According to his wife, U. S. Representative David E. Bonior is a contemplative man who has had some pretty "harebrained" ideas. It was just such an idea that led Bonior and his wife Judy to walk the 325 miles from their home in Mount Clemens--a suburb of Detroit--to the quaint coastal sidewalks of Mackinaw City, the Lower Peninsula's northernmost point. Walking to Mackinac chronicles the Boniors' three-week journey to connect with the people and the history of their home state, to explore Michigan at human pace, and to appreciate it more fully.
The Boniors plotted their own course, stringing together trails, back roads, and abandoned railway beds. They both carried twenty-five to thirty-five pounds on their backs, so they limited each day's effort to a walkable distance that would end at a campsite or motel. Both in their early fifties, neither of the Boniors had ever undertaken a trek of this magnitude or done any camping to speak of. Their daily challenges were humorous, daunting, and even frightening.
While the book focuses on the Boniors' journey, what moves the narrative forward is the story of Michigan. The journey serves to link the Underground Railroad and waterways, the fur trade and the lumber industry, agriculture and the automobile, and of course the people all along the way.
If you have ever taken a trip on a whim, or if you have even just thought about ignoring the "sensible" voice inside your head, Walking to Mackinac is sure to delight you. Both entertaining and informative, the Boniors' story reminds us once again that even the longest journey begins with a single step.
David E. Bonior is the Democratic Whip in the U. S. House of Representatives. He represents Michigan's Tenth Congressional District and lives in Mount Clemens, Michigan, with his wife Judy.