Ferries and Freeways . . . 10/24/2010

Ted did such a good planning job to make sure we made it to the ferry on time Sunday morning. 

He called and reserved a taxi – two days in advance – knowing the Somewhere in Time folks were leaving the island the same morning we were, and taxis were going to be few and far between.  No problem – we were assured the taxi would be there at 8:30 for our 9 a.m. departure.  Ted had already conceded that trying to catch the 8 a.m. ferry would really be a push (knowing what a morning person I am), but we had to be on the 9 o’clock so we could make it to Richmond, Kentucky our first night on the road.  The next ferry didn’t leave until 11 a.m., so he didn’t even consider that one an option.

All went well Sunday morning.  We were both up at 6 o’clock, and by 8:15 our bags were sitting at the end of the boardwalk.  We walked over to say goodbye to Duck and stood at his fence chatting while we waited.


One of my favorite Mackinac Island "characters" - Chief Don (Duck) Andress, our across the street neighbor. If Duck doesn't know if it happened on Mackinac Island, it DIDN'T happen on Mackinac Island.

At 8:35, Ted made a call to the taxi dispatcher – just to check – and found out that the taxi was at the airport – not good.   At 8:45, still no taxi in sight.  Ted made another phone call and emphasized we had a 9 a.m. ferry to catch.  And that is when the dispatcher said, “Oh no!  I didn’t get that part of the message!”  Not good.


Can you see the slightly worried look on Ted's face?

At 8:50 our taxi pulled up, and Ted said, “Can we make the 9 o’clock ferry?”  The taxi driver laughed.  Not good.

Ted loaded the taxi in 30 seconds flat while I hauled Maddie and Bear up on the seats.  We started down the hill and immediately fell in line behind George, hauling a wagon load of empty barrels.  Now anyone who knows George knows that George does not hurry – for anyone.  By this time Ted had told the driver – once again – that we really, really, really needed to make this ferry.  I got on the phone and called Jill, who I knew was at the dock, and asked her if she would talk to someone about holding the ferry.  She almost choked laughing and said, “Hold the ferry!  Are you nuts!  They don’t hold the ferry!”  I knew that, but I thought I’d ask anyway.

We passed George at the lightning speed of 1.5 mph and approached the Grand Hotel, where a worker was standing in the middle of the street.  Worker said to taxi driver, “Can you tow down a luggage cart for us?”  Taxi driver said, “Sure,” and worker ran to get cart.  The taxi driver immediately called “Giddy up” to the horses and said to us, “Just told him that so he’d get out of the way and not argue with me.”  By now it’s 9:59, and we have called Sheplers to see if they have a boat between 9 and 11, which they do.  We had already decided to just go on to Shepler’s when the radio dispatcher came on and said to our taxi driver, “Get here as fast as possible, we are h-o-l-d-i-n-g the ferry!”  Oh my gosh!!!

In the next instant, my cell phone rang, and it was Jill.  “They are h-o-l-d-i-n-g the ferry for ya’ll!  They just got a call from dispatch, and two dock porters will be waiting for you with a luggage cart!”  Oh my gosh!!!

We turned the corner off Market Street, sped up to 2 mph coming down the little hill between Market and Main, then flew around that corner like those two horses had sprouted wings.  We practically slid onto the ferry dock, where – just as Jill had promised – two dock porters were waiting with a cart.  They had our luggage off the taxi and onto the cart in 10 seconds, and I had those 10 seconds to notice that not only Jill, but also Frankie and Mary had come down to the dock to see us off.  And yep, that’s when the tears started.  And you know those little pieces of my heart I wrote about a few days ago?  Right there is where I left them – on that dock with those precious friends.

One last look at the island . . .

Quick hugs all around, and we were on the ferry.  I stood at the window and waved Ted’s white handkerchief at my three friends on the dock (when I wasn’t using it to wipe my eyes).  I know everyone on that ferry must have thought we were all pretty silly, but I’m way too old to worry about that. 

One last glimpse of friends . . .

Jill had slipped Ted a bag full of goodies during all the craziness, and we opened it going across.  Cookies for me and brownies for Ted – all from Martha’s Sweet Shop.  Also tucked inside was a sweet note and a little feminine hankie (sorry Jill, I needed Ted’s great big white one for that trip across).  We had the car packed and were on the road by 10. 

I didn’t snap many pics on the two-day trip, but here are a few I thought you might like:

There must have been a hot air balloon show somewhere close to Cincinnatti because as we approached the city, we could see about 15 of them on the horizon. This is the only one we got close enough to for a photo.


Crossing the Ohio River in Cincinnatti . . .


. . . and entering Kentucky.


Sunday night in a great Holiday Inn Express in Richmond, KY that is dog friendly. Maddie to Bear, "Where are we going now?"


Up and on the road early enough Monday morning to catch the sunrise.


Soon we were into Tennessee . . .


. . . and the Great Smoky Mountains. Some color in the northern part of Tennessee - not so much as we went further south.


Bear's favorite traveling spot - with his head on the arm rest between Ted and I. Maddie rode the entire 1,100+ miles on my lap.


We're in Georgia . . .

. . . just entering Atlanta.


Two hours later . . . country road, take me home . . .


A cotton pickin' cotton picker.

Someone asked a few days ago if I thought Maddie and Bear knew where they were going when we left Michigan – like the horses seem to know they’re going to Pickford for the winter.  I really think when we piled them in the car at the ferry dock, they just thought they were going for another ride.  BUT – as soon as we turned onto our street and went over the railroad track, they were both up and staring out the window – all excited.  So even if they didn’t realize it at first, when we made that “oh so familiar turn and hit those bumps”, they knew exactly where they were!  By the time we turned into our driveway, they were both going nuts!

Waking up this morning to the sun rising over the ri’vah was wonderful.  I curled up on the sunporch couch with my coffee and smiled.  Do I miss the island – oh yes, I really, really do.  But I missed our sweet little lake house in Georgia just as much. 

It’s good to be home.

Sunrise over the ri'vah Tuesday morning. Home sweet home.

I’ll probably post a little something for Friday morning, then we’ll be off to Savannah.  I plan to close down this site the first part of next week and officially open Bree’s Lake Blackshear Blog for the winter.  More on that when we return from Savannah . . .

Personal Note:  Please remember Blake this morning (Wednesday) in your prayers.  He is in Nashville for his 4th interview with a church there.  The interview begins at 10 a.m.  Thank you!

28 thoughts on “Ferries and Freeways . . . 10/24/2010

  1. Welcome Home!
    What wonderful friends you have-Good-bye goodie bags and Welcoming signs! Such thoughtfulness inspires me to bestow the same to friends, family and even strangers. It’s amazing how showing a little kindness makes both the giver and the receiver feel happy!
    Very impressed they held a ferry for ya’ll, Southern charm and Irish luck-you are blessed!
    Loved to hear how excited Bear and Maddie were to be home in Joy-Ja, the picture of them in the hotel is just precious!
    Enjoy Savannah and your sunporch!
    Can’t wait to enjoy your stories!

  2. I’m so glad that you made it onto the ferry and didn’t have to wait! And thanks for the on the road pictures. Hope you have a wonderful time in Savannah. Happy Wednesday!!

  3. What a great story! I had to chuckle as I read it (except for the part about leaving those wonderful friends behind). Thanks for starting my morning with a smile Brenda. 🙂
    Bet Bear and Maddie are loving that fenced in back yard again.
    Have a great time in Savannah!!

  4. Well done once again. We will be traveling back up that road in 15 days,Lord willing. Did I tell you that our LeeAnn in staying at our home for the winter? I can already smell her baked goods. How did Blake do yesterday? Welcome Home to the warm and sunny south. LOVE the 2 sunrise pictures!

  5. Thanks for taking us on your trip home! My sister lives in Kentucky – seeing the sign for KY brought a little tear to my eye…

    I already have your Georgia blog saved in my ‘favorites’ links…looking forward to hearing all about your life down south!

    Miss you already….May will be here before you know it!

  6. Home Sweet Home says it all. Glen and I say the same thing except we always bring our home with us. Seeing we are full-timers in our motorhome, places we stay for an extended period of time become, “Home Sweet Home’ for us. GA, AL, WI, MI, FL, CA. Next stop for us is AL for 6 mos by the ocean.
    Looking forward to your GA blog.

  7. Welcome back to your Georgia home. So good to hear the trip was uneventful, at least once it got started.

    We visited Tennessee back in August and were surprised that there was no sign along I-75 as we entered the state. Good to see they have fixed that.

    Have a wonderful time in Savannah.

  8. You are such a good writer, I was getting nervous that you wouldn’t make the ferry (after all I have experienced that first hand), and when you left your friends, it made me sad too. Looking at your back yard pic made me feel the “home sweet home” with you. Even the pic of Duck – I wondered if he would know Dr. Reus from many many years ago. He was the island physician for some time. Dr. Rues’ daughter is my boss, which I discovered on the day we left for our trip to the island back in May. I will say a prayer right now for Blake. Have a good trip.

  9. There’s lots of talk today about Star and Arnold lines combining to get the exclusive contract for ferry service for the next 20 years, leaving Shepler’s out of business. What are your thoughts on this?

    • Hi Tom, I chose two months ago not to get politically involved in this controversy on Bree’s Blog. Ted and I both have attended the Council meetings on the subject this summer, and Ted has been on the agenda and spoken at two of them. Since you asked, I am for a solution that does not put a family business and its employees out of business. I pray that the controversy ends very, very soon and that come spring, we still have a choice about our transportation to the island. Brenda


    Enjoyed the travelogue. Traveled the same route a year ago this month — Michigan to Florida — after burying my mother in Grand Rapids. The colors appear “late” in Tennessee and points south. They were nothing short of glorious our entire trip south.

    Quite a departure. Relax and enjoy, now that ‘Georgia is on your mind’.

  11. I love your description of your “speedy” ride to the dock, although I’m so sorry you had to endure the stomach-churning stress of not knowing if you were going to make the boat. (Been there, done that, would prefer not to go through it again.) Combined with the range of emotions you were feeling about leaving the island and your friends, I bet you were exhausted before Ted even started the car. Good thing you had cookies, a lap-warmer and a left-elbow warmer to comfort you.

    I’ve never seen a cotton-pickin’ cotton picker before. I know nothing about Georgia except that it’s home to lots of red things: dirt, Coca-Cola and Bulldogs. I’m ready to be educated. 🙂

  12. Wow-that was quite a departure! We’ve caught the ferry by the skin of our teeth a couple of times so I know how nerve wracking it can be. Glad they held it for you!

    My dear departed rottweiler used to ride with his head in the same place as Bear does and, like your dogs, always knew when he was near home.

    I’ve been thinking good thoughts for Blake and I hope it went well for him.

  13. Traveling is always an adventure, esoecially when your time table and others don’t match. There used to be a tradition when you worked on the Island that if you threw your shoes off the boat as you left, iit meant you would return. It looks like you did one better and tossed pieces of your heart.

  14. Brenda, glad that you made it back to Georgia safe and sound. I’m so glad that they held the ferry for you, how nice. I’m going to miss your Mackinac Island Blog over the window, but at least we still have mackinaclive.net right? But I am looking forward to reading Bree’s Lake Blackshear Blog. Have a nice time in Savannah. I’ve heard it’s a very beautiful city.

  15. It is a lovely place and you are fortunate to live on water . I think that just visiting water like a lake or an ocean sets your mind free. There’s something about the waves and the water.. May you have a wonderful time in Savannah . I will alway be grateful to go along in your travels.

  16. So glad the ferry waited for you!!!

    One time, my husband and I missed the last ferry of the day and we had our 3 shelties with us!!! We had to find a hotel that would let us stay with 3 dogs overnight and had no extra clothes, toothbrushes, dog food, etc.

    That was an adventure. (But not one I want to repeat again).

    So, now, every time we come and it is getting close to the time of the last ferry – I am constantly asking “What time is it?” about every 5 minutes – So we don’t miss the boat again.

    I hope you have a wonderful winter in Georgia and can’t wait until you come back to the island in the spring.

      • I read all your posts 🙂 – But yes, I did see the one about the new stable. My husband and I have seriously wondered who they are going to get to be the manager and have considered applying for the job. We walked up there the last time we were there a few days ago to see the progress.

        On a sad “horsey” note – my big grey horse Que, that I sent you pictures of, passed away due to colic a little over a month ago. We took him to MSU, but I had to put him down.

        I had always dreamed of bringing him to the island and riding the trails, but I guess it was not meant to be.

        He is greatly missed.

  17. You have the best of all worlds! Summers on the island, winters on a southern lake! I know, because I have family in GA and AL too…and a house on a lake down there that I don’t get to nearly enough. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s