Mackinac Island 07/28/2021 – 07-29/2021

Our original plan was to depart Oshkosh Thursday morning and spend Thursday night on Mackinac (prounounced MACK-in-awe).  Thanks to the terrible weather forecast and cancelled night airshow we departed Oshkosh on Wednesday midday instead.  Luckily the Island House Hotel was able to accommodate our change and even refund us about $12.  The flight from Oshkosh was not notable other than the smooth ride and poor visibility.  We flew right over Lambeau Field (where the Green Bay Packers play).

Lambeau Field.

11.1 GPH, 186 true, and 195 over the ground. YEAH BUDDY!

Typical haze from the flight looking over St. Ignace and the Straits of Mackinac.  Mackinac Island is to the left (not pictured).

Approaching Mackinac Island from the west as we are just above St. Ignace.  Per KMCD ATIS – left traffic at 1900′ with all maneuvers over the water.  We used runway 26. 

The Grand Hotel is the long white building on the left, the Mission Point Hotel is the red roof on the far right.  Just left of center is downtown with the airport in the upper left.

We got a great glimpse of Arch Rock off the left wingtip as we turned base.

KMCD had a nice facility.  Clean bathroom and a drinking fountain.  Out of desperation for a cold drink we tried to buy a diet Coke out of the vending machine but it ate our $1.50.  It did us a favor as the kids have never tasted any soft drink previously.  They do charge $12.50 landing fee and $12.50 a night to park there payable in person or in a drop box if no one is there to collect.

This is the horse drawn taxi that came to pick us up.  The island has close to 600 horses on the island at peak season.  Per our driver, the horses work 12 hour shifts.  12 noon to 12 midnight, the next day 12 midnight to 12 noon, then the third day they get off so they always have at least 24 hours between shifts.  The drivers work 12 hour shifts on duty then spend time in the barn putting the horses to rest.  The driver works 12 hours a day, 6 days a week.  Housing and food are setup by the employer and cost about $115 a week.  One of our drivers explained that some of the islands workers will come up from the Caribbean islands to work a season and stack upwards of $30k before returning to their home country for the remainder of the year “living like a king” before rinse and repeating the following season.  Not a bad way to go about it.  The horse taxi took about 40 minutes to arrive after we called for it.  The ride to town is not far in distance but took around a half hour.  

Wonder if he has a CDL to operate the heavy wagon? Hahaha.  So no cars are allowed on the island but I did see skid steers, forklifts, a few electric bicycles, and plenty of zero turn lawn equipment.  Notice all the essentials here:  Coke, Sprite, water, hay bails, and grain.  The loudest thing I made note of was the distinct buzz of a backpack blower droning on in the distance.  The  green space on the island is well manicured.

Fellow RV-10 ” Bubbles’ ” Crew loading up to depart Marquette Park and head out to the airport.

Amazon delivery by horse among other boxes on the wagon.

The Grand Hotel.

Arch Rock.

This is a 3 horse team pulling a carriage with 35 people on it (7 rows of 5).  We took a carriage ride on Thursday before we departed for Florida.  When we booked the hotel we bought tickets.  This saved a few bucks over buying the tickets directly from the tour operator once on island.  Always a dangerous game pre-purchasing things when you fly GA but this time the gamble worked out.

View looking down from Fort Mackinac’s Tea Room restaurant over Marquette Park.

Looking over the Straits of Mackinac.

Two worn out kids somewhere over north Florida.

Descending in to Kissimmee KISM.  #4 cylinder had a spark plug die on the P-mag during the flight (see CHT low on #4).  As an aside if a plug fails during flight the CHT will drop and EGT will raise.

KOSH to KMCD with lots of cold water in that lake  68-75 degrees.

KMCD to KFGX.  They had a nice static display F4 on the ramp at KFGX.  We started out with a different fuel stop in mind but the line of thunderstorms helped us pick a better spot.  We did have a bit of a sporty ride through a very small cloud shortly after departure from KMCD that sent EVERYTHING to the ceiling. I’ve never had my lap board depart my leg until this flight.  Chips and Cheez Its were flying aplently.


Our overall take on Mackinac was great.  The lodging was expensive and had a distinctive historic appeal.  That means paper thin walls, retrofit fire suppression sprinklers dangling from the ceilings, and somewhat eclectic hallways and stairs.  The hotel have porches and chairs sitting in the front lawn that we enjoyed sitting in and took in the relaxed pace.  The carriage tour was great.  The hotel gave us our pre-purchased vouchers that we took to the pickup spot downtown across from the ferry terminals.  You hand your voucher to the attendant and stand in line.  No reservations, time slots, etc.  First come first serve.  The tour was worth it as we did not rent bikes to ride around yet we got to see a fair bit of the island.  Bike rentals were something like $65 for the day.  We opted to depart the carriage tour at the north entrance to the fort.  The kids enjoyed a musket demonstration as we toured a few of the buildings.  A perfect spot for lunch is on the south side of the fort at the Tea Room (put on by the Grand Hotel).  The views looking to the south over Marquette park and beyond are great!  Lunch was fairly priced and after eating food that was tan or grey all week at Oshkosh a colorful plate was a welcome sight.  We departed lunch and went back to the hotel to grab our bags and snatch a taxi.  The dispatcher told us we were in luck with a quick pickup time in 25 minutes.  22 minutes later, after a text message letting us know our driver’s name, the taxi rode up.  We loaded on and started our hour long ride back to the airport.  The horse taxis do not take you alone.  They fill up and empty out throughout your journey wherever you are headed.  On our ride we picked up a few of the workers from the Grand Hotel and dropped them off at their company housing.  Either way it took us about an hour and a half from the time we called the taxi to getting dropped off at the airport.  A rather relaxing pace to travel 2 miles.  Once at the airport we loaded up Skyscraper for the return flight to Florida.


6.5 hours with the engine running,

75.1 gallons of Avgas burned,

1.2 hours IMC,

1,247 miles flown.


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