First Fall Storm 9/8/2010

When we went to bed Monday night I thought I would probably have to cancel Bear’s grooming appointment off-island.  The weather report was calling for a really nasty day on Tuesday, and though I didn’t much mind going to Cheboygan in nasty weather, what I did mind was getting Bear back up the hill in a monsoon, right after he’d been bathed and groomed.  You know, it’s kinda like when you get your hair done for a special event, then have to cross the parking lot to your car in a rainstorm.  Somehow, it just seems pointless. 

I awoke at 7 a.m., took a look outside, saw no rain, heard a lot of wind, and thought, “Maybe the wind will dry up the roads before I have to leave at 8:30 to catch the 9 o’clock ferry.”  So I washed my hair, packed Bear’s “spa” bag (shampoo and conditioner), got my Walmart list together, and off we went down the hill.  The roads were wet, but it wasn’t raining.  Bear, nevertheless, had plenty of time to get coated in mud/poop/water from the bottom of his feet half-way up his legs before we made it downtown.  You know how I’ve mentioned needing fenders on your bike when you ride around on the island when it’s been raining?  Well, dogs don’t come equipped with fenders, and Bear pretty much prances when he walks – so he slings a lot of whatever happens to be on the road up on himself.  Stuff like that is a given if you live on the Island with dogs, and you just have to adapt – and not be a clean freak! 

We got to Cheboygan with no problems, although the whole way over I was listening to the weather radio announcer go on and on about 40-50 mph winds coming in later in the morning and in the afternoon – plus lots of rain.  I just sighed, dropped Bear off, and went to cruise the aisles of Walmart for four hours.  I picked Bear up at 2 p.m., allowing myself plenty of time to drive the 14 miles to Mac City for the 2:30 ferry.  As we drove northwest, the sky became darker and darker, but I thought maybe it would blow over, and we could still make the condo before the bottom fell out.  Hey – I am a very optimistic kind of girl! 

There were a few trees beginning to put on their fall coats along the highway back to Mackinaw City (hard to take pics and drive at the same time).

As the first city motels came into view, the clouds seemed to be growing darker and more menacing by the minute.

I turned into the Arnold dock, grabbed Bear and my Walmart bags (5 minutes to spare), and left the truck to be valet parked. I passed a friend in the parking lot who had just come over - he said I was in for a wild ride. Bear and I skidded onto the ferry just as the final horn blew.


Pay close attention to the windows in this pic. See how clearly you can see the Mackinac Bridge . . .

. . . and now you can't! That "white-out" is the wave action on the lake crashing against the ferry - to the height of those windows. Bear, who usually sleeps the entire trip across, got up and put his head in my lap and stayed there until we docked on the Island.

We passed a freighter as we slowed to make the turn into the harbor.

I had been talking to Jill on the trip across, and she took a break from the bookstore to meet our ferry. She wanted to tell me about three sailboats in the harbor that had come unmoored in the wind and were crashing into each other and into the breakwall. You can see on the right side of this pic a sailboat that is heeling and a couple more in the middle of the pic that seem to have broken free and are very close, if not touching each other.


The clouds were still holding in the rain, and I was thinking, "Get to the condo - NOW!"

Jill held onto Bear while I took pics of the clouds and waited on our taxi.

Right here I was thinking, "If we make it home before this hits, we are going to be very lucky!" But, I was still optimistic - it had held off this long. All we needed was 15 more minutes.

We would have made it too - except. Instead of going straight up the hill, we had other passengers to pick up at the Shepler's dock who were going to the Grand. They loaded, and we started through town. We made the turn from Market Street to Cadotte Avenue . . .

. . . let the folks off at the Grand, and just as we made the U-turn a little past the Grand porch - it hit! You can see the horses pulling the taxi in front of ours as they put their heads down into the wind and rain coming off the Straits.

View looking out of the taxi "rain flap" onto Lake Huron. The Purple Fountain Grass was horizontal in the wind.

And the view from our door for the rest of the afternoon The wind is howling, the rain is pouring, and the water is cascading down the street in sheets . . .

. . . and people are still trying to make it up the hill.

As I finish this post at 10:15 Tuesday evening, the rain has finally stopped, but the wind is still strong enough to force you to lean into it to make any headway.  A fine “first” storm this has been – I wonder what Mother Nature has in store for us next?! 

Note:  After I published the blog tonight, Diane Sprengel, a friend who lives near the breakwater, sent me these pics of those sailboats in the harbor this afternoon that got into some serious trouble during all the wind.  The photos are great, and I just had to add them.

In Diane’s words, “One sailboat ran aground, and two were tangled together until the owners came late in the day to free their sailboat.  He got the boats untangled and had the engine started.  All was going well, until the props caught hold of the ropes, and then the engine quit.  Now they were no longer moored to anything and were thrashing about.  They too ran aground, and thankfully no one was injured.”



25 thoughts on “First Fall Storm 9/8/2010

  1. Phew, that boat ride sounded REALLY interesting. Reminds me when we had our sailboat. We were leaving the island for Mackinaw City. Weather was perfect. Got out in the middle and phew…. sky turned grey, waves were huge. What should have taken a few hrs., it took 8 hrs. I literally thought I was a goner. Mother Nature definitely at her worst.

    • Our family had a similar experience trying to get away from South Manitou Island during a particularly vicious Nor’easter. The sail to Frankfort, normally a 4-hour sail, took a good 8+ hours in a following sea. I thought our sailboat would end up on the beach. As did my parents.

  2. Oh dear. I just sent my friend Lynda Daley up there with a group of friends from the south who have never been to the island before. They arrived Monday and are staying at the Lilac House. I hope they will not freak out from the weather and never want to come back.
    It’s been blowing like crazy down here so I imagine it’s 10 times worse up there. Be safe, Brenda.

    • They will be just fine, Doris – maybe a little damp, but I think the rain is over – don’t know about the wind. I just added three more pics at the end of the blog. You need to go back and look at those. You just never know what the weather is going to do up here during September and October. My son and his wife are coming Sept. 16 for a few days, and I am holding my breath for good weather for them.

  3. This may be silly … but do the horses spook or display anything other than their usual calm demeanor during high winds? Glad you and Bear had a safe ferry ride. Hope the storm didn’t wreak havoc with the Islands’ flowers.

    • Susan, the only thing that seems to freak them out is a plastic bag blowing across the street in front of them. The weather doesn’t seem to bother them at all. Of course, they’ve been out in all kinds of weather here on the island, so I guess they just get used to it.

  4. OH MY GOODNESS! The beautiful sailboats! I can’t figure out why one of the sailboats has the sail up ….. hmmm. Thank goodness no one was injured … or worse.

    Blessings are in abundance.

  5. Well at least you were close enough to home after the taxi ride that Bear didn’t have to go to far and get too “dirty” again 🙂 I feel bad for the owners of those sailboats but it did make for some amazing pictures. Hope they didn’t suffer too much damage and thank goodness no one was hurt.

  6. Great pictures, Brenda! Our chainsaw has been getting a workout the past couple of days! I don’t get much sleep during these storms…the trees along the boulevard leading up to the hotel are NOT my friends in these high winds!

    The pictures of that sailboat broke my heart…

    Glad you & Bear made it back safely!

  7. It was a beautiful morning on the island yesterday and we considered taking a late day ferry home. Glad we didn’t. Even at 10am wind was already bad and so were the waves. The only positive thing was that we were headed straight into the wind back to Mackinac City and not riding in the ditch of the waves. Wind was bad all the way down state.

  8. Hi Bree! I just wanted to say that I love your blog! I’ve just started reading it a couple weeks ago and it’s amazing! I live down in central Illinois (about a 10 hour drive) and I will be on the island in a month for our wedding! Everytime I read your blog and see the pictures, it makes me smile and get excited to be back on the island! Keep up the wonderful pictures and blogs…I’ll keep reading from down here! 🙂

  9. Wow those poor sailboat owners! I’m glad you got on and off the island okay and that Bear got all gussied up just fine…and did not get any more of the horse pooh once you got back home.
    Happy Wednesday!

  10. Wow! I agree with the pp – those poor sailboat owners! We are staying on the island for the weekend. Friday is suppose to be nice but they say that Saturday and Sunday it’s going to rain. I hope it’s not an all day rain on Saturday! We will make sure we bike around the island on Friday. You never know about crazy Michigan weather…

  11. WOW! I was feeling damp and chilly just looking at the pictures! I can’t believe the sail boat pictures, that would be scary for the owners. I hope Bear liked his spa-day. It is definately feeling like fall in MI!!

  12. You spent September 7th much different than Fred and I…it was our 53rd wedding anniversary and we spent most of the day at the Toledo (Ohio) Zoo!! It was free for Seniors so we said..why not?!? LOL Our weather was close to 90 all day and very sunny and windy…what a difference 340 miles makes!! Then a wonderful dinner out at Outback glad you made it to Cheboygan and back safely..the pictures were all fantastic as usual!! Great blog!! Praying for Blake and a new job!! Blessings!!

  13. Hi Bree,
    We were on the Island Tuesday most of the day…..morning beautiful….mid afternoon storm clouds…very windy….temperature dropped. Knew you would not be at the Museum …..bummer…but glad that we enjoyed another trip to the Island. Our ride back to St. Ig was like a roller coaster ride…prayed for the skipper and us. Love your blog…thanks so very much for sharing. Cheryl

  14. Just found your blog – love the island soooo much! Will definitely be checking back, and so glad you and Bear (he’s a handsome one!) weathered the first storm alright.

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