Sault Ste. Marie, MI, Summer 2018

Ted and Karen headed off toward Oregon. Amanda and Douglas were off to the Howell Melon Festival. We were heading north to Sault Ste. Marie where Lake Superior connects to Lake Michigan and Lake Huron via the St. Mary’s River and the Soo Locks.

Orchard Beach State Park

We stopped about half way at Orchard Brach State Park. It is on a bluff above Lake Michigan. The long stairway to the lake was closed for repairs.

It was the only way down.

We had a nice site, plenty of room. It is a small park and pretty much full. We walked up to the bluff in the evening to see the sun set.

Not too much to see as smoke from Canada forest fires was in the air.

Except for a nice looking hawk on a fence post.

Manistee is a small town on Lake Michigan just south of Orchard Beach. There were two very nice beaches, pier and a lighthouse. A dredging barge too.

Next day, north towards the Mighty Mac. Our second passage didn’t seem quite as harrowing.

Here is a short dash cam video as we approach the very center of the bridge. We were more than 200 feet above the lake at that point. No audio, the tires made a horrible whining on the metal grate roadway. Susan did not. And then another hour and twenty minutes to Sault Ste. Marie.

Aune-Osborn Campground

We have been here before. Site 91. A great spot to watch the world go by, at least big ocean ships, the usually bigger lake freighters called Lakers and the thirteen giant 1000 ft long lake boats nicknamed Footers. These carry taconite from Duluth and Two Harbors down to the steel mills in Indiana and other places. If you are here long enough you will see the same ship going both ways. In just five days we saw seven of the Footers.

Not many trees here, the old ones are dying and the new ones are pretty small. We managed to get one of the few.

There was a sailboat regatta (a race) on the Canadian side of the river our first evening there.

It was interesting watching the boats go back and forth towards the start line trying to arrive at the sound of the start horn. Then they were off up river into a headwind tacking back and forth. Finally they were out of sight only to come back downstream, come about (turn around) and head back upstream again.

All the while dodging a 1000 ft laker, the Edgar B Speer, a boat we have seen many times, heading down river. The Speer is the most powerful of the lake boats with more than 19,000 horsepower. These boats go by all night long, most are pretty quiet and you don’t even hear them.

The morning sun comes up right over the St Mary’s River.

And with coffee, another boat, the CSL Whitefish Bay, heads upstream.

Just down stream is the Sugar Island Ferry.

It carries about 15 cars or trucks or RVs across the ship channel about 300 ft to Sugar Island and back, all day long. One day we saw a Foretravel coming across! Rare to see another one anywhere. Susan spotted it across the river getting ready to drive on to the ferry.

The ferry was large but dwarfed by a lake boat going by first. It waited.

The Foretravel was from Kansas and had no other markings at all. He got off the ferry and was gone. It looked like a 1996 to me.

And next to the mainland ferry terminal was Clyde’s, a real old fashioned drive-in where they come out and take your order. You can go inside and order and eat at picnic tables too. We had a couple great fish sandwiches there.

And at the other end of town the much smaller West Pier Drive-In, also with car hops!

We had spectacular (huge) hamburgers, a butterscotch malt and an order of onion rings (big enough for four!). Way more than we could eat. My Uncle Jimmy would always say he would eat all this food and burst and splatter all over the walls. Funny what we remember from 60 years ago.

One day a cruise ship went by. It was on a ten day Great Lakes Cruise.And other ships from all over the world.

Here are two ocean going ships from the same shipping line from the Netherlands. One heading for Duluth, the other to Belgium.

On the morning of our last day the Edgar B Speer was heading upstream towards the locks and the CSL Whitefish Bay, an 800 footer, was headed down. Both boats we had seen just four days earlier going the other way.

We took pictures of just about every boat and ship that went by. Way too many to post here. This is already a long blog.

We are heading for Munising a couple hours west, still in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, home of the Yoopers.

More later, Much Love.

Roger and Susan

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