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Day 20 (9.21.07) - Three Great Lakes in 1 Day (Photo's adde)

And I didn't think there would be anything worth stopping for...

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Starting Mileage: 113295, Brimly MI
Ending Mileage: 113488, 20 Mi N of Cadilac MI
Weather: Thunderstorm & Heavy Rain, clearing as we went south, head wind most of the day however

First a little housekeeping:

(1) If you're new to the blog, we've been unable to connect to the internet at any more than dial up speeds for some time, so I'm really behind uploading photo's (and the farther behind I get, the longer it will take to get caught up of course). So what I'm trying to do is at least write up a text blog entry daily and just call it a Placeholder - until I can get the photo's uploaded later. Usually I write the Placeholder entries off the top of my head, so they may not be 100% correct. I try to go back and check facts & spelling later against the travel brochures or ??? when I add the photos. I haven't had any internet service of any kind at times, so sometimes even the text doesn't get uploaded (I do write the entries on the laptop, just have to upload them later when I get a signal).

(2) If you have anything to add or correct - please do! We read and appreciate all comments.

(3) We take a LOT of pictures. I've been trying to decide how many to upload and how to organize them. When we went through the Pioneer Village in Cashmere, WA, I took pictures of the interior and exterior of every building - but only uploaded a couple of them. Mom has been taking a lot of pictures of wild flowers, which I've been uploading - signal permitting, but they aren't shown in a blog entry yet (you can view photo's in our photo albums if they've been uploaded). Going forward, here's what I've decided to do:

I'll continue to write daily blog entries just as you normally would in a Journal. On this day, we went here, did this, etc. However, I'll also start to write journal entries for specific Topics, but use other categories for them. Travellerspoint has a category for "Animals", one for "Photography". I'll use these for 'theme' based blog entries. For example, (when I get time...), I'll create an entry for Wildflowers and display Mom's photo's for those in that entry. For a brief period, those will show up on the main page - but thereafter you can see those by selecting the "Photography" category. I'll do the same for each Pioneer Village or Museum we post pictures from - so if you want to see those photo's, you won't have to sort through the blog entries by date, but can select the "Photography" category instead. <<When I can get to it that is...>>

--- On to today's travel ---

I started raining last night, hard, with thunder and lightening. This morning we had trouble waking up (also because our bodies weren't quite on Eastern Time Zone yet), we didn't get up until a quarter to nine! OK I thought, we would stop in Sault Saint Marie for a bit, then drive hard and make it 1/2 way down the Lower Peninsula - and a short drive to my Uncle Bob & Aunt Madeline's house. False assumption based on the lack of knowledge of what interesting things lay ahead.

So we woke up on 50 feet from Lake Superior, drove a short distance to Sault Saint Marie (in driving rain) and found the downtown area - very old town, founded in the 1600's by fur traders and a Jesuit missionary. We found the Soo Locks first, much bigger then the Ballard Locks we have in Seattle (they have to accomidate the big ships on the Great Lakes), but they operate the same way. There is a twenty-one foot difference in the level of Lake Superior to Lake Huron, so the locks raise and lower the water level to allow ships to pass between the lakes. While we were there, large ships came through the locks in both directions (and more were waiting to go through), so it is a busy place.

At first Mom didn't want to get out of the car since she hadn't gotten a good nights sleep, what with the storm, and it was raining so hard. However, once I went into the visitors center and saw how much information they had about the Great Lakes, I went back and told her. The visitors center wasn't much of a walk from the RV and was warm and dry, and she was really glad she made the trip. We found out a lot more about the lakes, the locks and the history of the area. She was also able to watch the ships go through the locks from the visitors center - every time a ship entered the locks, they announced it on the PA system with the length of the ship and a little other info.

I went on up to a cat walk that overlooks the locks and tried videotaping some of it. When I get all this info caught up, it might be interesting to watch...

We spent so much time at the locks, we just picked up some postcards and fudge and decided to skip the maritime museum (the visitors center at the locks was enough for us today) - so we swam back to the RV (only 1/2 way kidding) and headed south on I75. We left the rain about 1/2 across the peninsula and I thought we'd make pretty good time. However, I also decided to pull off at St. Ignace. First I had to climb the "Castle", a natural promatory (with added steps, fences and gift shop) - that is 183 feet above the highway and has a great view of Lake Huron. It also has 170 steps to the top, but I made it. Mom fixed lunch in the RV, so after I got back and we ate (it only takes about 10 minutes to climb, but a few to recover also) - we drove on down to St. Ignace. This is on Lake Huran (Mom collected sand of course) and across the channel from Mackinac Island. Aparently people come from all over the world to visit this Island, but we didn't feel we could afford the time (and the peak season was over, although many things were still open). In 1898 the Island decided to ban automobiles, so you take Carriage rides to visit various places on the island. It has a 1700's British Fort and other historic sites and a town, as well as a 'Grand Hotel', but we will have to visit it from the brochure, we didn't take the ferry across.

We did however stop at a native museum in town that had a birch bark tipi and longhouse. (Mom's trying to sleep, I'll have to add more later).


Just before we got to the Lake Mackinac Bridge was a tall 'rock' available for climbing (for a fee). It had been used as a lookout by the Native American's over the centuries and still offer's an impressive view of the area. Mom decided to stay in the gift shop, but of course I had to climb "Castle Rock'!


Here is a statue of Babe the Blue Ox at the base of Castle Rock (a big fixture in this region).


Then we drove across the Mackinac Bridge, which connects the upper and lower peninsula's of Michigan. This was built in 1957 and is the third longest suspension bridge in the world - the longest in the western hemisphere. The suspension bridge is 8,344 feet long. The total bridge length is 26,144 feet, which includes the steel superstructure leading into the suspension portion - it is a very long bidge. Other than getting a picture, I figured we just drive across the bridge and keep driving. However as we got across, I couldn't help but spot a wooden stockade or fort just below the bridge.


Sure enough, there was a really interesting replica of Colonial Michilimackinac, a British fort from the fur trading era founded in 1715. It was moved to Mackinac Island during the Revolutionary War since the commander at the time felt the original location wasn't defensible from the 'rebels', but has since been reconstructed to how it appeared in the 1770's. Historical interpreters act as soldiers and civilians of that period (and we have pictures to post of course). I thought Mom might be too tired to go through this so was suggesting things she could do in the RV, but no - she wanted to see it and made it through the whole, long journey back through time. This was the 5th historical type 'village' (town or fort) we've seen on this trip so far and by far the one depicting the oldest time period.


We finally 'hit the road' again and, despite a nasty head/cross wind - made it almost to Cadelac, MI tonight. Will finish the journay to Bob & Madeline's tomorrow...

Posted by jl98584 18:54 Archived in USA Tagged family_travel

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Sounds like you are enjoying the Great Lakes! Do give me folks a hug for me! And be sure to sample the MI apple cider--a fall treat. (I suppose you have it in WA, but in TX it is only an import, so I miss the good stuff).

by TexasRTJ

Sounds like you guys are having lots of fun!. You do a great job of describing your adventure, and we enjoy reading your journal. Jessica wishes she was through with college so she could have joined you. We are all green with envy but very happy for you both and all the fun you are having. Looking forward to those photos!

by artandmelo

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