So what did we do today? First, a confession. We slept in until 11:00. Why, why, why? We blame it on DirecTV. We get the west coast feed on our DirecTV. We have asked to change that to the east coast feed while we are in this eastern time zone, but DirecTV will not change us. We may have to change to Dish. What does that fact have to do with our sleeping in until 11? Olympics Closing Ceremony. We finally turned the TV off, turned over, and closed our eyes at 3 AM this morning.
We finally got going after Tom brought me coffee, banana, and cinnamon melba toast in bed. This is a little different from my normal biscotti, but we tried a new-to-us Trenary Toast from Wal-mart and it is pretty good. Doubt we will find it outside of Michigan though. After reading our favorite blogs, emails and Facebook, and having a bowl of cereal for lunch, we were ready to explore Sault St. Marie. (This retirement is really great )
Dock #1 is right next door from the Elks, in fact we can see the Tour Boats from our couch window. We had decided to take the dinner tour so we drove over and bought our tickets. The decision was not real easy. There was a storm brewing and threatening to spoil the tour. After we checked 3 weather sites on our Droids, we said lets just do it! We liked the menu, roast beef, turkey, mashed potatoes, dressing, gravy, green beans, and 3 kinds of salads sounded better than the pork chops and chicken on Wednesday.
We had a couple of hours before we had to check in for the tour, so we went caching. #1 was easy, one we had seen many times. The hint was “the end of the fence”. You cachers know what that one was. In order to get the well-made cache, Tom had to use the ‘chimpanzee method’ – a rock to pry it loose.
#2 became #3 because when we parked nearby there was a Border Patrol car parked right next to us. It was raining quite hard so we didn’t mind waiting. When the rain stopped the Border Patrol car did not move. We waited. No movement by the Border Patrol car. We left to find #2, named “The Gnome”. It was quite close to the Elks and we had to stop by and pick up Tom’s cell phone that he had left in DA PAD. This is what we saw when we stopped near the cache, right by the street. There was a gnome inside the Dutch doors. This was one of the cutest cache hides we’ve seen in a long time.
Then back to #3. The Border Patrol car was just pulling out of the parking lot. This cache, Red Pine, was an easy find even though it was rated D3.5 for difficulty. We then drove back to Dock #1 to get ready for the tour of the Soo Locks and dinner. This is so close we can see DA PAD from the ramp to the boat.
A tour bus of seniors were among those boarding with us. There were 42 passengers on board for the dinner.
We were seated with a delightful couple, Susan and Andy, from about 40 miles from Elkhart, IN. They were camping about an hour away. We talked non-stop all through dinner then moved to the upper deck to get some pictures of the locks. The ship that was coming through the Poe Lock was the Arthur M Anderson. This was the ship that was following the Edmund Fitzgerald in that horrific storm in which the Fitz was lost. The Anderson’s Captain was guiding the Fitz by radio because the Fitz’s radar was lost. The Anderson lost all contact and notified the Coast Guard. The Anderson arrived safely to its port, then the Anderson’s captain, with the full support of his crew, went back in the storm to try to find survivors, but all were lost. Our captain was very knowledgeable about that accident.
As we were sailing toward our lock, the only Canadian Lock, we saw the US Flag and the Canadian Flag marking the border on the high bridge spanning the two Sault St. Maries, Michigan and Canada.
We sailed into the lock on the Huron side which is 21 feet lower than the Superior side. We were told that 21 feet does not seem like that much difference, but Lake Superior is the second largest fresh water lake in the world, if the gates were opened, the states of Michigan, Indiana, and part of Ohio would be flooded.
We sailed by the Canadian Algoma Steel Plant and saw them loading taconite.
During WWII 85 percent of the iron for ships, tanks and guns went through the Soo Locks. As a result this was the most guarded inland section of North America. Only after WWII ended were the locks open to tourists.
We circled around and re-entered the Lake Huron side through the McArthur Lock. This time we entered high, the gates were closed behind us, the water was drained and we were in a very deep trough. This lock is 800 feet long and accommodates the long ships. Our ship, the Holiday is 65 feet long. We were sure small in this big lock. There is no fee for any ship to sail through the locks.
On our way back to the Dock #1 we passed the amazing Edison Sault Power plant, completed in 1902. It is the longest power plant in the world.
We saw several little boats with fishermen fishing at the tail races. Maybe the fishing is better there.
We again passed DA PAD on the way back to the Dock and I think I spot Pansy laying in the window on the driver’s side.
We didn’t get to the Tower of History, but tomorrow looks like it will not be rainy like today. We will probably get a better view.
We may even check out some more caches. Until our next blog, cache on.