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Welcome to the travels of Doug and Nada. We love the Lord and are traveling full-time in our motorhome with our German Shepherd, Homer. Homer is the star attraction wherever we stop and he gets us talking and sharing with many people. DON'T FORGET: YOU CAN ENLARGE EACH PHOTO BY CLICKING ON THE PHOTO! The newest blog post is at the top and they go back in time as you scroll down. If you want to see each photo larger, you can just click on the photo and it will enlarge. If you decide to leave a comment, don't forget to sign it so we know who left it. ;-) Folks: This site is under continual construction as we travel and see this beautiful country. Check back for more updates and photos. Thanks for visiting with us! May God bless your day!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Michigan's Upper Peninsula - Soo Locks

I have been remiss at posting - Having too much fun and very poor upload speeds in the wilds of northern Michigan. After spending two and a half rainy windy days in Petosky, Michigan, we were finally able to head north to the Upper Peninsula on a beautiful sunny Sunday. Crossing the Mackinaw Bridge was beautiful! I told my friend Mary Ann who doesn't like going up and down mountain roads that I will take mountain roads anytime over crossing high long bridges with very low guard rails!

The Mackinac Bridge is the 3rd longest bridge in the world and the longest suspension bridge in the western hemisphere. Below is one of the water taxis which take you to Mackinaw Island.

We arrived at our campsite along the northern shore of Lake Michigan. We are just two miles west of the bridge. It is a beautiful view out our front window over Lake Michigan. Shortly after setting up our campsite, a freighter steamed past.

Doug and Homer had to go checkout the shoreline.

After setting our camp, we headed to the Soo Locks in Sault St. Marie on the northern edge of Michigan's Upper Peninsula where Lake Superior empties into Lake Huron. There is a 21 foot drop in St. Mary's River between the two lakes and so the locks lower and raise the ships between the lakes. The "Lakers" are freighters up to 1000' in length and they travel what is referred to as the "Upper Great Lakes." The "Salters" are ships up to 800' which travel the whole way to the ocean. The Lakers are too long to go through the Welland Canal between Lake Erie and Ontario.Below is a relief map of the Upper Lakes showing the depth.

Unfortunately, we just missed a large freighter going through the locks and none were due for about 8 hours so we watched this tour boat go through the locks and left.

Above, the boat comes into the lock from Lake Superior and then the lock doors close behind it.

In the photo above, you can see the water has been removed from the lock and the gates to St Marys River are opening. The tour boat exits the lock below.

Above they close the gates and the lock begins to fill again with water in preparation for the next ship coming from Lake Superior.

Above is our view out the restaurant's window where we ate looking from St. Ignace toward Mackinaw Island. Below you have a beautiful sunset view from our motorhome campsite. Tomorrow we are going to drive up to Whitefish Point on Lake Superior.

Whitefish Point on Lake Superior

On Monday, we headed north again this time to Whitefish Point on Lake Superior to see the Shipwreck Museum. Apparently, there is hundreds of shipwrecks in this area of Lake Superior. The most famous one being the last one to go down in 1975, the Edmund Fitzgerald. All but a few of the shipwrecks happened in November as winter storms created havoc with the shippers trying to get one last load through before winter freeze set in. There was a beautiful ballad composed and sung by Gordon Lightfoot in the year following the sinking of the "Fitz."

by Gordon Lightfoot

The legend lives on from the Chippewa on down
Of the big lake they call Gitche Gumee
The lake, it is said, never gives up her dead
When the skies of November turn gloomy.

With a load of iron ore - 26,000 tons more
Than the Edmund Fitzgerald weighed empty
That good ship and true was a bone to be chewed
When the gales of November came early

The ship was the pride of the American side
Coming back from some mill in Wisconsin
As the big freighters go it was bigger than most
With a crew and the Captain well seasoned.

Concluding some terms with a couple of steel firms
When they left fully loaded for Cleveland
And later that night when the ships bell rang
Could it be the North Wind they'd been feeling.

The wind in the wires made a tattletale sound
And a wave broke over the railing
And every man knew, as the Captain did, too,
T'was the witch of November come stealing.

The dawn came late and the breakfast had to wait
When the gales of November came slashing
When afternoon came it was freezing rain
In the face of a hurricane West Wind

When supper time came the old cook came on deck
Saying fellows it's too rough to feed ya
At 7PM a main hatchway caved in
He said fellas it's been good to know ya.

The Captain wired in he had water coming in
And the good ship and crew was in peril
And later that night when his lights went out of sight
Came the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.

Does anyone know where the love of God goes
When the waves turn the minutes to hours
The searchers all say they'd have made Whitefish Bay
If they'd put fifteen more miles behind her.

They might have split up or they might have capsized
They may have broke deep and took water
And all that remains is the faces and the names
Of the wives and the sons and the daughters.

Lake Huron rolls, Superior sings
In the ruins of her ice water mansion
Old Michigan steams like a young man's dreams,
The islands and bays are for sportsmen.

And farther below Lake Ontario
Takes in what Lake Erie can send her
And the iron boats go as the mariners all know
With the gales of November remembered.

In a musty old hall in Detroit they prayed
In the Maritime Sailors' Cathedral
The church bell chimed, 'til it rang 29 times
For each man on the Edmund Fitzgerald.

The legend lives on from the Chippewa on down
Of the big lake they call Gitche Gumee
Superior, they say, never gives up her dead
When the gales of November come early.

Below is the bell they were able to raise from the Fitz as a memorial to the crew that went down with her.

If you click on the photo below and enlarge it, you can read the details of her sinking.

Doug is point to the end of the boardwalk at Whitefish Point, Lake Superior looms in the background. It is the second largest fresh water lake in the world.

The lighthouse at Whitefish Point.

We drove a scenic route along Whitefish Bay and came to the Iriquois Lighthouse as we got closer to the Soo Locks. If you click on the photo below, and look on the hillside on the right side of the lighthouse, you can faintly see a wind generator farm that is across the bay in Canada.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Tunnel of Trees and Harbor Springs

We decided to take a drive along the Heritage Road "Tunnel of Trees" It goes from Petoskey through Harbor View and north to Cross View, Michigan - about 27 miles along the western edge of Michigan along Lake Michigan. We started out in drizzle but by the time we were on the return trip, the sun was poking through. It got its name "Tunnel of Trees" because it goes right along the lake shore but the trees cover over in a canopy. Unfortunately, we were about a week early - next week they will be beautiful as the maples were just starting to show their bright oranges and reds. Once we got past Harbor View, we were no longer on the bay shore, but were on the lake shore. You could not see the other side of the lake (Wisconsin) and the waves were huge from the wind. The road is narrow and twisty, but such a beautiful drive.

These scenes are of the harbor at the town of Harbor View.

The homes in Harbor View were just as beautiful as the ones in Petoskey.

When we got back to Petoskey, we had a lovely dinner at Stafford's Bay View Hotel and Restaurant. The food was delicious and the view was super.

This is the view as we ate.

I caught Doug checking his iPhone.

Petoskey, MI

We traveled north on Thursday and got into northern Michigan. We stopped at a Walmart for the night in Gaylord, MI because there were no campgrounds nearby. It started pouring during the night and it poured all day Thursday so we made a slight detour to the west to Petoskey, MI which is right on Lake Michigan. It is know for its famous pebbles that are made into jewelry and all kinds of things. It poured all day yesterday and most of last night. It is quite windy (25 to 40 MPH winds) so we are not able to cross the Mackinac Bridge (third longest suspension bridge in the world) due to the wind.

We decided to take a drive through Petoskey today - it is full of quaint Victorian homes and beautiful flowers. The waves were crashing onto the stone shoreline due to the wind. Here are some photos: