Weekly Update 01/25/2010



Chris West (Mackinac Island Tourism Bureau) & Dave Johnson are set to Broadcast LIVE the Mackinac Island Lakers Basketball Game TONIGHT (Friday, January 29) @ 6 pm.  After the game, there is a Homecoming Dance at the Village Inn, and Chris and Dave are DJing the dance.  Maybe they’ll stay on the air!  www.radiomackinac.org.

Tim Leeper Update (January 26, 2010)

          January 25:  Tim had a good day on Monday.  Fairly flat terrain and then a 1,000 to 1,500 climb. There was a stretch of 10 to 20 miles where the road narrowed, and there was a lot of Monday morning traffic, glass on the road, and no shoulder.  One more flat (makes number 17). Tim was able to pick pecans without getting off his bike as they were hanging over the road – obviously a big money crop there in New Mexico and Texas. There is a possibility he’ll be on the radio again this week at a radion station in Marfa, TX. Fort Hancock, TX for the night.

          January 26:  Tim is inVan Horn, TX.  Tuesday was another good day, sunny, a slight head wind, and the roads were car free. He was on Route 10 for about 15 miles. Tim said he saw the prettiest sunset of his trip so far, just about as beautiful as those in northern Michigan. He did get his 18th flat tire, just as he was getting into town – thought maybe he would make a whole day without one.  Tim said the desk clerk was very helpful and nice, and they have a computer he can access!  He’s going to check out the posts and his facebook page. Early to bed as tomorrow is a rough day, 91 miles and a 3,000 foot climb.

For five days this coming week there is a 50% or more chance of snow on Mackinac Island.  That’s a very good thing, because right now what little snow is left is slowly being turned into slush by rain.  Come on snow!  We are hoping for a winter wonderland when we arrive on February 4th! 

We have the schedule of events for the winter festival, and I have posted it below.  There is still time to make reservations on the island and join us for a few days of fun.  Rooms are available at Bogan Street Inn, the Cottage Inn, and Pontiac Lodge.  This week highs are supposed to be in the teens, and lows will hover in the single digits.  No word yet for the next week – when we will arrive – but it’s beginning to look like we might actually get to wear all that cold weather gear we bought!


Saturday, February 6, 2010
Great Turtle Park (walk, ski or take a horse-drawn taxi to the middle of the Island)
12:00 p.m. –  Warming Fire
Concession Stand (grilled hot dogs, brats, chili and s’mores)
Sledding Contest and Kids Games
12:00 p.m. –  Snow Golf
12:30 p.m. –  Ski Races, Snow Bowling, Snowmobile Parade
1:00 p.m. –  Snowshoe Event/Obstacle Course
2:00 p.m. – Broom Hockey
7:00 p.m. – Children’s Party at Johnson Hall
8:00 p.m. – Teen Bash at Great Turtle Park

Sunday, February 7, 2010
10:00 a.m. – Winter Festival Brunch with pancakes, bacon, sausage, eggs, potatoes, biscuits & gravy, cinnamon rolls & fresh fruit.  School Gym, $8 – Adults $4 – Kids
All Day: School Bake Sale, Cookie Contest, and Silent Auction Fundraiser
All Day: Photo contest for 2012 “Seasons of Mackinac” calendar
12:30 p.m. – Poker Run
1:00 p.m. – Kids Carnival, Cupcake Walk and Kids Auction.  Archery Contest, Foil Game, and Snow Volleyball
2:00 p.m. – Bingo
3:00 p.m. – Raffle Drawing & Announcements

There was a wonderful article in The St. Ignace News about the winter work done by horses on Mackinac Island.  It was written by Karen Gould.  Here are some key points she made:

  • There are 12 horses working on the island this winter.  They are all strong, calm, and good-natured.  They have the ability to pull heavy loads uphill in ice and snow, and they hardly notice the snowmobiles or the snowplow.
  • These are mostly Belgians and Percheron crossbred working horses.  They transport people and deliver mail, groceries, building materials, and supplies to the more than 300 year-round Island residents and the handful of businesses that remain open.  The only time they are taken off-duty is in severe weather, especially during hail.
  • The “best of the best” horses on the Island are the dray horses.  They must be able to stand in one spot while the dray is unloaded, while ignoring snowmobiles.
  • The horses wear special shoes to give them more traction in ice and snow.  The steel shoe has metal spikes to grip the road.  The shoes are changed about every five weeks.
  • The Mackinac Island Service Company tests horses all year to determine which would work best during the winter.  Usually they keep the same horses year after year.  If a horse is young when he proves himself to be a good winter horse, he may work on the island 15 or more years.
  • The horses’ day begins at 5:30 a.m. when George Wellington arrives at the barn and gives them fresh hay, grain, and water.  The dray drivers arrive at the barn around 7 a.m. to groom their team.  In the winter they are brushed, cleaned, and then harnessed. 
  • Even if packages or building material arrives that needs to be delivered far from town, everything is delivered by dray.  It would be much easier to just throw everything on a snowmobile, but the island tries to remain true to itself.  Snowmobiles are supposed to be for personal use only.
  • Around noon on the freight dock, the horses are given oats, grain, and water for lunch.
  • After the last freight is unloaded and delivered, the horses head up Cadotte Ave. and back to the barn in Harrisonville.  Their harnesses are removed and they are brought to their stalls, where they are fed grain, oats, and water.

 Tim Leeper Update

          January 21:  Tim spent the night in Hillsboro, NM, after leaving Silver City in the snow.  At one point he had to walk his bike six miles because the snow was so deep.  When he arrived in Hillsboro, everything was closed.  He went to a local B&B, and the owner refused to rent him a room, saying she was going to town and didn’t want anybody there.  She told him there was a cinderblock bathroom down the road, he could sleep there for the night.  Tim then went to the post office, where he met a lady named Mary.  Mary called the people who owned the local motel, and they opened it up and gave him a room, even bringing him food and drink because everything else was closed.

          January 22:  Tim arrived in Hatch, NM, after a day of riding in rain, hail and wind so strong it pushed him backwards if he stopped.  Even though he was traveling downhill, he had to keep pedaling the entire time.

          January 23:  Tim made good time to Las Cruces, so decided to go on to Anthony.  The winds were around 20 mph, gusting to 40 or 50.  The sun was shining, the mountains were snow covered and beautiful, and he passed acre after acre of pecan groves.  Going the extra miles to Anthony will give him a short 50-mile trip to El Paso on Sunday.  A friend has arranged for Tim to use his La Quinta points for his room in El Paso.

          January 24:  Tim made the short ride to El Paso, and got the day off to rest, recoup and watch the football playoffs.  He took a photo at the Texas border.

Mike Forrester sent me a couple of YouTube videos of our transportation to the Island from St. Ignace.  These are really neat, with some great scenery.  One is taking off from St. Ignace, and the other landing on the Island.  We both think these were taken this year, probably very recently.

Takeoff: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oWno8gBVuBs

Landing: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1iBMivpGQpc

 And one more video – this one is the new Pure Michigan Mackinac Island ad.  Beautiful, but whoever posted it the first time misspelled Mackinac (it’s with a “c”, not a “w”)  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GrUNEfmUSS4

That’s all for today’s update.  I’m posting a few more pics of the Island as it was in December.  These are all Jill’s pictures, as is the one in the header and the one with the horse story.  Will continue to post updates from Tim, so check back every few days.  See you next Sunday, good Lord willing.  God bless. 


I love the hat this guy has on. Wonder where he got it!


Diane and Bonnie, at the bottom of Cadotte Avenue.

Jill - I hope she has runners on those tires.


French Lane in the snow.


7 thoughts on “Weekly Update 01/25/2010

  1. Pictures are beautiful as usual. A real fairy land.
    Very interesting story about the horses. It sounds like they loved and taken very good care of.
    Your plane ride over to the island looks to be just a hop and a skip over. 🙂 I LOVE the Pure Michigan ads, and the one of Mackinac Island is my favorite! Of course!.
    Thanks again on the update on Tim and thanks to the lady at the post office for being so nice.
    Make sure ya’ll wave at us on the webcam when your on the island. 😉

    • Hi Hilde! We are going to have to figure out a way to let you all know WHEN we will be in front of one of those cameras!! Since we won’t be coming into the dock, we can’t say, “just be watching for the 4:30 ferry”. No cameras at the airport. Hmmm, great minds should be able to figure this out.

  2. Oh you Dixie Chicks are gonna have SUCH fun going to the island in winter! I’m sooo hoping they have enuff snow by then to make it just a great “snow experience” for you!!

    Love seeing the pix of everything on the island in it’s ‘sleeping mode’, draped in blankets of snow..so pretty & peaceful

    Such great pix! Jill- you are a wonderwoman! You can balance your bike with a FULL basket, pedal with Sorrel winter boots (or similar ones looks like) navigate that bike in the snow, AND take such beautiful photos too?? WOW! Great job!

    Jane in Minnesota

  3. Oh you Dixie Chicks are gonna have SUCH fun going to the island in winter! I’m sooo hoping they have enuff snow by then to make it just a great “snow experience” for you!!

    Love seeing the pix of everything on the island in it’s ‘sleeping mode’, draped in blankets of snow..so pretty & peaceful

    Such great pix! Jill- you are a wonderwoman! You can balance your bike with a FULL basket, pedal with Sorrel winter boots (or similar ones looks like) navigate that bike in the snow, AND take such beautiful photos too?? WOW! Great job!

    Jane in Minnesota
    Sorry, should have mentioned good post! Waiting for your next one!

  4. I loved the pictures and thanks for the updates! The horses are beautiful and very well cared for! Enjoy you trip to the island on also on the island!! Praying for snow for you! 🙂

  5. Phew! I’ve finished reading the archives! I love the winter pictures of the island. I’ve always wondered what it would be like to live there year ’round. Can’t wait for your reports from the Winter Festival. Have a fabulous winter…see back here in the spring!

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