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Vacation, Baby! Part 2

A side note: I'm trying to post pictures, but LJ won't process them because they're too big.  I'll try to resize later.

On Thursday, Maksim wanted to go back to the street fair to hang out with Zach and ride more rides.  I was reluctant until I realized it would mean Darwin and I could have a day alone.  What was the problem again??  We dropped Maksim off with money for lunch and supper, then went back to the cottage for grownup alone time, including hiking, canoeing, and lounging around.  I barbecued steaks for supper.  Ohhhh, yeah!

Maksim, meanwhile, sent a steady stream of text messages.  He was here with Zach.  They had ridden the Gravitron this many times.  They had found a cheap place for lunch and supper--so much junk food.  :)

After we picked him up, we had a fire on the beach with s'mores (something we did several times that week) and played DUNGEON.

Friday was more hanging around the cottage with beach and boats.  I read a great deal and napped in the hammock set up near the water.  It was lovely!  But by the end of the day, we were getting restless.  So for Saturday I proposed we visit Mackinac Island.

Mackinac Island is Michigan's most famous tourist destination, and has been since the 1800s, after the place lost its military significance.  Since 1920, cars have been banned on the island, so the place is filled with foot traffic, bicycles, and horse carriages.  The main street is relentlessly commercial, with gewgaw shops and fudge places and so on, but we always love Mackinac Island.  The historical sites and the parks and the cottages and the atmosphere are just wonderful, and we can never get enough.  Like a lot of people, we fantasize about a cottage on Macinac, but they go for millions of dollars, and everything you own has to be brought in by ferry and delivered by horse, so such a place is an expensive, inconvenient proposition.  People still fight for the privilege, though.  If I had the money . . .

Anyway, the three of us took the ferry across.  The new ones only take 20 minutes.  In my youth, it was a 45 minute ride!  We had brought our bikes with us, and we disembarked at the main street.  Literally thousands of bikes line the parking area, and no one worries about theft--where would you take a stolen bike?  We parked ours amid the throng and had lunch at a pub, then headed off to bike around the island.

The road around Mackinac Island is stunning.  The forested cliff rises up on your left and the lake stretches out to your right.  The road itself is perfectly flat, and you can pull off at any time, meaning the eight-mile ride can be as quick or as leisurely as you like.  Darwin noted that the last time we were here, he'd had to pull over and rest quite a lot.  This time, he didn't, which was great!

Along the shore road are a number of interesting places to stop--Arch Rock, the Devil's Kitchen, Skull Cave, and so on.  Most of these require you to park your bike and climb a zig-zag wooden staircase to the top of the cliff, which gives you a dizzying view of the straits.  Darwin is acrophobic, and last time he contented himself with waiting for us at the bottom.  This time he decided to go for the climbs.  To his and our delight, he made it all the way to the top each place we stopped.  We were very proud of him!

A new feature of the island showed up--stacked rocks.  A visiting artist had started this.  He stacked rocks in interesting and gravity-defying ways on a beach.  It takes some work and some art.  Apparently, the practice took off--there were hundreds and hundreds of these stacks all along the shore road, and they weren't there two years ago at our last visit.  They look very interesting and unexpected.  Neat!

After the ride, we got some supper--delicious lobster salad sandwiches with tomato bisque soup.  Maksim loved the sandwiches and wanted more.

Usually we try to visit the historical sites in the middle of the island, but this time we didn't have the energy, so we wandered about downtown Mackinac and looked more closely at some of the things we hadn't spent much time with before.  We saw two weddings, and Darwin and I wondered aloud what it would cost to have a wedding on Mackinac.  It would be romantic, but expensive!

At last we grew tired and boarded the return ferry for home.

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