Embrace the detour. It might be the best part of the journey.

The tandem bikes, the attendant said, are only for use on the flat road that traces the island’s coast. 

The interior trails of Mackinac Island’s forest were for hikers and trail bikes. 

And that was fine. The tandem bike, with my 13-year-old daughter as co-pilot, handled like the lumbering freighters churning by far offshore. 

We managed the bike well enough through waves of 4th of July week visitors on a brilliant Tuesday afternoon. Until we were stopped. The road was closed about 4 miles into the ride. 

Frustrating. No one said anything about road closures. 

It was decision time: give up and turn back … or take the bike up a trail through the woods, hopefully rejoining the main road later on. 

We took the detour, walking the bike as the trail climbed a steep hill. Then a trail biker rode by, mentioning the biggest incline was behind us, and the main road was about a mile and a half ahead. 

“Screw it,” I thought. ”Let’s ride.” 

So we bumped and thumped our tandem bike freighter down the trail, against the better guidance of the rental company. We navigated tight turns. Avoided stumps (barely). Squished through numerous mud pits. Pedaled hard. And laughed, a lot. 

Eventually, the path opened to the main road, with its sweeping views of Lake Huron. The obstacle forced us to use teamwork, laugh, and be rewarded as the trees gave way to the clear expanse of the coastline. 

The unexpected and unwanted detour became the most rewarding part of the trip. It was a reminder to embraced the unexpected and go for the ride. Even when we we’re not equipped.