When I was 16 we went on a vacation to Mackinac Island in Michigan. Cool place. It really is an island – it’s not just a cute name – and to get there, we had to take a boat. Uh… I guess that makes sense. What I’m saying is that there are no cars are on the island – you get there by boat and then you can only get around by horse, by bike or by whining until someone carries you piggyback. That’s just the way it is. It’s quaint. It’s neat. I liked it. I liked it very much. I vowed to go back to Mackinac again and again. That could be because every third store is a fudge shop.
At some point during the vacation, my sister and I decided to rent a couple of bikes for the day. This is pretty common on the island and we were excited to have some other mode of transportation other than our feets. After getting the bikes and peddling up and down main street a couple of times we decided to ride around the island – like completely around it. How far do you think it is? I asked. A couple of miles I think, she said. That’s all I knew. We took off.
You know how it is when you ride a bike or run a race or watch American Idol? How you start and you think it is going to wiz right by but it ends up lasting so much longer than you thought? Or is that just me? Anyway, that’s how this was. It seemed like a good idea at first but about 30 feet into the ride, I was wishing I was back at the fudge shop. Or the one next to it. Or the one next to that one. I’m not picky.
But I kept riding. Because that’s what you do when you’ve set off to ride around the island. You keep going.
I think it is more than a couple of miles, I huffed out at one point. Yah, my sister called back over her shoulder, it does seem to be taking a little longer than I thought.
And we peddled
And we peddled
Eventually we came across a sign. Restroom – 1 mile, it said. Jeepers! We said. Town is STILL a mile away! And we rode on. And rode on and on and on.
1 mile later, we came to a Port-a-Potty -not town – and a sad realization. We weren’t even halfway around the island.
Turns out that sucker is like 9 miles around. Not a lot, I know. But when you are expecting 2, it’s a big difference. The moment my sister and I realized we had miles and miles to go was painful. We stopped for a while. We talked to some other bikers whizzing by. We confirmed the size of the island and the length of our trip. We walked to the water and grumbled. We berated ourselves for not checking first. We skipped a couple of rocks. We rubbed our sore fannys and then we got back on the bikes. And we kept going. Because after a certain point, going back is senseless.
A friend of mine is starting chemo this week.
It will be longer than you think.
You may need to take a couple of breaks – skip some rocks, rub your fanny, grumble.
But you can do it.
Going back is senseless.