Pence motorcade
© AP/Stephen B. Morton
US VP Mike Pence
Vice President Mike Pence's visit to Mackinac Island could hardly go unnoticed, as he brought a massive SUV motorcade to a place where cars have been banned for over a century. Some Michiganders said it 'made their blood boil.'

The local population of around 470 residents was plunged into the 21st century when Pence traveled from a helicopter at the Mackinac Island airport to the Grand Hotel, where the conference was held, in a motorcade made up of eight large black SUVs.

The mile-long ride was additionally secured by state police on bicycles. And that's all on an island where cars have been banned since 1898.The motorcade was delivered to the island by a local ferry company that didn't pass on the PR opportunity, tweeting photos of its boats transporting the VP's vehicles, adding that, despite political views, one should understand that security is a priority.




During his speech, Pence tried to impress the public with his knowledge of the island's traditions and recalled visiting Mackinac as a child and later when he had his own family, noting that during one visit his wife told him not to come back without local fudge, another thing the Mackinac is famous for. But by the time he started speaking the main tradition had already been broken.

Many took to social media to blast Pence for a huge transgression, comparing it to walking into a Japanese tatami room with muddy boots.

Democrats also threw in their two cents.

However, others said it was a sign that the times had changed with officials facing increased security threats.

Mackinac Island has been a vehicle-free nature-lovers' oasis since the 19th century when the Mackinac village council banned horseless carriages from its streets. Most of the rest of the island is state parkland, and Mackinac Island State Park Commission extended the ban to the territory of the park after summer cottager Earl C. Anthony ignored the ban and brought a car to the island, frightened and hurt several horses, and damaged some carriages.

The ban has been preserved up until this day, with exceptions made only for emergency and construction vehicles and no indulgences for VIPs who have previously used horses to get around the island. Gerald Ford, the only sitting president to visit, traveled by horse-drawn carriage in 1975.