Monday, July 20, 2015

Last Boat Ride

Sunday we drove about an hour to Sault Ste Marie to take the Soo Locks Tour.  We have been through hundreds of locks but Eileen and Tom said they may have but can't remember.  We felt they should do the tour, travel a bit in Canadian waters and enjoy the Antler Bar.

The trip to the first lock took us past a beautiful 1/4 mile long energy plant built long ago by Italian stone masons.  

We passed the Tower of History as we approached the lock to raise us up 21 feet.

Here is another tour boar exiting the lock so we could enter.

As we entered the lock.

Flags of all the countries that use the locks were flying.  No one pays anything to use the locks; the cost is borne by the US Federal Government (i.e., you and me!).  This is unlike the Panama Canal that Jimmy Carter gave to Panama that charged our cruise ship last November $750,000 to go through.  That is just one ship.  Pay in advance, no credit!  

There are viewing stands for folks to watch the ships lock through.  I am sure the big freighters are more exciting to watch than our little tour boat.

We passed PLM Ironmas plant and saw much of how the raw materials are obtained, transported and used.  I hope you can figure most of it out!

I know these are finished coils.

This is the plant and it shows the border in the middle of the St. Mary's River.   We spent a lot of time in Canadian waters.

We passed the Bushplane Museum.

A bushplane.

We came back through the Canadian lock that dropped us down 21 feet so we could return to the dock where we started.

We headed to the Antler Bar to have lunch and I turned Ted loose with the camera.

A furry fish caught in Lake Superior.

A two-headed calf.

Since it was Eileen's first visit, she got antlers!

We posed for Ted.

We returned home with about an hour to freshen up before leaving for the Dam Site Inn to meet up with Pat and Bill, friends from Detroit News days.  Bill was SO happy to see Ted.  The six of us had a great dinner and visit.  We appreciated Tom and Eileen sitting and mostly listening to the four of us gab.

Today we took the 10 am ferry to Mackinac Island.  We thought most of the crowd would be gone from the yacht race.  It was cloudy in the morning so traffic was light but as the day went on, the sun came out and crowds increased!  And the sailboats and crews were still arriving or on shore whooping it up!

Another ferry throwing a roostercomb in the shadow of the Big Mac bridge.

The Grand Hotel as we approached.

A few sailboats were just finishing the race!

The fort as we approached.

We took the Carriage Tour through the island which is 80% state park and 20% fudge shops (or so it seems!).  We had a great view of the many sailboats that had completed the race.

One stop was at Arch Rock with a great view of the water below.

Next we toured the fort and joined in the Rifle Drill learning how to march and turn like a soldier.  We also took part in a court martial where our punishment didn't match what the books say actually happened!  

We visited many of the buildings before having lunch.  The crowds seemed to be multiplying and it took a few tries before finding an acceptable restaurant.  Next door was a fudge shop (!) so I bought some for a gift.  Then the clouds started gathering so we left for the dock to take the 5:00 ferry home.

We move on to Traverse City in the morning.

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