Monday, 6/24. It was a good thing that we decided to head back from the anchorage Sunday afternoon instead of Monday morning. Woke up to rain, rain and more rain. It rained all day and night. Sometimes a light drizzle, sometimes intermediate and sometimes hard. While the temperature was in the 60’s, the dampness made it feel much cooler. Bob and I were bundled up all day and night with socks and jackets. The highlight of the day was lunch at Northwood to watch the women’s  world cup soccer with USA playing Spain. USA won 2 to 1.

Tuesday, 6/25. You may wonder why we aren’t moving from this location and marina. We have been waiting to find out if Bob needs to fly to Fort Lauderdale for a trial and we have been staying put exploring our options. As next week is July 4th, the flights in the area are expensive and limited. So we hung out for another day of chores and relaxing.

Wednesday, 6/26. Road trip to Mackinac Island. We decided to rent a car and drive to St. Ignace (56 miles away) to then catch a ferry over to Mackinac Island. For years we have been hearing about a “must stop” for Loopers in Mackinac. And it certainly did not disappoint.

But first a little about our car rental experience. As you know from last week’s blog, Drummond Island is rather short on amenities. We heard that we could rent a car at Bailey’s Service for $45 a day. We called to arrange with the owner, James, and he said he would pick us up in the morning and then we could be on our way. I told James to bring his biggest car and he replied that it was his only car (at the moment). So James picked us up in our car, then we dropped him back at the shop. No paperwork, no credit card, no last names. Just see you tomorrow and we can fill the car with gas and settle the bill. While the car didn’t look like much, it did ride nice.

Mackinac Island (pronounced Mack- in- naw) is quite the summertime destination with an average of 15,000 visitors per day during peak season. Automobiles are not allowed on the island (banned 1898) and so the only way to get around is walking, biking or by horses (although snowmobiles are allowed in winter). Horse carriages serve as taxi’s to transport arriving/ departing guests with luggage to/ from the ferry dock, private airport or around the island. Note: they do have fire, ambulance & police vehicles in case of emergency but they are well hidden in big sheds.

Fun fact: there are approximately 600 horses on Mackinac basically owned by two families. The horses work about 5 days a week but only 3 to 4 hours per day. They generally work the morning or afternoon shift. In the winter time, the majority of the horses are relocated via ferry to Pickford, MI which is about 40 miles north of St. Ignace. We were told that it is easier to bring the horses to the feed instead of bringing the feed to the horses in the frozen winter time.

80% of the island of Mackinac Island is owned by the State of MI. Of the 20% of private property, the home owners there are generally quite wealthy and the island has been known as the playground of the rich. We decided to take the horse carriage tour (90 minutes) to take in the history and should you get up this way, is definitely worth it. The carriage has 7 rows with about 4-5 seats across. (photos). A team of two horses took us on the first 30 minutes of our tour. As an added bonus, it was time for our team to end their shift so we got to see the changing of the team (photo). The island is quite hilly and so half way up the island, everyone disembarks and changes over to a three-horse team in order to reach Arch Rock (photo) and make their way down the hill. Arch Rock (elevation 146′) was definitely the highlight of the tour with spectacular views of Lake Huron and the island.

The waterfront area is thriving with shops, restaurants and FUDGE shops. There are 17 fudge shops on this island that is only 3 square miles! We did not have time to visit Fort Mackinac, the Grand Hotel or tour the 8 miles of coast line on bikes. Although having seen some of the bike riders (who were in shape) huffing and puffing on those inclines, I am glad we didn’t attempt it. All in all it was a fabulous day as we topped it off at St. Mary’s Bistro / Draught house (27 different beers) with apps and drinks then ferried back across to St. Ignace. And on the drive home, we stopped at a road stand and bought fresh strawberries and asparagus.

Thursday – Sunday, 6/27 – 6/30. More hanging out waiting for Bob to hear whether he needed to be in Miami to testify. If he didn’t have to go, we were planning on flying to Pensacola to attend son Ryan’s promotion to Major. Unfortunately, we did not get word until Saturday afternoon that Bob did not have to be in Miami Monday but by then it was too late to fly out. We are in a remote part of Michigan and flights are limited and airports are not close by.

While we were waiting, we did a little fishing via trolling off the tender. Caught a Musky the first time out and a Pike the second time out. Both released but it was fun. On Saturday, I went back to the farmer’s market with Gay and bought some more fresh salmon (no walleye available) and later Gay treated us to lunch at Esther’s.

On Sunday morning we decided to make our way to Sault St. Marine (MI) with a stop at Hilton Beach, Ontario. It was a beautiful day on the water and we enjoyed finally being back out cruising. Hilton Beach is only about 20 miles from Drummond so it was a leisurely cruise. Nice protected marina with a restaurant on property but that’s about it.
We did go across the bay in our tender to check out an anchorage, we were told about, at Porklock Island and we will definitely hit it on our way back from The Soo and into the North Channel.

Monday July 1st is Canada Day which we were told is their first official day of summer. Happy Canada Day to our Canadian friends! See you next week!