Mackinac for Labor Day

Just in time, Erik and I were able to join Carol and some of her friends for a Labor Day weekend group trip up to Mackinac to “Walk the Bridge”. Although we were the youngest people on the trip by about 20 years, we had a wonderful time being bused around to various attractions and generally pampered.

DSC03542WThe first day was mostly driving, but we did stop for a humongous lunch which we quickly learned would be a theme at meal time. We also stopped to view some elk at a refuge area that had been set up near to our hotel.

DSC03547WSome of the bucks had impressive headgear,

DSC03554WAnd Erik captured this wonderful shot the next day when we returned to the refuge. It makes me think of the end of Bambi.

DSC03561WEvery year on Labor Day the bridge that connects lower Michigan to the Upper Peninsula, is closed off to traffic and around 80,000 people walk the five miles across.

Spring 2013 063WOur Labor Day started very early as we rushed to begin our bridge walk before they opened another lane of traffic up to cars.

DSC03565WAlthough it was much colder and windier than years passed, we were all dressed appropriately and had a wonderful time participating with thousands of other people in this Michigan tradition.

DSC03568WSome people were dressed up in costumes and the age range was incredible, but everyone was having a great time.

Spring 2013 080WIt took us about 1 hour and 15 minutes to cross and at the end we got completion certificates!

Spring 2013 104WThat afternoon our group of six decided to break off and take the short ferry over to Mackinac Island.

DSC03574WThe island is incredibly charming because there are no automobiles allowed which means that everyone travels by bicycle or horse drawn carriage.

DSC03601WWe all rented bikes to circumnavigate the island which is only about 8 miles around,

DSC03577Wand to get some views of the beautiful coast,

DSC03585Was well as the Mackinac Bridge we just walked across.

Spring 2013 122WErik and I were feeling extra adventurous and chose a cruiser tandem bike otherwise known as “the marriage wrecker.”

DSC03602WBecause it was cool and windy we tried to keep going, but decided to stop for a short break on a beautiful beach to build a cairn for John.

Erik and I actually had a great time on the tandem although it was somewhat unnerving being in the back and not being able to see where we were going.

DSC03587WAnd Carol was so inspired that she switched bikes with me for the last mile or so which involved a lot of nervous laughter.

Spring 2013 144WWe spent the rest of the afternoon admiring the adorable houses and gardens.

DSC03597WThe window shopping was also excellent and we had the opportunity to see one of the million fudge shops actually “folding” their fudge on marble tables. Carol found out that the fudge has to be folded 57 times before it is fit to serve!

DSC03575WA quick ferry ride back to the mainland, and we were promptly whisked away by a casino shuttle in an effort to get us back and gambling as soon as possible. It took us some time to get our various vouchers, cards and coupons sorted, but once we did and had eaten we hit the casino floor.

Spring 2013 201WAlthough I’ve been in casinos before I’ve never actively gambled, and can’t say I’ve ever been too interested in it, but with $20 of the casino’s money on my card I was ready to go. It was interesting to observe the incredible amount of thought put into the design and experience to keep people gambling, aka losing money. There are no windows, no clocks, your “credits” are held on cards, you have to choose to cash out your winnings over continuing play, there are drawings every hour etc.

In the end we all walked out of there with more money than we had come in with, well everyone but Erik who lost everything. The true excitement of the night though, was when Carol won $50 with her last $1! I think Erik actually pushed the button after figuring out the math of the highest possible bet combination, but Carol was the winner! Her slot machine exploded with obnoxious music for the next five minutes and we laughed hysterically and took pictures the entire time.

Spring 2013 206WThe next morning was sunny and beautiful and we tried to take full advantage before our long bus ride back home.

Spring 2013 241WWindow shopping in Mackinac City was rounded up with yet another overindulgent buffet lunch and a group picture of the 30 of us in front of the bus. . . which I don’t have.

 

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