Monday, October 31, 2016

Mackinaw Mill Creek Camping - Michigan

Mackinaw is about as far north as you can travel in Michigan without crossing "the bridge" and going into the part of the state known as the Upper Peninsula. Some of Mackinaw's claims to fame include 1) two Great Lakes meet there, 2) the iconic Mackinac Bridge dominates the skyline and 3) Mackinac Island is just a short ferry ride away.

Entrance sign at the park

We stopped at the Mackinaw Mill Creek Camp for three days before heading to the U.P., as the locals call the Upper Peninsula.

First, Mackinaw Mill Camp is a huge park that is along the shore of Lake Huron. There are camping roads running helter-skelter through the park and it was incredibly easy to get lost while trying to find the exit. Second, none of the roads in this park are straight. They all curve in random directions. To help with the confusion, some of the roads we thought were primary routes were dirt while roads to nowhere were paved. There must have been some strong and diverse opinions on how to lay out this park and either everyone won or all lost at the park's planning meetings.

Rosie facing Lake Huron

Lake Huron

The Mackinac Bridge

Rosie's site faced the shore of Lake Huron. (Rosie is our 25 foot Airstream trailer.) We could easily see both the Mackinac Bridge and Mackinac Island from Rosie's front window. The brisk and constant wind from the lake meant that we needed to keep Rosie's awnings in while in this park.

We played the role of tourists while here and took the ferry to Mackinac Island. The ferry we rode took us under the Mackinac Bridge, which was interesting to see from that perspective.

Boarding the ferry

Our ferry ride took us under the Mackinac Bridge

Mackinac Island was where the rich and famous visited in the early 1900s. One of these types of people was John Jacob Astor who was one of America's first self-made millionaires. He operated a large fur trading company on the island. He didn't visit the island often because he was afraid of water. It is very ironic that he was among the thousands who drowned in the Titanic tragedy.

There are no cars on the island except for a few emergency vehicles and they are only seen when there is a fire or medical issue. That means you travel around the island on a bike or in a horse-drawn carriage. We elected to tour the island in a horse carriage.

The horse-drawn carriages on Mackinac Island

Arch Rock on the island

The shoreline on the island

Making deliveries on the island

We had a mental picture of of what a horse carriage ride around the island would be like. It didn't include being one of 16 people in a carriage. Once we adjusted our image of what a ride would be like, we enjoyed the tour.

One of the "touristy" things to do on the island is to buy fudge. We didn't disappoint the locals, who benefited from our boost to their economy.

In addition to visiting the island, we went to a water-powered lumber saw mill. It was interesting to see the saw mill in action and the tour guide plus the mill operator were both very knowledgable and helped make that excursion more memorable.

Getting a log ready for the saw mill

Saw mill building

About to cut the log into boards

Here are some specifics about this park:
  • Our site had 30 and 20 amp electrical service.
  • Our site had water and sewer connections.
  • The park had Wi-Fi, but we never successfully connected to it.
  • AT&T placed a strong 4G signal over the park for both voice and data.
  • We were able to see TV signals from ABC, NBC and the Comet digital channel.
  • The sites along Lake Huron had spectacular views of the lake and bridge. It is worth spending the extra fees to get lakeside sites.
  • There were some pit toilets near our camping site. We didn't investigate them.
  • This is a pet friendly park.
  • There was only one dumpster area for the entire park and it was next to the entrance. That meant everyone had a long distance to go to get rid of their trash.
Make sure you bring all the groceries you will need when visiting Mackinaw. The grocery store when we were there was an oversized convenience store. If you need something beyond the simple basics, your next store is about 30 minutes down the road.

This was a nice camping spot and one we would camp in again.

Rosie in the campground

Rain clouds over Lake Huron

A lighthouse in Mackinaw

Suzy ignoring her new friend

Lighthouse in Mackinaw

Wonder what they sell here in Mackinaw?

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