Tracy K. Lorenz ...


The Bridge Walk

Ya know how some things sound cool and bucket-listy but then turn out to try and kill you? I hate those things.

Last week my son Q, age 14, asked if we could walk the Mackinac Bridge on Labor Day,. Well, it wasn’t Labor Day yet so I gave him the “I’ll think about it” in the hopes that it would slip his mind and I could weasel out of physical activity and a five hour drive.

On the day before Labor Day it was apparent he had not forgotten and he and his stupid flexible tendons and little pink lungs guilted me into going.

Next thing you know I’m driving north without a plan. I knew if we just kept driving we’d eventually hit the bridge, everything after that was up for grabs.

It took a few phone calls but we were able to get the last available room at the Casino/Hotel in St. Ignace so that was a positive, then I won seven hundred clams playing blackjack so things were looking good. The lady at the hotel said the bridge walk started at 7:00 am and they had shuttles running until 10:00. Sweet.

We get to the shuttle place and there were, give or take, five-hundred-million people waiting in line. Plan B was going into effect and there really wasn’t a plan B.

Plan B turned out to be we’d just drive as close as possible to the bridge and start hiking, I spotted a bunch of people parking in the Family Fair grocery store lot and figured they must know what they’re doing so we’ll just follow them!  I’m guessing it was two miles, easy, from that lot to the bridge.

So I’ve already hiked two miles before I get to the bridge which is five miles long, half of which is uphill. Sweet baby Jesus, I’m going to die. I could already feel the lactic acid building up in my thighs and I wasn’t even to the water yet.

Here’s the thing about the bridge walk if you’ve never been there: these people aren’t fit. I thought it’d be like the Boston Marathon with a bunch of healthy people milling about, it was more like Black Friday at Walmart. I wasn’t sure half of these people could walk from their car to the cashier to buy their Lotto tickets at Wesco – but there they were, lumbering up the bridge like the Bataan Death March.

One thing that quickly became apparent was 98% of the women there wore leggings, all but maybe six of them had no business wearing leggings, imagine two seals under a blanket fighting over a bowl of potato salad and you’ll have a good visual of what I followed for five miles.

What really got me were the people with little kids, like four and five year olds. You KNOW those kids aren’t going to make it a hundred yards before you’re carrying them up a bridge, for hours, and the cops don’t let you turn around. Once you’re on that bridge you’re on it until the end, no reversing, and no bathrooms.

But hey, I did it, I’d be more impressed with myself if everyone else who did it didn’t look like Rosanne and Dan Connor circa 1996. But a win is a win even if there was a slight physical ... toll.

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