It may be a five hour drive from Detroit to Mackinac but I’m excited to be on the road again. I have my original scroll copy of Kerouac’s On the Road with me, packed in my canvas backpack, my tin coffee cup strapped to the outside and clanging against the metal buckles.
It’s been close to ten years since I visited Mackinac and ven then I was just passing through on my way to the UP to visit colleges. It was April then and Marquette was hit with six inches of snow. There’s no chance of that in mid July though. It’s sunny and has the promise of being 90+ out. I’m excited to get into Lake Huron with a cold beer.
The bed of the truck is loaded up with out bikes, cooler, and bags. I’ve stuffed my sleeping bag, pillow, clothes, helmet, boots, and more into my uncles canvas military bag from Vietnam. Last time I talked to him I mention how I fit so much into it and he replies with “Well yeah. Everything I owned was in that bag at one point.”
There are numerous cars on the road this Friday morning. Some have campers, others have storage containers strapped to their car roofs, and many of them are driving in the far left lane and refusing to even do the speed limit. My friend who is driving is yelling almost constantly.
We finally make it after hours of driving through green covered highway and get lunch at Biere De Mac; a craft brewery where they have a beer called the Yugo. A not so fun fact: a Yugo was the car that was blown off the Mackinaw bridge, which is five miles long and connects the lower peninsula to the UP. We discuss the possibility of going over the bridge even though my one friend is terrified especially after hearing the story of the Yugo but we assure her that her father’s giant Chevy truck is safe.
After lunch we get to our cabin. The entire place is covered in pale cedar wood which gives it a strong woody scent. Even the furniture, which is bare and nailed to the cedar floor, is made from it. I’m sharing a bunk that is not so conveniently located in the middle of the hall, nestled away in the wall like a nook. I offer to take the top bunk, remembering my bunk-mates not so sober activities on New Years Eve, and place my sleeping bag atop the vinyl mattress. Once we get settled we all change and get into the water.
I feel like this would be a fantastic place to get away and write, especially with my recent obsession with writing about travel and camping in a Kerouac or London fashion. It’s peaceful and beautiful. I sit at our picnic tables and write hearing the sloshing of the lake waves against the shore as everyone else changes back into their clothes. We need some more supplies for dinner like wood and fire starters and roasting sticks. The campground shop is well stocked and we are able to get everything we need. There’s even an arcade, pool, and mini golf course. Not what we were expecting at all. The store area is flooded with children, most likely ones who are bored with no wifi at the campsites or cabins and who are spending time golfing, swimming, or playing games.
The rest of the night consists of sitting by the fire, cooking a dinner of hotdogs over an open flame, and playing card games at the hard kitchen tables. I’m forced to roll up my bath town as a makeshift cushion. At midnight we take a walk down the trail and see the bridge all lit up in the distance. The water of Lake Huron gently ebbs and flows in the night and in the far distance I can see the oscillating lights of a light house. All these little details stick out in my mind and when we get back to the cabin I rush to write them all down before I fall asleep.