserve. Essentially, troops who were not needed elsewhere could be deployed to Fort Mackinac until the need arose for them to be transferred to other locations of military importance. This arrangement led to the near-total abandonment of the post at Mackinac on numerous occasions. The fort was also used as a fur trading post.

Today, Fort Mackinac is a popular tourist destination. Situated on 150 foot bluffs above the beautiful Straits of Mackinac, it is one of the few surviving revolutionary war forts in the United States, and one of the most complete forts in the country. In 2005, Fort Mackinac celebrated 225 years standing guard over Mackinac Island.

During the main tourism summer months (June through August), visitors ascend into a bustle of activity within the Fort's old British-built stone walls. Once they enter the weathered gates they are greeted by costumed interpreters portraying life in the 1880s, and who are available for pictures, questions and tours throughout the day. Some of these 'soldiers' carry with them original 45-70 Springfield Model 1873, the type which were used at Fort Mackinac during the 1880s. Others still play music, or just simply greet and mingle with the crowds of visitors.

Many times during the day a visitor might be startled by the firing of the second largest cannon regularly demonstrated on the Great Lakes, the 1841 model six-pounder, positioned just as it would have been during the attack and bombardment of Fort Mackinac in the War of 1812. There are rifle firings, court martial re-enactments, even dances of the type done during the early days of Fort Mackinac, with music provided by the many musicians that Fort Mackinac has to offer.

There are 14 original buildings standing on the site as well, including:

1. Commissary Building: Once used for food storage; today houses a video program.
2. Post Headquarters: Used for the paymaster and offices.
3. Quartermaster's Storehouse: Held any and all equipment needed by the soldiers during the Fort's history.
4. Post Bathhouse: The newest building, built in 1885, housing 6 baths for the soldiers comfort.
5. Soldiers Barracks: Used to house the 100+ soldiers stationed there, but today houses a museum and the gift shop called the Sutler's Store.
6. Post Schoolhouse: Where the soldiers went in the last years of Fort Mackinac's military existence to become better educated.
7. Hill Quarters: Many Lieutenants lived within these walls, notice the difference from the Barracks.
8. Post Hospital: Where the post doctor/surgeon treated patients until a new hospital was built in 1860.
9. Officer's Stone Quarters: Michigan's oldest building (1780) and used to house officers. Today holds the Kids Quarters and the Tea Room. Operated by the Grand Hotel, the Tea Room offers light lunches and exquisite dinners eaten on the Fort's primary veranda overlooking the Straits of Mackinac, Marquette Park, and the town below.
10. Wood Quarters: Used for various purposes over the life of the building, including officers' quarters and a post canteen that served Schlitz beer, but no whiskey.
11. Post Guardhouse: Prisoners had been held on this site for over a century.
12-14: North, East, and West Blockhouses: Stone towers built by the first Americans garrisoning Fort Mackinac standing like restless sentinels, watching over the three main palisades of Fort Mackinac.

Well, that was an interesting history lesson, wasn't it!?!?  This next building is a private residence right near Marquette Park.  How would you like a house like that, overlooking the harbor?

Another private home - next to the home above.  Gorgeous!

I LOVED this bed and breakfast.  Melon Man does not like B&Bs.  He finds them creepy.  So, as much as I would love to stay at this B&B right on Main Street and the water, we probably never will.  :(

We soon arrived at our hotel - the Mission Point Resort.  The grounds were beautiful.  However, the rest of it - not so great.  We had booked a lake view room so we could enjoy the view of the water, watch the big ships on the straits, and get some lake breeze since none of the rooms in the hotel had air conditioning.  Oh heaven forbid!  No A/C?  What was I going to do?  I was going to melt!  But, Melon Man assured me I would be fine.  After all, he'd made me bring a jacket just in case it got too cool in the evening...which it very well could in August.  However, when we arrived at the hotel, they told us our room wasn't ready yet and that they were actually oversold and would like to offer us an upgrade to a suite.  A suite?  Okay, sure!

While we waited for our room to be available, we decided to take a little walk down to find something to eat for lunch.  As we were walking out, we saw this ship out on the water.  My first big ship!  I was actually able to zoom in and get a good picture of the ship from quite a bit away.

So, we decided to walk down to Bistro on the Greens to grab some lunch.  We noticed all the adirondack chairs out on the lawn of the resort and immediately I wanted to hang out and catch some relaxing rays. hunger won out and so we continued to walk down to the restaurant.

The restaurant was a tapas style restaurant.  Tapas is the name of a wide variety of appetizers, or snacks, in Spanish cuisine.  They may be served cold or warm. Tapas has evolved into an entire, and sophisticated cuisine.  The serving of tapas is designed to encourage conversation because people are not so focused upon eating an entire meal that is set before them.

Melon Man started out with these garlic roasted potatoes.  They were quite yummy.

I had the grilled sourdough bread with roasted garlic and feta cheese.  OH MY HECK.  GOOD.  However, Melon Man begged me not to eat all of that garlic so I wouldn't wreak of garlic for 2 days again.

Melon Man then had the espresso rubbed petit tenderloin, which came with onion jam, greens, and black pepper oil.  I think this picture is hilarious because he looks like he's ready to just chow down into a big hunk of meat.  But, really, a tenderloin is just a small piece of meat - which this really was!

I had the buffalo burger on a foccacia roll with onion mayo and truffle fries.  OH MY FREAKIN' HECK!  I could have eaten 20 pounds of those fries.  They were SO GOOD!  The truffle oil just made them.  I will have to find some of that at home!  I just was so sad when the fries were gone.  :(

This was the view from our table.  So relaxing!  I could sit here for days!  A funny thing...I never once thought about work the whole time I was sitting there!

After lunch, back to the room we went.  We wanted to just relax for a bit.  The streets were crowded and we just wanted to wind down a bit first.  We were not real happy with our new room.  There was NO view - none whatsoever.  In fact, our room was right along the service path behind the hotel and 10 feet away from the window was a wall of dirt and trees.  Because they had told us they were oversold, we didn't even bother asking about a different room.  Bummer.

We actually took a little nap and then woke up and decided to go get some dinner.  We still didn't feel like walking back into town, so we just ate at the hotel in the Round Island restaurant.  They had a nice buffet.  I'm typically not a salmon lover, but lately it has really been growing on me so I was thrilled when I saw that they had pistachio crusted salmon.  It was fantastic!

This was the inside of the restaurant.  I thought all the flags were kind of nifty.  I had no idea that each flag represents a letter of the alphabet.  Obviously there was something spelled out with them, but I never figured it out.

After dinner, we took a little walk down to the lawn and sat on the adirondack chairs for about 30 minutes just looking out at the water.

Then, Melon Man and I walked down to the shore.  I wanted to look in the water for Petoskey stones, but Melon Man told me I'd never find one because we were on the wrong side of Michigan for them.  So, I stopped looking and just focused on taking pictures.

The Round Island lighthouse - again.

Next, I took some pictures of the water rolling in over some rocks - just messing around with the settings on my camera.  Yeah, I'm still not very good.

As we were standing there in the fading sunlight, all of a sudden, I noticed this HUMONGOUS ship coming into the strait from behind the break.  It was ginormous!

Melon Man is pointing it out for you.  In his mind though, he's probably saying, "I want one of those."  He says that about a lot of "interesting" things.

All of another sudden, we noticed this little pleasure/fishing boat heading right for the ship.  It was on a straight course for destruction.  Watch it...

The ship laid on its horn and essentially told the boat to get the heck out of its way or it would run over it.  Um, yeah, what a bunch of idiots taking on a big ship like that!  Finally, the little boat turned and went alongside the ship.

I zoomed in on the ship so we could see the name of it - it was the St. Clair.  It is a self-unloader.  You can tell that this ship is over 1,000 feet long because of this white light pole on the says Melon Man.  I trust him...because I have no idea about ships...and he does.

This boom is what helps unload the iron ore or such from the ship.

Soon the St. Clair had passed us by and soon turned southbound to Detroit.  I didn't quite understand why the ships come up through the strait and then go around Bois Blanc island and then turn south again rather than just going south of Bois Blanc right away, but Melon Man told me it's because the water south of Bois Blanc Island isn't deep enough for them.  Ah, makes sense now...

As we finished watching the ship, we looked to the sky and saw these dark clouds building.  A storm was a-comin' in from Canada.  So, we decided to head back to our room...the room with no view...and no A/C...

But, before we went back to the room, we snapped this picture of us on the shore.  Cutie patooties in love, on vacation, on the magical island of Mackinac...where they filled the movie Somewhere in Time.

We got back to the room and watched some tv.  I couldn't get the free internet to work on my laptop so I could clear out some work email - even though I tried for 2 hours - and Melon Man finally reminded me that I was on "bay-cation" and to put it away.  So, ya know...I did.
And...when we went to go to bed that night, you know what we found in the closet?  A box fan!  Yep, you betcha...we hooked that baby up and aimed it right at me.  I was cool as a cucumber all night!


Lisa Tucker said...

I loved all the pictures and story that went along with it. Wish I could have gone with you. It looks like alot of fun and beautiful! Can't wait for the next set of photos.

Cindy said...

Great pictures and journaling. I don't know how I would have done on that bridge!!!

Loving your vacation.

Jessica M W said...

I was googling my hometown of Mio and found this. I loved your pictures and would like to tell you just a little more about the Pink Elephant; It has been there since I was born, well, not there exactly, but in Mio, it used to be in front of a party store (convenience store) that had a murial of a pink and purple elephant on the side. I am not sure if it burned down, or if they rebuilt it, but the building is not the original. The elephant was temporarily across the street from where it is now and officials were trying to decide on what to do with it. At one point they were trying to vote on it to destroy it, but the whole city rallied against that idea because it has been there for so long that it is a symbol of Mio. It was put in front of Mio Pizza Shop and left there, thankfully without damage. I do not live in Michigan now, but I've come across a few people that have been to Michigan and when I ask them, "Have you ever been to Mio?" they aren't sure until I mention the pink elephant, then their eyes get big and they start smiling, "That's Mio? I remember that elephant." I hope this helped. :)