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.
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.