When we woke up this morning we decided that we have seen all that there is to see in this area.
For being the Motorhome Manufacturing “capital” of North America, there really isn't much here for someone who is looking to buy a gently used Class A motorhome. The recession has hit this area hard and 80% of the RV related businesses have closed. We are also hesitant to buy something in the US and then have to deal with importing it back into Canada. We decided to end our stay in Elkhart and cancelled the next few days of hotel reservations and aimed the car towards home.
Karen had fun aiming the camera and photographing this crop dusting plane as I drove at 70 mph.
On I-69 North we entered into Michigan.
This part of Michigan, as with most of the country and even back home in Ontario has been hit with a severe summer drought. Crops are failing and everything is tinder dry and scorched brown. Some idiot oblivious to his or her surroundings must have thrown a lit cigarette butt out of their car window. Here you can see fire fighters are putting out the fire that started by this persons negligence. Maybe I shouldn't be so harsh on the cigarette smokers and cut them some slack. It is so dry that a piece of broken glass from a bottle that some other idiot tossed out could have started this fire. The angle of the sun and a piece of glass would be all that is needed to start a fire in these conditions. A bolt of lightning didn't start this fire, so human negligence is the cause.
We are going to cross back into Canada at the Port Huron / Sarnia border crossing. We see the sign to Canada and the Blue Water Bridge is ahead of us.
Customs was busy and we waited about 45 minutes in the line till we got to the booth. All went well at the booth. They asked the typical questions. “How long were you in the US” “Where do you live” “Do you have anything to declare” “Do you have any guns or weapons” “Do you have any alcohol or tobacco” Questions answered and we are back in Canada.
We could drive home from here. It is another 5 hours, but we decide to stay overnight in Sarnia, well actually in Point Edward. I guess you would say that Point Edward is a suburb of Sarnia. We want to do some ship watching while we are here. I like their town sign.
After checking into our hotel, we head down to the waterfront. I have my “Marine Traffic” app up and running and see that the John D Leitch is northbound in the St Clair River. I have so much fun with this app as I can see where the ships are and when they will be arriving where we are waiting and watching for them. Point Edward has a nice waterfront, with several benches where you can sit and watch. Across the St Clair River on the American side is the Fort Gratiot Lighthouse.
Here in this photo you can see the numerous park benches and the Blue Water Bridge.
Here comes the John D Leitch under the Blue Water Bridge. This freighter was built in 1967.
The locals have found a way to cool off and watch the freighters. There is a leisurely current flowing through the river from Lake Huron through the St Clair River and into Lake Erie, so the locals use this current to float in rubber tubes. After they float down stream for a distance they hop out on shore and walk back up stream and start the process all over again. That is one way to get up close and personal with a monster lake freighter.
The next ship wasn't due to pass by for a couple of hours and since it was dinner time we went to Paddy Flaherty’s for dinner. This is an Irish Pub sort of a place, so we enjoyed a beer and some good pub food. After dinner we went back to our same spot on the waterfront and watched as the “Spartan” a pusher tug come under the bridge. It was pushing the barge.
A bunch of the local sailors had gathered for race night off the entrance to the St Clair channel, outside of the shipping lane.
Here I am enjoying the sunset, watching the river traffic and checking my iPhone app to see if there are any more freighters in the area.
I can see on my app that there is one more ship that will arrive before the sun sets. “The Great Lakes Trader” barge, being pushed by the tug “Joyce L Van Enkevort”
This does not look like a barge though, it appears to be a lake freighter. However once it got closer I could see that it was indeed a lake freighter, but that it had been converted in the stern to accept a pusher tug. I suppose the engines of this old laker were worn out and not worth replacing and it was cheaper to do the modification and still keep the ship intact and use it like a barge.
The sun was setting fast as we left the waterfront and headed for our hotel.
That was fun watching the ships going by. Actually when the Spartan went by, I was thinking that we have seen that tug before, so I checked my notes and yes, we had seen the Spartan last summer when we were in Sault Ste Marie MI.
To see all of our photos from today, you can find them by clicking on the link to our FLICKR site.
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