I have to preface this post with a personal story, because the outcome is too good not to share.
I'm a firm believer in the power of prayer. As I laid in my hotel bed the night before our departure to Mackinac Island the thought of thundershowers was heavy on my mind. Silently I began to talk to our Heavenly Father about it. I was well aware that in the big picture of national and world events my prayer was trivial, and I knew God would still be a good God even amid thunderstorms. None of us would melt - all of us had packed umbrellas, and countless people have visited the island in the rain, but I reminded God [as if He needed reminding!] the only means of transportation on the island are horses, bicycles, and shoe leather [human feet]. Our enjoyment would be greatly hampered in thunderstorms, and we'd be wearing our clothes for 3:30 Afternoon Tea. I so wanted the island to be a wonderful experience for the ladies - some of whom were visiting for the very first time. Knowing my concerns were in God's capable hands, I went to sleep.
The first thing I did when I awoke the next morning [after the restroom] was to open the curtains to see if it was raining. It was still early in the morning, and there was cloud cover, but it was dry. I got ready for breakfast and then went outside to take exterior photos of our hotel.
~ The Hamilton Inn ~
We all gathered in the hotel lobby at the designated time, and because we were able to purchase our ferry tickets at the hotel rather than Shepler's dock, we had some extra time to check out a new tea store I learned about before leaving home.
~ Loose Leaf Tea Section. ~
On our way to Shepler's ferry dock, we drove by a park where the Mighty Mac bridge was visible. Jerry stopped for a photo. Amidst the white fluffy clouds a blue sky was emerging so it was looking encouraging.
Below is the entrance to Shepler's ferry dock [taken after we entered]. You can see a few water puddles where it had rained earlier, but look at that beautiful sky!
Jerry unloaded our luggage where it was tagged to go to the Grand Hotel, and a group photo was taken while we stood in line waiting to board the ferry.
~ Miss Margy arrived to transport us to the island. ~
Since there were blue skies, I opted to ride on the top, open-air deck for better photographs. Four or five others of our group went top deck too, while the rest opted for the enclosed deck below. It was windy, but as you'll see in the photos it was worth getting a bit windblown.
[This photo and others are courtesy of Teresa W.]
We were on the 11:00 a.m. ferry. While it wasn't indicated on the schedule, we were on a 'Mighty Mac' cruise [no extra charge], which meant the ferry would divert from it's normal 16 minute direct route and take us under the Mackinac Bridge before going to the island. Jerry and I had ridden it before so I knew it was great experience, and was delighted the ladies would get to see the Mighty Mac up close.
With a loud toot of Miss Margy's horn, we were off into the deep waters of Lake Huron.
The Mighty Mac is an engineering masterpiece designed to withstand winds of up to 120 m.p.h. It was built for $99.8 million dollars between 1954-1957, on time and within budget. 4.5 million vehicles cross the five mile long bridge every year. It rises 552 feet [55 stories] above the water to allow freighters and tall ships passage. For decades it was the longest suspension bridge in the world. The bridge is the divide between Lake Huron and Lake Michigan [called the Straits of Mackinac] and it also connects Michigan's lower and upper peninsulas. It's a magnificent structure to behold.
Looking at the bridge from Lake Michigan side...
and from Lake Huron side.
Notice the open-weave grid vehicles drive across.
The beautiful Grand Hotel as it came into view on the ferry ride overlooking Lake Huron. I rode on the top deck purposely for this photo.
Approaching the island. That's Fort Mackinac nestled among the trees.
~ Mackinac Island shoreline. A beautiful, picturesque sight. ~
Pulling into Union Terminal Pier. Mackinac Island here we come! Next post...
A year earlier Jerry and I traveled to Mackinaw City and Mackinac Island to route the Michigan Tea Tour so I could begin plans and preparations. You can view my post about that visit here.