Day 109 How does a bicyclist cross "The Bridge?"

Friday, July 31, 2009 Sunny and warm, slight tail wind.
- Start: McMillan, MI
- ATW: Curtis, Gould City, Naubinway, Epoufette, Brevort (Brevoort), Gros Cap, St. Ignace,
- End: Mackinaw City, MI
- Day Miles: 79.2 Ride Time: 7hr 2min Total Trip Miles: 3442

When the road calls you ride. Or something like that. The weather was supposed to be nice and it turned out a beautiful day to ride. We mossied around in the morning packing and eating oatmeal. Yes, oatmeal because we'd only had it twice on the trip and it was wonderful. Following a photo shoot one of the youngins went for a test ride before we left. Then it was off down the dusty road, up a hill and around the lake.

Instead of stocking up at a grocery we kept taking breaks and snacking along the way. Sandwiches, fruit, ice cream, smoked salmon, cheese, more ice cream, local made jerky. The extra ice cream was compensation for a construction detour. Rt. 2 was closed for a couple of miles just after Epoufette due to a missing bridge. We were detoured along a paved country road with no shoulder and traffic was instructed to go 45mph. We stayed mostly in the lane after being skirted way too close by an impatient driver needing to pass just as there was oncoming traffic. However, that technique didn't seem to make a difference when a class A towing a boat decided to go around us on a double curve with on coming traffic.

Passing the dunes on the north shore we enjoyed being back on 2 with a decent berm. We thought of stopping before "the bridge" because it was supposed to be 75 miles down the road from the start but it was mostly flat and comfortable riding. Plus all the stops make it easier to keep going on a nice day.

Mackinac Bridge
Photo Credit: Edward Boll View from UP, west of bridge.

Sometime after 7PM we made it to the Mackinac Bridge. All along the U.P. we were asked how we'd get over "the bridge." We knew that you couldn't walk or ride a bicycle across the bridge and once a non-motorized vehicle arrived they would send a truck to pick you up and take you across. All for a slight fee. "Yeah, it's like five bucks a piece" said a non-bicyclist who'd never crossed the bridge.

A possible answer came when we stopped along the dunes to talk with a couple of touring cyclists heading the opposite way. They'd just crossed a little while back and were charged $2.00 each to cross, for each bike or each person? They also had to wait half an hour for the truck to ferry them across. But we only had one bike. How much would it cost for two people and a tandem?

Answer: $2.00. It was only one bike. The worker who came to drive us across pulled up in the truck after only a few minutes wait and ogled the bike. Never had she driven such a beast across. We unloaded half the gear so that we could actually lift the bike into the bed of the truck. We shut the tail gate and laid the bike on its side with the front wheel hanging off the back end. Five miles later we were unloading in a parking lot and off to find a place to sleep for the night.

Passing a church with a crowd outside we doubled back to ask about sleeping on the property. Even better there was access to bathrooms at the school just down the road and we could set up there. No one would bother us. We found what we thought would be a secluded spot just down the first base line on a not recently used baseball field. How could we know what would happen in the morning.