I decided to stay in Macinaw City instead of making my way back to Cheboygen. For one thing, I was starving.  Two Dollar General candy bars weren’t going to cut it.  By the time I found some place to eat, if I attempted to leave, I’d risk riding 23 in the dark.  I have done that before, but it’s not comfortable for me.  Or the drivers who encounter a bicyclist on a major US highway in the dark.

I backtracked just a little bit to the start of town.  I stood across the street from the Quality Inn and called their reservation number.

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I had a private moment of mirth with the guy on the phone trying to (1) pronounce Mackinaw (2) trying to “up-sell” me on one of their other motels in the area and (3) insisting I go ahead and reserve the room with a major credit card.

First off, I contrasted The Big Lodging Chain’s reservation process VS Fireside.  (“Gimme yer name.  We’ll have a room for ya.”)  Then I mentioned to the guy, “I’m standing 100 feet from their front door.  If I walk in their door, will they give me the same rate you’re — finally — quoting me?”

Maybe the phone guys work on commission.  I don’t know.  He didn’t seem happy that I wasn’t going to give him a credit card number.

After securing the room and loosely explaining to the manager on duty that I’d like to celebrate a little bit with a good steak, I stored my gear, changed my clothes and walked down the street.

I passed a place that sold pastys.  Had they been open I would have made a bee-line.  When I was stationed at VP-93 on the Selfridge ANGB in the late 70s I’d been introduced to them.  Loved them.

Instead, a flashing “Dinner Buffet” sign at Anna’s caught my eye.  The angels began to sing.

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I was so hungry I told the waitress they better call in the Backup Cooks.  I was going to eat everything.  

I called my youngest from the restaurant.  Told her that I’d never been to that part of Michigan and while I was there, why not do something I’d never done before on one of these bicycle rides:  be a tourist?  Since she was caring for the weasels, I needed to make sure it was ok that I didn’t start the trip back on Monday.  She gave me her blessing to take a day off.  Great kid.

The next morning got there way too early.  Figured I’d get up and start doing tourist-y things.  It was Memorial Day and while I expected the crowds to be diminished, I didn’t expect them to be non-existent.  Granted, it was early, but there was no one on the streets.  No cars.  No pedestrians.  No businesses open (for the most part.)

I trucked down the water to take a picture of the bridge that ended 23 North’s run, the Mackinaw Bridge:

mackinawbridge

 

On the side of the bridge closest to the camera it’s Lake Huron.  On the other is Lake Michigan.

I spent a few minute taking pictures of the bridge . . . and dodging these damned swarms of swarming, flying insects.  They were about the size of mosquitoes, but swarmed like gnats.  Pesky bastards.

I rode through down town Mackinaw City.  It was like someone had temporarily relocated Gatlinburg.

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I had emerged half way down the street, not at the far end.  As I started riding back to the hotel, I started to notice a trend:

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What struck me odd was just about every one of those places had the same deal:  Buy 2 Get 2 Free!  (See the sign in the lower right corner of the last picture.)  B2G2?  Why not just halve your price?  Works out the same.  Go figure.

It was nearing 10AM.  I was done tourist-ing.  I had no desire to go over to Mackinac Island.  It was all shopping and hotels.  I didn’t need a hotel.  I didn’t need to shop.  And I didn’t need to spend $23 to ferry over to the island, either.  While I’d have welcomed a chance to eat one (or a dozen) pastys or attack Anna’s buffet bar again, there wasn’t much else left to do.  I was on a bicycle ride.  I should, you know. go ride my bicycle.