July 13-20, 2019 Our main goal this week was to visit the two Great Lakes (Huron and Superior) and to see Mackinac Island.
We heard that driving the RV over the Mackinac Bridge onto the Upper Peninsula was tough for RV’s because of the wind. They make trucks go 20 mph. So we decided to park the RV at the Mackinaw Mill Creek Campground and took day trips from here. We could see the bridge from here.
The campground has a very efficient check in process. They offered discounted tickets for the ferry ride to Mackinac Island, which saved us $15.
We had Campsite #46 which wasn’t on the water because those sites don’t have sewer. But there is a huge community space that we took advantage of everyday.
Loved the open public area on the lake.
We rode our bike and ran around the camp ground most days.
One night we attended a Lumber Jack show. These are the shows you see on ESPN. The show was a competition between two lumberjacks, AJ and Chris. They did a great job of having the audience interact with the show. Mackenzie was called down to compete in a yelling ‘Timber’ competition. She won a frisbee and a free ice cream from a local fudge shop.
After the lumber jack show we went downtown to get Mackenzie’s free ice cream.
We watched the process of hardening the fudge for 20 minutes. The man manipulating the fudge is the son-in-law of the father’s family that has owned this shop since the beginning. They don’t refrigerate the fudge to harden it, they just manipulate it. We learned that this process makes Mackinaw/Mackinac fudge special.
The only way to reach the island is by ferry. Except in the winter time when the lake freezes. There is a strip of ice they line with Christmas trees and people snowmobile from the dock on the peninsula to the island.
There are a few ferry timed rides each day that will take you under this beautiful bridge. Mackinac Bridge is a suspension bridge that connects the Upper and Lower Peninsulas of Michigan. Michigan is shaped like a mitten and then there is this extra peninsula at the top that is nicknamed UP for Upper Peninsula. The UP looks like it should belong to Canada or Wisconsin but in fact it belongs to Michigan.The bridge was built in 1957 and is the longest suspension bridge between anchorages in the Western Hemisphere.
We ferried our bikes over.
We parked our bikes at the base of a trail and hiked to the top to see Arch Rock.
The Fort is the oldest building in Michigan. It is comprised of 13 outbuildings and reminds me of Williamsburg. They have cannon and rifle demos, and the soldiers march around teaching games and dances to bring history alive.
After riding around the island and visiting the fort, we were hungry. Luckily they have a tea room in the fort that serves lunch.
Blacksmithing demos at the Fort.
Outside the fort, down the hill on the right, is a small fur trading shop museum. We stopped in a learned that in 1822, there was a shot out where a man, Alexis St. Martin, was shot in the stomach from 3 feet away. William Beaumont, the doctor, saved his life. During the healing process, his stomach did not close up properly, so he had to be fed through the hole. Dr. Beaumont basically did experiments because this was the first time someone could learn about how the stomach works. Until now it was all theory. He proved the stomach operated chemical with gastric juices. He became known as the father of American physiology. It’s a very interesting story if you want to dig deeper.
We made it to the Grand Hotel and Golf course, it was a tough uphill ride. We didn’t realize you have to pay $10 pp to go inside to see the hotel lobby so we decided not to do that and instead spend the money on Ice Cream! It was inside the hotel so technically we have been in the hotel:) After we rested we headed back out for our tour around the island.
Everything that goes up must go down….Best downhill ride ever!
We were sad to leave the island. This is one of those places we say that we would visit again. There aren’t too many places we say that about. It is so quiet! We loved not hearing any cars and just riding our bikes everywhere. Mackenzie loved it so much she looked for real estate signs because she thinks we should buy a summer home here.
We had Perfect weather so there was no trouble passing.
Pasties. Pasties. Pasties. We were told, by several people, we had to get a pasty when in the UP. We stopped at Bessies and tried chicken and beef with and without gravy. I was the only one that liked them. A pasty is filled with beef, potato and onion and looks like a calzone. It’s the original hot pocket.
Point Iroquios Lighthouse
We did not make it all the way to Pictured Rock. Had Chris not had to work tomorrow we could have camped and had time to explore it.
On the way home from our ‘beach time’ we drive over to Point Iroquois Lighthouse. It was built in 1855 (wood replaced with brick in 1870). We arrived at the Lighthouse just as they were closing. We had just enough time to visit the museum and climb the 65 feet to the top. From here we could see Canada and the mouth of the St. Mary’s river. There was a great battle here that the Iroquois lost and the name of the area on Gi ally given by the Ojibwa, meant ‘place Iroquois bones’. This is the first part of what is now Michigan that was explored and settled by French men in 1620.
The lighthouse is part of the Hiawatha National Forest.