It didn’t help that I know all of the entrants in last week’s Book Giveaway Challenge. Not only that, they are all friends. I was touched they would enter a contest I had created. And how lovely to think they each wanted a copy of my book.

If you would like to win a free copy of Great Lakes Island Escapes Ferries and Bridges to Adventure, the details on how to enter Book Giveaway Challenge #2 are below.

When I sat at my computer with a cat in my lap Friday at midnight, here is what had been entered in Book Giveaway Challenge #1:

  • a tank of gas (suggested by Sally Bowen of Topsy Farms on Amherst Island, a writer herself)
  • Band-Aids (from Andie Stewart, a very creative former Rochester Hills neighbor)
  • a bit of duct tape (also Andie Stewart)
  • a paper copy of emergency contacts (also Andie Stewart)
  • a book to read in the evenings (Joan Young, author of North Country Cache and the four Anastasia Raven—Dead Mule Swamp—mysteries)
  • a smile (Debbie Billiard, a new Pelee Island friend who owns the B&B On Pelee Time)
  • trail mix or other “easy nourishment” or a picnic lunch (Jeanne Seymour, neighbor and owner of South Oakland Fitness)
  • a journal (Diane Dengate, former Ferndale neighbor and wife of artist Patrick Dengate)
  • TP (Aaron Stander, my first department chair at OCC and author of the eight Ray Elkins thrillers)

A Tank of Gas

When Sally posted her entry, I thought, “That’s it!” So absolutely necessary. How could I have forgotten to list it? I myself could easily have been one of those stranded folks needing to be gifted with gas on a number of islands. But . . . you only need a tankful of gas if you bring your car onto the island. Some of the best island adventures involve pedaling a bike or walking. You don’t have to ferry your car over to an island with you (but if you do take your car, fill ‘er up!)


A great idea and disqualified only because I’d included them in the text of the blog posting.

A Bit of Duct Tape


Morning view of Lake Michigan from our Bay Campground campsite, site of the chipmunk battle, on South Manitou Island

I do like the idea that one can always use duct tape, but I can’t recall wishing I had any on any one of my 27 island trips. Although if I’d had some, I might have used it—in Kathy and my battle with the chipmunks on South Manitou Island, for instance. And I do like the idea of wrapping it around a water bottle.  [Monday update: While swimming this morning, I recalled that Lucinda had duct tape with her on Wolfe Island, and we used it to protect my car from my bike pedal swinging from my bike rack, which it did.  However, when I got home, I discovered that duct tape should probably not be applied to the painted surface of one’s car.]

Emergency Contacts (hard copy of)

While backpacking in Europe 40 years ago, Craig and I carried a paper copy (our only option at the time) of contact information for who should be called in the case of an emergency. In the last decade of travel, I’ve relied on carrying my driver’s license with me at all times and having an “ICE” (In Case of Emergency) entry in my cellphone contacts list. Should I need rescuing on an island and, for some reason, both my I.D. and my phone have been destroyed, say in a fire or an accident on the water, I’m assuming any paper copy would be destroyed as well. Andie’s suggestion, however, has made me think about wearing a medical alert bracelet to indicate I’m allergic to penicillin. If you have a life-threatening allergy or condition, you, too, might want to consider such a medical need when making your island packing list and checking it twice.

A Book to Read (in the evenings)

When this entry appeared, I thought, yes! I generally take at least one book with me, often one about or set on the island I am visiting. But I usually found myself doing something else in the evenings instead involving talking to islanders or engaging in island activities. By the time I crawled into bed with my book, I’d generally fall asleep before I’d begin reading. (And not all island adventurers are readers.)

A Smile

I loved the idea of this entry. But as an island visitor, I find it is often the islanders who initiate the smiles.

Someone might have entered “a wave.” That’s what one does need to bring to an island. Years ago, my daughter Meagan was assigned to write an essay that described one small thing people could do to change the world for the better. She wrote about how people on Pelee Island wave to each other in passing, whether on foot, on bikes, or in cars, regardless of whether or not they know each other. We still wave on Pelee, and it’s a practice I’ve observed on other islands, too.


If I hadn’t already featured it in the text of the blog (under “Supplies . . . related to Your Special Interests”), this entry, for sure, would be the winner!

And Diane said it better than I: “Blank pages to write the wonder you experience during your visit, or to draw the new visions. It comes in handy to write down the answers that become crystal clear once you are in the woods.”

. . . or just about anywhere on an island, I would add!


When Aaron added this last entry Friday night, I felt much like I had when Sally started us off with a tank of gas. Of course! But then I stopped to think. The only islands of the 136 for which I packed toilet paper were South and North Manitou, where we going to camp. And only one of the two didn’t already have a supply. Having an extra roll of toilet paper on an island isn’t a bad idea. But you’ll find island B&Bs and inns have fine amenities, which include TP.

And the Winner?


View from our picnic site just off the Loop Trail on Flowerpot Island

. . . Trail Mix! In general, plan that you will be more active on an island, on any island. And island adventures take energy. (To say nothing of how hungry breathing all that fresh island air can make you feel!) On a number of islands, like Flowerpot Island, there are no grocery stores or restaurants.

Even when there are, an island food establishment may not keep the hours we’re accustomed to on the mainland. So trail mix is a great idea!


The Green Heron that joined us for our picnic in the Garden of the Phoenix on Wooded Island

Packing a lunch can be a good idea, too, especially on a day-trip. My daughter Caitlin and I took sandwiches with us for our afternoon exploring Wooded Island. Had we not been seated to eat at the water’s edge, we might have missed the appearance of another special “picnicker.”

Even when you’re going to an island where you expect to be able to purchase food, don’t forget to add some trail mix (or other “easy nourishment”) to your daypack for an instant island pick-me-up. (And while you have many choices at the store, seemingly endless trail mix variations are just a Google-search away.)

Congratulations, Jeanne Seymour, on winning a copy of Great Lakes Island Escapes: Ferries and Bridges to Adventure!

Book Giveaway Challenge #2: What Islands Are These?

To win a free copy of my book, Great Lakes Island Escapes: Ferries and Bridges to Adventure, be first to correctly identify the two islands shown in the foreground of the photo on the front cover of the book (below). Post your answer in a comment to this blog posting by midnight, Friday, April 22nd. The winner will be announced Monday, April 25th.