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I just went up to Mackinaw City yesterday to spend the day biking around Mackinaw Island with my boys and my parents, and I was thoroughly impressed. On the entire island, I saw one motorized vehicle: an ambulance. The island is only 7.5 miles in circumfrence, so it’s the perfect size to traverse on foot, by bike, or by horse, which is all that is allowed there. I wish I would have taken pictures, because the island is just GORGEOUS! The houses and bed and breakfasts look like a million bucks, and that probably isn’t too far off the mark since it probably costs that just for the land. We spent around four hours biking around, visiting the beach, touring the butterfly house, and walking the strip in search of some yummy saltwater taffy and fudge. I would highly recommend a trip there for anyone who has some extra money to blow. (Yes, it will make a huge dent in your wallet, especially if you want to rent bikes or ride horses.) We brought our own bikes over there, which only costed us $8 per bike. To rent them, you’re looking at spending $24 an hour per bike or bike trailer. Yikes!

Anyway, being on that island really made me think about how neat it would be to live in a small community where no cars were allowed. I’ve heard of a few such places, but until now I had never understood why they didn’t like cars. Now I know. For one, you don’t have that nasty smell of exhaust or burning oil permeating the air. Two, roads last a lot longer when super-heavy vehicles aren’t breaking them up and leaking noxious chemicals all over. Three, the noise level is significantly reduced. Four, it’s a lot healthier for everyone to use their own two feet, especially in such a small area. Five, you don’t have to worry about the biohazard that a fueling station brings. All the fuel you need is whatever you or your horses like to eat and drink. Sixth and finally¬†–¬†You don’t have to worry about the eventual accidents that follow in the wake of cars, like hitting people or running over things.

I’m a big fan of the idea of a car-free community. Perhaps if we can ever get our intentional community idea off the ground, we can discuss the possibility of leaving motorized vehicles off the premesis, kind of like how the ic called Twin Oaks does it: they have a dedicated garage and parking area at the end of the property, but the rest of the community is simply linked by sidewalks and walking trails.

What do you think? Would you be able to live in a place where cars couldn’t go?

June 2010

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