Friday, July 30, 2010

Soo Locks, Sault St. Marie, Michigan

We decided to go to Sault St. Marie on a day trip and visit the Soo Locks. leaving our of town we passed Table Rock.

It is a straight drive up to the Locks. Beautiful farm country with hundreds of acres of hay that had been baled.

We stopped at a country inn and I ordered a veggie omelet. The thing covered my plate along with home-made wheat toast. We have half of in the refer now. Back on I-75 N we came to Sault St. Marie.

Funny how life's little quirks change things. I came close to getting orders to Sault St. Marie while in the USAF, but instead got orders to Kirksville, Mo. where we met life long friends. Those Missouri Farmers are great folk, Sault is nice but I wouldn't trade the Conrad's friendships for the Locks.

Anyway here we went directly to the dock for the Lock tours. Looking across St. Mary's river you see the Canadian City of Sault St. Marie.

We boarded and headed up river and here we are entering the Lock. Behind us is a tug. A Lock is like a giant concrete bathtub.

The gates are closed and time to rise. The Locks connect lake Huron and lake Superior. Superior is 21 feet higher than Huron, thus the locks were installed where rapids were at one time. These are huge locks. So we start to rise the 21 feet.

As we come up to the level of Superior you can see the international bridge that connects the USA and Canada. The traffic was stopped or a a crawl the time we watched. That is not the crossing I would choose to go to Canada.

The Tug is now going to pass us. We are a pleasure boat, they are going to work.

I got the next line out of sequence. This is the line dropped down to the boat as I said we are 21 ft. down from that ledge.

Pulling back into the locks after making a circle and listening to the history of the area.

My girl looking out as we head back to the dock.

I'm so good looking I insist that she take my picture. I love being around ships, amazing this is fresh water, but the bodies of water are so big you would think they are salt water.

Note this big gal, she is 730 feet long and headed for the locks. YOu will see her in again.

Our skipper is a lady and did a great job.

Looking at the shore line (USA side) there is an RV park if we had known about thsi ploace we could have made this home for a few days.

Okay we have now walked over to the locks and
the gates are closed. This is out of sequence

They were closing. so the water could come to the level of the photo above. (OUT of sequence)

The Superior end opened and the tugs came in bringing someone's floating house that is built on a small barge. A two story house. Note how high they sit.

Now with the water drained from the tank into the Lake Huron side they are barely visable.

There they go leaving the dock. They have came from Lake Superior which is 21 feet higher than they are now. The Lock was drained into Huron in less than 12 minutes and they are on their way. Pretty house huh?

Now take a look at the next photo. It is the ship I referred to a few pictures above that was headed for the locks. It is 730 feet long. She is there you just can make her out.

Now about 18 minutes later there she sits, 21 feet higher and you can't miss her now. She is headed out into St. Mary's river and headed for Superior.

This was an amazing trip for us, we have seen smaller locks but this was a great day trip. The locks pass More than 11,000 vessels a year.
Locks are complicated and simple. It is a simple process. With both gates closed and the water at the lower level. you open the upper gates and the water enters the locks and brings the water to the level of the upper lake. Once the water is in a ship can come in. The upper gates are closed. Then it is like a bath tub, someone pulls the plug and the water goes out and the ship is lowered to the level of the lower lake. Now a ship can go in the lower gate. Shut the gate. and pull the plug holding the upper lake water out and the tub fills again raising the ship to the upper level.
Okay Physics lesson over it was neat to watch. Afterward we headed home. to St. Ignace.
Thanks for going nearly to Canada with us.
Nite Shipslog
Sherry’s advice to young ladies:
Best way to get a man to do something is to suggest he is too old for it.
Love is blind, but marriage is a real eye-opener.


Dar said...

Jack and Sherry, I am sooo glad you got to go to Sault St. Marie...great job telling the history. It sure is amazing that the locks function so perfectly in 12 minutes. Sorry but I didn't think to tell you of the RV park up the road. We parked there for 3 days and walked back and forth to the Soo Locks a couple times a day because Andy was so interested, he wanted to see it over and over....he was 7 at the time. Did you get some fresh fudge? It's wonderful to watch them make it. Your ribs must be on the mend.

Jen said...

I knew that was how the Panama Canal works, but didn't now we had those in the U.S. Sounds like a fun tour.

~mel said...

What the hay!!! I'm off my pc for a couple days and I check in to see where you are AND you're almost in my neck of the woods!!! My sister Cher is in the UP ~ cross into Wisconsin and I'm 2 hours away from you. Close enough to bake you a cake or pop a pie in the oven if I know you're coming.

shirl72 said...

Great Pictures looks like a fun day trip.
Your picture looks like you could be the skipper.
Stay safe and be cool.


Paula said...

Very interesting. Nice we get to travel via you and Sherry.

I'm mostly known as 'MA' said...

Thank you so much for sharing that trip. I've heard of the locks but have never seen them before. It is amazing how they do that. You all certainly had a lovely day! Blessings for another great one today!

Fred Alton said...

Great post (as usual) Jack. Love reading of your travels and seeing the pictures. Here's a suggestion on the order of the pictures. Put all pictures into the composition that you think you will use. Write your story. Then you can right-click on pictures ... cut ... then paste them where you want them in the story.

We got back home yesterday after a great G.A.! I watched Raymond Culpepper preach his best ever sermon last night on Daystar after getting into my recliner. You would have loved it, I'm sure.

Lucy said...

Really great pictures and very interesting.