Day 101, Mackinac Island, 0 bike miles
Rather than ride the Gold Wing today, we took many other alternative modes of transportation including boat, van, horse taxi and walking.
The island surprised me. Hearing that cars were banned from the island (ever since they were called horseless carriages), I expected it to be rural and rather pedestrian. Wow. Instead, the placed buzzed with tourist activity, with hundreds choosing bicycles for transport and hundreds more riding in horse drawn taxis. And walking, of course.
The houses which dated back as far as the late 1800s, had been remodeled and sparkled with a new shine. Yards no longer housed plain old grass, but bursted with colors from myriad flowers. The domiciles may have been green, yellow, red or blue, but dazzled the eye as well.
Mac Island, with all its beauty is a tourist trap, don't kid yourself. Myriad museums, some rather small, demanded an admission fee. And the ferry and taxis weren't cheap. So Mr. and Mrs. Cheap needed to cowboy up and part with some precious cash.
Taking a taxi around the island was easy. Just pay, get a time, and wait an hour for your turn. No problem, we just strolled the street and enjoyed the view. The transport arrived and the driver doubled as a tour guide, (and tripled as a... well, an attempted comedian). The vehicle left town and dropped us at a small museum with a gift shop, where we embarked on another ride that took us through the state park, including stops with amazing viewpoints of green clear water, beaches and bicyclists riding along them.
The old world charm lost a bit of charm with the smell. Ironically, this high dollar place reminded me of Haiti, and I realized it's the equine scent. While the horses take us back to simpler times and lack the carbon footprint of the car, they leave another footprint and if one doesn't watch one's step, one leaves his own footprint in the uh... footprint.
We stopped at Goodfellows a sports bar, as this week featured the Olympics. So QG and I watched the Spaniard women beat up another team in water polo, a venue I would never watch were it not for the Olympics. We ordered overpriced food, Whitefish for me (caught right out there), and a buffalo chicken sandwich for QG. Both meals tasted most excellent and the ridiculous portions dissipated our distaste for the high prices.
I found a real estate office and got a flier on houses, condos and land. Buying a house is simple as paying up to $500 per square foot. We toured Main Street and pondered living here. Wouldn't you need to own a boat to bring provisions? And then you must hire a freight taxi, drawn by horse, to haul junk to the house. There's a tiny market, but a trip to the mainland would be necessary to get vittles. (Michigan talk for groceries). Five hundred people live there in winter. The inlet freezes over and they drill holes in the ice and line Christmas trees across it for a snowmobile superhighway. Oh, and you can use snowmobiles on the island in winter, because you're not driving them on the streets. You're driving them on the snow that covers the streets. How's that for a loophole?
We decided even without the gratuitous pricing, it wouldn't be worth it to live on the island for a summer or full time. But what an excellent place to visit. If we had more time, we'd refinance the house and stay in a hotel on the island for a night or two.
Definitely worth the time, money and trip.