Straits of Mackinac
2021 Trip Report

Day three: Drive to Mackinaw City

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Linda on a swing looking out at the Straits of Mackinac and the Mighty Mac - Mackinac Bridge
Millie Hill Lookout - Iron Mountain, Michigan
Millie Hill Lookout
I was up early and slipped out to photograph more of Iron Mountain, Michigan, in particular the Millie Mine Bat Cave. The cave is a 265' deep iron mine shaft which operated from 1880 and 1925. A bat colony was discovered in the old mine in 1992 and the mouth of the cave has been sealed to the public, but is still accessible to the four species of bats which frequent the cave. The bats can be observed leaving the cave at dusk in the spring and fall and it is believed that up to 50,000 bats hibernate in Millie Mine Bat Cave in the winter, taking advantages of the year around temperature in the mid 40s in the cave.

There is nice scenic lookout a short hike away.

Millie Mine Bat Cave - Iron Mountain, Michigan
Millie Mine Bat Cave

Before returning to the room, I stopped at the Super One Grocery to pick up some regional beverages for the trip. Vernors Ginger Ale two liters were on sale for just 99 cents and I took the four bottles of diet which were available. I bought a bottle of perry from Door Peninsula Winery so we could decide if we wanted to buy more of their wine on our way home and a bottle of straight bourbon whiskey from Traverse City Whiskey Co.

On our way out of town, we stopped at a Fumee Falls in a lovely roadside park on US-2 east of Iron Mountain.

Fumee Falls - Iron Mountain, Michigan roadside park
Fumee Falls

We followed US-2 east across Michigan's Upper Peninsula, enjoying the stretches which go along Lake Michigan and stopping for lunch at Clyde's Drive In, in Manistique, Michigan. There are three Clyde's Drive Ins in the Upper Peninsula, the others are in St. Ignace and Sault Ste. Marie. The first one opened in 1949 and all three are very popular. I've dined at the other two locations many times, but this was only my second visit to this location. Due to Covid, there is presently no inside dining, but many picnic tables have been added and the two women waiting on the tables and cars were kept very busy.

Clyde's is famous for a 10 ounce burger which they call the Big "C," but this early in our trip I wanted more fresh lake fish and ordered a perch basket, while Linda got deep fried shrimp. Both meals were good and I enjoyed the perch much more than the night before. Ring-billed gulls can be real pests at the other two Clyde's locations, but we saw none at the Manistique Clyde's. That made the meal much more pleasant.

Clyde's Drive In, in Manistique, Michigan
Clyde's Drive In

Shrimp Basket and Perch Basket - Clyde's Drive In
Shrimp Basket and Perch Basket

When we arrived in St. Ignace, I gassed up and washed the windshield before we crossed the Mackinac Bridge so I could take better photos as we crossed the Straits of Mackinac. We also took photos of the Mighty Mac from Bridge View Park on the north side of the Straits. There was a chance that our trip might be cut short by a family emergency and I wanted some "safety" photos so I would have at least a few 2021 photos of the Mackinac Bridge to use on my web site and the associated Facebook Page.

Mackinac Bridge from Bridge View Park
The Mighty Mac from Bridge View Park

Crossing the Mackinac Bridge
On the causeway approaching the Mackinac Bridge

It was late enough in the afternoon that we went straight to the Riviera Motel in Mackinaw City. We had one of the two rooms on the end of the motel with the best possible view of the Mighty Mac.

We have stayed in the upper floor room 212 with the end view several times before, but it had already been taken when I was booking this trip and for the first time, we stayed in room 112. I actually liked the first floor better, even though I think the view is slightly better above. This room has a nicer bathroom and more furnishings than 212. It is also easier transferring luggage without the stairs. We spent many hours on the private balcony or along the nearby shore over the next two days. We also played online versions of some table top games against each other on our computers while enjoying the view and all the action of water, birds, walkers, ferries and the traffic on the Mackinac Bridge.

I probably should stop recommending these rooms so much. It gets a little harder to reserve them each year.

Room 112 at Riviera Motel - Mackinaw Cith, Michigan
Room at the Riviera Motel

Algoma Innovator freighter and Mackinac Bridge
View of the Mighty Mac from our room, with the 650' Algoma Innovator 

Room 112 balcony at Riviera Motel - Mackinaw Cith, Michigan
Our Balcony - only the two end rooms have balconies

We had supper at Darrow's Family Restaurant, just a block from the bridge, where we both had whitefish fingers baskets. This was the best fish we have had so far this trip.

Whitefish and French fries - Darrow's Family Restaurant in Mackinaw City, Michigan
Whitefish fingers basket

In the evening we visited a few of the gift and clothing shops on Central Avenue in Mackinaw City and took photos from various places around Mackinaw City before returning to enjoy sitting on our balcony.

Arthur M. Anderson frieghter and the Mackinac Bridge
The 767' Arthur M. Anderson passing under the Mackinac Bridge at dusk from our room
The Arthur M. Anderson was the fist ship to look for survivors of the Edmund Fitzgerald.

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