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A long time ago, I was a child. (I started out as Cathy First from Colon, Mi.) For the past several years I’ve been an adult. A lot of things went on between those two stages of life; probably no more or no less than anyone elses. My husband and I moved to “da U .P” from southern Lower Michigan several years ago (yes we were trolls at one time). We owned and operated and operate Clementz’s Northcountry Campground and Cabins just north of Newberry, Michigan until May 2015. We have grown kids and grandkids (who all live downstate). My passion is life and all that Nature has to offer us and trying to photograph it in unique ways. Our intention in life is to see all that Nature has to offer us. We hope that you will be a part of our adventures as we cruise through our lives together. Come back often!

Monday, August 27, 2012


Yep, it is that time of year again, when school buses loaded with excited walkers head from Mackinaw City to the St. Ignace side across the Straits.  Hard to believe there was a time when the Mighty Mac wasn't there and people (including myself and my family...I was just a little squirt then) had to take the ferry to get to the other side.  So with that in mind, here is some info you might find interesting.

But before that, here is a shot of the ferry boat as it sat at the dock on the Mackinaw side...I have been trying to find an aerial photo of the miles and miles of vehicles lined up waiting to get on the ferry boat...especially during hunting season.

Before the Mackinac Bridge opened in November 1957, the hundreds of people waiting to take a car ferry across the Straits of Mackinac (especially during deer-hunting season) provided an economic bonanza for local residents. Most drivers stayed with their cars to avoid losing their place in line. (Although drivers who left their cars and headed into town found local residents willing to sit in the car and move the cars ahead to the ferry dock-for a price.)
More often, local residents and groups, including charities, clubs and churches, prepared or bought food and then walked along the roads peddling the edible wares at marked-up prices to the bored out-of-towners waiting in the car ferry line.
Some vendors sold food from trucks and pushcarts. On the mobile menu were such entrees as smoked fish, pasties, cheese and crackers, candy bars and snacks, plus a variety of hot and cold beverages. One fellow, with a jug of booze in hand, went from car to car with a shot glass selling drinks for 25 cents a swig. Every customer quaffed from the same tumbler.
Kids also got into the act. The local Boy Scouts sold homemade sandwiches to drivers waiting for their place on a car ferry. Mothers put tuna salad, ham and cheese, turkey, or bologna between slices of bread and then the uniformed Scouts loaded the wrapped sandwiches into Radio Flyer wagons.
Even local gas stations developed ingenious ways to refuel cars that were kept running during the cooler months to provide heat for the occupants. Long hoses--sometimes fifty feet long--allowed cars to be serviced right out on the highway.
Then came the Mackinac Bridge--and it all changed.
For more on the history of the Mackinac Bridge, look for Michigan History magazine's “50 Years of the Mighty Mac” issue, available now. Visit www.michiganhistorymagazine.com or call toll free, (800) 366-3703.


  1. What an interesting piece of history of the Mackinac. We've been there only once and loved every second of it. We camped somewhere along St. Ignace. I remember homemade fudge from hot copper kettles poured onto cold slabs, then turned over and over until it cooled enough to handle. What a great memory trigger you entered. Thanks

  2. Dar, it is amazing to watch them make fudge! That's NOT the way granny did it!! I have a lot of memories of "going up north" as a kid and later as an adult. Funny, when I was younger I didn't appreciate those memories as much as I do now!

  3. Here is a link that has an aerial of traffic http://www.mybaycity.com/scripts/p3_v2/P3V2-0200.cfm?P3_ArticleID=3460
    Tracy (a recently new reader) :-)

    1. Thanks, Tracy! And welcome to Yooper Yarns!!! Stick around, I'll be posting more often in the near future!!

    2. One of these days I will have to stop on by. My parents have property northwest of McMillan on Peanut Lake. Not too far. Haven't been up in a few years since I have young kids. Can't wait for the next summer :-) and maybe one day permanently be up past the bridge!

  4. I knew about the ferry service and the long lines, but I did NOT know the other little tidbits....Thanks for the history lesson...that is cool know about the history of MI...

    1. Amy, there is so much rich history in Northern Michigan!! I guess that is why I love it so much here!

  5. Wow, what history.....I was 10 when the bridge opened....amazing...I have been across it a couple times.
    The last time was back in 1996 in July....I t was pouring out an was very dark...Drove like a crazy fool because I remembered how it
    swayed when I went over when I was a kid, and that was during the day.....Oh what memories this post brought back....Thanks for posting it.
    Love from NC

    1. HA! That's a good story! My hubby hates going across the bridge regardless of the weather or wind conditions! I was 5 when it opened up and I remember Mom and Dad trying to convince me that the bridge did NOT go down into the water on the other side and it was safe to cross!


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