Tuesday May 21, 2016The “Mighty Mac” as it is called in Michigan. The Mackinac Bridge cost $4.00 each way to cross. They are constantly working on this bridge. The speed limit is 45 mph and if your truck is loaded, it is 20 mph. The trucks move very slow across this bridge. This is the fifth longest suspension bridge in the world. It spans the Straits of Mackinac and connects the upper and lower peninsulas of Michigan. It was completed in 1957. The bridge carries I-75 from Mackinaw City on the south to St.Ignace on the north.Half way across. It is only 5 miles across, but seems a lot longer.
We are on our way to Sault Ste.Marie in the UP. It is pronounced Soo St.Marie. It was the first town in Michigan. It is about an hour north of Mackinaw City. It is between Lake Huron and Lake Superior.
We are going to take the Soo Locks Boat Tour. The tour does not start until 1:00, so we went to find a place to eat and drove by Karl’s Cuisine as they were opening.The restaurant sits right across the street from the locks.We met Karl’s wife and had such a wonderful conversation. The food was fantastic. They use fresh and locally grown food. They own their winery and make their own wine. I had… ELLIOT’S CHICKEN SPECIAL Our foodie son Elliot created this amazing sandwich, it’s a work of art. Sliced chicken breast, fresh mozzarella, tomato, fresh basil, Michigan dried cherries and peppercorn ranch. It was wonderful. Cliff had soup and half a reuben. I also tried one of their wines, a Sauvignon Blanc called “This Old Wine”. It was very good with a taste of peaches.They just remodeled in February and were still putting up art work on the walls. The canvases are their wine labels. Very clever.
A quick stop at the Tower of History. Fast elevator ride to the top for a great view.A view of the St.Mary’s River.The long building on the right below is the Cloverland Electric Cooperative Hydroelectric Plant. More on that later.In the distance is a bridge that takes you to Canada. In front of the bridge is the St. Mary’s Rapids.Oh, and there is Canada across the St. Mary’s River.Beautiful view from up here.This is the church next door. Holy Name of Mary Catholic Church. This is the oldest Catholic Church in Michigan. The mission started in 1668. The present structure was built in 1881. There are only 2 churches in the country that are older than this one, one in St.Augustine and one in Santa Fe, NM.
The Soo Locks Boat Tour.They only do tours from May 15 – October 15. BECAUSE THE LAKES FREEZE OVER. That seems so crazy to us. This is a LOT of water.That is our tour boat.Really nice campground right on the water. This is owned by the city. Pretty Cool. We would love to camp there someday.The Cloverland Electric Cooperative Hydroelectric Plant. The construction was completed in 1902. The excavation of the hydro canal started in 1898.Check out the lighthouses on the facade. The plant is constructed of steel and red sandstone. The stone was excavated from the power canal.
- The hydro plant generates between 25 and 30 megawatts of electricity on average, or about 225 million kilowatt-hours, annually. It produces one-fifth of the power needs of the eastern Upper Peninsula.
That is the Tower of History from the River.The Soo Locks.Pulling into the lock on the Lake Huron side.The boat is tied off.Shutting the gates on the lower end.Lake Superior is only 21 feet higher than the lower Great Lakes.There it is.it only took about 15 minutes.The gates are opening on the upper side.Observation platform so people can watch as boats go through the locks.The International Highway Bridge. The bridge to Canada. See the darker color trusses up ahead? The railroad tracks raise and lower in each section so the boats can go under. This is a beautiful Assisted Living facility right on the St.Mary’s River.The one we are under is raised, of course and the one on the right is at normal height for the trains. A train crosses these tracks about 4 times a day.Long bridge to Ontario Canada. The bridge connects two cities, Sault Ste.Marie, Ontario and Sault Ste.Marie, Michigan.This is a self loading and unloading ship docked in Canada.This is Essar Steel Algoma, Inc. This place is huge. I have never seen anything like it.They take all of that stuff and make this. Rolls of steel. Only 2 per truck, they are that heavy.Approaching the Canadian Locks.This guy’s jet ski was decked out with fishing gear and he was videoing us with his GoPro.The Canadian Lock is much smaller and only for pleasure boats. No commercial ships can go through this side. This building is built of the red sandstone.It is hard to see, but that water is 21 feet below where we are.Lowering us down.We are now at the level of the lower Great Lakes.Canadian Coast Guard.One of the largest Crosses in Canada.Outdoor amphitheater on the water in Ontario.The Norgoma, one of the last passenger and cargo vessels that traveled the North Channel. It is now a museum.I bet this would be cool to see.On the other side of those rocks is Canada. Pretty Cool.Sault Ste.Marie CourthouseAnd back over the Mighty Mac to Mackinaw City.Our last view of this beautiful Lake Huron and the Mackinac Bridge. We are going to miss this view.
Heading to the west coast of Michigan. Cheers!