We left the Odonah Indian Casino in Wisconsin yesterday. We were there for 3 days with no phone service. No cell phone, no data service from Verizon. We had a very relaxing time. We did have a little WiFi from the casino that stopped and started numerous times throughout the day. We looked forward to better Verizon service when we left, but no such luck. We picked up a signal for about 5 miles as we passed the small towns along Hwy 28 from Wisconsin to Michigan.
The trip was beautiful as we traveled through green forests, lots of lakes, and some drizzle. The wildflowers in Michigan were profuse along the road.
Our friend, Nick Russell had emailed me to tell me the best places to stay as we travel to Sault St. Marie. The Ojibwa Casino in Marquette, MI, was one of the suggestions. Nick said it was free, had electricity and even paid you to stay. We also heard the Odonah Casino was free, but they are now charging $21/night with water and electric. So when we pulled into the Ojibwa parking lot and called the Casino, Pat in Guest Services told us to take any spot and come in sometime that evening to register. We got set up.
When we were in Odonah we heard a very loud crash early one morning. I though something had hit DA PAD. Tom checked it out and discovered the spring that keeps the topper cover on the back slide tight had broken. We were concerned about how it would retract when we moved. No problem. The slide came in and the topper gathered up and laid down on the top of the slide and the slide came in without a hitch.
Then we got to Marquette and had some gusty winds and the topper ballooned up, flapped, and made lots of noise. This, at the left, was the perfect temporary solution: a hose. 2 pieces of a towel to protect the paint, and 2 clamps.
We need to check if the spring is broken or just has come out at the end where it connects to the mechanism.
After securing the topper we walked across the parking lot to the Casino. I brought my money just in case it wasn’t free. We showed our driver’s licenses, signed the registration, and were handed 2 player’s cards, 3 free drink tickets, 2 vouchers tor $5 each – cash, and no charge to stay. Now this is what we need more of, what with diesel prices going up. Tom had beer and I had a wine and we met Steve, a native from the UP, Upper Peninsula to the locals. We had the best time with Steve telling us exactly how he was growing the ‘world’s largest pumpkin’. He doesn’t know if he will make the record, but he is doing some extraordinary things to his pumpkins. He planted in April. In April the UP is under snow. Steve used a cover, umbrella and heat lamps. He used water bricks and 5 year old manure 15 feet out from the stem to ‘force’ the roots out. He uses Miracle Grow, reburies the vines to promote more roots, and tenderly cares for the pumpkin, one per vine, so it does not get bugs, or holes. What a fun conversation; we laughed so hard with Steve on his project. When we see the world’s record for pumpkins has been broken by a guy named Steve, we will be able to say we met this guy and he certainly deserves the win.
Today we decided to go to the movies. We had seen the previews for Hope Springs and it looked so funny, we decided that was what we would see. It was cute, funny, heart tugging, and we were glad we went. I think Tom was the only man in the theater. Now that was funny; I feel sorry for those ladies, maybe their husbands were like the Tommy Lee Jones character, Arnold. Luckily we had brought our crackers because a large tub of buttered popcorn was $17.50! What the heck… the tickets were only $5 each. So we bought a medium diet coke for $4.25 that was so big we left the theater with the cup still half full.
We visited the Marquette Maritime Museum, a small and interesting museum that features many shipwrecks on Lake Superior.
There was a very interesting display about the Edmund Fitzgerald. Remember the song about that ship wreck? I didn’t realize this ship was launched on June 10, 1958, maybe even the day that Tom graduated from High School. The first bad omen was when it took Mrs. Fitzgerald three strikes with the Champaign bottle to christen her. Next, an onlooker was so scared at the noise of the launching he had a heart attack and died. Suspicious sailors still wonder if the “Fitz” was doomed.
The “Fitz” had hit the side of the Sault St. Marie Locks 3 times and had to be put into dry dock. It was overloaded, the hatches were found to be leaking, and they were in a huge storm that November when she went down in 1975. Of course she was not the only ship to be lost nor men to die in Lake Superior and this museum is a memorial to the ships, the men, and the men whose job it is to save them, the Coast Guard. There is also a nice display of lighthouse lights.
We had seen a strange kind of pier as we drove through Marquette and asked the museum guide about it. She called it an iron loading pier. We saw a model of this in the museum. Iron ore is hauled out on the pier in little coal cars. They dump their load into chutes that drop down from their vertical position on the pier into the waiting ship’s hold.
We left the museum and drove along Lake Shore Drive and got these pictures of the real pier. You can see the close-up of the chutes at the right.
We were about to drive away from taking the pictures of the pier and saw this mountain of iron ore.
The wind was really blowing and the waves on the lake were spectacular. Here are some of the many pictures that I took, none of which do the beauty of this lake justice.
The surf was quite high, high enough that surfers can be seen as well as wind surfers. There were also a couple of kayakers that overturned several times and got back in and kept fighting the surf.
We got a cache at the breakwater, went to Wal-Mart, and I fixed tacos for dinner. Boy, were they good! I haven’t fixed them in DA PAD before, but I know Tom will be talking me into them before too long. He says it made him think of those many times he had tacos when he was a kid.
Tomorrow Sault St. Marie and maybe a cache or two to celebrate.