Wednesday, September 5, 2007

A Stroll over the Bridge ... Episode 2

When last we left our cruising couple, they'd just walked over the 5 mile long Mackinac Bridge, had cinnamon rolls and coffee, and went in search of the buses that would take them back to St. Ignace.

We got directions to the bus loading area and, at 9:30am, happily walked off to the buses. That's when we saw it.


Just to be sure, we asked one of the line-standers if this was the line for the buses. "Yes", we were told, "THE LINE goes back there." There was a vague pointing in the other direction. So we walked toward the back of THE LINE. And walked. And walked. And walked. We thought we had found the end of THE LINE and that there was another line further over for something else. Only to discover that the "other line further over" was just THE LINE, snaking around a cul de sac.

So we started standing in THE LINE at 10:00.

More people kept coming. Expressing dismayed faces and asking "Are you absolutely, positively sure that they won't let us walk back over the bridge?" Every time a car or truck went by, someone in the crowd would offer to pay the driver to take them back over the bridge. We considered the ferry but the ferries weren't running from Mackinaw City to St. Ignace. We'd have to go to Mackinac Island and then catch another ferry to St. Ignace.

Here is THE LINE at 11:00.

The people in THE LINE were all in jovial moods and it was a beautiful day so it wasn't bad for us. Some of the people in THE LINE were waiting to catch the bus to St. Ignace to start the walk. Initially, no one was going to be able to start the Bridge Walk after 11:30. An announcement was then made that the Bridge Authority would keep the Walk going until everyone who wanted to walk had done so. That was really nice of them and another indication of how much the Bridge means to Michiganders. Although the cynical among us may think that decision had something to do with the Governor being there and an upcoming election year.

Here is THE LINE at 12:00. Our section of THE LINE was now able to see the buses in the distance ahead. A cheer went up!

This wonderful woman sold us our bus tickets at 1:00.

No wonder it took so long, there were over 6 million people crossing the Bridge and using the buses.

People are still walking over the Bridge at 2:00. They don't know, yet, that their adventure is just beginning.

We finally saw Meridian in the distance at 3:00.

WHEW! When we finally got back, we immediately went to the Marina Pub/St. Ignace Yacht Club and had a delicious Perch Basket lunch. And a Bell's Oberon Summer Ale. Later we had ice cream from Bentley's (We'd earned it!)

Some people at the Pub, who's experience was pretty similar to ours, said they heard that next year people will be able to walk both ways. We'd heard some people were grumbling about the wait because it had never been so lonnnnngggggg before. We had a fun time talking with our fellow line-standers -- it was all part of the adventure.

Happy 50th Birthday Big Mac!

They are saying on the news this morning that over 57,000 people participated in the Bridge Walk. I think they've skipped a "0" in there somewhere.


Anonymous said...

Ahh, Oberon Ale. Used to be that you could get it here, but "some distributors" got in the way. Sad.

Great Lakes Cruising said...

Hi Anonymous

When we were at the Hopps of Fun Festival in mackinaw City, we asked the Bell's rep if Bell's Oberon was available in the Chicago area. He said no but referred us to John's Grocery in Iowa City. Their website is They have a huge inventory of beers (including Bell's Oberon) that they will ship. We're not sure which states have "reciprocal" agreements but its an option.

Anonymous said...

For a look at last year's Mackinac Bridge Walk, see the first interview on this week's episode of Perils For Pedestrians.

Tuesday, October 11, The Universityhouse Channel will show Episode 131 of "Perils For Pedestrians".

Contents of Episode 131 (2007):
--We travel to Mackinaw City, Michigan, for the annual Labor Day bridge walk.
--We talk with an advocate in Hattiesburg, Mississippi.
--We visit a neighborhood that needs sidewalks in Knoxville, Tennessee;
--Tuscaloosa, Alabama, needs more crosswalks.
--We look at a dangerous intersection in Grand Island, Nebraska.
--We talk about closing the gaps in the East Coast Greenway.
--We look at the role of the pedestrian and bicycle professional.

DISH Network Channel 9411 -- The Universityhouse Channel
Tuesday -- 9:30 PM Eastern, 6:30 Pacific

Episode 131 is also available on Google Video:

Note: Public access cable channels are showing different episodes than DISH Network.

Thank you.

John Z Wetmore

John Z Wetmore said...

"Perils For Pedestrians" Episode 131, with the interview about the Mackinac Brdige Walk, is now available on Blip TV at

Thank you.

Corax said...

You CAN take a ferry from Mackinaw City to St. Ignace. Just get an ordinary ticket at your favorite Mackinac Island ferry (currently about $22), cross over to Mackinac Island, wander around and enjoy the sights for as long as you like or have time for, then take the return ferry to St. Ignace instead of going back to Mackinaw City. This is what my brother and I did the time president George Bush Sr. walked the bridge in 1992, and the line for a bus was so long I would have missed work if I had waited.

This is also the official way across the straits for bicylists following US Bicycle Route 35.

John Z Wetmore said...

"Perils For Pedestrians" Episode 131 mentioned above has a new home on YouTube at: