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!