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post #1 of 19 Old Feb 9th, 2011, 6:52 pm Thread Starter
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Advice for trip to Mackinac Island

Either just before or after the CCR in Boise, I'll be traveling to Mackinac Island, so either late August or early September. What's the best crossing to the Island and any recommendations on a secure place to store the LT before taking the ferry? Also what is the closest major airport to Mackinac Island? I'll be traveling solo to the CCR and I will meet my wife who will be flying into the closest semi-major airport (anyplace that has commercial aircraft). My wife has wanted to stay at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island for a long time; we'll only spend a few nights since it's pretty pricey. Work considerations will keep my wife from joining me on the ride from our home in VT to Boise. I'm looking forward to my first CCR and of course, the stay at the Grand Hotel too. Those who've done the trip to Mackinac Island, please post to the forum or send a PM. Thanks in advance.
Waiting for winter to end and the riding season to begin
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post #2 of 19 Old Feb 9th, 2011, 9:39 pm
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Re: Advice for trip to Mackinac Island

Hi Scott , My wife & I had our honey moon at the Grand Hotel almost 23 years ago . It is a nice place , they put us in a "name room " ... it was the Jefferson Suite . When I made the reservations , it was $125 , $150 or $175 per person per day , double occurrence + 18% gratuity . I told them it was our honey moon , & we could only afford the $125 room . When we got there , they had upgraded us to the Jefferson Suite, & they had put a complementary bottle of Champaign in ice in the room for us . The breakfast & supper come with the room . We had to dress for dinner , suit jacket & tie for me & my wife had to put on nice dress . We went to there ball room , & had Champaign one night . I knocked the bottle over , & you should have seen the wait staff cleaning it up, they were getting with the program .

We live 4 hours south of Mackinac Island , and go up there ever other year or so . We either camp or stay in a motel in either Mackinaw City or St Ignace. I have left our bike in the parking lot for the ferry in both cites , but never over night . It's probably OK to have you bike at the ferry terminal for a few days . It's mostly tourist up there , and they aren't messing with peoples stuff . I like the Arnold ferry line , but Shepler's is good too , & blue star will get you out there just fine . The Arnold line makes a little less water spray on the way over .

I don't know much about airports , there is one in Traverse City ( TVC ) , Saginaw (MBS ) . There is a few smaller airports up there , in Pellston , Mackinac County airport , & Mackinac island too, but I don't know if there is regular flights in there .

We have gone to Jacks livery http://www.jacksliverystable.com/ on the island 4 or 5 times . They have a drive your own horse and buggy. We have also rented bicycles and road around the island a few times . The fort is interesting , and a buggy ride with someone up there is good too . They will tell you about what you are seeing as they drive you around . There are a few buggy guys out there , they hang out in front of the fort on main street ... Hope this is of help ...

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post #3 of 19 Old Feb 10th, 2011, 5:19 am Thread Starter
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Re: Advice for trip to Mackinac Island

Patric, great advice! Further to my last posting, I discovered that Pellston airport will probably work best for my wife since it's the closest to Mackinac Island and there is a Delta affiliated airline flying into the airport. Thanks for sharing the story and the tips. I'll contact the ferry operators and find one that offers secure, preferably covered parking. We'll probably stay 3 nights, four days. I guess the weather is still pretty good in early September, I'm thinking the day after Labor Day.
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post #4 of 19 Old Feb 10th, 2011, 5:34 am
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Re: Advice for trip to Mackinac Island

We did the trip last year. We stayed in a Hotel (real nice Day's Inn) on the main land, left our bike under covered parking and ferried over to the Island. ONLY bikes, HORSES, HORSE DUNG & Chocolate. No motorized vehicles. We really enjoyed the day, not sure we would want to stay more than two days unless we could book off season rate lodging. It was somewhat pricey. Great place to visit!

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post #5 of 19 Old Feb 10th, 2011, 5:43 am
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Re: Advice for trip to Mackinac Island

The Island is a good place to visit. We stayed in St Ignace at the new(er) Days Inn and they gave us a ride down to the area where you catch the ferries over the Mackinac Island. We left our bikes at the hotel.

Two days is one day too many, be prepared to smell horses. It's a good place to walk around and maybe rent some bikes and ride around the island.

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post #6 of 19 Old Feb 10th, 2011, 7:17 am
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Re: Advice for trip to Mackinac Island

At the risk of being a killjoy, I need to warn you.

Coming from a guy that used to live among the Amish, Mackinac Island STINKS!!! Literally!!! It's a shame they don't control the horse crap as well as the townpeople do in Middlefield, OH. Just pray that it's not a hot & humid day when you're there. The wife and I were very disappointed with that aspect of such a beautiful place.

If you plan on just seeing the Grand Hotel ... and NOT staying there, there's a fee just to enter the premise. We were just a bit put-off by that.

Other than those two aspects, we really liked the day we spent there. We'll go back ... someday. With nose plugs.

- Joe
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post #7 of 19 Old Feb 10th, 2011, 7:25 am
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Re: Advice for trip to Mackinac Island

Hey Joe, not to steal this thread, but are you from the Middlefield area? I'm in Cleveland near the airport and have been compiling a list of Ohio LT's possibly for a meetup this summer sometime. Interested? PM me your info, would love to meet you!

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post #8 of 19 Old Feb 10th, 2011, 10:34 am
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Re: Advice for trip to Mackinac Island

Just FYI... They shut 1/2 the bridge down on Labor day , so you can walk across the bridge. Usually the Governor leads the walk . http://www.mackinacbridge.org/annual-bridge-walk-7/ . Anyway , there are a lot of people up there around labor day .

As to smellin' the horses ... They do have a few guys shoveling up the horse exhaust ... but some times they get a little behind in there work .... Some of the rigs have a road apple catcher on them , some of them don't .

I think it is a $10 fee to walk on the porch of the Grand Hotel , it cuts down on the riff raff after all , the people staying at the Grand are paying at least $500 a day to do so ... I didn't think too much of the fee ether when I first hear of it... But they have been doing it for a long time now .

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post #9 of 19 Old Feb 10th, 2011, 6:02 pm
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Re: Advice for trip to Mackinac Island

My wife and I went there last year on the LT. It's a beautiful place. We went straight past the grand hotel and up to the fort to watch the role players and the cannon salute. We had tea and supper on the balcony and it was terrific.
Like the others said, one day is enough, unless you can spend two looking at fudge shops.
Watch out for the bridge.The paved part was closed off for maintenance and we did the whole span on the steel grid in high winds.Not for the faint hearted!
We expected to stay in Mackinac, but instead after the first day continued on down to Traverse City and stayed in the Holiday Inn for 3 days. Sandy beaches, beautiful views. Amazing!!
Whatever ferry you take I don't think you will be disappointed.

Enjoy the trip and keep the grey side down.
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post #10 of 19 Old Feb 10th, 2011, 6:54 pm
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Re: Advice for trip to Mackinac Island

Don't forget to mention the 'special upgrade' words!

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Patric
snip.......... I told them it was our honey moon , & we could only afford the $125 room . When we got there , they had upgraded us to the Jefferson Suite, & they had put a complementary bottle of Champaign in ice in the room for us . .......... endsnip

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post #11 of 19 Old Feb 10th, 2011, 8:05 pm Thread Starter
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Re: Advice for trip to Mackinac Island

Thanks all for sharing your experiences on the island. My wife is really set on the idea of staying at the Grand Hotel so that's not up for negotiation. We'll certainly ask for an upgrade. I'll see if the hotel may be interested in my wife doing a book reading-presentation, she's done that at other places and we've been given significant upgrades. She's a very well established author so that sometimes opens up opportunities. I'll head over to Mackinaw City immediately after the CCR in Boise. Thanks again for the advice.
Scott

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post #12 of 19 Old Feb 10th, 2011, 9:41 pm
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Re: Advice for trip to Mackinac Island

Scott, you will enjoy Mackinaw, especially if done right. Late August or early September are good with some colors starting to show. In the last 30 yrs my wife and I have had some great times on this island. We have never stayed at the Grand, usually Harbor View or Island House. Parking for the bike in Mackinaw City or St. Ignace is no problem. We usually go from the Mackinaw City side, but have done both. Arnold Line in Mackinaw City has let me park adjacent the guard house and in front of the ticket office in the past. I have never had a problem and never set the alarm, just cover it.

Mackinaw Island offers some of the best sunsets on the great lakes. Good from the Grand, but walk down on the boardwalk to the west around the point. In late summer the sun sets under the bridge.

As others have said the Island is very touristy on main street. The main road around the island is 7 miles and a nice bicycle ride or walk and also crowded. If you have time and like to walk there are hikes that will let you see great spots with few if anyone else around. The ridgeline trail is good and follows the bluff. Leave arch rock to the east.

Have fun and enjoy.

Fred
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post #13 of 19 Old Feb 11th, 2011, 8:14 am
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Re: Advice for trip to Mackinac Island

Harbor Springs and Petoskey are also very nice.

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post #14 of 19 Old Feb 11th, 2011, 10:18 am
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Re: Advice for trip to Mackinac Island

If you are into Geocaching, there are about 100 caches on the island. MANY take you to some of the less--touristy but scenic and historic sites on the interior of the island. I have also enjoyed the great architecture there.
Other nearby motorcycle rides along the many miles of Great Lakes shorelines including US23 on Lake Huron, lower MI, US2 along Lake Michigan and SR M134 along Lake Huron, UPper Peninsula side. SR M123 north to Paradise and Tahquamenon Falls State Park are also good rides. See http://www.upcruising.com/?roadsandrides for more area rides. Enjoy

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post #15 of 19 Old Feb 11th, 2011, 8:19 pm
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Re: Advice for trip to Mackinac Island

Hi Scott,

Everyone has pretty much covered what's available on the Island and given great advice but there is one thing you should be prepared for and that is the potential for VERY COLD WEATHER !!!!!

I have attended several fall conferences there and can tell you that on a cloudy, rainy day there the temps can get down into the high 40's to low 50's with a 15-20 mph wind so be sure to bring along some long pants and long sleeve shirts and windproof cold weather gear including a hat and gloves. I am sure you will probably have the same on your motorcycle, just remember to bring it with you when you travel to the island.

Stay Safe, Warm and Dry,

Mike
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post #16 of 19 Old Feb 12th, 2011, 7:55 pm Thread Starter
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Re: Advice for trip to Mackinac Island

Thanks everyone for the advice! I'll have some gear for cool weather since I'll be coming from the CCR in Boise. I guess that I'll get a chance to ride on the Mackinac Bridge, that should be some view. Thanks again for the tips.
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post #17 of 19 Old Feb 22nd, 2011, 7:24 pm
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Re: Advice for trip to Mackinac Island

Pellston is the best airport for the area. I would suggest riding over to Harbor Springs, Petoskey and Charlevoix. Use Rt 19 to 31.
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post #18 of 19 Old Feb 22nd, 2011, 9:53 pm
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Re: Advice for trip to Mackinac Island

Good advice on the N Michigan towns, all worth it. May as well ride MI 119 from Petoskey to Cross Village. This is called the tunnel of trees and while not a fast road offers some of the best views of Lake Michigan. C-66 out of Cross Village and just keep working your way north towards the bridge.

You will enjoy it, Mackinaw has something that most enjoy.

If you can work in a ride around Lake Superior enroute to CCR, it'll really fill out the ride. Lots of options depending on time and what you want to see & do.. Aerostich in Duluth is worth a stop. If you want to stay north, just stay west out of Thunder Bay and head towards Winnipeg.
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post #19 of 19 Old Feb 23rd, 2011, 5:22 am
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Re: Advice for trip to Mackinac Island

Quote:
Originally Posted by fwkraft
Good advice on the N Michigan towns, all worth it. May as well ride MI 119 from Petoskey to Cross Village. This is called the tunnel of trees and while not a fast road offers some of the best views of Lake Michigan. C-66 out of Cross Village and just keep working your way north towards the bridge.

You will enjoy it, Mackinaw has something that most enjoy.

If you can work in a ride around Lake Superior enroute to CCR, it'll really fill out the ride. Lots of options depending on time and what you want to see & do.. Aerostich in Duluth is worth a stop. If you want to stay north, just stay west out of Thunder Bay and head towards Winnipeg.



The tunnel of trees is a must ride!!! Don't miss it. The Leggs Inn at Cross Village is a great place to stop. A very unique restaurant!!

David

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