Aug 27-31; Days 245-249 Back, Back, Back in the U.Ssss.-Aaaay!

We walked a mile or so late in the afternoon from the nice marina into and around the little town of Blind River–our last Canadian town.  It was a ghost town with for sale signs and closed-permanently signs on practically every commercial building in the 3 block core. Very few cars and even fewer people were out.   That same experience repeated itself (save for one little grocery store and one diner) at DeTour, Michigan…our first US town.  Sort of sad and anti-climactic!  BUT  we did subsequently learn that, at least with respect to the for sale signs, it is a common test- the -market (aka hope for a rich city- dreamer to stumble in the door???)  at the end-of -the-season phenomena in these small tourist-driven summer-only towns.


2017-8-29 blind river sunrise last
Last Canadian sunrise –for THIS trip.  Clouds and winds blew in well before we departed for our 20 mile open water crossing. Mother Canada must have wanted to try to get us to stay! In fact, due to the weather, we weren’t planning on making the crossing….but as we approached we just decided to get it done and veered southward out of the harbor of another likely ghost town-Thessalon.  So without much acknowledgment to the fact we had just bypassed what was supposed to be our last night in Canada we plowed ahead.

As we hit a big mile marker on our total trip odometer, B and Z rose from their rocking wave refuge on the lower floor and we coincidentally left Canada.  A few fun facts (from our standpoint): We were in Canada from June 16 to August 27; covered a total of 1296 miles locking, docking and zig zagging as we got to know Quebec and Ontario provinces, dipped our bow in Lake Ontario, Lake Huron, St Lawrence River, and uncountable other cities, towns, rivers, lakes, and islands;  51 total days enjoying the sights from land and water of which 35 were actually underway; and 22 days escaped home to visit the new baby and get some boat repairs.

2017-8-30 7000 miles canada border
Wow! 7000 miles since we started this trip…nearly a year ago! US Customs waiting for us on Drummond Island.
2017-8-29 n drummond shopping USA
N couldn’t wait to get off the customs dock and support the local economy! Oh yay!  ANOTHER baseball cap! (ok, ok…at least it doesn’t take up very much room). Oh and by the way, the guy behind N cleared customs right after we did—he declared all the bear meat and skins/fur he had on board after his hunting trip. That was a first to hear at a border!

Customs and shopping was quick and easy so we took a little jump over to quiet DeTour Village, Michigan for our first night back. Michigan DNR has a nice (and relatively inexpensive) collection of marinas which, as of this writing, we have made use of at 3 different spots.  Certainly THE best “deal” at tourist haven Mackinac Island….where rooms range from 300-1500 a night. yikes…give me my Bayliner and a marina in the center of all the action any day!

Mackinac Island can only be reached by boat or ferry (which, ok, i guess a ferry technically IS a boat) (well, actually i think there is a little airport too). OH,,,,and Ok!… in the winter you can take a lamp lit/christmas tree lined “track” by snowmobile over the ice there too.  BUT there are NO motorized vehicles allowed on the island. Everything is on foot–pedaling, walking or horse transport!  It was a really great way to re-enter “civilization” after all those days at anchor on the remote islands.

2017-8-30 night shot mackinac town
Mackinac by night
2017-8-29 hay delivery
You’d probably expect this hay delivery wagon.
2017-8-29 amazon delivery
But would you expect truckloads and truckloads of Amazon Prime!??  I guess Jeff Bezos would!  The horses even pull big loads of construction material and dumpsters of garbage back and forth to the far side of the island for barge pick up off the beach.
2017-8-30 flowers mack
Pretty Victorian houses and seaside cottages with flowers galore everywhere.


2017-8-30 mack main st
The main drag by day. Only about 3 blocks long. Mostly fudge. Yes, we bought some. Yes, it’s almost gone.
2017-8-30 port view fr fort
View from the old fort.  Plenty of empty slips at the marina while we were there.  But it filled up for Labor Day weekend.
2017-8-30 grand hotel longest porch
Hard to tell because it is a panorama shot….but this is THE longest porch in the world! 366 feet long at the Grand Hotel. 
2017-8-30 grand hotel ext
Here’s the exterior of the Grand Hotel—See the length??  The hotel was last remodeled in 1970-something. Edgy, pseudo modern, nauseating, near-gaudy.  But it’s famous and booked solid from June til October. ..when the ice hits.

Although REALLY fun, the problem with renting a tandem bike is that it’s hard to take a picture of the person/dog you are biking with!

2017-8-30 N z tandem
The ONLY state highway that does not allow motorized vehicles!  Really fun…except listening to N complain about horse poop everywhere!


2017-8-30 arch rck N B Z
We biked the 8 miles around.  That was good because if we had taken the criss-crossing roads through the interior, we would have had a hilly route!  A good leg stretch at the really pretty arch.
2017-8-30 arch
Before leaving the last morning, we walked some of the interior roads and trails.  We made it back and up to the top of the arch for the view seaward.
2017-8-30 no hammocking
“No Hammocking”.  I actually did not see one No Loitering sign in the town area.  Is this their version? And who turns nouns into verbs?  And besides, now don’t you just WANT to hammock here…..these trees are perfect!

We probably would have stayed another day on Mackinac Island, but weather is looming and we actually have several days of big exposure as we make our way south along the coast of Lake Michigan to Chicago….so we pushed off in light winds and a little choppy, swelly water.

2017-8-30 mackinaw bridge
As we crossed under the Mackinac Bridge that connects Mackinaw CITY to the more remote Upper Peninsula of Michigan, it actually felt more like “crossing a border” than our earlier actual entry a few days ago.  NOW I feel like we are in the USA.


2 thoughts on “Aug 27-31; Days 245-249 Back, Back, Back in the U.Ssss.-Aaaay!”

  1. Kudos for making 7K on the odometer. Impressive! Are you happy now with the tranny rebuild? Props yet unscathed again in rocky Canadian lakes? Can’t wait to see what you think of ChiTown🌊


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