Mackinac Island: The first stop
Our adventure started early on Tuesday, October 9th at about 5 AM. Maryssa and I woke up early to make sure we could say goodbye to her parents, who had graciously been feeding and housing me as we made the final preparations to leave. With the bikes on top of the pop up, we left around 6:30 AM to pick up Samantha, who was waiting for us in Tomahawk, Wisconsin. Once the whole team was together, we set off for our first adventure destination: Mackinac Island.
We picked this as our first destination for a couple reasons. For starters, its beautiful and always a fun spot to see. Maryssa had never been, while Samatha and I both had as kids. The second reason we picked Mackinac Island is to see our good friend Brock! I met Brock 3 years ago through a mutual friend, and then he came to work at Wildman 2 years ago. He recently moved to the island after ending the rafting season. In the time I've known Brock, he's become a tremendous buddy and one of the best people I know. So making an effort to see him was a no-brainer since one of our trip goals is to visit our loved ones along the way.
We took the Starline Ferry service across to the island at about 4 PM on that Tuesday after riding our bikes from the overnight parking facility. The ferry only takes about 20 minutes to make it over to the island, and it was Maryssa's first ferry ride! We were greeted with the beautiful view of old buildings, the military fort, and the sound of horse hooves as they walked through the streets. We checked into the Pine Cottage first thing, then rode our bikes to meet up with Brock and his sister Lacey at Mary's Bistro Draught House. This place is a beer drinker's paradise! With several rotating taps, this beer menu was anything but boring. We sampled a few beers here before heading out on bikes to see Arch Rock, one of the most visited topographical features on the island.
The rest of the night was filled with pure debauchery between friends. In simple terms, I wasn't in the best shape when I woke up on Wednesday morning. There are good friends who show up in the morning to make sure you're doing okay, then there are GREAT friends like Brock Fisher who show up with a blue Gatorade and aspirin to bring you back into the world of the living.
Our goal for the day was to circumnavigate the island via bicycle. Brock was able to join us or the first half hour or so, but had some other obligations to take care of. By taking the standard highway, it should really only take a person about 45 minutes to an hour. Our trip around the island took closer to 3 hours due to constant stops, an intense off-road section (a few scraped elbows and bruised egos included), and a few failed attempts to find a landmark called the "Friendship Altar" (we were really trying to cement our friendships on our first full day together). The views were amazing and we definitely got our workout in for the day. Once we made it back to town, we split a heaping plate of nachos before walking through shops down the main stretch.
With 20 minutes before the scheduled ferry departure at 4:30 PM, we rode down to the public library to kill time and escape the quickly changing weather. While we had lucked out on the planned rainy forecast for much of the day, it seemed out luck was about to run out as the winds picked up and rain started to fall. Our library activities included locating ourselves on the large map found in the back corner of the library, flipping through magazines, and of course making a little too much noise laughing. Our library etiquette become very lax and we realized we were being a little loud for the patrons who were still invested into their reading material, so we decided to get a move on and head for the dock.
By the time the ferry arrived there was a steady rain forcing us to sit inside the bottom of the ferry. As someone who struggles to even sit in the backseat of a moving car for too long, the chance of getting seasick made me a bit anxious. Thankfully, even through rough seas, the ride wasn't too bad. Once back at St. Ignace, we rode back to the Jeep and threw our bikes back on the top of the trailer. Next stop, Canada!!
Adventure comes to those who GO!