The Straits of Mackinac offer a variety of unique sightseeing, shopping and dining experiences. With its main attraction being Mackinac Island, the local businesses tend to cater to those who visit the historical chunk of land. That’s not to say there aren’t other attractions in the area, including one that is pretty well known.
The Mackinac bridge or ‘Mighty Mack’ is the longest suspension bridge in North America, spanning five miles from it’s anchorages. Its two towers stand 552ft above the water’s surface and the bridge uses 42,000 miles of steel cable. It’s quite a sight and an amazing drive, for some a bit nerve racking. It alone is worth the trek to Northern Michigan.
Along with that, I think I found the most inexpensive lodging option in the area, or close to it. With shuttles to the ferry docks in Mackinaw City, the Mill Creek campground comes with all the amenities you could ask for, while pitching a tent.
I’m driving highway 2 in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, enjoying the scenery but abhorring the wind. The gusts are quite strong today and I have a bike rack strapped to the trunk of my Dodge Dart. I mention to Heidi, more than once, that I’m a little apprehensive about our upcoming Bridge crossing. She doesn’t seemed worried at all, but that’s not always a good sign. I can imagine, as a result of a gust causing the straps to break loose; some dented cars, our bikes rendered as twisted metal, traffic backed up on five miles worth of bridge and me explaining to the cops why I’m an Idiot.
As we get near the long span of steel, pavement and concrete; I notice buildings along the straits boasting a view of the ‘Mighty Mack for $1.00. It seems like a rather decent deal, but future excursions in the area will prove this needless. There are countless vantages of the bridge available, even if it these spots along the highway are only a dollar, It’ a dollar I don’t need to spend.
We’re almost at the Mackinac and discover there is a toll for crossing. The four dollars may seem excessive, but considering that it cost almost 1 billion dollars to erect in 1957 it’s understandable. I can only guess what the expenses of the upkeep are. The fact that road crews are working on it today vies for the cost and also makes me feel safer.
We finally make it after our long drive from Green Bay, Wisconsin. I’ve heard about this landmark all my life and now we’ll be crossing this 62 year old monster! We start out and immediately I’m relieved as the Bridge takes a direct easterly approach. That means the wind from the west is at our backs and not working across our path. I feel much better about the bike rack.
The ride is smooth and Heidi is excited. This is one of those bucket list moments and we take in every bit of it. The Bridge is four lanes, two in either direction. Heidi snaps some shots and I’m happy for two reasons. The first reason would be that this is everything I dreamed it would be, The second is that we’re almost at our destination.
We leave ‘Mighty Mack’ behind and head for the Mill Creek Campground. When we arrive, I pay the rest of my balance. It’s four nights and I payed $38 up front for reservations. I pay the remaining $82 on the balance and receive directions on how to get to our site. I’m pretty stoked because I have a water view campsite. This particular sight allows a view of Mackinac Island. Other sights allow for a view of the bridge and island as well.
As we find the our spot, we discover standing water in the partition of land. So, we retreat to the office and ask for another site. The man at the campground office finds one inland which, to tell the truth, is fine by me. I receive $32 back so I’m staying for around $22 a night.
We find our dry site, set up the tent, unload the car and head towards Walmart in Cheboygan for supplies. When we return we head to the Camp Store. There we purchase an Ice Cream cone, check out the arcade and buy some fire wood.
We also discover that we can purchase ferry tickets to Mackinac Island for a small discount here. The free shuttle picks up people every hour starting at 8:30 near the store, a trailer is towed behind it for your bicycle. The ferry docks are 2.5 miles away, roughly a five minute drive. We discuss it and decide to hold off on buying the tickets till tomorrow.
For now, we’ll check out what’s here. There’s a pool, toilets and showers, a dog exercise area and amazing views of the Mackinac Bridge and Lake Huron. I’m super excited about our stay!
We try to start a fire and plan our first day of relaxation and fun. Thank you Mill City Campground for making visiting Mackinac Island financially doable!
3 responses to “A ‘Bucket List’ Moment at the Start of My Vacation”
Great post and pics, Chris! That bridge is really impressive! I hope you enjoy your trip to Mackinac Island.
Crossing the bridge was a bucket list item for us, too! We had to cross it to get into the UP to make it to Lake Superior when we were staying in northern Michigan. It was also a conquer-a-fear moment for me as I’m scared of heights and leery of bridges. We had a wait at the top of the span because of traffic and came to a complete stop. I opened the truck door and could see the lake below through the grating. Now, one of my bucket list items is to do the Mackinac Bridge Walk at some point in the future–just to feel the adrenaline of being scared to death but determined to make it. It’s a beautiful area of the country, too! We’ll have to check out that campground. We full time in an RV. Safe travels and wonderful adventures to you!
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Thanks for the comment! Our neighbor had mentioned the bridge walk to Heidi. So she would like to try it also. It Seemslike such an easy thing, just walk over a bridge. Then you realize it’s five miles!
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