Sault Ste Marie, Michigan
The Trans Canada Highway (Hwy 17) between Wawa, Canada and the US border spends most of its time along the beautiful shores of Lake Superior. A well-maintained two-lane road with multiple grades, some 7%, the 235 miles under perfect blue skies goes by quickly.
Until we get to the border. Because it takes me three attempts to just find the entrance that goes over the bridge. First I turn at the sign that points right to the border crossing, nope it's a street. Around the block I turn at the intersection just past the sign. Another nope, another trip around the block. Just what one needs to add to the anxiety of a border crossing :-(
Third time's a charm as I turn into the driveway that looks like it goes to an industrial parking lot but is really the entrance that goes behind the Canadian border building. We finally continue over the bridge to the empty lanes of the crossing from Sault Ste Marie, Ontario, into Sault Ste Marie, Michigan.
The poles and cameras are so tight on both sides that I have to inch through to the kiosk. I answer all the questions, and we're on our way. Again, no request for any records for Tessa, in fact no questions about animals on board.
Then we have to pay $12 to get into Michigan. Guess I missed reading about that. The lanes are wider, the workers are smiling - I'm happy to pay just for that!
Once we're in Michigan it's only a few miles to Soo Canal Campground. Driving through downtown it's like a ghost town! After a quick registration, we set up in a level grass site a few feet from the water of the St Mary River. It's already a favorite.
|Did we miss a "town closed today" memo?|
|View from our front window.|
Liz and Mike have been full-timing for over six years and we enjoy sharing our adventures around the country. They're leaving Wednesday, so we're glad we had the opportunity to visit.
|A few carry marks from close encounters.|
|Occasionally they're carrying passengers.|
|Many are big lakers.|
|A few are even bigger!|
|The pink of a 9 pm setting sun.|
First stop is Point Iroquois Lighthouse, a place of beauty and brutal history. The light was built in 1855 to guide sailors through the entrance of St Mary River into Lake Superior. With the completion of the Soo Locks ten years later, the light became an even more critical necessity for the safety of the river and lake traffic.
|After 107 years of service, the light was switched off, replaced by an automatic beacon in a nearby channel.|
|A well maintained boardwalk was added during the restoration.|
|The 65 foot tower keeps watch over the busy waterway.|
|Clear water on a rocky beach.|
Further north, the parking lot at Whitefish Point is overflowing, but we manage to snag a recently opened spot. Once we're on the grounds we find that most of the people are here to play on the beach, meaning the museum and grounds are not too crowded.
|The most unique light we've visited. There's no way I'm climbing up that tight, dark tower "pipe" to stand on that narrow lip at the top!|
|This is the base of the oldest operating light on Lake Superior. As it is considered the most important light because all ships entering the lake must pass it, there can be no doubt that the design works!|
|The buildings surrounding the light have all been maintained beautifully, and outlying buildings unused for years are being restored.|
|Not the Pacific, but it still attracts beach-goers.|
|A new monument with zero information about why it was added to the site.|
|The Edmund Fitzgerald was the largest ship on the Great Lakes when she launched in 1958, and in her 17 years on the water she held the record for fastest crossing of Superior.|
|Use of the Newt Suit allowed divers to remain at 535 feet under the lake's surface to cut the ship's bell from the deck of the Edmund Fitzgerald. The divers were supported by numerous ships from the Canadian navy.|
The museum includes smaller exhibits on the native and trader history of the area, the use of Fresnel lenses, and the exploration of the numerous shipwrecks in the surrounding waters.
|I definitely agree with Linda that this is the "realest" mannequin I've ever seen!|
|3,500 pound 2nd Order Fresnel lens retired in 1983.|
|Statistics, history and recovered artifacts from numerous shipwrecks are displayed.|
We drive to the upper falls, but when the parking lot is once again filled with cars, buses and bikes, I decide I've had enough people for one day. Instead we head for home. It was a great day!
Wednesday morning I get a much needed haircut and manicure/pedicure. As always, I promise myself I'll do this more often. We'll see.
I've wanted to try Michigan's signature "sandwich" - the pastie (pronounced like past time). I pick up Bill and we head out to find one. Filled with meat and vegetables and served with gravy on the side, I'm now a big fan!
|Just a guy out walking his ship......|
|Entering the lock with the deck at the same level as the sides. A small plank is placed from one to the other to allow a new crew member to board.|
|Once the ship reaches this gate, the one behind is closed, and the water begins to rise.|
|In 20 minutes the water is nearly to the top of the gate.|
|25 minutes and 21 feet later, the gates open to give the Frontenac access to Lake Superior.|
|It takes awhile to move away from the dock on the left.|
|Passing under the Sault Ste Marie International Bridge.|