A Midnight Ride and A New Resolution 8/18/09

It never occurred to me to take a camera to the movies last night. Oh, how I wish I had! 

Judy had reserved a taxi to pick us up at 11 p.m. after the movie was over.  But there was some confusion over where we would be waiting, so it was almost 11:30 before we boarded the taxi.  We were the only passengers, and Judy (our carriage driver was named Judy also) radioed the taxi office to get permission to take us to Surrey Ridge via Mission Hill.  She said if the taxi has a light load, they can often make the run that way instead of going through town. 

To get to Mission Hill, you turn off Main Street at the Bay Cottage onto Truscott St.  At the end of Truscott, there is a sharp left turn, and you are on Mission Hill – very steep and only for carriages with brakes.  The hill brings you out right in the middle of the road (Huron) running east and west in front of the East Bluff cottages.  At the top of the hill, we turned left, and the view when we made that turn was among the most beautiful I have ever seen.  I had never, in all our nine years coming to the island, been up on the East Bluff at night.  The panorama spread out before us of the lights from the town below and the seemingly endless span of the Mackinac Bridge was breathtaking.  The bridge at night is decked with miles of sparkling, colored lights.  Like looking at a 5-mile long string of Christmas tree lights reaching across the waters from Mackinaw City to St. Ignace, the bridge appeared like something in a fantasy land.  Added to that were the lights of the vehicles moving across the bridge, looking like tiny play cars and trucks as they made the trip back and forth from the lower to the upper peninsula.  Judy and I were speechless, and I thought to myself how blessed the cottagers are who live on that bluff in the summer, or all year long, and can look out at that vista every single night.

We rode on into the night, going home by the same roads that Ted and I travel when we go to the East Bluff or the fort.  We turned right at the Governor’s Summer Residence, and we were in the deep, dark woods – no lights of any kind except for the tiny green light on the driver’s radio, just above her head.  I think it was kind of spooky to Judy (my friend), and she asked the driver, “How do the horses see where they are going?”  The driver said that from her vantage point, up on the driver’s seat, she could actually see the the lighter color of the road, as distinguished from the trees of the woods.  The horses, even though their night vision is basically the same as ours, would just instinctively follow the paved road.  The driver would instantly know if they went off the road because the steady “clip-clop” would become muffled.  She reached up and turned on an overhead light that illuminated the woods around us and the road in front of us.  I truthfully liked the dark better.  It was such a different feeling to be traveling through these ancient woods at night, in the dark – a brand new perspective of this island that I love so much.

This morning I awoke with a whole new attitude toward what I was going to do with the rest of our time on the island.  I had seriously been letting the healthy aspects of island living take care of themselves, pacifying myself that all the hill walking was making up for the tremendous amounts of fudge I have consumed lately.  So today I made a deal with myself to get back to the weight room at least three days a week, and to start watching my sugar consumption a little more.  A great Monday morning resolution, huh!

I biked into town first thing to ship my laptop back to Georgia.  I left it in the very capable hands of Sara at the UPS office, who promised it would be in Albany on Wednesday.  Then I rode to the Grand Hotel weight room for some upper arm work.  As I’ve said before, you don’t worry about  leg muscles up here – they get all the exercise they could possibly need.  It’s my upper arms that are falling (no pun intended) apart.  When I got into the exercise room, there were two guys on the cardio equipment, and one lady who was working out with free weights.  I took one look at her and thought, “Wow, I want whatever she’s having!”  She was slender, she was toned, she was very attractive.  I felt like yesterday’s leftovers standing next to her.  So I grabbed my little 5 lb. weights (she had the 8 lbs., or I would have gone for those), and started my biceps routine.  I think I was on rep 4 when she said, “Excuse me, but could I just show you the right way to do that?”  I thought, “Well, sure – I’ve been doing it this way for 30 years now, and I still have flabby arms, so I’m not too old to learn.”  In the next 30 minutes Elizabeth taught me more about the correct posture, positioning, and reasoning behind every exercise I did than I had learned in any gym or book in many, many years.  It turns out she is a personal trainer in Washington, D.C., here on the island visiting her parents who live on the West Bluff.  She was so nice and helpful.  We talked about nutrition, what’s good to eat, what’s not and why.  So, on the day I decide to tackle my wayward ways in exercising and eating, I meet a personal trainer – how convenient is that!  Here’s Elizabeth.

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Ted and I took the dogs for a long walk this afternoon.  After stopping by the Carriage Museum so Maddie and Bear could visit Scooter and get hugs from Denise, we walked up by the cemetaries and hooked up to a road/trail that came out at Sugar Loaf (and yes, that’s a man attempting to climb the giant limestone rock).

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From the base of Sugar Loaf, we climbed the stairs up to Lookout Point (Ted swears that this was the fastest way home, but it seems every walk with him lately includes some steps!)

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A private tour carriage was already at Lookout Point, and we chatted with the driver and her passengers a few minutes. 

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I took the first of three pictures of Sugar Loaf from a certain point at the lookout.  I will take the second in the middle of September, and the third in the middle of October.  If last year is any indication, those three pictures will catalog the fall season as it comes to Mackinac Island.  Here it is for August 17.

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We walked back through Turtle Park and Trillium Heights.  In Trillium Heights, there is a yard where this scarecrow stands guard over the owner’s beautiful garden and flowerbeds.

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We arrived back home just in time to start dinner.  I heard by email from Blake that he is safely in Beijing and settled into the hotel where he will be staying for a few days while he participates in a training course.  Then on Monday he will fly to his home base city of Chongqing.  I was confused about the hours of his flight, and he arrived at 10:30 this morning (Monday) – not Monday night.  Thank you God for safe travels, and thank all of you blogging friends for your prayers.

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7 thoughts on “A Midnight Ride and A New Resolution 8/18/09

  1. Our family was staying at Bay Cottage for a week to celebrate my parents’ 50th anniversary. My mother and I took my 5 year old son on a carriage tour our last evening there, and because it was the last one of the day, the driver went down the hill on Truscott from the East Bluff instead of going around the usual way. Thankfully she asked if anyone was staying at Mission Point and would want to get off at the bottom of the hill to walk back there. I said we were staying “nearby”, not wanting to boast about living at that beautiful cottage for a week that you could see through the trees! Thanks again for your wonderful blog – you really capture the essence of Mackinac.

  2. Do you suppose you could persuade Elizabeth to come home with you to Ga. so we could all get back in shape? What a set of toned-up arms. And the pictures just get more breath taking.
    Glad Blake made it back ok!
    Miss ya`ll, Marianne

  3. We are all happy you are back! I ordered the movie “Ice Bridge” either for seeing a clip on your blog or the quilted turtle blog…watched it last night and it is a fantstic movie. Great landscapes…I can’t asy enough about how good it is.
    Your blog today makes me think I just might come up in November to look out over the East Bluff at night.

    Take Care,
    Scot

    • I know I have mentioned it before, but I’m sure the quilted turtle has also. It is a beautifully made movie. Sometime when I just want to drift away peacefully to another place, I put it in the DVD and watch it. The lady who does the narration and the music couldn’t be more perfect, and the photography is stunning. I bet you watch it more than once!

  4. I read this one last night before I went to bed and then I peacefully dreamed of riding home at night, watching for that grey V in the trees through which you can see the lighter sky – that was just such a perfect description!

    One of my earliest recollections of the Island is riding home from the Grand in the basket of my Dad’s bike (I was probably about 3 – this was before the Mission Theater was built and the Grand gave us the use of it’s stage for the MRA productions), going down Cadotte Ave (the Grand Hill) and looking up at the stars as we went along!

    What a nice idea for the Sugar Loaf pictures! And then you can take another next April or May when you first get there. Of course, maybe you’ll fly up for Winter Carnival in February and get a winter shot too!!?

    • Irene,
      I LOVE reading your comments. It means so much to me that I am reaching out and touching someone who has such fond memories of the island. How great it must have been to spend so much time here as a child.
      Brenda

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