Saturday, June 11, 2011

Brown, I Love Brown

So, on Mackinac there are no motorized vehicles.  How do you get around?  Largely by bicycle.  I mean everywhere you look, you’d think there was a bike shop because so many bikes are parked all over.  Also largely by horse.   It’s interesting to see the way they get things done.  Things we take for granted because we have cars and trucks.  Things like a UPS delivery. 

The UPS truck comes over on a ferry, parks on the docks and is unloaded onto wagons.

Here was a “three-trailer rig”.  Okay, not semi trailers, little wagons. We saw this guy delivering down Main Street one afternoon.  He got caught in a terrible downpour.  Apparently UPS hires the wagon and driver to escort their delivery person.  I felt a little sorry for this gal just sitting, holding the reins… in the rain.  The UPS guy would tell her when to move, and it seemed it was just inches and she stopped again.  Its logistics, you know.

Brown, I love Brown!

And how about trash pick-up?  Horse and wagon.  Because “a horse is a horse, of course. course”  according to Mr. Ed!

We saw this wagon with a flat on the side of the road.  They did get it fixed because a few minutes later we saw it go down the road. 

One day we rented bikes and rode around the island.  We came upon a house…a summer cottage…okay a mansion, under construction.  Well, Wally has already been wondering just how they get building materials onto the Island, so this was the perfect opportunity to find out how.  Bikes are handy, we just rolled up the driveway and Wally began his interview.  Sure enough, it all has to be done by horse and wagon. We found out that there is a two week period in the spring when residents and merchants on the island are allowed to bring cars and trucks onto the island to bring in supplies. After that, it all stops at the dock and gets loaded onto horse-drawn wagons.

So for this house, it would have been possible to bring in a cement mixing truck by ferry to pour the foundation.  The timing would have to be perfect in order to have the excavating complete and ready. There is also this to consider…a cement mixer holds about four yards of premixed cement and takes a half a day to get to the Island.  Wally figured about seven and half truck loads could be poured in one day for this house.  The men were able to hand mix and  and pour about thirty yards of cement a day.  That would be equal to over fifty truckloads of premixed cement.  Wally figured it out, not me.

The way it was accomplished was that all the sand for making concrete was shoveled onto a wagon and driven to the site and shoveled off the wagon .   All of the building material was brought to the Island and delivered the same way.  Think of stacking the cinder blocks onto a wagon and getting to the site and unloading and restacking them.  Then returning to the dock for another load.

Notice the bikes out front…transportation to and from the ferry for the construction workers.  One of the men we talked with had been doing this for 26 years.  He does not live on the island and takes the ferry each day.  All of that is figured into the cost of the house.  He told us that with the horse drawn wagons system, it  easily doubles the cost to build!  He thought that the cost for this house would exceed three million dollars!

This house was begun in the Spring of 2010 and should be completed this summer. 

Just a shot of a neighbor’s house, to give you some perspective!

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