The Season Begins on Mackinac . . . and Bear “almost” Takes a Plunge 5/3/15

It’s been a quiet week here in the land of sunshine and ocean waves, so this will be pretty short and sweet tonight!

On Mackinac Island businesses began to open this week, and for the largest business on the island – The Grand Hotel – May 1 was the Opening Day for the 2015 season.

Sunset on April 30.  (Photo: Patrick Conlon)

Sunset on April 30. (Photo: Patrick Conlon)

Sunrise - May 1  (Photo: Clark Bloswick)

Sunrise – May 1 (Photo: Clark Bloswick)

That little speck at the base of the flag pole is my friend Jennifer King's husband Kirby, who is about to raise the flag for Opening Day.

That little speck at the base of the flag pole is my friend Jennifer King’s husband Kirby, who is about to raise the flag for Opening Day.

Early morning - May1.  The hotel is ready for the first guest!  (Photo: Jennifer King)

Early morning – May 1. The hotel is ready for the first guest! (Photo: Jennifer King)

I wanted to share something that friend Greg Main posted this week – just because I love anything Greg writes, and – being a year-round islander – he has some insights into things we folks who aren’t lucky enough to be there full-time may never know.

In Greg’s own wordsYears ago, when I was working as a bike mechanic, the days were full of the usual and sometimes odd questions from tourists as they went through the process of renting bikes. When there was a large group rental, I would pitch in to help the “front line” co-workers deal with the quasi-chaos, in order to get everyone on the road as quickly as possible. One particular day, while helping out with a group, one lady asked me which way around the island was shorter. Now, I had heard this question many times already, but this was the first time it was asked of me. My initial response to her was (pointing in the direction of the Mackinac Bridge), “this way is shorter.” She smiled and said she was just joking as she knows it has to be the same distance either way. Displaying my best poker face, I explained I was serious because if she went the way I said, she would be on the inside lane all the way, naturally a shorter route. We both laughed, and the group eventually went on their merry way. I don’t lay claim to being the originator of that response to which way is shorter but I have passed it on to a lot of people over the years, and I now hear it quite often when passing various bike rental places.

O.K., I told you that story to tell you this one. For years, I have wondered just how much shorter the distance is when comparing the inside lane to the outside. So, the last time I was at my house, I dusted off my surveyor’s measuring wheel, brought it back to the island and, last Sunday, during the wave-raising, surf-pounding, break wall-beating gale, I chose to circumnavigate the island twice, once on the inside lane, once on the outside. Keep in mind, while the surveyor’s wheel is certified accurate according to the manufacturer and I did my best to not weave while bucking the headwind, I make no claims to just how accurate my figures are. Anyhow, in order to get the greatest distance discrepancy, I chose to ride the white line as best I could even though some of it wasn’t visible due to ice and snow. Keeping a longer story a bit shorter, the inside lane measured 42,195 feet or 7.99147 miles. Outside lane measured 42,201 feet or 7.99829 miles. A difference of 6 feet! No one requested this just like nobody requested my step-counting survey over this past winter. Just satisfying my curiosity and, for what it’s worth, passing it along.

Just thought I’d mention . . . in 34 days, 7 hours, 32 minutes, and 12 seconds (or thereabouts), Ted and I will be boarding a plane in Daytona Beach to fly to Mackinac for four nights!  WooHoo!


If we’re Facebook friends, you’ve already heard about this, but for those who haven’t, I share the following scary moment that put a few more gray hairs on my head:

I was walking Bear back to the house a couple of days ago via our seawall and, because of the way the gate opens, I had to ask him to go pass the gate so I could swing it open. When he turned around to enter the yard, his back feet somehow slipped off the seawall, and over he went – backwards. He caught himself before he hit the water, but was left dangling, clutching the cement with his front legs and with me holding onto his collar for dear life. I screamed for Blake, who thank goodness was just inside the backdoor of the house (and thank goodness we had the doors and windows open). Blake literally VAULTED the fence (we had the gate blocked), bent down and hauled Bear’s rear-end back up and over the seawall.

So thankful that 1) Bear didn’t panic and pull me in, and 2) Blake was right there so fast!


Lesson learned:  No more dog walking on our narrow seawall and get the gate changed so it opens the other way.

That’s all I’ve got for today, but before I close I know you’ll all join me in welcoming friend and blog reader Jason Bergeron (Jason . . . the other one) back to the U.S. from Afghanistan (for good this time).  Jason arrived in San Antonio Saturday, May 2. 


See y’all back here later this week!  God bless.


17 thoughts on “The Season Begins on Mackinac . . . and Bear “almost” Takes a Plunge 5/3/15

  1. In all the years…all the times I’ve both walked and biked around the perimeter of the Island…I’ve never taken the “inside lane”…”closer to the bridge”! Well, now that I know it’s 6 feet shorter…maybe I shall, LOL! Just kidding. 🙂


  2. As I’m reading about Bear’s mishap, I’m wondering “can that gate swing the other way?” Great minds…blah blah blah! Are his knees OK?

    And Blake isn’t too old for the Olympics, is he??



  3. Welcome home Jason and thank you for everything you’ve done!!

    Thanks also to our Horton hero Blake…thanks for saving Bear AND Brenda!

    I’ll start thinking about the island next week…right now (in 3 days) I’m thinking about New Mexico. 🙂


  4. So glad Bear is alright and Blake was nearby. Welcome home Jason and thank you for your service. Hope you will be able to visit Mackinac Island soon. Okay so if you all are counting ….it is 35 days 6 hours for us. Can’t wait to smell all those beautiful Lilacs!


  5. I bet your heart just about stopped beating when Bear was hanging off the sea wall. Oh my gosh! Poor guy! Glad to hear things ended well!

    Excited to hear that Jason (the other) is getting back to the states safe and sound. If he reads this message I would like to thank him for his service.

    In 43 days I head to Mackinac with my friend along with her mother and daughter. 3 generations will experience the island for the first time. Can’t wait!

    Hugs from Iowa!


  6. Welcome home to Jason – the other one! Sure am grateful for people like you willing to serve.

    Brenda – did you see the moon tonight (Sunday)?? Gorgeous! Just like that awesome sunrise on the Grand’s opening day. Beauty all around!! Wish I’d had a camera to catch Blake’s vault into glory – and Bear’s expression when Blake pulled him out. Glad that all worked out, too! Now, don’t do anything else that might hinder your trip to the island, OK? Good. Glad that’s settled. 🙂 lol


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