Yep, I’ve been gone again. Just a few days in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula which, of course, created a couple hundred images for me to sort through. It’s so beautiful up there that it would be impossible not to take a few hundred images. A day.
A friend and I drove north on Wednesday, our goal to make it to our hotel in Sault Ste. Marie by late afternoon. Since it’s only about a five hour drive to the bridge (that’s the Mackinaw Bridge for those of you not quite up to speed on Michigan geography) and then less than an hour to the Soo (short for Sault Ste Marie) we had lots of time to meander on our way.
Which is, you have to admit, the best way to travel.
So we stopped at one of my favorite parks, about 3 hours into our trip. Hartwick Pines is a place Katie and I have camped many times.
Visiting without her by my side was hard, but it was fun to show it to someone who hadn’t been there before. We ate our lunch under tall white pines and then walked the path back to the logging museum.
Along the way we stopped at the chapel. I remember Katie and I doing that walk early one morning only a couple of years ago.
Everywhere I looked I could see her.
After our walk we headed north again until we came to the tip of Michigan’s lower peninsula where we stopped to spend some time admiring the Mackinaw Bridge from the shore.
There’s a lovely little park that allows you to walk right under the bridge. You have to do that, I think it’s some kind of unwritten rule that everyone needs to see the underside of the bridge at least once.
I’ve seen it more times than I can count, starting when I was a kid and my folks took us exploring. I think of them every time I stand under that bridge.
I remember my dad taking us out on the water in his homemade canoe, telling us that we were paddling all the way from Lake Huron to Lake Michigan which turned out to be a short paddle under the bridge that bisects the two Great Lakes.
I still grin over that, all these decades later.
Then it was time to get going, up and over the bridge (where I don’t have images for you because I was driving) and into the Soo. We figured we’d buzz up to the Sault Locks where huge ships traveling the Great Lakes are raised or lowered depending on which direction they’re going.
We were just going to find out the visiting hours, we didn’t intend to stay, but we were pleased to see a giant ore boat in the biggest lock. We hurried up to the visitor gallery and saw that the lock closest to us was filled with a tugboat, a tour boat and a sailboat.
So we stayed and watched both locks lower their boats. We figured that was that, but then we were surprised to see another huge ship maneuver into the lock closest to us just after it was emptied of the original three smaller boats!
So, because the larger ship was just beginning to move out, we were able to watch both locks working at the same time.
The one closest to us was now raising the red ship in preparation of it moving west…and the huge lock behind it was filled with a huge ship being lowered so that it could continue on to the east.
It was fascinating! We couldn’t have timed it better. I’ve been to the locks a couple of times and never saw a big ship in the lock closest to the viewing area.
There was a guy on the close ship who was talking to people near us up in the viewing stand. They were asking questions about how the food was, what his hours were, how his family felt about him being gone for weeks at a time. He answered, with a wonderful accent, maybe Australian, with good humor and honest facts. I couldn’t hear much because it was so windy that day, but the bits I heard were interesting.
So it turns out that one of our main objectives for the trip, visiting the locks, was accomplished before we even had dinner on our first day!
We ate, that evening, at a restaurant called Antlers in the Soo…which is an interesting place filled with…well….antlers. I had a really good burger and decent onion rings and then, stuffed, tired and happy we headed back to the hotel to dream of our next adventure.
Don’t you wonder where we’re going next?