Thursday, July 7, 2011

Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan

Hi all, Dianne here.  We've moved all the way across the southern shore of Lake Superior to Sault Ste. Marie.  We are camped at Aune-Osborne Campground, right on the shores of the St. Mary's River.  
Our view out the front windshield is of huge lakers and salties moving toward or away from the Soo Locks.  

Our view of the shore on the other side of the river is, of course, Ontario, Canada.

It wasn't so long ago, just this May, that we included a photo of another fuzzy flag we viewed from across a river:
I guess we've really covered some ground; gone from the southernmost tip of Texas, where we could see Mexico, to the Canadian border.

Just like in Duluth, we have a great view of the ship channel.  This time we are even closer to the water.  The sites are adequate, water and 30 amp electric, but the view makes up for it.  It is obviously a very well-managed campground, with lots of repeat visitors.  Here's a view of the campground from out in the river:
Our first full day we checked out the nearby Soo Locks.  We found a spot on the second tier of the observation tower and watched a ship go through, along with lots of other people.  When a large ship is scheduled to enter the locks, people come from all directions to fill the observation tower.   

Here's a shot of the ship we watched as it entered the lock...

 then the same ship once the water level was adjusted:

I can't resist photographing these old green and red tug boats:  
Every time I see one, I think of a favorite book I owned as a little kid, "Scuffy the Tugboat."

We also ducked into a small museum next to the lock, where we saw this handsome man sitting inside.  Take a closer look at the photo; it is actually a mannequin!  It was so life-like that Roger and I were kind of creeped-out by it!

After watching the ship descend to the Lake Huron water level, we walked over to Maloney's Bar for a delicious whitefish sandwich and draft beer.

Gotta take a quick backtrack to our last few days at Munising, with apologies to my Facebook friends who have already heard this story:

I am near-sighted and wear my glasses all the time, unless I take them off to read.  I got up one morning at Munising and couldn't find my glasses anywhere.  I looked high and low, all over the motorhome, including behind the couch, between the bed and wall (a tiny, 1" space), our messy shoe rack beside the door, all windowsills -- all the usual places where I look for them.  I finally gave up.  

Two days went by, and it was time to pack up to drive to Sault Ste. Marie.  Roger does the outdoor packing up, and I secure the items inside.  When I picked up the empty Franzia merlot box to toss it in the trash, I felt a rattle inside.  
A flashlight beam into the handle hole on top of the box revealed this:

I have NO IDEA how they got in there!  (Note the empty wine bag.  It's really a good thing I did not throw this out with the trash!

Now, when I posted this story on Facebook, I received a flurry of smart remarks about drinking box wine.  Our excuse is that the boxes weigh less, take up less space, and don't break on bumpy roads.  (Not to mention the fact that we'd go broke if we drank the type of wine we prefer every evening!)

This morning we took the popular Soo Locks boat tour, for an up-close and personal view of the locks.

We were fortunate to enter the lock at the same time as the 1000-foot M/V Burns Harbor (just visible peeking up over the concrete lock):

When we started into the lock at the Lake Huron level, here was the water level: 

Up we went in the MacArthur Lock, and up went the M/V Burns Harbor in the Poe Lock next to us:

Now you can see the ship's hull above the concrete lock.  An interesting freight capacity comparison is that one 1000-foot Laker is equal to six 100-car trains or 2,308 large trucks!

This morning we had a different view of the observation tower.  Again, it was filled with people watching the big ship go through.  (They waved at us, too).

When the water reached the Lake Superior level, the gates opened and out we went.

The bridge just beyond the Soo Locks is the international bridge to Canada.

We sailed on up the St. Mary's River and the narrator pointed out points of interest along the shore.  

On the Canadian side of the river, we sailed up next to a large iron mill.  The narrator explained how the large piles of limestone, coal, and taconite are used to make coils of steel.  Lots of the cargo in the huge ships we've been watching (both here and Duluth) have been limestone or taconite. 

 I photographed this ship "just because."

After checking out the iron mill, we sailed back down St. Mary's River and went through the lock on the Canadian side for our return trip.  Same scenario, but in reverse:  We sailed in, the water level dropped, the gate opened and we sailed on through.

  The difference in water levels is illustrated in this photo, if you look at the water line.

The pet photo of the day shows Bandido sitting in the motorhome, watching the ships sail by!


heyduke50 said...

lost some glasses in NC and still cant find them... didn't look in the wine boxes though - hmmmmm

Nancy and Bill said...

Great Post!! You two are sure getting around and seeing some very interesting stuff ;o))

Thanks for taking us along!!

Nancy and Bill said...

Just read Jim and Dee Walter's blog (Tumbleweed). They are another RV-Dream couple and they arrived at Aune-Osborne on July 7th also.

Margie and Roger said...

Jim and Dee (truck and 5th wheel) that write the Tumbleweed blog are in the same campground as you.

Travelwithwhippets said...

Nancy and Bill...Margie and Roger.... Jim and Dee left a note on our door. They are parked DIRECTLY behind us. (We are actually blocking their view of the St. Marys River). We just went over to see them. We remember them from the SC RV Dreamers Rally. Small, small world.

Margie and Roger said...

That mannequin sure looks real to me. Creepy. Glad you got to meet up with Jim and Dee. Sounds like you will be coming to Traverse City on Monday - the day we are leaving Traverse City to head north. We'll wave as we go by!

Travelwithwhippets said...

Margie and Roger... We are leaving Sault Ste. Marie on Monday, but headed to St. Ignace for a few nights -- Traverse City, after that.