St. Louis to Mackinac Island, Michigan by Automobile

After I resigned from my job at the publisher, I was asked to do a contract gig to help exhibit at a conference (Minimally Invasive Neurological Society) in Mackinac Island, Michigan. What an opportunity!

I wanted to see Michigan because I hadn’t been there since 2007, when I got my Filipino tribal tattoo done by the famous Leo Zulueta who owns Spiral Tattoo in Ann Arbor. Prior to that, I was in Grand Rapids at Camp Miniwanca by the American Youth Foundation in high school. I love that place.

I decided to drive up there because flying would be too costly, and I would have to leave her in St. Louis. Since she would be returning to San Diego soon, leaving her would have been silly.

Also, due to the strict “no extra guests” rules at the Grand Hotel in Mackinac, I booked a room in St. Ignace instead, very close to the water and just as beautiful. I would take the ferry over to the island in the morning.

The first night, we eat at Mackinac Grille, where I have awesome fish boil. I finished that plate!

When we arrive at Mackinac Island, via the Star Line Ferry, we’re not immediately impressed. It smells like horse piss and shit.

We take a horse-drawn carriage (ie, taxi) over to the Grand Hotel, and I understand what all the fuss is about. That place is magnificent, albeit over the top.

I’m stuck in the exhibit for most of the morning and afternoon, but after, we explore the vicinity of the Grand Hotel, which has its own labyrinth, as well as the circumference of the island via a tandem bike.

The sights are indeed breathtaking. This is definitely a place to return to.

To try the famous fudge, I get ice cream on the way back to St. Ignace. We have dinner at Driftwood Restaurant and Sports Bar. I go for the seafood pasta, which was delicious.

The next day, after exhibiting, we find the sand dunes on Lake Michigan. We get lost initially, but we are told to keep driving until we see cars on the side of the road. There are no signs. There’s something so freeing about an unofficial beach. The tides were low, so we walked pretty far out into the water. We thoroughly enjoy the afternoon there.

That night, we go shopping for picnic food at a local grocery store. There are fireworks at St. Ignace tonight. At dusk, we take one of our hotel comforters and our food and drinks to the nearest open area by the water. We wait and laugh at our countless adventures.


Later, we head to Kewadin Casino since we get free coins for staying at our hotel. The place was only a few miles away, but one does not expect to see a casino along these dark roads. We don’t win, but it’s always interesting to see the culture in these places. 

We head back to St. Louis on Sunday afternoon, after the exhibit gets taken down. I consider a career in sales so I can travel like that. Many of the exhibitors bring their families along and prepare to vacation after work.

Alas, the semester begins in a week. I’m excited and nervous.

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