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  #171  
Old 09-19-2019, 05:42 AM
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Default 25. Like a Thief

The son rode along the south shoreline of Mackinac Island where a beautiful train of Victorian cottages graced the length of the pathway into the town of Mackinac itself.



















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  #172  
Old 09-19-2019, 05:43 AM
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Default 25. Like a Thief

The son stopped for a time to observe and absorb the throb and surge and excitement of spending---of shopping---of giving and getting, of catering to the whims and fancies of a people who seemed to be humming a tune of prosperity wherever they walked or spun or sailed or galloped along.









Being the island that it was, Mackinac had a central shipping depot in the harbor through which all of its supplies had to pass. Workers were busy sorting through a cartload of parcels being readied for delivery.



A facsimile of a missionary-made bark chapel from the 1670s marked an evangelical outpost on the island.



The historic Trinity Presbyterian Church glowed across the street from the bark chapel. The son approached and went inside where he spent many moments alone.





The son was drawn up toward the entrance of Fort Mackinac. Originally designed and built in the 1760s, the fort was suddenly captured by British forces, marking the earliest stages of the infamous War of 1812.



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  #173  
Old 09-19-2019, 05:45 AM
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Default 25. Like a Thief

Commanding one of the highest points of the island, Fort Mackinac was surrendered to superior Canadian, British, and Native American forces on the morning of July 17, 1812. Like a thief in the night, the invaders caught Americans completely by surprise after landing on the northern shores of the island and approaching the fort from the rear. Following its capture, Americans were never able to wrest the fort from British control throughout hostilities. Eventually, it was peacefully signed back over following the armistice.









Original furniture and military accoutrements for officers’ quarters, barracks, a barroom, and infirmary were all open for the son to admire.











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  #174  
Old 09-19-2019, 05:46 AM
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Default 25. Like a Thief

The son departed the fort and rode across the island to the landing site where, outnumbering Americans by nearly 10 to 1, the British-led invaders landed on the morning of July 17. The clear, cool waters of Lake Huron rattled through the polished pebbles along the shore where the War of 1812 began in earnest.





The son continued his exploration of Mackinac island, climbing up to Arch Rock and beholding the spectacular azure beauty of the surrounding waters.







The son rode along empty paths back to the airport, stopping at another historic chapel along the way and casually soaking in the remaining beauty around him.





The terminal building was empty when the son arrived.





He made quick time of disassembling and packing up the mountain bike. The son then pre-flighted the Dove and strapped in for departure.

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  #175  
Old 09-19-2019, 05:47 AM
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Default 25. Like a Thief

There was a strong crosswind that caused the Dove to skip off the runway as the son took off on Runway 26. Over the water, he cranked to the north and bade farewell to Mackinac Island as the setting sun washed over the scene.





There was a strong headwind as the son landed a short time later only 24 miles away, at Chippewa County International Airport (CIU). It was the former site of the long-retired Kincheloe Air Force Base. After touching down, the son had to taxi over a mile to reach the FBO where he shut down next to a Cessna Cardinal.



It was quite breezy outside. There were two buildings to inspect as the son climbed out and walked over the tarmac. The first was completely stripped of equipment and abandoned to the elements.



The second was in operation, but not a soul was around. The door was open and there was no need to enter the Michigan Code on the keypad. Inside, there was a U.S. Customs facility, an FBO with a pilot’s lounge, restrooms, a shower, and a snooze room.









It was a standard military-style, cinder block building that brought back many memories as the son wandered through its halls. It was quiet, cool, and utterly devoid of human activity. In the shower room, the son happened upon an open locker with a pair of work pants that had been hastily flung over the top of the door. He stood there and looked at photos of a lineman named Todd who was the proud father of his baby girl, Jordan. The son smiled. There was much joy and happiness in Todd’s eyes. But the personal, private joy of the lineman being displayed in a public restroom somehow made the son feel like a thief, and he turned away to begin unpacking his gear from the Dove and preparing his home for the night.



The son showered, cooked up a pot of chili-mac, and ate dinner. He brushed his teeth and walked past Todd and Jordan again on the way back to the snooze room. Then he turned off the lights and went to sleep on a recliner. It was very dark in the room. But it was only so dark because the day had been so bright.
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