The Scary Bridge

Perhaps you’ve heard my story about crossing the troll bridge when I was young. I’ve shared it many times when speaking, and it’s including in Pure Emotion. But this post is about another scary bridge: the Mackinac Bridge.

You might have heard of it. It’s long, and it’s built to withstand high winds, which means you can feel it moving at times. It sometimes ices over in the winter. But my experience with the Mackinac Bridge was scary for another reason.

My dad and I crossed it on a motorcycle.

We took a trip from central Illinois through a bit of Indiana and through Michigan, where we briefly stopped to visit with relatives. Our next stop was Mackinac Island, accessible only by ferry. No motorized vehicles are allowed. From there, we would travel south through Wisconsin, stopping at the House on the Rock and a few other places. Mainly, we enjoyed the sites and sounds of nature, as well as meeting people along the journey.

But first, we had to cross the Mackinac Bridge, part of which is slatted. There’s probably a more technical term, but I’m not sure what it is, and my brief internet search was less than enlightening. I assume the slat design was best for air flow and helped the bridge sustain high winds. All I know is that I could see through the slats, which were just a tad smaller than the width of our motorcycle tire.

I have no fear of heights, no fear of bridges, and no fear of drowning. However, I wasn’t crazy about being on a long suspension bridge perched above a large body of water and potentially having our front motorcycle tire wheel get stuck in the bridge and stop us dead in our tracks with travel around us. So, my dad did what made sense: he kept moving but not too fast, and he steered the motorcycle a little toward the left, then a little to the right, continually changing our direction so that the wheels wouldn’t be lined up directly with the slats. Dad’s feet were off the foot rests the entire length of the bridge, just in case, he needed to catch us.

We made it without any issues and with a huge sigh of relief. It took a little while to unwind, but the ferry ride and walking around the peaceful Mackinac Island helped tremendously.

It’s amazing to consider what might be on the other side of nervous anxiety and fear.


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