Michigan, Part I

While visiting Michigan we stayed in St. Ignace at Tiki RV and Campground in the UP (Upper Peninsula). We had a beautiful pull through site with a view of the lake in the distance.
Our view for the week.
Our first day we spent exploring the beautiful area.
A small lighthouse marking the harbor here.
We crossed over the Mackinac Bridge to the Lower Peninsula and Mackinaw City. By the way, we learned “Mackinac” and “Mackinaw” are both pronounced MACKINAW! Very odd!
A closer look at one of the two towers suspending the bridge.
A couple of shots of this majestic bridge from the Mackinaw City side.
This is a pretty cool bridge! Building started in 1954 and completed in 1957. It spans almost 5 miles!
We visited the Ice Breaker Mackinaw Maritime Museum in the Lower Peninsula. It was fascinating!
It was launched in 1944 and was known as “The Queen of the Great Lakes”. It served as the only ice breaker keeping the shipping channels open until it was decommissioned in 2006. It was later replaced by a smaller ship, but according to the docents we spoke with who served on her the new ship isn’t as capable as the USCGC 83. She is 290′ long, over 5000 tons and has 6 diesel engines with a total of 10,000 HP!
We thought Reeve would like this: it looks like it’s made up of Legos!
One of the 6 massive diesel engines.
Here’s a look at the workings of the engines. Quite impressive for the 1940’s!
Their ship’s motto.
Some of the crews quarters; cozy! When they were deployed in the early fall they stayed out clearing the shipping channel until late spring; that was 6 to 8 months.
This is the massive winch they used to tow huge cargo ships as needed.

mill creek discovery park

Another trip to the Lower Peninsula we went to see the Mill Creek Discovery Park where we saw how the lumber mills worked back then. Here the docent shows us one of the axes they used to cut logs into rectangles before sawing them into planks.
This was the apparatus they used to saw the logs into planks before the invention of the water powered sawmill. Very labor intensive and slow! The docent got this girl from the audience to assist him.
Next we saw the newer more “modern” water driven saw mill. It used a pond dammed up from the creek for power to drive it’s water wheels. All the gears and workings were made of wood! The wooden trough you see in the foreground of this picture feeds the water wheels from the pond.
Here the docent is demonstrating the workings of the saw. The water wheels drive the system of gears and levers (all wood) to reciprocate the vertical saw blade as well as move the log through it to cut the boards. Still slow by today’s methods but light years better than the old two man saws!
The water wheels in action. One to power the saw blade and one to move the logs through the blade.

boat trip to mackinac island

We took a ferry day trip to explore Mackinac Island. We rode in style; a Cadillac!
We got a special treat on our way to the island. The ferry went over to and under the Mackinac Bridge which doesn’t happen all the time. It’s depends on the weather. What a great way to see it up close! Look at that massive cement block anchoring one of the ends of the suspension cables.
Those towers look much taller from down on the water!
As we went under, you can see that the two inner lanes are open expanded metal. A little spooky to drive on, but I’m guessing they are there to help with wind sway and/or weight?
On our way to Mackinac Island!
A lighthouse coming into the harbor at the island.
Here’s a view of the Grand Hotel on the island with the town down below.
We’ve arrived! Now to explore.
There are no motorized vehicles allowed on the island, so the only choices of transportation are horses, carriages, bicycles or walking. This is their trash truck.
This is a carriage from the Grand Hotel. Pretty fancy!
We of course took a carriage ride tour of the island. The drivers are very connected to their horse teams. They know them all by name and know all their moods. The horses only work 4 hours a day, it doesn’t seem very long but the island is pretty hilly so they work hard for those 4 hours.
We got to see ours switched out; it was like a NASCAR pit stop! They did it all in less than a minute!
Jan loved all the flower baskets and flower beds around town.
Bright vibrant colors everywhere! Even these Adirondack chairs!
Interesting sculpture!
A grand view of the Grand Hotel!
The smaller wagons just needed one horse.
Near the hotel and Surry shopping area they had a display of the Butterflies of Mackinac, very beautiful!
Our carriage for the afternoon was larger, so we had a three horse team.
They took us to the other side of the island which was beautiful. There was this military cemetery in the wooded area.
Beautiful shaded pathway.
The path we took was on a path above the beach on the back side of the island. One of the stops we made was for pictures and exploring Arche Rock.
The view was breath taking from up there!
Some great views from above the town too!
One of the many beautiful homes on the island! We learned that there are only 500 full time residents on the island. Everyone else works and lives there seasonally.
Here are a few more pictures from in town. A very magical town for sure!
Great day, on our way back to the mainland.
It was a quicker trip home; the captain kicked the jet boat into high gear!

Stay tuned for Michigan, Part II………