Drunk Biking on Mackinac Island*

 

I hit the island like a tropical storm…wearing makeup and shorts and a sweater and a rain coat. (I’m prepared for anything.)

The confusion at the docks means either I gave my luggage to a porter…or someone just made off with my computer.**

Once I’m checked into the B&B where I’m staying, I dive for a bike to start my two-wheeled therapy.

#I’M FREE!#

In a giddy rush, I tackle the 8-mile circumference with stop-and-go glee.

Stop-and-go because everything is a picture.

And I mean, E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G.!!!

I’m stopping at every cove, each turn reveals a new sparkling shore.

I even photograph the rocks!

Hand to Rock
“To skip, or not to skip?”

 

(I chuck it at the rolling surf, continuing my life-long experiment in how much I suck at skipping stones.)

Bike - Wood Mansion
This is new…which is unusual for a national park which limits development severely.

 

 

 

There are oddly shaped trees and new construction–I wonder what the islanders have to say about the double-decker mansion going up on the east side??

BIke - Tree
Make your own caption!

 

I meander my way past a makeshift driftwood chair and table hosting a solitary cairn.

I stop to chat about this and that before, I’m off again, weaving my way until I am fish-hooked by a marker signifying the filming of ‘Somewhere in Time.’ A rock with a plaque reads “At this site on June 27, 1912 Richard Collier found Elise McKenna” making fact of fiction.

Bike - Is It You
Even on the farthest shore, you cannot escape this movie.

 

Does stopping to take a picture mean I’m perpetuating the lie?

The omnipresent seagulls make me a little paranoid…I mean, they are following me everywhere.

I stop to write bad poetry about seagulls pinned to the sky by the wind.

BIke - Seagull4
Whenever I see a solitary seagull, I think, “Jonathan Livingston, I presume?”

 

I circle back to the noisy, tourist-engorged center of town…

Bike - Town
Taken without permission…but they did just stand there blocking my shot, so…

 

I clickety-click my way to “The Dock Shack” to ask a few questions about the island’s private harbor to make sure a scene in my book will actually work. I’m assured that the larger boats could dock at the privately owned pier at the far end where my heroine meets a watery fate. (Though, not fatal, as she’s only twelve.)

Narrow Escape Route
I took the weirdest tourist photos. I’m lucky I wasn’t reported for crawling around the library trying to get pictures of the interior of a locked building.

 

I have qualms about whether a golf cart could get through this narrow passage way…but then decide that fiction makes all things possible. (No matter how improbable.)

And then, thirsty, but elated, I belly up to the best scenery you can find–overlooking a miniature golf course. I dine with a view of happy families as far as the eye can see.

Water melon Elderflower Cooler
My innocent-looking Drinky-Winky.

 

I sip my watermelon/elderflower cocktail–fluffing my violet so it doesn’t get sucked up the straw.

And I listen…

To the “Good Game” family as they cheer each other on:

“Go, Team Justin!”

(If he’s no taller than his putter, that makes him four, right?)

“Go, Team Evan!”

(Stoically, Evan waits his turn as Justin putt-putts the ball to the cup in what had to be eleventy-hundred strokes.)

Everybody is a winner!

“Crack!” this is the sound their sister’s swing makes as she whacks the ball–hard–and it hits the flag sinking into the cup in a single move. I doubt professional golfers could duplicate her efforts.

She’s all poise and nonchalance as she retrieves her ball.

Everyone high-fives each other and they totter off the 18th hole.

As they leave, I can still hear their echoing ‘Good Games’ wafting behind them.

Then there was the artist earlier in the day. I’m perusing her exhibit and overhearing a NSFW conversation about a date that went nowhere.

“And then, I ask him…’Are you a good kisser?’ And he says, ‘I don’t know. You be the judge.'”

The conversation goes in and out like a static-y station on the radio as I move from room to room. I hear the last bit as I bring my purchase up.

“And then he offers me the couch…’Or,’ he says, ‘you can sleep with me, if you want,’…but that was too weird, so I didn’t go to bed with him.”

To me she says, ‘That’ll be six dollars.”

The waiters behind me are bantering, bringing me back to the here and now. Despite the chill of dusk, there is something warm in their words. They speak in drawling tones–a language born under a hot sun, where humidity slows the syllables and hard consonants are too much work.

Is it…French…? Or…Spanish? I can’t quite tell.

When the waiter returns, I start to ask…and then notice under his name, the tag actually says, “I am from Jamaica.”

We chat for a bit and he tells me he’s been coming here for five seasons now. Flying in from Detroit or Chicago and driving up together.

It’s then that I notice his name, and I’m startled into asking:

“Fitz? Isn’t that a German name?”

He looks at me with his soulful dark eyes–a rich brown to match his skin–apparently unperturbed by my rudeness. “Oh yes, there are lots of Germans and Irish in Jamaica.”

I don’t question it at the time…but now I am wondering if he was pulling my inebriated leg?

I borrow a menu from my neighbors–a father and daughter who’ve been sharing the view of the perfectly manicured lawns.

We exchange “Where are you froms?”

Turns out–we live about ten miles away from each other.

I learn that I’ve been sitting next to a member of the cast of Annie–a production run by Hope College.  Ellie tells me that she’s playing “Molly” and that she has a few lines of dialogue as well as singing. She speaks like she’s been in theater for years. She’s ten!

I ask in a conspiratorial whisper, “Do you have a real red head to play the lead?”

She shakes her head. “No, they dyed her hair!”

“Would you have dyed your hair for the part?” I ask.

She considers this. “Well, if it was for a big theater. Yes. Not for just a local production.”

My head is spinning, and not just at the savoir faire of the pint-sized talent beside me.

I eyeball my drinky-winky…

Hey, where’d it go?

I pay my bill, trying not to wince at the total.***

“How much alcohol was in that drink?” I ask Fitz.

“Only a shot and a half of vodka, plus the elderflower liquor.” He seems surprised by my lack of backbone…or knees. “Should I call you a ride?”

I hold up my helmet. “No…’v got my bike. The B&B ‘s not far.”

I pour myself out of the restaurant, slurring my way back to the bike rack. I miss every single horse plop on the way back to the B&B.

Surrounded by families biking, building cairns, playing golf, and being chauffeured by a proud parent from stage to island and back again…I’m tipsy enough to be missing my son.  And hoping he’s having as much fun as I am.

There is no high like the freedom from parenting…but a little elderflower liquor certainly doesn’t hurt.

Asterisk Bedazzled Footnote:

*Also drunk blogging…

**Hint…I’m typing on it right now.

***Welcome to the island, all major credit cards can be maxed out here.

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22 thoughts on “Drunk Biking on Mackinac Island*

  1. Mackinac is awesome, but soooo pricey! I went before I could have liquor, I think. I don’t remember drinking. I do remember sore legs and crippling exhaustion at times, but I loved it. Loved it so very, very much. it was so refreshingly cool. Thanks for writing the long postcard, I feel like I had a brief vacation 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I just biked the back trails. You don’t know lost and confused until you are rounding a corner on a rocky road and you’re dodging horse plops and carts and buggies left and right. I’ve made it back to the B&B and I am one giant, sweaty mess right now. Best exercise I’ve had in years. Plus, I didn’t die. So, it’s all good.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I am so, SO glad you’re doing this for yourself. Your happiness jumps off the page! Don’t you DARE miss him – OR feel guilty for not missing him – you’ll be a far better momma for having a chance to be just you. Dying to read that book – it sounds intriguing!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Based on several discoveries, I’ve got a few scenes that need a major re-write. Who would’ve thunk the airport would NOT be surrounded by a wire fence? I have a major moment where kids climb a fence chased by the bad guy. One problem: NO giant fence. It has a split rail fence about waist high, if you can believe it. Anybody could just walk in there and steal a plane. I asked the attendant about the lack of security. His response, “Basically, it’s a parking lot for planes. The pilots land and park themselves and take off the same way. No air traffic control or air marshalls.”

      But, the good news is, there are golf carts for thieving–though they’d stand out downtown. Perhaps this will be a late night heist instead of a daytime one. The explosion will certainly stand out better against a dark sky.

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      1. Henrietta is obviously in cahoots with the other characters. Send them a message. Write a vindictive mythological creature into your story. Send it rampaging through the narrative. I’m particularly fond of Minotaur Metaphors–they are heads and tails above harpies and can out run Medusa’s evil eye. (Yes. I am very, very tired. But in a good, slightly silly way.)

        Liked by 1 person

      2. The problem I’m having with Henrietta is, she’s supposed to be involved in a light-hearted, chick-lit sort of journey of self-discovery … and the damn magical creatures keep trying to rampage and THEY DON’T BELONG! I have been trying to tell this character’s story for YEARS – I’ve started numerous books, only to have them fizzle after a couple chapters, but Henrietta herself won’t go away. I finally think I have a handle on her, the story is one I’m equipped to tell, agents and editors want pages SOON (one wants a whole MS) … and now she’s bloody trying to wiggle off in a whole new direction. It’s MADDENING.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Hey K, Glad you are enjoying some me time. Of course, you are researching your book, so keep all your receipts and write them off your taxes. The bike, the booze, the B&B, all research expense, right. Enjoy it all while it lasts and steer clear of the horse manure! xo

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I have to say, I prefer my Christopher Reeves movies where he’s wearing tights and flying through the air. But he does do justice to the suit he wears in the movie! Such a sad day when he passed.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Am now tempted to make bizarre postcards and send them randomly to people. Though, considering I was keeping track of my son’s bm’s at one point, perhaps not all pictures should be considered for this project!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. The “mansion” is a historical property being restored to the structure it once was. It sits on private land and the restoration of historic propertys is received very well by the Island community.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hmm, I did speak to actual islanders, after I wrote the post, and they told me that it was modeled on the original structure. I think it could be argued that Silver Birches is new construction in that what was remaining was in such poor condition that it was a tear down rather than a salvage job. Also, they said there was some debate about the structure–which seems reasonable to assume seeing as the island resisted a Starbucks going in and here, seven years later, still treat them as outsiders. Because the island has strict regulations about authentic styles and appearances, I would imagine the owners of the soon-to-be new Silver Birches had to go through the wringer for permits. With how beautiful the island looks, I wouldn’t expect anything less. Thanks for commenting! I look forward to seeing the facility when it’s completed.

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