How far will you go?

I am periodically asked if I will travel to perform an inspection. The simple answer is yes, however, there are some variables related to travel. Since our product involves our knowledge and our time, I have to charge for the time spent travelling to the prospective property. Below is a short story about a fun inspection that I did far from home.

Should I get there by horse or bicycle?

A past client called to inquire if I would do inspections out of my normal area. In this case, our client was purchasing a vacation home on Mackinac Island, Michigan. For anybody not familiar with this tourist destination, it is an island located in northern Michigan. The unique thing about this island is that no motorized vehicles are allowed. Transportation, other than walking, is by horse or bicycle! It’s a really cool place. Go here for information about the island

Having been to Mackinac previously, I was aware of the unique considerations involved with performing an inspection there. The first question I had was to find out what was the general condition of the home was. After being assured that the house was relatively new and had been built by a builder as his personal home, I was relieved and agreed to do the inspection.

mackinac bridge
The Mighty Mac!

Hitch your wagon

As mentioned previously, the only methods of transportation on the island are horse or bicycle. Since I don’t own a horse, I chose to use my bicycle. I spent a day assembling suitable transportation to the island and when on the island to the house. It was about a 4 mile trip from the main port at Mackinac to the house, so I had to get ladders and inspection equipment to the house. I chose to use a wagon and a 2-wheel dolly to transport my equipment. It was quite the contraption! A photo is below:

My mackinac rig
My Mackinac “Rig”

The Inspection

I drove up to the area and stayed on the mainland overnight in a local motel. The next morning, I rode to the ferry to ride over to the island. It actually went smooth. I was extremely self-conscious about driving my “rig” to the house but got several knowing looks from painters and other “service professionals” like myself. I actually blended in with the locals!

The inspection went fine. Most of the typical findings with normal houses were found, along with a big problem with the chimney. Luckily, I had brought an extension ladder with me to access the roof. I found out later that the chimney repair was about triple the cost of a similar repair here in Chicago. The difficulty in getting building materials to the island then to the house make most contractors reluctant to perform construction work on the island. As a result, the local contractors charge what the market will bear.

A local deliveryman

The Aftermath

With Mackinac being almost on a perfect diagonal across Lake Michigan from Chicago, I chose to drive through Indiana and Michigan to the inspection, and through the upper peninsula of Michigan and Wisconsin on the way home, including a trip across the “Mighty Mac”, the Mackinac Bridge. The mileage difference from my home in the northern suburbs of Chicago is only 25 miles longer if you go through Michigan. It was fun to see the different towns around the Lake.

As it turns out, I contacted my client to rent the home the following summer for a week’s vacation. We invited friends and family to spend as much time as they wanted with us. My children have said on several occasions that this was the best vacation that we ever took. Two thumbs up from the Dunsing Family on Mackinac Island.


So the answer to the question “How far will you go?” is at least 426 miles. Please contact us if you are purchasing a home on Mackinac Island, I’m ready for another adventure. So, how far will you go?

Goodbye Mackinac
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