Today Ted and I met Barb Metting, a blog fan from downstate, at the Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan Locks. We will never forget the adventure we had, and in a few days I’ll try to get it all down in a blog post – or probably two blog posts. It will take a while to put together the pictures and words for two reasons. One, I want to do justice to the story. And two, I’m writing about a U.S. Government facility, and certain permissions must be given. The behind-the scenes tour of the Soo Locks we were on today was a very rare one, and we were given access to places very few people have seen – except for the Lock employees. I have to make sure what I write and show is approved. So please be patient – I can’t wait to share it with you!
We didn’t get home until almost 9:30, and after I grab a little something for supper, I’m headed to bed. Before I do though, I wanted to post the three photos below before they get lost in the shuffle of a very busy week.
Blog reader Melody James and her family stopped in to visit while I was working at the Stuart House on Monday. From Zeeland, Michigan, Melody was with husband Jamie and their two boys, Evan and Nate.
Two more visitors on Monday were Bud and Hilde DaVanon from Minooka, Illinois. Hilde has been a blog fan practically from day one, and she comments every day. If I had to name the top three Mackinac Island fans I know, they would be Hilde & Bud (count them as one), Mike Forrester, and me!
Ted and I placed flowers in the Little Stone Church for this past Sunday's service in memory of our parents. I didn't get to see the arrangement Patty at Weber's Florist designed until we walked into church, and when I saw the sunflowers, I burst into a huge smile. They just looked so happy and so Southern! I know our moms and dads would have loved them.
A TEASER FOR THE SOO LOCKS STORY
This 1.000-foot freighter has been raised from the level of Lake Huron to the level of Lake Superior and is about to throw off the mooring ropes and pass the rest of the way out of the Locks. There is approximately 6" of room on either side of this huge ship from the sides of the canal.
See you tomorrow with the story of the Pow Wow in St. Ignace!
It was a pleasure to have met you Bree! I am so happy we could meet face-to-face finally. You are just a sweet-heart! So sorry we couldn’t chat more…my boys are always on the move and were a bit antsy and ready to move on to “what’s next”! LOL! Ever since I discovered your blog about a year ago, I always look forward to the next post in keeping me connected to the island while I’m not there. I still hold on to mine and my husband’s dream of one day having a summer place here. We’ve been coming back each year since we honeymooned here 18 years ago. We try to get up here two or three times a year. Can’t wait to hear about your visit to the locks! We went there a couple years ago and toured. If we don’t bump into you again before we leave on Friday, I won’t say goodbye, but “Until next time”! Hugs from your friend, Melody and my guys. 😉
Can’t wait to read your post on the Soo Locks! My first time ever to Michigan was last August and right after we came back is when I found your blog. I loved our whole trip. The locks were fascinating, but I bet it was even better getting a behind-the-scenes tour!
Hi Hilde and Bud-Nice to put faces to the names! Hope you’re having an awesome visit! I only have 8 more days until we’re on our way up for our annual trip to the island. I feel like a kid waiting for Christmas! Wow Bree-that’s one big boat! Not a lot of room for error it seems. Crossing my fingers that everything gets the official stamp of approval and we get to hear the whole story soon.
Hi AnnieR I know just what you mean about being excited to come here. We are having a MOST awesome time, thanks!
By the way Brenda, Bud and I have decided we are NOT leaving the island, instead we are moving in with you and Ted. Look at the bright side, you’ll always have a babysitter for little Maddie and Bear! 😉
Not THAT’s an offer we can’t refuse! Ya’ll can have the upstairs bedroom, but we’ll all have to share the TV room up there!
I too am pleased to have a face to put the name “Hilde” and Bud. I will be on the island for the week of the 18th. I will keep my eye open for you and Bud IF your intentions to stay come to fruition.’
I’m on the edge of my seat, waiting for the Soo Locks story. I had never thought about you having to get permission for what you saw and wrote. I’m sure that makes perfect sense for our world in this present atmosphere.
By the way, I really like the peonies in the header, and that was so nice of Ted & you to buy the sunflower arrangement to honor the memory of your parents. We should all do that.
The picture of the freighter in the lock sure makes a person understand (at least a little) just how awsome and overpowering it is to be close-up to one of those boats. It amazes me to think of how the pilots can maneuver those huge boats with so little clearance.
Hilde, you don’t look anything like I pictured you in my mind. I have no idea why, but I thought of you as being closer to me in age (almost 73) and here you are a pretty young woman married to a handsome young man. Just one more proof that I better stop depending on my mind, or should I say my imagination.
And Melody, being from Zeeland and blonde, you are Dutch, aren’t you? We lived in Grand Rapids for over 11 years and I never got used to seeing so many blond haired people.
Brenda, I sure hope you don’t have to wait very long for your permission.
Aww Lowell, your too sweet! Thanks.
I have a “little” bit of Dutch in me…more Irish though. 😉
We love the Zeeland/Holland/Grand Rapids area. Our church is in Grand Rapids. 🙂
And like Hilde, we’ve decided we’re not leaving the island either. Haha! I just wish I had my kitty here with us. 😉
Hmmmm – I’m running out of bedrooms, Melody! LOL!
Great idea about the flowers in memory of your parents. I might do that it memory of our grandparents. I bet Bear and Maddie behaved beautifully while you were gone but were excited to see you arrive back home.
Hilde, I need to confess like Loweell, that I pictured you as older. . . .but boy, were we wrong! What a glorious time to be on Mackinac!
I hope you get all your permission slips soon, Brenda! That story sounds wonderful. A question for you – is the thousand foot freighter the largest on the lakes? Is it the largest that can fit in the locks? Warning: there’s a small wager resting on your answer! Thanks!
Barb – The freighter in the photo is the James R. Barker, and it is 1004′ long. If memory serves me correctly (which is subject to question, of course), I believe our guide said the longest freighter to come through the locks is 1017′ long and is considered a “super-freighter”. I’d have to do some research to make sure on that 1017′ figure, but I know the Barker is 1004′.
Thank you! We were out on a bridge cruise one year when we passed a ship on one side, then turned around and a behemoth 1000 footer was coming on the other side. It was empty (riding high) and it was huge! Very impressive when you’re on a ferry, and the ferry feels very small.
Bree – do you know of anywhere in MI/WI that one can tour a freighter? I’ve visited shipping museums around the lakes but am not aware of any tours. Perhaps the Superior WI area. As I watch those ships glide thru the straits, I have a powerful longing to walk the deck and see what life on board is all about.
Carol, before we went on our Locks tour, we went in the Valley Camp, a real freighter that worked the Great Lakes for almost 50 years. It’s now a museum, but it’s the actual SHIP, and you can tour all the decks (upper and lower), the crews’ quarters, dining areas, etc. We didn’t have nearly enough time to see it all – but I loved it! Will include on Soo blog!
Carol – there’s also a freighter museum in Toledo, Ohio. It’s called the James M. Schoonmaker (recently renamed back to the original – formerly the Willis B. Boyer). It may be closed for the season, but there will be a new museum opening in Toledo next fall (I think) and the Boyer/Schoonmaker will move to a new location downstream at that time. You can see more at http://www.willisbboyer.org
Let me be another one to say it’s nice to put a face with the name….Hilde. I think it’s nice for all of us to see the pictures of the blog readers that come and visit. I was a little girl the last time we visited to the Soo Locks….should make another trip now that I’m older. I’m so looking forward to the story.
Hilde, like Lowell and Barb I pictured you much older. So it is nice to put a picture with the name. Enjoy your time on the island. Wish I were coming back up this fall but have to wait until June 2012. Seems a long ways off but it will be here before I know it.
Brenda, can’t wait to read about the locks. I love going there and watching the boats lock thru. We toured the Valley Camp when our boys were young, many years ago now. Maybe a tour is called for next time we’re there.