Lake Superior South Shore, 2016. Part 11. Creatures from The Black Lagoon

Amanda and Douglas (Susan calls them AmanDoug, Carolyn calls them the Children) are SCUBA enthusiasts. They carry all of their diving gear – tanks, dry suits, wet suits and a ton of other stuff with them.  They needed to get an August dive in so off we went to the laundry. They went to Sand Point on which there is Sand Beach to suit up.  We did our laundry, washed and dried, and drove to Sand Beach to see how they were doing. 

Their car was there but they were no where to be seen.  And then we spotted their diving flag so we waited.

There were bubbles and then up popped two creatures dressed  head to toe in formal black.  They were out there for a long time doing something. Later they were telling us that they were having a hard time getting one of their flippers off.

They thought it was funny that we came to see them.  They sure had a lot of gear. Timers, depth gauges, weight belts and lots of things hooked to hoses.  They were in dry suits with layers of clothes underneath.  Amanda was dry, Douglas had a leak around his wrist so his sleeve was wet.

They saw some fish and some small white crayfish like things and brought up a pebble as a keepsake.

They were going to try diving near the high school but there was no easy access to the water but they got in their August dive.

More later

Roger and Susan

Lake Superior South Shore, 2016. Part 10. Off to Grand Marais

No, not the one in Minnesota, Grand Marais, MI.
From Munising we headed east along the lake shore towards Grand Marais, MI. along the Pictured Rocks National Lake Shore. We were hoping for a nice lunch at a place that we remembered that had good pie. The morning started out with a light rain.  We stopped at the Miner’s Castle overlook.
You can start to see the colored sandstone here that coninues for about 20 miles up the coast.  And then the rain turned into a down pour. So off we went in the rain. By the time we got to Grand. Marais the rain has subsided and we discovered our lunch destination was closed. After waiting in line for a half hour at what appeared to be the only other place in town for lunch we discovered another spot. It was like an old diner, small and slow. Susan and I ordered a fried egg sandwich. The other four of us ordered pancakes. Fried egg sandwiches came first, then one order of pancakes.  After some time the second order of pancakes showed up. It turned out that they could only make one order at a time.  So it was a leisurely lunch.

We found a little gift shop, are you surprized? They had some small bead and silver wire bugs that we thought would look nice with the pine trees we found in a gift shop in Munising. They do.

We drove around the campground at Grand Marais, not bad. And then headed back towards Munising. We stopped at the Log Slide at the Sable Dunes.  These dunes run about five miles after the Pictured Rocks toward Grand Marais. Wind has piled sand up more then 300 feet high along the lake.

It was more than 500 ft down the face of the dune. Signs warned of the difficulty of going down (10 minutes) and then coming back up (1-1/2 to 2 hours). So we just looked.

In the late 1800’s logging was a big industry here.  Logs were cut and hauled to the edge of the dunes. A chute was constructed using logs and planks. Like a flume the logs were sent down the slide towards Lake Superior. They would hit the lake and be gathered into giant log rafts that would get towed to saw mills in Grand Marais and many other places even as far away as Ashland WI. These log rafts could be more than a quarter mile wide and a couple miles long. One mile an hour was about as fast as thet could get the rafts to move.

Do you want to slide? In spite of the rain it was a good day.

More later,

Roger and Susan


Lake Superior South Shore, 2016. Part 9, Butts Up Dock?

Grand Island, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

We are at the city of  Munising Tourist Park Campground. It is a pretty nice campground with a variety of types of accommodations. We managed to get full hookups which means electricity, water and a sewer connection. We are one row back from the shore of Lake Superior.  We were just not quick enough to get the front row seats.  We have been there before and they are spectacular.  

It has taken me a long time to get Munising (Mew nis ing) to come out right.

We almost never choose this level of hookups, electricity is plenty for us and if it is not available we can get along for days.  We have a generator and a diesel boiler for hot water and heat and lots of batteries. Plus with 105 gallons of water and 160 gallons of waste tanks we can normally last 10 days or so. Can you get by on 10 gallons of water a day for two people?

Our travelling companions like water hookups and sewer if possible. They both have clothes washing machines. Douglas and Amanda just put in a front loading stacked washer and dryer. It is very nice and fits well in their 40 ft coach.  It takes up and entire closet, something we would not give up in our 36 ft coach.  It usually only takes a couple hours or less to do our laundry once every ten days or so. Douglas and Amanda also just put in a top loading drawer style dish washer. Wow!

There are water falls everywhere nearby, the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore extends several miles to the east, the Lake is right here and there is this big island, a Grand Island, that is now part of the National Lakeshore. It was, many years ago, privately owned but over time it became part of the National Lake Shore.  There are a few private homes left, now leased back to the original owners for one more generation. There are several camp sites and a few rustic shelters for back packers on the island.

There are some gravel roads and a some trails too.  A ferry brings visitors to the Island to hike or bike or take a “bus” tour of the historic sites. The “bus” appeared to be the back seat of someone’s old SUV.

Douglas and Amanda brought their bikes because they knew we were bringing ours. So we packed picnic lunches, lots of water and with bikes on the rack, headed for the ferry and Grand Island.

A Four Bike Rack is Handy
If not for Four Bikes then Two Bikes and Two Beach Chairs

The ferry ride was on a pontoon boat the first time we were here. Now they have a pretty snappy proper ferry launch.  More like a nice barge.

Pretty Nice Pannier for Lunch and Stuff 

We stopped in at the Visitor’s Center for some history and a map.  Twenty plus hard miles counterclockwise. Eight to ten up if we went to the middle of the island on one side, across and back down the other.  We chose wisely.

These were the good roads. pretty smooth and not too hilly.

High bluffs and big hills is where we did not go.

Douglas and Amanda are good smilers.

Can you guess what this is?  Pretty fresh bear poop.

We stopped at Duck Lake for a rest.  There were lots of ducks.  Ducks eat stuff on the bottom of the shallow part of the lake, heads down and you can probably guess the rest.  First there were two ducks, then three.  The lunch wagon was in and soon there were five ducks feasting on bottom goo.

So from the dock it was clear that Synchronized Swimming at the Olympics has competition.

We stopped for lunch and a chance to cool our feet. This was a very nice beach where a summer home once stood long ago.

I liked this old stump by the water. it was about 8 ft across.

We made it to the 20 mile post (with a short cut or two). A bit butt weary but that’s biking.

The ferry ride home was quiet. Same with the ride back to the campground.  We were able to stay up for s’mores though after supper.  No campfire songs from this bunch of tired folk.

More later

Roger and Susan