Friday, August 30, 2013

Over the bridge and off to Grayling

Grayling, Michigan
Camp Grayling Officers Club
(Michigan National Guard Base)

Bill said I should title this blog 56 shades of Gray. Enough said. 

It was OK when we woke up this morning, but the later it got, the darker the sky.  It started to sprinkle as we where hitching up and then the rain came down as we were leaving.

Sharon lead the way and we followed down I 75.  I was very glad to be in the co-pilot seat today.

As we approached the toll booth for the Mackinaw Bridge there were signs flashing that RV's speed limit was 20 mph due to the high winds.
That's Sharon driving ahead of us.  Notice all the orange barrels on the side.  The other day when we went across the concrete lane was closed to traffic and you had to go across the grated section but because the weather was so bad they had both lanes open.  While it was good we didn't have to drive on the wet grating, we had to be on the edge of the bridge.  

I won't say I was scared but I was really leaning across the middle seat of the truck and not looking out the window.  The visibility was very bad.  At 20 mph it took a lot longer to cross this bridge.

The rain got heavier and we kept watching the weather radar on the phone.

 Sharon stopped at a rest stop and we ran back to our 5er to use the bathroom.  We were soaked right through the 100% waterproof gortex raincoats by the time we took the few steps back to the truck.  Bill said "motor home wins for potty stops".  

We didn't realize that Sharon said she had enough driving and Don took over.  About 10 miles from Grayling the sky cleared and the road was dry.  As we entered the base the sky got darker.  Don and I walked over to the host site to register and the rain started down.  I was saturated by the time I got back to the truck.  At this point I walked down to  check out the road to see if we could come in on the other side to our site so Bill wouldn't have to blind side back in.  I couldn't get any wetter. 

We got set up and came inside to strip our wet clothes off.  Sharon said Don was wet down to his underwear.  

After the weather cleared up we rode around the base and downtown.  

We found this 50's diner and decided to stop for dinner. I ordered a fish sandwich so I'd have room for dessert.  I should have had the dessert first because I was too full for the ice cream.   
They had a larger collection of Coke memorabilia than the museum in Vicksburg.  
 They also had a huge bottle cap collection.

And since it was Friday, Don and Sharon were already wearing red so they matched the decor of the place.
The bicycles in the restaurant were all labeled Coke A Cola.

 I took this photo for Jim Dixon.

While we were having dinner, I told Don and Sharon about our visit to the laundromat yesterday.  
I didn't think to take a picture of it but the change machine wouldn't take colored money.  There was a sign that read "no colored bills".  It must have had something to do with the Martin Luther King speech anniversary.  Seriously, it only took old bills.  

We strolled along the boardwalk admiring the views.
The water was so clear and blue.
This is one of the ferry boats that goes to the island.

Did I mention that we got back in time to go to Clyde's drive in for burgers?  We all agreed it was the best place.  Bill had a bison burger for $4.50.

Turtle Safely...........

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Moose Parking

St. Ignace, Michigan
Moose Lodge 

We left Sault St. Marie yesterday under a blanket of fog.  The fog had cleared enough not to hamper driving but it was pretty dreary looking until we reached St. Ignace. 
Don lead the way.

This is the way the day looked.  Not many folks on the highway.
We thought we were back in Minnesota when we saw the sign for De Tour Village.  
We are at the Moose Lodge for a great sum of $10 per night.  
When we went in to  pay they had just taken these pasties  out of the oven.  They were still warm so we took one for lunch.  They were very good but no way could we have eaten a whole one.   

Don drove us into town and I didn't have my camera along.  What a pretty little town.  After stocking up on a few groceries, we headed back and Sharon spotted a Mexican Restaurant that we decided to return to for dinner.  

 The restaurant was on the water and we were seated right next to a window that made it difficult to get any good pictures.
We thought these bottle holders were unique.

Today we went to Cheboygan  for a Wal-Mart run.  There happened to be a little farmer's market across the street. 

Don wanted to go to a pizza place in Mackinaw City that he'd been to a long time ago.  He described it and I thought we'd been there too.  
  Mama Mia's wasn't as crowded as the last time we were there.  The restaurant plays tribute to the iron workers of the bridge.  
On the second floor is the Mackinaw Bridge Museum which is free.  Did I mention free?  There was a very old video of what it took to construct the Mackinaw Bridge.  It's a great explanation of the dangers and logistics of building a bridge and truly amazing that there weren't more than the 5 deaths during this dangerous construction.  

Not many businesses honor iron workers and I believe this is the first statue of one I've ever seen.
I must enjoy having someone else drive over these bridges.  This is the second picture in a few days of Don doing it.  

Don fixed "trash" for dinner.  I realize he has a problem with the English language.  There is no way it was trash, it was delicious.  Eat your heart out folks, he made it with leftover tri tips.  

Bill and Don walked over to the lodge and paid for another night.  It's very quiet and if it weren't for the mosquitoes it would be really nice here.  

Turtle Safely......

Monday, August 26, 2013

Lunch in a Foreign Country

Sault St. Marie
Elk's Lodge 

Yesterday was spent going to the Soo Locks Visitor Center with Don and Sharon Del Rosario.  We watched a couple of movies explaining the locks and some history of Sault St. Marie.

Our tour guides Sharon and Don Del Rosario.

I was amazed to learn that Sault St. Marie, French for St. Marys Falls, was the third oldest city in America.  St. Augustine and Santa Fe were older.  

They had a replica of the locks to show you how they work.

This was a large picture of the locks.

One 1000 foot Laker is equal to 2308 large trucks of 26 tons of  cargo each.  Can you imagine how many more trucks would be on the highway if it weren't for all the cargo these Lakers carry?  The brochure said that transportation costs savings by using the water route saves the nation 450 million dollars.  

The very first lock was built in the late 1700's on the Canadian side but was destroyed in the War of 1812.  The first American company built a toll lock in 1853.  The US Army Corps of Engineers was given jurisdiction in 1881 and does not charge a toll.  

They posted the next time a large freighter was due to go through the locks  but it wasn't until 5 pm.  We decided to go back and relax and then return to watch the ship go through.  

As we were relaxing and watching the view out our window we saw the sky get dark and all the geese jumped in the water and huddled together.  The next thing we knew the rain was pounding on the 5er.  We could see whitecaps in the water.  I don't ever remember being in such heavy rain.  It didn't last long but we decided not to venture out.  

This morning around 5 am we had another big storm come through but by the time we were ready to leave the sun came out.

Don drove by the locks visitor center and I was going to run in and check when the next big ship was going through.  As I jumped out of the car, I realized there was one in the locks. Don parked the car and we all went to the observation platform to watch.    

Here's the ship as it comes into the lock.

I didn't get the information on this ship but I don't believe it was 1000 feet.  You can see the bridge to Canada in the background.  This ship is going downstream.

You can see this ship being lowered in the lock.
Besides the great timing to find a ship in the lock, we got a double dipper.  This tour ship was going upstream and was in the other lock.
Here's the tour boat being lifting up and ready to leave the lock.  

Our chauffeur,  Don, driving over the bridge to Canada.
Now we are in Canada.  I was surprised that we had to show our passports entering Canada.

In case you don't recognize it, this is art.
I guess it just isn't my kind of art.

We made a stop in the visitor center for a restaurant listing.

Don came out laughing because they had signs over the urinal advertising bags for sale at $1.13.  There was also a sign in the ladies room advertising their bags for sale. There were some comments made I won't mention here. 

We decided on Chinese for lunch.  There was no one else in the restaurant when we arrived.  There may have been a reason no one was there. 

Our trip back to the US was uneventful except for the usual problem Bill has with his passport.  Ever since we renewed his Bill's won't go through the machine.  

Here's our site at the Elks and from Canada we could see our 5er but I didn't get a picture.  

Bill polished the truck and I think this bird was waiting until he finished to poop on it. 

Tomorrow we are traveling less than a 100 miles to St. Ignace, Michigan. 

Turtle Safely......

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Sault St. Marie

Sault St. Marie, Michigan
Elk's Lodge

We were on the road this morning by 8 am and it didn't take long to find a detour.  We took highway 41 to Rapid River and then eastbound to highway 2, north on highway 117 and then east on 28.  The roads weren't crowded and were smoother than the Minnesota and Wisconsin roads we've been on.  The weather was great except for some winds.  Sharon had sent directions that were better than following the GPS through Sault St. Marie.  We arrived at the Elks before 2 pm.  This is our first time here and we've heard other people brag about the great views.  
  But you have to be here to experience it.  There are 4 sites and you are surrounded by water on three sides.  

 Here's a few from the Elk's parking lot.
Here's a view out our living room window.  Sharon and Don have a better view since they have a one piece windshield. 
This is the view from the front of the 5er.  Bill wanted to know if those Canadian Geese had their passports.  The boat in the top left is the Soo Boat Tours.  
That is Canada across the water.
Hard to believe that is another country.

We sat outside and visited all afternoon.  As I told Sharon, it was nice to have them all to ourselves.  They know so many people they are always surrounded by friends. 

Don fixed dinner while we visited with Sharon.  What a dinner!   Bill has told me over and over that he never in his life ever had any beef that tasted as good as Don's special recipe.  I have to agree, never have I ever had such a good meal.  

 I told you it was delicious.  Well it looked good too, but I ate it so fast, I didn't have time for a picture. 
Don said I could take a picture of his best side.

Don and Sharon Del Rosario are very special people.

Tomorrow more adventures await.

Turtle Safely.......