1,909 miles, 102 hours — Part 1

So, a few weeks ago, we planned a road trip . . . a big circle tour up to Chicago to visit my family, then North through Wisconsin and into Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. We’d not been up there for . . . well, at least 20 years, but likely longer.

From there, we’d drop down through Mackinaw City, follow Michigan’s western shore, end up at some friend’s place for a few days before continuing South, and a few days later get back home.

That was the plan . . . but two days before we were scheduled to leave, we heard the bad news that one of our nephews might have COVID and Strep. Luckily, it turned out to be only Strep, but by then, we had nixed the Chicago visit and going up through Wisconsin.

The first photo of the trip . . . reminded me of the Push Me Pull Me.

So, having rearranged the schedule, we headed out on our new itinerary, the trip having been cut from 10-11 days to 6-7 days, and bypassing the western part of the UP.

Then, on the first overnight stop, we learned the friends we had planned on visiting had been exposed to COVID (from their granddaughter), and one had contracted it. That threw off our schedule, and we pondered how we might still salvage most of the trip and see most of what we had planned on seeing.

And that’s when the big timeline compression began. Having left on Friday, it will eventually have us return home 102 hours later after having traveled 1,909 miles. It may sound grueling to some, but it was the pace we wanted, and it’s what we enjoy doing. So, on the second day of the trip, we rolled into Mackinaw City.

That’s the main tourist trap; a boulevard lined with fudge shops, restaurants, souvenir shops, and . . . well, shopping opportunities for tourists.

I should explain something . . . I took a lot of phone photos. Not only that, but some of the phone photos are not proper camera photos, but rather, images we texted to families and subsequently downloaded for these posts.

Plus, other than this first day, I hardly made use of the P900. And in an additional plus, other than a few photos, most of the D7500 photos were shot with the Sigma 10-20mm zoom, a lens that I don’t use often but is well-suited for landscapes and shooting big stuff from very close. I’ll explain more as we go.

One of the attractions of the area is Mackinaw Island, home of the Grand Hotel made famous by the movie Somewhere in Time. We’d been there in the last century, and never had the desire to visit again . . . perhaps I’ll do a post about it. The above picture is of the terminal of one of the two companies running ferries to the island.

As we were looking for a place to park (it was very busy and crowded), we saw a coven of witches doing some sort of a dance in front of one of the shops . . . and we then saw them resting while we were walking . . . it was pretty warm out, so I imagine those clothes had to be warm.

. . . they were friendly witches . . .

You might wonder what we — notorious eschewers of human company — were doing on the crowded strip . . . well . . .

Specifically, were wanted some fish-and-chips . . . but not just any fish . . . whitefish!

We had read positive reviews of their food, so . . .

No, we didn’t eat there . . . we went to a park along the shore of Lake Huron and with a view of the Mackinaw Bridge.

The whitefish lived up to its reputation (although the hush puppies were overcooked) . . .

We even had a dining companion . . .

And, yes, we shared some of our food as we enjoyed the view . . .

As Melisa was making arrangements for our stay at the Soo (more about that in the next post), I walked over to a statue I’d spotted.

But, the main attraction of the place (as far as we’re concerned) is the bridge . . .

At this point, I swung the P900 into action . . .

It looks OK, but not spectacular enough, maybe?
Nah, it doesn’t need the extra help.
The bridge is about five miles long, so, I’m zooming in at about two miles.

The thing is, there’s a lot of water, a lot of sun, and hence a lot of rising water vapor . . . which you can see when I try to zoom in on the St. Ignace shore across the straits.

A long zoom doesn’t help when atmospheric conditions distort the view.

These next shots are taken with the D7500 and the 70-300mm zoom.

You can really tell the difference sensor size makes (the Note 20 and the P900 have the same sensor size, and hence the same approximate resolution if you exclude the differences in the lenses).

Here’s Mackinaw Island (you can see the Grand Hotel).

Nikon D7500 at 70mm zoom
Nikon D7500 at 300mm zoom

I snapped a few of them, hoping to stack them, but it doesn’t make a difference in quality/resolution. Here is the P900 at its full zoom. No matter what I tried, I could not improve the photo beyond what you see below.

It looks worse at full resolution

So, then, I tried the Note 20 in progressively longer zooms (all the way to 50x)

It’s actually not bad . . . not good, but not as bad as I had feared.
Hard to tell, but it might be perceptually better than the P900
The Note 20’s wide view.

There are more photos in the SmugMug Gallery (HERE), but most are variants of what you see here), but for now, back to the D7500 and the 10-20mm zoom.

You can see Mackinaw Island on the horizon.

There are more shots, but this next panorama is the joining of two shots . . . the cushioning effect is because of the extreme wide angle of the lens.

We then made our way to the Old Mackinaw Point Lighthouse.

All of these shots are severely distorted . . . but adjusted using DxO’s ViewPoint 3. Here is the unedited original of the above.

Here’s another example . . .


Here are a few more photos of the lighthouse . . .

I also tried my hand at some ‘clever’ shots . . .

That one mostly worked, but I wanted to have both the trees and the bridge in better focus. These next two photos are each the blending of two photos; one photo focused on the bark of the tree, and the other focused on the bridge. The blending didn’t work out as well as I hoped since I had to manually modify the overlay masks.

In short, the automatic blending didn’t work, and my manual attempt to improve it left some traces that are visible at full resolution (so don’t look).

Lastly, there was a wedding that was going to happen, and we kept hearing a bagpipe. I think it was the guy practicing for the ceremony, but we couldn’t spot him . . . until right before we were going to leave . . .

I’m going to call this done for now. Tomorrow, the rest of Mackinaw, the crossing of the bridge, Visiting De Tour Village, and on to Sault St. Marie.

Meanwhile, enjoy (if you so desire) a slideshow of the gallery:

Slideshow of 1,909 miles in 102 hours – Part 1 — 64 photos.

That’s it. This post has ended . . . except for the stuff below.


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