Saturday, August 27, 2011

Congestion at The Locks


This afternoon the Burns Harbor was sliding by heading up to The Locks.  I noticed that she was proceeding very slowly.  So I checked the computer to see if there was another boat in the Poe Lock.  Actually there were 2 thousand-foot boats at the Locks.  So the Burns Harbor was the 4th footer waiting at one time for passage through the Locks.  Also at The Locks was the Stewart J. Cort, the Walter J. McCarthy and I can't remember the 4th one.  That's what I get for not writing it down.

 In the afternoon, my husband and I were volunteering at the Masters Walleye Circuit Tournament in the Soo.  He helped stage trucks and boats for weigh-in and I took pictures of each team with their fish. 

After the tournament was done, we stopped by Clyde's Hamburgers for a delicious burger and malts.  Actually Tom likes the root beer shakes.  Clydes seem to be the only place he has ever had one.

While we were sitting there, we were treated to see the American Century.  She saluted the crowd on Rotary Island which made the sighting extra fun.

The American Century was formerly the Columbia Star.  Build in 1980, she became the Century in 2006.

The Edgar B. Speer and the James R. Barker, both 1,000 footers, are both in the river system.  The Speer is just north of  Neebish Island and will be here in a few minutes.  The Barker is approaching the Locks out of Superior.  It may be dark before she comes by here.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Polar Bear in the St. Marys River

Yes, it is true, dear reader, that a polar bear found its way into the St. Marys River located here in Michigan's Upper Peninsula.

But it may not be exactly what you are thinking.  It can be cold and snowy up here but it is not cold and snowy enough to support polar bear life.  We have no glacier ice sheets or no groups of seals on which polar bears like to feed.

But a recent news item out of Ottawa County is southwestern Michigan tells the story. Wood TV in Grand Rapids ran the story today.

In 2000, big game hunter, Rodger DeVries, of Georgetown Township near Grand Rapids, Michigan returned from a successful polar bear hunt in northern Canada.

DeVries apparently knew the laws of the United States would not allow him to bring his prize polar bear into Michigan because he had not been hunting with a US approved hunting guide.  Apparently the US laws are stricter than Canadian laws on this point.  So DeVries had to be creative about getting his game home.

So DeVries and his grandsons brought the bear and skull (no explanation why they were separate) to St. Joseph's Island and transported it across the St. Marys River is his personal boat.  They landed in Raber Bay and took the contraband down state.

DeVries pleaded guilty today to illegally bringing a trophy mount across the US border.  He will be sentenced on Sept. 8.  He can receive up to a year in jail and a $100,000 fine.

"Defense lawyer Terry Tobias described DeVries as an "avid hunter" who has acknowledged his mistake in not getting proper U.S. permission, the Grand Rapids Press reports. He obtained permits from the Canadian government, including an export permit, and complied with Indian and province laws."

I've heard for years that the St. Marys River was used during Prohibition to smuggle alcohol into the US but this is the first time I've heard of a polar bear.

I was out yesterday morning for a run and noticed a US Border Patrol truck driving slowly down Scenic Drive  2 times.  We have a quiet road but maybe there is more going on than I thought!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Rock Cut-A Great Boatwatching Site

 We have had another week with guests from out of town.  It is always fun to see them become boat watchers.  When they first arrive, they are surprised to see such big boats right out front of our cabin.  As we begin to explain about the boats-that each one has an interesting name & that they all look different.  They are different colors, carry different cargoes, and are different lengths.  I can begin to see a new 'boatnerd' begin to sprout.  By the time they leave, the are true 'boatnerds'-watching and asking about each ship.

We always take them to other locations to get a closer look at the boats.  Usually that means Clydes Drive-in or the Locks.

 But this week, we headed south from our cabin to the Rock Cut.  The Rock Cut is just south of Barbeau, a small community located at 15 Mile Road and Scenic Drive. 

The Rock Cut is the down bound channel on the east side of Neebish Island.  It was literally cut out of rock.  My grandfather always talked about working on the cut and I believe that was around the 1920's.  I'll have to look into that!

The weather has been picture perfect this past week. The day time temperatures have been moderate and the evenings very cool-in the 50's.  That makes great sleeping weather.  We have been treated to a full moon this past week.  The moon has been rising over Sugar Island around 10 pm in its orange glory. 

These last shot was taken at Lake Superior State University.  I attended the 65th Class Reunion of the Sault High School Class of 1946.  I went with my father.  This is a beautiful spot to catch a view of the International Bridge and the east side of Sault Ste. Marie.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Entertaining Visitors

 We always take our guests to the Locks.  We have been fortunate this summer to watch many boats there.
 The Soo Locks Visitors Center has great displays about the Locks, the Great Lakes and shipping in general.

 Rotary Park is a double bonus because we can get lunch at Clyde's Drive-in and take it to a picnic table and enjoy the boats.

We have been entertaining several groups of guests at our cabin on the St. Marys River this past week.  It is always an easy job because the St. Marys River, the Locks, and the freighters do all the work for us.  We just take them around town and show them the sights.

Last week, my friend said, "There's a big boat."  She was referring to the Canadian Olympic.  Her husband explained to her that the boat was not a 1,000 footer so it wasn't a big one.  She replied, "They're all big ones!"  And she is right.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

August Brings A Cool Down

I've written about the strike that hit American Steamship Company but I'm happy to report that the two parties found a way to return everyone to work while still working on resolution.  So we're back in business.

Business in August means savoring the last weeks of summer.  For me that means gardening, hosting lots of company and boat watching.

Boat watching has been great this week.  Lots of traffic but no surprises.  Yesterday we saw the Manitoba.  That was the first time I have observed the Manitoba this year.

The goal of my gardening has been to have flower beds that resist weeds.  Every year when we arrive, the weeds have had a head start in our gardens and I spend the first weeks weeding.  So I'm trying several approaches.

My weeding theories:
My sweet pea bed:  I haven't been weeding it very much

One of my sea walls beds:  I put down landscape fabric and covered it with river pebbles

 My hosta bed grows so thick that very few weeds even try to grow.
 A couple of beds must be weeded by traditional methods.

 I'm trying to establish some perennials that will come up in the spring before we arrive at the cabin and choke out the weeds.

Do you notice the Kaye E. Barker in the background?

My husband tried a new method-drive over the flower bed with the truck.  Yes, that was an effective means of weed control.

Any suggestions, dear reader, to help me?  Remember, we usually don't arrive here until the beginning of June and most weeds are choking out my flower beds by then. 

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Edwin H. Gott Salutes the Calloway

We have been undertaking a huge project at our house of moving a small metal barn to farther back on our property.  It sat right where we want to put a new garage.  We have been talking about this move for 13 years and we (my husband) and our neighbor tackled the job this week.

While on break at noon, we were treated to a nice show with the Edwin H. Gott and the Cason J. Calloway.  They passed in the river.  The Gott sounded one long and 2 short.  The Calloway didn't return the salute which surprised me.  But we enjoyed the meetings of these two ships.

And we finished the move today.