|Ozzie enjoys a view from his window perch. Lexie is intimidated by the sprawling window.|
Sault Ste. MarieMichigan's Upper Peninsula is very much like Canada. We're finding this area to be more rugged and rural than the lush green, well-groomed areas on the Lake Michigan coast we left last week. Moreover, today's overcast skies, dense fog and the industrial "look" of Sault Ste. Marie also reminds us of many places we've visited in Canada. We love it.
Reaching Sault Ste. Marie, one of the first buildings to catch our attention was the fabulous Cloverland Electrical Cooperative Hydroelectric Plant. It is gargantuan at 1/4 mile in length. Construction began in 1898 and was completed in 1902. Cloverland was, at that time, the second largest hydro facility ever built, second only to Niagara Falls.
Soo LocksThe same afternoon we arrived at Soo Locks Campground, after setting up camp, we had to take in the Soo Locks as these kind of operations are simply irresistible to either of us.
A couple of Soo Lock factoids:
- The Army Corps of Engineers are the stewards,
- 11,000 vessels carrying 90 million tons of cargo pass through the locks annually
- The largest freighters going through the locks are 1,000 feet in length
- One 1,000 foot freighter might carry 72,000 tons in a single load
- Most cargo through these locks is either iron ore, coal, grain or stone
- The channels are maintained at a maximum draft of 25.5 feet
- There are four locks, Poe Lock is the largest, built in 1968 and accommodates 1000' vessels
- The Hydropower plant generates more than 150 million kilowatt hours of power a year
|This aerial view of Soo Locks is looking toward Lake Superior. |
St. Marys Falls (or rapids) is on in the lower right corner.
The Ojibway (Chippewa) Indians who lived here long ago, carried their canoes around the rapids to reach Lake Superior from the St. Marys River.
The Corps of Engineers welcomes visitors to Soo Locks and have built a fabulous viewing stand from which we could easily watch the freighters move into place in the locks, drop (or raise) to the necessary level and then move on through. It was a great process to watch.
|There's Wayne standing in front of the visitors observation platform.|
The Administration Building and Lockmasters Tower in the background.
|MacArthur Lock and the Administration Building|
|Just like a little boy.|
|The International Bridge high over the St. Marys River going into Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario.|
I've finally re-learned all the names of the Great Lakes and their respective positions. I'm sure this was previously memorized somewhere in grammar school, but was long forgotten. Funny how this knowledge seems so valuable to me as I grow older.
Because I've become so captivated by shipping and the Great Lakes, we simply had to tour the Valley Camp Freighter Museum in Sault Ste. Marie.
|The Valley Camp was such a long freighter, I couldn't get it in a single photo.|
|Typical cargo of Great Lake freighters -- Taconite (iron ore), grain and coal.|
|All about how the lights work in the lighthouses. Fascinating|
|One end of the Valley Camp's cargo hold was completed a part of the museum. |
The other end was left empty. It was an eerie sight. Damp, dark and huge.
The Wreck of The Edmund FitzgeraldMaybe it's because I liked, and was quite moved by the Gordon Lightfoot song. Or maybe I gave too much though about the loss of the Edmund Fitzgerald, her captain and crew in a storm. It could be that I have a certain fear of sinking ships. Whatever the reason, the Edmund Fitzgerald display inside the Valley Camp Freighter Museum was especially moving.
|Lifeboat No. 2 washed ashore and was found two days after the Edmund Fitzgerald went down.|
|The other side of the lifeboat in the previous picture.|
|Lifeboat No. 1 was also recovered.|
Wreck Of The Edmund FitzgeraldMusic and lyrics ©1976 by Gordon Lightfoot
The legend lives on from the Chippewa on down
of the big lake they called "Gitche Gumee."
The lake, it is said, never gives up her dead
when the skies of November turn gloomy.
With a load of iron ore twenty-six thousand
tons more than the Edmund Fitzgerald weighed empty,
that good ship and true was a bone to be chewed
when the "Gales of November" came early.
The ship was the pride of the American side
coming back from some mill in Wisconsin.
As the big freighters go, it was bigger than most
with a crew and good captain well seasoned,
concluding some terms with a couple of steel firms
when they left fully loaded for Cleveland.
And later that night when the ship's bell rang,
could it be the north wind they'd been feelin'?
The wind in the wires made a tattle-tale sound
and a wave broke over the railing.
And ev'ry man knew, as the captain did too
'twas the witch of November come stealin'.
The dawn came late and the breakfast had to wait
when the Gales of November came slashin'.
When afternoon came it was freezin' rain
in the face of a hurricane west wind.
When suppertime came the old cook came on deck sayin'.
"Fellas, it's too rough t'feed ya."
At seven P.M. a main hatchway caved in;
he said,"Fellas, it's bin good t'know ya!"
The captain wired in he had water comin' in
and the good ship and crew was in peril.
And later that night when 'is lights went outta sight
came the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.
Does any one know where the love of God goes
when the waves turn the minutes to hours?
The searchers all say they'd have made Whitefish Bay
if they'd put fifteen more miles behind 'er.
They might have split up or they might have capsized;
they may have broke deep and took water.
And all that remains is the faces and the names
of the wives and the sons and the daughters.
Lake Huron rolls, Superior sings
in the rooms of her ice-water mansion.
Old Michigan steams like a young man's dreams;
the islands and bays are for sportsmen.
And farther below Lake Ontario
takes in what Lake Erie can send her,
And the iron boats go as the mariners all know
with the Gales of November remembered.
In a musty old hall in Detroit they prayed,
in the "Maritime Sailors' Cathedral."
The church bell chimed 'til it rang twenty-nine times
for each man on the Edmund Fitzgerald.
The legend lives on from the Chippewa on down
of the big lake they call "Gitche Gumee."
"Superior," they said, "never gives up her dead
when the gales of November come early!"