Sault Ste. Marie

Tuesday May 21, 201620160531_085150The “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.20160531_08522320160531_08523520160531_085313Half 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.20160531_104435The restaurant sits right across the street from the locks.20160531_10445020160531_100147We 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.20160531_101113They just remodeled in February and were still putting up art work on the walls.  The canvases are their wine labels.  Very clever.

20160531_112020A quick stop at the Tower of History.  Fast elevator ride to the top for a great view.20160531_11202420160531_111305A view of the St.Mary’s River.20160531_111309The long building on the right below is the Cloverland Electric Cooperative Hydroelectric Plant. More on that later.20160531_11132620160531_111413In the distance is a bridge that takes you to Canada.  In front of the bridge is the St. Mary’s Rapids.20160531_111523Oh, and there is Canada across the St. Mary’s River.20160531_111530Beautiful view from up here.20160531_110708This 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.20160531_112057

20160531_115218The 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.20160531_114655That is our tour boat.20160531_120550Really nice campground right on the water.  This is owned by the city.  Pretty Cool.  We would love to camp there someday.20160531_121000The Cloverland Electric Cooperative Hydroelectric Plant.  The construction was completed in 1902. The excavation of the hydro canal started in 1898.20160531_121040Check 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.

20160531_121431That is the Tower of History from the River.20160531_121859The Soo Locks.20160531_12185020160531_122130Pulling into the lock on the Lake Huron side.20160531_122400The boat is tied off.20160531_122841Shutting the gates on the lower end.20160531_122922Lake Superior is only 21 feet higher than the lower Great Lakes.20160531_123456There it is.20160531_123832it only took about 15 minutes.20160531_123841The gates are opening on the upper side.20160531_124227Observation platform so people can watch as boats go through the locks.20160531_124427The 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. 20160531_124541This is a beautiful Assisted Living facility right on the St.Mary’s River.20160531_124721The 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.20160531_124651Long bridge to Ontario Canada. The bridge connects two cities, Sault Ste.Marie, Ontario and Sault Ste.Marie, Michigan.20160531_125918This is a self loading and unloading ship docked in Canada.20160531_13023920160531_131430This is Essar Steel Algoma, Inc.  This place is huge.  I have never seen anything like it.20160531_13144720160531_13150220160531_13171020160531_131920They take all of that stuff and make this.  Rolls of steel.  Only 2 per truck, they are that heavy.20160531_132048Approaching the Canadian Locks.20160531_13250820160531_132410This guy’s jet ski was decked out with fishing gear and he was videoing us with his GoPro.20160531_133043The 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.20160531_13315620160531_133208It is hard to see, but that water is 21 feet below where we are.20160531_133948Lowering us down.20160531_134245We are now at the level of the lower Great Lakes.20160531_134706Canadian Coast Guard.20160531_134724One of the largest Crosses in Canada.20160531_134952Outdoor amphitheater on the water in Ontario.20160531_135032The Norgoma, one of the last passenger and cargo vessels that traveled the North Channel.  It is now a museum.20160531_13514520160531_135346I bet this would be cool to see.20160531_135727On the other side of those rocks is Canada. Pretty Cool.20160531_142248Sault Ste.Marie Courthouse20160531_14232020160531_154128And back over the Mighty Mac to Mackinaw City.20160602_204408Our 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!

Mackinac Island May 30, 2016

Monday May 30, 2016  Mackinac Island, pronounced Mackinaw.20160530_090916Ferry boat ride to Mackinac Island.  A little breezy and chilly, but the sun is out.20160530_093844Round Island Passage Light20160530_09121620160530_093914The Island.  The only way there is by boat or plane.20160530_093909The Grand Hotel20160530_094107A faster ferry passing another light house.20160530_094212Beautiful view.20160530_100034There are a LOT of carriage rides.20160530_100123The only way to get around is by horse drawn wagon, bicycle or walk. That is it.  Pretty Cool.  I have heard of this place my whole life.  20160530_101006There are a lot of hotels and B&Bs on the Island and all that luggage is transported by wagon or bicycle.  There are more hotels than I thought there would have been.20160530_101038The Grand Hotel has their own carriages.20160530_101056And the drivers are a lot more dressed up.20160530_10132920160530_101345Beautiful tulips.20160530_101354We went for a walk.

While doing our 6 month purge of the living room, I came across a picture I had kept.  I knew we were heading to Mackinac Island one day, so I kept this picture of my grandparents.  They visited the island in 1969.Grandma and PaMy grandfather is in the middle, of course and my grandmother is on the right. Not sure  who the other woman is.  They look so happy.  So Cliff and I decided to try to find the same location where this photo was taken.  Not sure if this is it, but we think we found it.20160530_101808We did not dress for the occasion like they did.20160530_101905Nice houses on the Island.20160530_10221320160530_105826Had lunch at Millie’s on Main.20160530_10581720160530_105846Cute place.20160530_113131Doud’s Market – America’s Oldest Grocery Store.  Not sure about that, but that is what it says on the sign.  They had everything including wine.20160530_114322Little Stone Church, literally, that is the name.  The cornerstone was laid in 1904.20160530_11432720160530_114334We shared a carriage ride with another couple.  Our guide was born and raised on the Island.  His horses are Torro on the left and Elvis on the right. 20160530_114343We are heading up the hill to The Grand Hotel.  20160530_114433This is the Governor of Michigan’s summer house. He is actually here today because of the holiday.20160530_114545The flowers outside of The Grand Hotel.20160530_114604_001The Grand Hotel is owned by one man.  I will show you his boat a little later.  Each room in the hotel is different.  It cost $500.00 per person to stay here for one night. After 6:00 PM you must be dressed to have dinner. The men must wear pants and a coat and tie.  He did not tell us what the women have to wear.  The view from up here is spectacular. 20160530_121515_001The stables for the Grand Hotel carriage horses.20160530_114920The Governor’s summer home from a different angle.20160530_122153Fort Mackinac.20160530_12224120160530_12221720160530_122628The view from up here is beautiful.20160530_12263720160530_12265120160530_123026I did not realize it would be so steep.20160530_122930Some really nice houses up on the top.20160530_123515Ste. Anne’s Catholic Church. Established in 1743.20160530_12352620160530_123745Another beautiful house.20160530_124049Meet Elvis on the left and Torro on the right.  In the winter they go to a resort in the UP in Cedarville.  Thanks for the ride guys.20160530_130500The water is very clear.20160530_130807This is how to move the flowers.20160530_131146This boat is owned by the man who owns The Grand Hotel.  His house is the same color.  He and his family live on the island.  There are about 500 permanent residents on the Island.20160530_131208Cliff getting a closer look.20160530_13130420160530_13135420160530_133714And this is his bicycle.  We saw him get off the boat and ride off on this bike… in his pants and coat and tie. The best way to get around.20160530_131157This would be a nice hotel to stay in next time.20160530_131216City marina. 20160530_131236Fort Mackinac overlooking the bay. They shoot cannons from up there.20160530_134036Bicycle rental business is big on this Island.  You can bring your own on the ferry for $8.00 more.20160530_134329This is the ferry to St.Ignace in the UP.  The ferry dock.20160530_134455Working horses on the Island20160530_134509View from the dock.20160530_134757This is our ferry back to Mackinaw City.  It is about 40 minutes and cost $18.00 each.  The fast boats are $25.00 each.20160530_210203Another beautiful end to a beautiful day.

Catch Up and Heading North

Monday May 23, 2016

The DRV factory representative came to our campground with a tech and Jay from Twin Lakes RV Repair.  They discussed what had to be done to fix the slide.  Told us they had seen this before and it was a piece of cake to fix it. Are you kidding me, it took A WEEK for that?  Jay had to move some units around to get us in by Wednesday.  In the mean time, we made the best of the time we had left.20160523_160945We went to dinner at Essenhaus with David and Kathi.  It was good, but not as good as The Blue Gate.  In our opinion.

Tuesday May 24, 2016       Kind of a quite day, Cliff washed the 5th Wheel and we made a trip to Walmart.  We thawed some shrimp that we bought in North Carolina.  Invited David and Kathi to dinner. They had some shrimp from their visit to Louisiana. 20160524_174441The Louisiana shrimp is on the left.  It was smaller than the NC shrimp, but it was so sweet and very good.  They bought it from a guy just off a boat.  They had to clean it and freeze it, just like we did.20160524_174446We both had some fresh asparagus and some guacamole.  It was all good.20160524_184405Even Harry enjoyed himself.20160524_184621Then he was out.20160524_191143We enjoyed our last evening with our new friends from California, David and Kathi.  Kathi loves to cook and is very good at it.  She shared some good recipes for food and an all natural bug spray and bathroom cleaner.  They both work great.20160524_191150

Wednesday May 25, 2016

We said our good-byes and headed to Twin Lakes RV Repair.  We dropped off the home again.  It is Wednesday, so we headed to the Shipshewana Flea Market and Auction.  They had an Auction every Wednesday.  It was busy.  We did not buy anything at the auction, but did buy a kite and wind sock from the Kite Man. We had lunch at 5&20 Country Kitchen and drove to Elkhart to the Lowe’s. 20160525_175151Back to the Holiday Inn for the evening.  This time we got a newly remodeled room.  This was a very comfortable chaise lounge and side table.  Nice touch and a great addition.


Thursday May 25, 201620160526_104321Waiting for the 5th Wheel to get finished, so we did some more sightseeing.  This store in Shipshewana has the best lawn art items.  Too bad we can’t buy anything.20160526_112748Beautiful pottery at The Blue Gate Restaurant.20160526_113333Pies at The Blue Gate Bakery.20160526_121230We went back to Eash Sales to look around.20160526_124452They have these beautiful wind spinners.20160526_124544Colorful chairs and barn art.20160526_12453220160526_143604Then we went and sat by the Lagrange County Courthouse and waited for the phone call.  Jay called and said we are ready.20160526_170142Jay asked that we spend the night in his parking lot so that we could test the slide.  He wanted to move it in and out a few more times before we took off to the north. It is working great now.

Friday May 27, 201620160527_064359Our new heroes, Jay (on the left) and Fly of Twin Lakes RV Repair..  They fixed us up and finished all of the other warranty items.  Jay fixed my trash can cabinet with new hinges and a custom shelf. They really took good care of us.  We will be back to have annual service and maintenance taken care of.  Thank you Jay and Fly.20160527_081632Heading to northern Michigan. They have a Bellevue too.20160527_094101We saw these huge windmills.20160527_09412520160527_094140Driving straight up I-127 to Mount Pleasant.20160527_110805We made it to the Isabella County Fairgrounds.  $15.00 a night for Passport Members.  We had 30 amp and water.  Very neat place.  We would recommend this to anyone. Easy in and out and not far from the Interstate.20160527_110722We were set up by 11:15. 20160527_110931This little steeple was on the hill at the corner.  See our 5th wheel in the background?20160527_11095420160527_111013We had almost the whole place to ourselves.  Three popups showed up and set up, but we never heard a peep out of anyone.

Saturday May 28, 201620160528_103825We headed north on 127 and it connected to I-75. We saw a rest area that had a Scenic pull off, so we decided to check it out.20160528_103953Nice trail up.20160528_10424520160528_104401That is Burt Lake in the distance.20160528_104640Beautiful wild flowers on the trail.20160528_131738Cliff decided to check the tires at the rest stop and noticed the tire on the right was starting to bulge and separate. We were not far from the campground, so we continued on.20160528_131809We made it to Mackinaw Mill Creek Camping and set up in Site 776.  Nice and deep.  Cliff called Coach Net, our road side emergency service, and explained about the tire. They said they would send someone as soon as possible.  We are here for a week, so we could have waited until after the holiday weekend.  They sent someone anyway.  He put the spare tire on the unit and off he went.  This is the second time we have used Coach Net to change a tire.  The service has already paid for itself.  Thanks Coach Net.  We are now in search for new tires.20160528_180723The campground gives the children rides on an old fire engine through the park.  This is a very large campground.20160528_200041I walked down to the shore line to get my first look at the Mackinac Bridge.  Longest suspension bridge in the Unites States.20160528_200129The shore line was busy waiting on the sunset and the fireworks.20160528_201333It was worth the wait.20160528_20161720160528_201654

Sunday May 29, 201620160529_083237Nice view of the bridge this morning.20160529_084850We went for a drive around Mickinaw City, MI.20160529_084854These May Flies are everywhere, especially near the water.  It was crazy.20160529_101305We found this fresh fish market.  They were so nice and gave us some samples which lead to us buying some smoked trout.  It is wonderful.20160529_103256Check out the view at this house!20160529_103319Beautiful house in downtown Mackinaw City, MI.20160529_103505View from the city park.20160529_104856Old Mackinac Point Light Station. Founded 1889. This is right in the middle of town by the bridge.20160529_104925We also learned that the word Mackinac and Mackinaw are both pronounced with the ‘aw’. It does not matter how they are spelled.20160529_105756Colonial Michilimackinac.  This Colonial village was built by the French in 1714.  During the following years the British military took control of the community until the Indians attached them in 1763.  The British moved the fort to Mackinac Island and renamed it Fort Mackinac.  This site has been restored and is currently an archaeological site.20160529_105746The visitor center in right under the bridge.20160529_120009We went to Walmart in Cheboygan. It is fun just saying the name. You can see it on the water tower behind the store.20160529_124846And there was a Big Boy. Have not seen one of these in a long time.20160531_201245And another beautiful sunset.

Monday May 30, 2016  Memorial Day.   We spent the whole day touring Mackinac Island. When we got back to the campground, it was almost deserted.  So we looked around and found a nice new site with a view of the water and bridge.  The office staff said it was fine and we got $19.00 back because it is a 30 amp site and we had a 50 amp site.  Even better.20160530_165811What a view.  Worth every penny.20160530_16582720160530_16584820160530_19481320160530_20072820160530_20444120160530_202126That is Mackinac Island.20160530_210612The bridge at night is beautiful.20160531_043546Sunrise from our back door.

I will do a separate blog for Mackinac Island and Sault St.Marie.

Wednesday June 1, 2016  Rainy Day 20160601_144533There are always those days that are just yucky. Not every day is paradise.  But these are the perfect days to get the chores done.20160601_111547Today is Laundry Day.  It even said so on the wall in the back.20160601_111537Not bad.  We had not done laundry in over a week.  They had large and small washers, so we took advantage and took everything we could think of that needed washing.  It cost $11.00 to do 3 loads of wash and one large dryer.20160601_121120We had a late lunch at Darrow’s Family Restaurant.  Very good.20160601_11493120160601_12103820160601_121056We both had Gulumpki for the first time.  Kind of like cabbage soup.  It was very good, especially on a chilly, rainy day.   We played a few rounds of Tri-ominos and watched American Ninja Warrior on TV.

The next few blogs will be about Mackinac Island and Sault St. Marie.