The rest of the photos for this day are linked here:
Rain seems to be following us on this trip through the northern part of the country, and according to the weather forecasts, it will follow us into Canada. Today we left Gogebic Lake in the rain and drove across Michigan to Sault Ste Marie, on the Michigan-Canadian border.
Our northern route included a side trip to the Picture Rocks National Lakeshore in the northern part of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. In the small town of Munising, Michigan, we had pasties, touted as the best on the UP. I think that may be true. Muldoon’s Pasties specialty are the traditional beef, potato, rutabaga, and carrot kind, served with a rich beef gravy. Mo liked the apple dessert pasty the best. The definition of a “pasty” is a pie that is made without a pan, basically a kind of hand pie. Yummm.
We left the MoHo in Munising and drove the 11 mile route to the shore through gorgeous hardwood forests. The weather was wild and windy, but Pictured Rocks was still the highlight of the day. We hiked out to the overlooks and along the cliff trails of the one area of the park that is reasonably accessible. I can see how on a pleasant day this would be fabulous coastal kayaking area, but it also wouldn’t have been as dramatic a visit as it was for us in the wild wind.
After our sidetrip, we ambled on through the UP to Sault Ste Marie. The town actually consists of two cities, one on the US side and on in Ontario. The locks here are operated and owned by a cooperative effort between Canada and the US, and were built in the mid 1850’s and one of them is the longest lock in the world. After our tour of the Panama Canal last January, it was interesting to see locks that were built long before the Canal locks. The level of Lake Huron is 21 feet below Lake Superior and the volume of commerce has been immensely important to the economies of this part of the world.
The visitor center here is extremely well done and informative, and there are viewing platforms for watching the ships go through the locks. The rapids of the St Mary’s River have been preserved in a small section adjacent to the locks and are a very popular fishing site. Because of the rain and high winds however, there were very few ships attempting to navigate from Lake Huron to Lake Superior. The next big ship, a 1000 foot long freighter, was scheduled to enter the locks after 9pm. We decided instead to go find an Irish Coffee in a pub, check out the souvenir shops in town across from the visitor center, and go back home to our warm and dry home waiting at the campground.
We opted to stay at the Auld Osborne campground operated by the city of Sault Ste Marie. As we approached our destination, the volume of big fifth wheels and motorhomes was surprising. Once settled in, however, the site was OK, with a view of the river and a somewhat open site. The pedestal for the power was in a pool of water, and the water was in a completely different direction. Not long after we got settled, we saw a parade of people heading for the riverbank, and figured that meant a ship was on its way. Sure enough, a big freighter rolled by, moving amazingly fast. Most of these freighters are hauling taconite, a form of iron ore that has been processed for easy transport. The visitor center had information on the many types of freighters and their history, and in the shops we saw the freighter identification guide book, a worthwhile purchase if your plans include more than a single night.