The Island, the Beach, and a Touch of Alaska 3/12/17

Hi Friends!

Most of this afternoon has been spent on-line, working out details for our May trip to Alaska.  I had no idea there’d be so many decisions to make!  Most of the hard ones involve choosing from dozens and dozens of excursions that can be added to an already packed schedule.  Do we want to visit a sled dog camp?  Do we want to actually ride aboard a sled pulled by sled dogs?  Do we want to take a small boat out from one of our ports of call to see whales and other marine life?  Do we want to hop a small plane for a bird’s eye view of wildlife and glaciers – or a helicopter that will actually land ON the glacier, where we can get out and walk around!  Of course if we’d won a recent lottery, all this would be so much easier to figure out.  But – no lottery money arriving here, so we’re trying to work out what’s going to fit into our budget.  More to come in the weeks ahead on that!

Hmmmm . . . wonder if that ice in the water will be melted by May?

Sticking with that “cold-weather” theme, Mackinac Island had their fair share of winter weather this week.

Friend Sue Conlon and husband Terry had to cross the Mackinac Bridge this weekend, and conditions were rough! That sign says, “High Winds, Escort in Progress”.  That means someone did not think they could cross without assistance, so a Bridge Authority person drove their car across for them.  I think I read the bridge was closed for a short time that day because of the high winds, but I could be mistaken on that.

A snowy scene from the island last week, just proving that work continues there, regardless of the weather. (Photo: Josh Carley)

A panoramic view across the icy Straits of Mackinac.  (Photo: Greg Main)

The Mighty Huron had a tough time plowing through the ice in the Straits on Saturday, but she made it.   (Photo: Clark Bloswick)

A beautiful shot of the full moon from beneath The Mustang Lounge sign. (Photo: Josh Carley)

Probably the biggest news from Mackinac last week was the mysterious disappearance of the wildly popular Mackinac Island News & Views Facebook page.  Clicking on the site brought a puzzling message saying simply, “This site has been archived.”  The site is the “go-to” place for information on the island, and the beautiful photographs placed there on a daily basis keep Mackinac fans entertained year-round.  There were hundreds of comments and pleadings for the return of the site.  Then, just as mysteriously as it disappeared, it opened again for business this weekend.  All 23,000 of its fans – including this one – rejoiced and celebrated!

Wanted to share a couple of stories tonight that are both really interesting and very informative reads!

This first one covers last week’s visit to Grand Hotel by hotel President Dan Musser III and several full-time employees, “2017 Winter Visit to Grand Hotel and Mackinac Island:

This second story was featured on-line at MyNorth and will make you want to book a stay at Grand Hotel just to eat there!  It’s titled “Dinner at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island: 130 Years of Caviar and Aristocracy”.  Click here:


Ted and I will be dropping off Maddie and Bodie at Lily’s (our wonderful petsitter) and traveling to Kissimmee FL on Monday to meet for lunch one of Ted’s by-birth aunts and her husband (Aunt Marsha and Uncle Dan), along with Lindie, Mike, Kel and Gwen (we met all four of these cousins on Mackinac this summer, and Kel and Gwen were just here a couple of weeks ago).  So glad several of these new relatives like to come to Florida for the winter!  Aunt Marsha is Ted’s birth mother’s youngest sister.  Pictures to come next Sunday!

Bodie joined me Friday night on the deck to wait for the sunset.

It didn’t disappoint!

It’s still amazing that we get to enjoy views like this on an almost daily basis. We’ve learned that a scattering of clouds always produces the best shows!

It was a great night!

See you back here on Tuesday with a “throw-back”!

God bless.


16 thoughts on “The Island, the Beach, and a Touch of Alaska 3/12/17

  1. We hope you have a great cruise! We loves cruises and all the amenities. A lot of times we don’t do the excursions because they are expensive but hopefully you can one or two. Sometimes we just wait until we get into the port and go off the boat and do an excursion with a local person.

    One time we were in Cozmel, got off the boat, rented a “heavily used” wrangler jeep so we could go to come beaches. Tony, being a “gear head” knew the jeep should have 4 cyclinders but he thinks it was running on 2! LOL! Boy it made a lot of noise but it got us around! I don’t remember much about the cruise ship but always remember the jeep!

    Hopefully Maddie and Bodie will be fine with the petsetter but I am sure they will be glad to have you back home!

    Hugs from Iowa!

  2. How long will your cruise to Alaska last? A week? or more? I can’t wait for pictures and to hear all about it.
    The weather service is saying we could get the most snow we have had all winter overnight and tomorrow. Anywhere from 2-6″. I sure hope they are wrong, cuz I really hate driving in it. I might just have to stay home tomorrow 😉
    Love your sunset pictures….they are gorgeous!! AND Josh I love your picture too…it was really snowing hard.

    • We’ll be gone two weeks, Hilde. Fly into Fairbanks. There two nights then train to Denali and there 3 nights I think. Pick up week long cruise in Whittier with stops in Skagway, Juneau, and Ketchewan (spelling wrong I’m sure). We are excited!!

  3. The Mackinac Bridge authority does assist vehicles driving across the Bridge any day of the year, if needed, for individuals with concerns. But the recent Bridge ‘escorts’ have been for ‘high profile’ vehicles – semi’s, pick-ups with cabs…..Strong winds are often the reason.
    Unless the Bridge is completely closed, ‘regular’ cars can cross the Bridge at reduced speeds even when those ‘high profile’ vehicles are either escorted in ‘groups’, or actually banned from crossing, until safe.
    We live about 5 miles west of the Bridge and need to cross the Bridge often. So waiting for the winds to die down or ice to stop dropping from the structure onto the road bed, can be frustrating! But driving across in strong winds is a bit disconcerting! So we practice ‘patience’ and hope we aren’t late for an appointment or other important event. It doesn’t actually happen that often!

    • Oh my gosh, Nevin, thanks so much for this factual information. I really hate guessing on something, and you have given us the real deal!! Awesome!

  4. I spent last weekend in Alaska for the Iditarod ceremonial start. Sled dogs are a must! I remember booking our excursions in 2009. So many great options but wow on some of the price tags!
    Driving across the bridge in good weather freaks me out enough that I don’t think I’ll try it in bad!

    • They are crazy expensive! Our travel agent is a Mackinac friend who’s done Alaska many times. I’m relying on her to help us get the most out of our budget.

      • We stayed away from anything involving a helicopter/plane which seemed to raise the price. It was rainy 14 out of the 16 days, but last weekend there was barely a cloud in the sky. Hopefully, you have clear skies.

      • Hope it’s Maryanke that is helping you and Ted! She arranged many wonderful trips and tours for my classes over the years and they were always excellent! Alaksa was always a favorite and I would recommend the helecopter trip to the Juneau Icefield. It is surreal…like walking on the moon!

  5. Alaska! I can’t wait to hear all about it. And more family! You know, most people as they get older tend to have fewer family members. You two keep accumulating them – lucky ducks! Have a lovely time learning things you never imagined. I’m waiting to find out that you were already friends with someone you now find out is a relative!

  6. Alaska: loved the cruise so much that we followed it with a 21 day land trip the next year. Advice: this is a once in a lifetime experience for most people, pick the excursion that appeals the most to you in spite of price and fit the rest of your excursions around that. All of Alaska and beautiful, you won’t regret your choices.

  7. I’ve only been on one cruise but it was Alaska and WONDERFUL! No, the ice will NOT be melted in May. It wasn’t melted in July, lol! Things I didn’t know ahead of time….balcony…..A MUST! Buy pressure point bracelets ahead of time to take with you….when you feel sea sick and THEN go looking for them to buy… are many other people! The restaurant deal they offer via over the loud-speakers UNTIL the boat pulls out is a NICE AND WONDERFUL meal and a GREAT deal! All the places they direct you to do business with on-shore…..its all a fix. BUT never do excursions with businesses the ship isn’t recommending. ALWAYS pick the whale-watching!!! The art auction isn’t real. None of the pianos are real either……a major disappointment to me at the time, lol. ALWAYS take a jacket. An old railroad excursion in Skagway is GOOD. The Native American cultural excursion in Juneau ( maybe Ketchikan) not really the best. And I LOVE that sort of thing, being part N.A. myself. I’m sure you’re much more cruise-savvy than we were/are. Have a WONDERFUL time!!!!

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