I took a bit of a vacation last week. Hence why my post was so short last Saturday. I wasn’t anywhere near home then. I was in Michigan. More specifically I was in Mackinaw City.
It was around a seven hour drive to get there, and for entertainment it was the BBC’s radio play for the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Listening to one half hour spot at a time, with half an hour to an hour break just to take in the scenery. I have to say the road taken up there was beautiful, especially after entering Michigan.
You could see the change in the landscape slowly shift to more pines and larger hills. At one point I was surrounded by gigantic windmills, and if there hadn’t been a runner in the road with a police officer escorting them slowing down traffic I might have had to pull over just to get a better look.
When eventually arriving at the hotel that was booked, then given a key, I entered the room. It was right on the water front of Lake Huron and on the third floor I had a wonderful vantage point to look out onto the waters. At first the constant sloshing of the lake was annoying, but by the time I left I missed it immensely.
Being tired, but hungry, I visited their local Pub called O’Reilly’s Irish Pub, and was treated to a wonderful burger. I later returned that weekend and had my first poutine. Who would have thought gravy on fries with cheese curds could be so delicious?
Still tired, I took a nap until about 11:30pm. Waking up full of energy, there was but one thing to do. The Headlands Dark Sky park. Now I’ve always been a fan of staring up into the night sky, but even in the country where I grew up there were always city lights to deal with. Not so here. Once I got there I had no idea where to go. Luckily there were other cars there so I was fairly sure it was okay to be in the area. But as my eyes adjusted I spotted a few dim solar lights on the ground. Following them lead to a trail deeper into the woodland.
I had no idea how long it would take to get to the area for viewing, but I recalled it was somewhat around a .5 mile trail. Now if you want to go into this blind, which I highly recommend, skip what I’m about to impart.
Having a red flashlight is required, otherwise you can’t bring a light back with you. So I was scanning back and forth nervously because I had seen no one out here, and I wasn’t entirely sure I was supposed to be there. Then suddenly my light landed on a shape of a person. Because of my social phobia I tried to keep the light out of their face, but kept looking at them through the corner of my eye. As the red light glimmered dimly it looked as though it was moving, and on closer inspection it was a young girl holding a book.
She was just standing there, staring right back at me, and my heart leapt into my chest. There is nothing more frightening than a child in the dark just standing there looking at you.
But as I was catching my panicked breath, I realized it was a cardboard cut-out of a girl next to a sign with a list of things you might see at night. Irritated and exhilarated I continued on, and saw a few people, most without flashlights, somehow making their way back along the trail. Then the next cut-out of a person was spotted.
This time I didn’t panic, though it too seemed to appear out of the shadows. Several more were along the path, until after a turn off onto a gravel path instead of the paved one I’d been following led out into the open right on Lake Michigan. The beach that night was not crowded, as you might imagine on a Thursday at 1 in the morning. Still there were a few people staring up at the sky. I returned the following night, and it was much more crowded. Likely because I went earlier in the evening, and had no need of the flashlight until it was time to come back to the car.
All in all it too around 15 minutes to walk out there, and 15 minutes back. In the darkness I heard many things, including birds, but at one time it seemed as if something was stalking to the side. Possibly just a deer, but it could have been anything. With my heart racing, I made it to the car, and left quickly that second time.
On the second day there I went over the Mackinac Island. No cars are allowed here, and the only way to get there is by boat. Taking the Star Line ferry over was enjoyable as they take you under the Mackinac bridge, then to the island. The island is filled with horse-drawn carriages and quaint little shops that seem entirely interested in selling you fudge.
But getting away from the dock area you find the Fort, and beyond that a series of nearly secluded trails. Instead of doing the touristy thing of ridding behind a horse, or simply shopping, I took an interest in following whatever trail came to me first. This of course lead to me becoming a little lost, and I wandered out there for a couple of hours trying to get back. Luckily cellular service is still available, and finding a map with the trails named I made my way back into town. But not after checking out a few sights along the way.
Sugar Loaf rock is huge. It makes no sense. And it’s in the middle of the island. It looks like something that should be on the shore, but there it is, just standing there for all the world to see. That was when I finally figured out where I was, and was able to trace a path back to town, though I think I got my directions slightly wrong.
Back in town I grabbed another burger. Sensing a trend here? It was at Horn’s Gaslight Bar & Restaurant. It was good, and they were playing the right tunes. Classic rock all the way! Anyway the burger was decent, but not as good as at O’Reilly’s. And then it was time to wander around again until Star Line came back in another hour.
I just sat on the shore looking out in the bright sunshine while people did the same around me. The gentle clip clop of horses in the distance, and the mumbling of the crowd filled the air. It was a good day.
The ride back was similar to the first, though it was filled with a large group of children that apparently were on a school trip. Loud and annoying, but I was returned to land quickly, and back to the room to rest for the next day.
Saturday was mostly just a lazy day, filled with window shopping and walking. That day was chillier and windier, and threatened rain from sunrise on. An Italian restaurant was lunched at, and sadly was only mediocre at best. But right after I watched a movie at their little theatre. Cash only for a ticket, which surprised me, but an ATM was located a few blocks away.
Once the movie was over it was back to the room to finish relaxing before sleep, and the seven hour drive back home.
I miss Mackinac/Mackinaw. I feel like I finally found a place that feels like home. It was beautiful, relaxing, and just pleasant. If I strike it rich for some reason I might have to move there, or one of the surrounding towns/cities. I just want to live on the water now. Not an ocean, and not a small lake or river. I want to be on the Great Lakes.
Maybe one day I’ll retire up there. Writing my books with the sound of waves hitting the shore. As for now I’ve returned to Indiana. Not a horrible place at all, but I think my heart is in Michigan now.
What I’ve published
Click here for a link to the book
Link to my author page on Amazon – hhttp://www.amazon.com/Steven-Oaks/e/B00MEGSEZ6
Link to the Deathship book in the CreateSpace store – https://www.createspace.com/5023771
Or you can help me out on Patreon. Again, thank you. https://www.patreon.com/StevenOaks
Update: A few hundred words scattered into the new novel.
“There is never a time or place for true love. It happens accidentally, in a heartbeat, in a single flashing, throbbing moment.”
― Sarah Dessen
– Steven Oaks
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