I’ve always wanted to cross the Mackinac Bridge, adding to the list of bridges I’ve already traveled over, such as the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway, Golden Gate, O’Callaghan-Tillman, St. George Island and many more. So recently, we made the drive to do just that.
One of the things I always photograph when I travel through cities are bridges. There’s something about these masses of concrete and steel, that to me, signify mankind’s ability to conquer and rise above. When I think of the cities I’ve been to, the bridges are oftentimes what I remember most.
I have a sister who thinks of bridges differently. She has gephyrophobia, the fear of bridges. I once made the mistake of forgetting this fact, and accidentally missed a turn, causing me to drive over the Hoan Bridge in Milwaukee. Oops. I felt a little bad about the mishap, but still giggled in evil-older-sister fashion, as she breathed in a Lamaze-type manner next to me.
The Mackinac Bridge Authority has a service where they will drive your vehicle over the bridge for you, if you suffer from this condition. The total length of this beast-of-a-bridge is 5 miles long, although the distance between spans is “only” 3800 feet. A veritable gephyrophobic’s nightmare. According to the Bridge Authority, over a thousand people take advantage of the drive-over program each year. So, my sister isn’t alone in her fear.
We arrived in the Mackinac bridge area at night, and as we crossed the bridge, I could see nothing but the support towers and street lights. After we checked in to our hotel, we walked along Lake Huron’s lakeshore to capture a glimpse of Big Mac in the darkness. The night was silent, except for the crash of waves upon the rocky beach shore, and the view of Big Mac reminded me of Christmas, with its fat multi-colored lights aglow in the darkness.
Indeed, this bridge would bring Christmas of a sort, for my sister and I. We both play Pokémon Go and what should my night-time-bridge-viewing stroll cause me to stumble upon? A nest of difficult-to-find Pokémon called Lunatone. Rare enough that my sister would even cross the bridge for it. Maybe. And I was able to capture several.
Morning came, and with it more walks along the lakeshore. We explored a lighthouse and strolled the beaches. With the bridge as our backdrop, we hunted for Petoskey stones and found a few specimens, but the crown item of my day was a Charlevoix stone, which I delightedly added to my extensive rock collection.
I know some people don’t like to own a lot of “stuff” and believe in being minimalists, but to me, these rocks are memories, just like photographs. I can pick a stone up years later, turn it over in my hand and that moment from the past comes rushing back. I re-live once again, the feeling of finding “treasure” along the beach or a field. Through my collection, I can repeatedly feel the adventure of traveling, of being in the shadow of the mighty Mackinac or other distant places. Then I return it safely to the shelf, to remember another day.
And yes, now Big Mac has become a new memory, another item checked off, on my long list of places to see and things to explore. Not only have I a Charlevoix stone as a keepsake, but also several Lunatone Pokémon, one of which I’ll give to my scaredy-cat sister.
Maybe she’ll name it Bridgette.