Thursday, August 19, 2010

Can You Say Tahquamenon?

This morning we got up and left the Soo.  It was a very nice, clear, crisp morning.  We went to go find a place for a nice little breakfast, but ended up just eating at McDonald's instead.  We went shopping at a couple of shops in downtown SSM and I bought a nice maple leaf ornament for our Christmas tree to remind us of our time "in" Canada.

We set out on the road again for today's stops...Whitefish Point on Lake Superior and Tahquamenon Falls.  We were cruising along and all of a sudden, Melon Man sees this sign and just makes a quickie turn.  Hold on!

However, before going to the falls, we headed to the shipwreck museum at Whitefish Point lighthouse.

Of course, we traveled through all the trees again...which I LOVED!

Here it is, the middle of August, and the leaves have already begun to change.  I could only imagine what it would be like in about another week or two.  I'm sure the colors would be phenomenal!  Since we don't get much color change in the Phoenix Metro area, I cherish such beautiful things when I see them.

We noticed a lot of these little firewood stands along the side of the road as we toured around.  People just chop some wood, lay it out by the road, and then ask people to pay them a few bucks for it.  Usually, $3 to $5 a bundle.

Lake Superior soon came into view.  The interesting thing about the Great Lakes, is that they are all just great big lakes, but for some reason, I think they all have their own look to them.

We had been playing a game with Dollie while we were on our trip, giving her clues via facebook or email of different places.  There was one picture that we sent her and asked her where we were.  She had replied "Paradise?"  Well, that was wrong for the picture we sent her, but then when we saw this sign for Paradise, Michigan, we definitely had to take a picture of it for her!

We arrived at Whitefish Point and we went through the Shipwreck museum.  But first, I had to capture this picture of the light station.

Inside the museum was this lens from a lighthouse.  It was really beautiful up close.  I wish this picture could have captured it's beauty.  It was REALLY big - 9 feet across!  No wonder you can see those lights in the thick of the night!

This is the actual bell from the sunken ship, the Edmund Fitzgerald.  Melon Man's dad helped work on the Fitzegerald when it was being built.  It launched in 1958 and was the largest of the Great Lakes ships at the time.  It was one of the first boats to be at or near maximum "St Lawrence Seaway Size" which was 730 feet long and 75 feet wide.

On November 10, 1975, while traveling on Lake Superior during a storm, the Fitzgerald sank suddenly in Canadian waters approximately 17 miles from the entrance of Whitefish Bay at a depth of 530 feet. Although it had reported having some difficulties before the accident, the Fitzgerald sank without sending any distress signals. Its crew of 29 perished in the sinking with no bodies being recovered. When the wreck was found, it was discovered that the Fitzgerald had broken in two.

The rest of these pictures are just some interesting pictures from the museum.

While at Whitefish Point, we bought two more ornaments - one that looks like a schooner ship and one of a lighthouse.  Both are gold colored and have beautiful crystals in them to capture the light.  I can't wait to put them on our tree!

The museum also had a little food and ice cream shop.  I noticed they had pasties and fudge, so we decided to get one pasty and two kinds of fudge.  The pasty - not good.  Later found out it was a store-bought kind from Albertson's.  I wanted a REAL homemade pasty!  And, the fudge - um, not good.  We tried the key lime fudge on the recommendation of the sales clerk.  Yuck.

We walked down to the beach to check out the water.  I was amazed at how rocky the beaches are.  Lots and lots of small rocks.

Melon Man thought the water was freezing.  Me, not so much...however, the ground quickly gave way under me, and I was quite afraid of falling in and getting soaked so I didn't keep my feet in the water for too long at all.

Yeah, definitely do not like this picture of me with the light station in the background!  I never want a picture taken of me again while I am sitting down!

Soon we were done at the Shipwreck Museum and we motored on to the Upper Falls of Tahquamenon Falls.  Tahquamenon is pronounced tah-quah-meh-non.  It's an indian name, of course.

There was a nifty little gift shop nearby so we took a look around inside.  Melon Man was just about mauled by this giant bear (it's fake, of course).

We had to walk about 1/2 to 1 mile or so to the falls.  I wasn't too thrilled about that.  But, I got to see some interesting things along the way like this little squirrel.

When we finally got to the falls, they were beautiful!  The tannin in the local trees produces the coloring shown in these pictures.  I would love to take a picture of the falls in the winter against the white of the snow and ice!  I put my camera on different settings to see what kind of pictures I could get.  I'm still learning how to use this fancy pants thing, ya know!

We finally left the falls and started our ride back to the real world - Mackinac City.

This is the very northern tip of Lake Michigan.  Just a little over 400 miles to the southwest is a little city known as Chicago.  I'd never been at the top of Lake Michigan before.  It seemed so much more peaceful than the Lake Michigan I'm used to seeing in Chicago.  I couldn't believe just a couple of days I'd seen 3 of the 5 Great Lakes - Huron, Superior, and Michigan - all by visiting one state.  How cool is that?!!?

How would you like your house here?  I would.  Beautiful sunsets, lots of trees, fishing just out your front door, but....really cold winters!

We started getting closer and closer to the end of our stay in the U.P.  I could see this lighthouse way out in the distance...

I thought it was pretty interesting how this house was built on this little outjut into the lake.

As we started getting closer to the end of our road trip in the U.P., this was the last Pasty sign we saw.  I REALLY wanted a GOOD pasty, but Melon Man wouldn't stop.  I think he was just tired of driving.

We drove and drove through some more trees, passing through little town after little town...each town seemingly smaller than the one before it, but beautiful and serene just the same.

Melon Man had wanted to stop at the Mystery Spot, but since we didn't stop for a pasty, we didn't stop at the Mystery Spot.  It's supposed to be a fun place where illusions make you think there is something weird about the place, but again, they are just illusions.  I think at this point, both of us were just tired of being in the car.

We stopped at the Big Boy for some dinner.

And as we were leaving the restaurant, we saw this painted moose, so, of course, I had to get a picture of it.

Before we drove back over the bridge, we decided to pull into this park and take some pictures from the northwest side of the bridge.  It was a little strange to me to know just how big this lake is but yet to see it from this perspective - knowing that this is the tip of the lake in this area and knowing that further out into the lake, it's hundreds of feet deep, but right here, it's only a couple of feet deep.  Also, it was weird to think about how rough the lake can get, but right here, it seemed just peaceful and calm in comparison.

These are a bunch of different shots I took of the bridge from the park...

This is a plaque with the names of those who died while building the bridge:

I really liked this statue of an iron worker, symbolizing those who worked and died on the bridge. I moon over his shoulder is kind of cool too.

I never realized how much a fog bell would be necessary in these parts, but I guess it makes sense!

The sun was starting to set and we wanted to get across the bridge so I could capture a picture of the bridge at sunset, so we headed out...

Heading into the toll plaza to pay our $3.50 again to cross the bridge.

Driving on the bridge.  Nope, still not scared!

Just loved this view of the grating in the center of the road and LOVED the sound of driving on it!

Okay, really?  Why would someone want to stop on a bridge that flexes up and down in the wind or with the cars and trucks traveling by?  Not me!  But, I guess someone down on their luck might want to...if you know what I mean.

So we got over to the Mackinaw City side of the bridge just in time.  We pulled into the parking lot at Fort Michilimackinac and sat there watching the day slowly come to an end.  Finally, it was time.  Time for me to jump out of the car and take about 30 pictures of the bridge at sunset.  However, I guess I shouldn't have been so lazy as to not go back to the car and grab my tripod so I would be able to take pictures without showing a lot of movement.  I think this one turned out the best and is my favorite!

Before heading back to our hotel, we went to Alice's Karmel Korn and got some salt water taffy for me and a praline for Melon Man.  Yummy!  We then found a shirt shop with larger sizes and had Michigan shirts made for me and Melon Man.  We made our way to the hotel and lounged for a while before heading to bed.  Tomorrow would be a day of just driving.  No touring.  We wanted to sleep in as long as we could and then get on our way.  What a great trip this has been so far with so many memories!

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