Fast Ferries and Island Travel

The day that many islanders feverishly wait for in the spring has finally arrived…

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Of course, Michigan weather isn’t making it easy for anyone this year to get through this tumultuous spring season, and there’s no exception to the people of Mackinac Island. We have had so many crazy days of weather up here that it’s hard to tell what season we’re going into! Rain one day, snowfall the next, followed by sun, and sometimes all in the same day! At least this time of year, we won’t have to wonder how long we’ll have to wait at the airport to leave the island, because the boats are running.

Now Arnold Line started their slow boat several weeks ago, but nothing beats a trip over to Mackinac Island than a 16 minute ferry ride. My parents decided to make their trip back to the island this past Monday, the first day that Shepler’s started running through Mackinaw City, and I made sure to greet them at the dock. Since my dad is handicapped, he gets to ride an electric scooter around town which he keeps in the fudge shop while he’s not on the island, and I usually bring it to the dock for him when he gets back. So, I made my way over to the fudge shop after work to retrieve his scooter. Unfortunately for me, our fudge shop happens to reside on the “shaded” side of downtown, so none of that snow had melted yet, and it took some maneuvering around, and on top of, the hardened snowbanks to get his electric scooter onto the street. Thank goodness no one was around to watch me almost topple over on this scooter!

Waiting at Shepler's Mackinac Island for my family to arrive
Waiting at Shepler’s Mackinac Island dock for my family to arrive

Anyway, I get to the dock and meet my family, helped my dad onto his scooter, and watched as he, my mom and the cat all mosey along back to the house. I, on the other hand, ride back to the school to finish up work, but not before catching one more quick glimpse of one of the boats as it made its way back to Mackinaw City.

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Since we’re on the subject of travel, a blogger recently asked me if I must fall off my bike a lot. And the unfortunate answer is yes. Yes, I do. On days when I wake up and there’s black ice on the road and my brakes are frozen, I still think that I won’t fall because – well – most of the time I don’t. But when I do, boy is it a doozie! The last time I fell I was rounding a corner onto Main St., then found myself riding into a shaded area of the road where there just happened to be a very thick layer of black ice. By the time I realized what I was doing, my bike had already slid and I was face up on the pavement, stuck under my bike, with a big fresh bump on the back of my head. I didn’t make it to work that day.

One time, I was riding along and suddenly saw a large spider crawl out from my right handlebar. Being the crazily arachnaphobic person that I am, I squeezed my left handlebar break tight, bringing my FRONT wheel to a dead stop, and I very gracefully flipped myself forward and took a nosedive toward the pavement. My sister told me that my head looked like it had bounced off the road.

Fortunately for me, however, none of my injuries from falling have ever been serious, and a part of me thinks it might be because of my St. Christopher bike bell. If you don’t know about St. Christopher, he’s the patron saint of travelers. I’ll ring it every once in awhile when I want someone to get out of the way… but also to remind myself that St. Christopher is watching over me.

mackinac island gal blog photo st christopher

Here’s a couple more photos from around the ferries:

An awesome close up view of a freight boat as we're leaving the dock
An awesome close up view of a freight boat as we’re leaving the dock
The view from Arnold Line
The view from Arnold Line
On my last 'slow boat' ride from Mackinac Island, watching Star Line leave their dock.
On my last ‘slow boat’ ride from Mackinac Island, watching Star Line leave their dock.

mackinac island gal blog photo

5 thoughts on “Fast Ferries and Island Travel

  1. Jim Malone

    My wife and I arrived on the Island on Friday, May 3, and couldn’t have asked for better weather. It has been sunny every day and in the 50’s to 70’s. We are at the Grand Hotel for a needlework seminar and while my wife has been “working” 7 hours/day I have been hiking around the Island and enjoying the horses and people of the Island. We love your blog and look forward to each posting.

  2. Now that I am working in Traverse City, it makes me smile to read your blogs about the Island. I miss the Straits. Please keep posting and have a fabulous season !. Wendy

    1. heathermay

      Hi Arlene,

      I actually found mine on ebay – it was made in Europe in the 1970s and they are kind of hard to find, but they seem to pop up on ebay from time to time. Good luck!

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