P4-2021-09: Beauty and the Bridge
Article by Patrick Coleman
When I first heard about Porsche on the Mac, I thought about how much fun driving across the Mighty Mackinac Bridge with fellow like-minded Porsche enthusiasts would be. And if you’ve ever been to Mackinac Island, what’s not to like? The ferry service to the island, bicycle riding, world-famous fudge….oh, and I almost forgot, the smell of fresh horse dung. But I digress.
This Beauty and the Bridge collaboration between the Motor-Stadt Region of the PCA and the St. Ignace Chamber of Commerce provided an opportunity to drive our 991 TTS up north. I immediately registered to attend the event scheduled for Saturday, August 7. Next, I began looking for accommodations on the Island. Due to the heightened tourist season after a mostly shuttered 2020, rooms were difficult to locate. After about 35 minutes online, I happened to score a room on TripAdvisor at the beautiful Iroquois Hotel on the island. At the same time, I also made dinner reservations for that evening at their award-winning restaurant, Carriage House. Now, the excitement of heading up north, which was still weeks away, began to build.
Finally, the weekend of our excursion arrived. On Thursday August 5, Dedra and I packed a couple of small bags and loaded up the P-car’s trunk. The TTS was washed and gassed that morning, and we headed north on I-75 about 1 pm. We’re always reminded of how beautiful Michigan is as we took in the not quite fall foliage on our ride. About 3.5 hours later, we decided to exit in Harbor Springs and take the scenic route to St. Ignace.
And scenic it was! We ended up taking M-119 in Harbor Springs through the awe inspiring Tunnel of Trees. We drove this narrow road enclosed in a literal tree tunnel overlooking Lake Michigan. I lost count after about 80 curves. Needless to say, navigating this narrow highway with no yellow dividing line and plenty of twisties, I needed to make sure I stayed in my lane. After about 30 minutes of spectacular motoring, we exited the tunnel and arrived at the landmark Legs Inn. Unfortunately, we didn’t get a chance to try their Polish cuisine as they were on a 90 minute wait and severely short staffed. We ended up taking several more scenic roads to eventually jump on US 31 in Petoskey, which was also a lot of fun in the Porsche, and soon made our way back to I-75 and a 15 minute drive to the Big Mac.
After crossing the bridge to St. Ignace, we headed downtown where we pulled into Shepler’s Ferry Service and utilized their covered parking garage. We grabbed the last ferry to Mackinac Island (close call!) and checked into the Iroquois Hotel. We got a good night’s sleep, and were up and out the next morning exploring this beautiful historic state park.
On Saturday morning, we caught the 8 am ferry from the island to St. Ignace. As we pulled out of Sheplers to gas up and meet at the Little Bear Arena to line up for the caravan crossing, we started seeing many Porsches. A red 356 with Ohio plates, a white 997 Turbo Cab at the fueling station, and several Boxsters on the St. Ignace main drag.
Arriving at the arena, there were about a dozen vehicles lined up. We met PCA members from all over the country. Once the driver’s meeting began an hour later, there were 59 Porsches. At 10 am, with many thanks to St. Ignace’s finest, the caravan was escorted to the bridge.
It was really a sight, seeing all the different colors representing just about every model of Porsche crossing the bridge. After arriving in Mackinaw City, we were afforded the same courtesy by their men and women in blue. We headed back across the bridge and made our way through downtown St. Ignace to the arena for lunch and a car show.
After lunch, we took a very spirited 2.5 hour drive with a total of six cars (including fellow SEM member Mike Popenas) to Tahquamenon Falls and Whitefish Point, home to the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum. After our drive, we arrived back in St. Ignace to catch the ferry to the island for our dinner reservation at the Carriage House.
Following a mouth-watering three course dinner, the cherry on top of this amazing day of enjoying great cars and meeting PCA members from different chapters, was our beauty took home 3rd place in the people’s choice car show! Sipping a nightcap later that evening as we looked onto the Straits of Mackinac, Rapper Ice Cube’s song, “It was a good day” came to mind.
No Cube, actually… IT WAS A GREAT DAY!