Monday, August 29, 2011
We are in the home stretch now… Time to leave Sault Ste. Marie Ontario and head for home.
There were foggy patches as we started our morning drive South on the Trans Canada Highway.
Seeing this sign, I hope there aren’t any moose on the road, we won’t see them in time to stop.
It is a scenic drive, I have never been this far North of our home.
We will be back this way next summer though as our plans will have us re-tracing this part of the Trans Canada Highway and we will be continuing on much further past Sault Ste. Marie.
We take the ramp to Hwy 69 and now we are feeling closer to home and more familiar with our surroundings.
Stopped at the French River Trading Post for lunch in the Hungry Bear Restaurant.
Then back on the road again, beautiful blue skies with big puffy clouds overhead.
There is the sign that we are now in Simcoe County and home.
To see all the photos that we took today, click on this link to our FLICKR site.
Sunday, August 28, 2011
Absolutely nothing going on today. We are sticking close to our hotel here in Sault Ste. Marie Ontario. I am taking it easy before the drive from here to home tomorrow. I am working on getting the blog up to date, working on photo editing and uploading photos to Flickr and I am relaxing and reading my Kindle. Karen is also relaxing and reading and getting organized for the last leg of the journey to home.
No pictures today.
Saturday, August 27, 2011
We had our breakfast in the dining car of the train.
The first part of the trip is through the rail yards in Sault Ste. Marie Ontario.
The scenery heading North to the Agawa Canyon is very beautiful. It is 118 miles from Sault Ste. Marie to the Agawa Canyon and we took many many photos, here are just a few.
Several members of Canada’s “Group of Seven” artists would get a lot of the inspiration for their paintings by travelling on the train to the Agawa Canyon.
We rounded a curve and passed over an old trestle bridge.
We arrived at the canyon around noon and went for a short hike and had some lunch.
We hiked to see the Black Beaver Falls.
After about an hour we boarded the train for the ride back to Sault Ste. Marie.
Part way home, the train encountered a Moose on the tracks. We were able to view the Moose running along the tracks in front of the train because the train has a camera mounted on the engine and TV's that broadcast what the camera is seeing. The photo is not the best because I am taking a photo of the TV screen and the motion of the train made it very difficult to keep a steady hand.
We really enjoyed the train ride today and if we were ever to do this again, we would come back in the fall season as the leaves are changing colour.
To see all of the photos from todays train ride, you can find them on our FLICKR site.
Friday, August 26, 2011
We slept in this morning and had a late breakfast. Then we packed our suitcases and loaded up the car. We are going to head across the river to Sault Ste. Marie Ontario this morning.
We paid the bridge toll and drove across the International Bridge.
Half way across and we are back in Canada.
Clearing customs was a breeze, only 2 cars ahead of us. We were asked how long we had been in the USA and where we had visited, then the customs officer waved us through.
We have some time to kill before we can check into our hotel so we went to check out the Canadian Locks.
There are security rules and regulations to be followed when visiting the locks, but nothing compared to the American locks, we were able to walk along the edge and right out onto the lock gates.
Next we visited the Canadian Bush Plane Museum.
The bush planes were interesting to look at. I asked if they had a plane to take us up for a flight, but unfortunately there are no charter services in the area. It would have been fun to fly over the locks and down the St Mary’s River.
After visiting the museum we checked into our hotel. We had dinner this evening at Docks Riverfront Grill.
To see all of our photos from today you can see them on our FLICKR site.
Thursday, August 25, 2011
We have a busy day planned for today, so we started off with an early breakfast at our hotel, then drove to the waterfront to see about getting tickets for the Soo Locks Boat Tour.
This is the boat we will be on as soon as the people onboard get off.
A float plane flies overhead.
Our tour starts by going upbound into the MacArthur Lock. We wait for the lock gate to open. Of the 4 locks only the MacArthur and the Poe are operational, the other 2, the Davis and the Sabin are shut down and are awaiting demolition so that the Army Corps of Engineers can begin the construction of a “super” lock.
We enter the lock. As you look up the wall of the lock you can see the lock viewing platform is full of people waving at us.
The lock fills with water from Lake Superior to raise us 21 feet.
In the Poe Lock next to us the Canadian Freighter “Birchglen” is just entering the lock travelling downbound from Lake Superior into Lake Huron.
We leave the MacArthur lock behind us and head out underneath the International Bridge that connects Sault Ste. Marie Michigan to Sault Ste. Marie Ontario. There is also a lift bridge that carries the rail line be the two cities across the river.
We headed over to the Canadian side to get a close up view of the Algoma Steel Company.
We watched as the freight Michipicoten unloaded its cargo of coal.
We then headed into the Canadian Lock. Known as the Sault Ste. Marie Canal. The original lock was built in 1798 but was destroyed in 1814 by US Forces during the war of 1812. The lock was then re-built and completed in 1895. However on June 9 1909 the lock was seriously damaged when a ship crashed into the lock gate. The lock was repaired 12 days later and operated until 1987 when the lock was damaged by ice. The wall shifted 18 inches. A new, smaller lock was then built inside the existing damaged lock and re-opened in 1998. The lock is now only used for pleasure craft and tour boat traffic.
The Canadian Flag is at half mast because of the death of Canadian Politician Jack Layton.
We will be lowered back down 21 feet and then we will proceed past the Sault Ste. Marie waterfront.
The tenants in these waterfront apartments sure have a great view of the ships coming and going through the lock system.
The Canadian freighter Birchglen has exited the Poe Lock and is on its way down the St. Marys River on its way to Lake Huron and beyond.
Back over on the US side of the river, we pass by some dry docks where ships are being repaired and inspected. There is also a small RV Park at the waters edge, another great viewing spot for seeing the Lake Freighters.
Back at the dock we walked across the parking lot and visited the Museum Ship “Valley Camp” The Valley Camp is an actual Great Lakes Freighter that you can explore and tour.
There are numerous displays and artefacts onboard. Here are a couple of oil paintings of the Valley Camp.
There is also an oil painting of the David Dows, the largest sailing ship ever on the Great Lakes.
We thought of our friends Carol and Darrell when we saw this snow mobile..I bet they wish they had this sweet ride.
Up on deck, we walk towards the bow where the wheelhouse and crews quarters are.
The most significant display is the Edmond Fitzgerald Memorial and Exhibit.
The only 2 lifeboats recovered are on display here. One of the lifeboats is torn in half.
The names of all the crew members are displayed on a wall.
After touring the Valley Camp, we drove the short distance to the Soo Locks Visitor Center to check the lock schedule. There is a ship on the schedule that I recognize… The Frontenac. The Frontenac arrives in Midland Ontario late each fall and docks at the grain elevator there for the winter. So we will come back this evening and watch the Frontenac go through the lock.
We went back to our hotel for the rest of the afternoon, then came back to the waterfront for dinner at The Lakeview Restaurant. We ate here last night and the meal was delicious so we have no hesitation to dine here again tonight.
After dinner we went across the road to the lock viewing platform and watched as the Federal Patroller entered the lock system. The ship is hard to photograph because the setting sun is directly behind the ship.
I can see the Frontenac waiting patiently for the Federal Patroller to clear the lock.
The Federal Patroller is lowered to the level of Lake Huron and exits the lock.
The lock is refilled back up to the level of Lake Superior and the Frontenac is given the go ahead to enter.
It sure is a tight fit, the hull of the Frontenac is a mere few inches from the wall of the lock.
At this point we left the viewing platform and walked to a location along the sea wall where we could view the Frontenac as it exits the lock and heads out into Lake Huron.
I took a lot of photos today, approximately 350 or more. I also took some videos of the Frontenac entering the leaving the locks.
To see all of the photos and videos from today you can find them all on my FLICKR site.