Blue Lake Road
We had decided to go to Mackinac Island the "back way" so that we could go up through the Petoskey area. It took us over 2 hours to get to the Ferry launch in St. Ignace from where we were staying at the lake cottage. Had we gone the direct way, up 75 North, the trip would have been a little over an hour. We planned to take that direct route back home when we were done on the island, since we wouldn't want to do any sightseeing in the dark. Yes, that's right. No sightseeing. We had no idea that the trip back would take so much longer than we imagined...
So when we got off the ferry at 9:30pm, we figured we would easily be tucking in our two year old (and the other three kids) by 11:00pm. We followed 75 South for about 55 minutes. The trip was going swimmingly. We exited where we thought we ought to and then things got confusing - the road signs weren't plentiful. (in Michigan? I never...) Looking at the Mapquest directions, I could see that the road we were looking for (to take us back to Starvation Lake) was Blue Lake Road. The county road we needed to sonnect to Blue Lake Road was not on the map of Michigan that we posessed. Shucks - we needed a closer view of that map. This could be a little tricky. We took a few odd turns as we looked for a rare gas station open on a Sunday night at 11 pm. Yeah, my husband was going to ask directions. :)
Then we saw it. Blue Lake Road. Wow, we may be home soon after all. As we turned South, we saw an unusual sign. What is a "seasonal road"? Right away we knew something was wrong. The road was a dirt road, but not a hard dirt road. It was like a beach, all sandy with big ruts, as though a tractor had been skidding around on it. How do you turn around on this road? What if you try to back up and go forward, back and forth, and then get stuck in the sand? The best course of action seemed to be to keep moving ahead, and not allow ourselves to get stuck. Good thing it wasn't raining. It HAD to connect back to a paved road soon. 10 minutes later, going about 15 MPH (on and off) we realize that we have seen no driveways. I want to get out and ask someone where in the blazes we are. But there are no driveways, no houses, no lights. No intersections. Nothing but thick foilage and forest on both sides of the sandy dirt road. No, our cell phones have no signal.
30 minutes later, the situation is the same. My gut is in a tight twist. Thank you, God, that the 2 year old is sleeping through mom and dad's panic as we come upon one big sand bowl after another, wondering each time if this is going to be passable by our Dodge Caravan, or if we are going to walk all night to 'who knows where' with our four children. While Daddy forges ahead, Mom begins gaspy cries and the 11 year old daughter sobs, "I hope I am going to see my friends again."
An intersection!!! I get out to look around before we do anything more. The road we are crossing has no marking and looks to be of the same nature. There would be no point in turning. Keep going South, Daddy repeats, and it makes sense. Sooner or later it should run across some pavement. Before I get back in the car, I see a sign off in the brush. "Deward Mangement Area" ... "Protecting Our Natural Resources and the Manistee River". What? We are in some sort of preserve? Or are we on a dune buggy trail?
Blue Lake Road? I don't think so.
My husband tries to keep all our spirits up, although I know he is panicked just like I am. (Later he tells me he was aware of bears in the area. Thank God he did not mention that.) "God, please help us." I cry, back in the car, as I wonder just what lesson God may want to teach me this night. I know He doesn't always have it in His will to resolve our situations just as WE would want...
10 miles. 10 miles of a road with no driveway and only one intersection - that of a road just like it. 10 miles which took 1 hour and 48 minutes to travel. No kidding. Then we saw a stop sign in the distance. It was pavement. As we turned left onto the paved road, I was so happy. We were going to make it to a bed this night! Our KIDS were going to get to bed this night!!!! Our two year old was still asleep. God is merciful.
When we finally went to bed at 2:30am, I told my husband how thankful I was. I just couldn't get over the joy I felt at being off Blue Lake Road . We had a fun day on Mackinac Island and it had been a great privilege to go there, but I wouldn't be nearly as thankful if the trip home had been uneventful.