Day 79 Sault Ste Marie, Michigan - Grampies on the Go - CycleBlaze

July 18, 2011

Day 79 Sault Ste Marie, Michigan

The storms last night were truly awesome, though we missed a lot by hiding under our sleeping bags. This morning we found that though the tent had stayed up and basically done its job, the floor inside was pretty wet. Our silk sheets (yes, silk sheets) had wicked up a lot of water and were soaking.

Pretty crowded campground
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So the day began beside the clothes dryer, and that is where I finished yesterday's report.

Blogging office in Sault Ste Marie
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The water in the early morning was calm, but the haze did not reveal much of our surroundings.

A calm morning on the St. Marys River in front of Sault Ste. Marie
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Today we had declared a rest day, to recover from yesterday's heat and prepare for tomorrow's challenges (the scary bridge and scary Canadian wilderness). We cycled into town, past pretty but often run down houses, just crying out to be bought cheap and renovated.

Houses in Sault
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Another Sault house
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Buy me this one!
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The streets of Sault
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An Edmund Fitzgerald model at the boat tour office. I have come to realize that the Edmund Fitzgerald was a big deal and then Gordon Lightfoot wrote his song, and not the reverse. i.e. He did not dig up some obscure event to write about.
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We also passed again the amazing, long, stone crafted power plant that produces 70 W from water channeled through it by canal.

Looking then for a cafe I asked a man in the street where downtown was. "You're in it" was the reply. I do like small towns, just have trouble adjusting sometimes!

We found a post office and engineered our second and presumably last mailback. This included the tacky t-shirts for Avi and Violet. Laurie, they are on top. (Laurie: some other stuff may be damp, so yank it all out!)

Mailback number two. This one was "voluntary" comprising failed equipment like the Planet Bike and one camera, plus cold weather gear. Total weight 8 pounds.
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Out big event for the day was the boat tour of the canal system. Even at $22 each we found this to be really worth it. Follow along and see what we saw:

Museum on the Canadian side
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Dredging derricks
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Our tour captain
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Our campground from the water
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The stone power plant
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This ship is used to find wrecks on Superior
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More dredging derricks. Dredging is very important to keep the channels clear
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As we approach the lock a mega freighter is on the other side
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Edwin H Gott coming through!
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We are in the lock
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The water starts low
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Don't crash those gates!
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Throw the rope, already!
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The water has risen to Superior's level
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This crane can deploy an emergency dam
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See how long the highway bridge is!
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We are not going on that thing tomorrow, are we?
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Waaaaahh
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A long ship waits on the Superior side
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53 take away 31 is 22 feet of lock action. The official figure is 21 (?)
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Slag mountain from Algoma Steel - Canadian side
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Mountains of limestone and coal. Together with taconite (iron ore) these make steel.
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Taconite
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Almost artistic industrial scene
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Materials handling at Algoma Steel
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A true iron mountain
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Gas fired power plant provides energy for the blast furnaces. Excess steam goes to a paper plant
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The locks on the Canadian side. When the 1800's vintage locks collapsed, new ones were built inside the old ones, but shorter. The old lock gates are still visible, and the admin and other buildings are part of a national historic site.
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Goin' down! (to the level of the St Mary's from the Superior level)
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The rapids in the river that caused all this lock building. Not much water flows over them now as much is diverted to power plants
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The Bondar (Roberta Bondar) complex on the Canadian side
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The captain has us back on shore
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The bikes are still there!
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Back on shore we found yet another restaurant. This was the Captain's Pub and Grille in the historic Ojibway Hotel. The room was large and well air conditioned. Oh my. It took a while to cool down, and then a level of comfort we haven't felt for some time. The bikes had to wait outside. They were beside a threatening sign on a fence beyond which are the locks. The US government threatens to search anyone who approaches the locks or the visitor centre. We just stayed away from it.

The waitress in the Captain's Pub was basically hopeless. We got up to get our own menus, went to ask someone for water, etc. The food quality was good but the portions were small. We wondered if we had ordered the seniors menu. We may be seniors, but we are cycling seniors - a different animal!

The Captain's Grill. #1 top feature: good air conditioning.
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The bikes wait outside the restaurant, waving their Canadian flag at the paranoid NO Trespassing sign by the fence guarding the American locks
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So we set off in search of some food. We found a fudge shop in the tacky tourist shop section of town. Now we're talkin!

Fudge!
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The tourist shop section opposite the locks
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Inside tacky heaven
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Our boat heads out for another run
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Cruising back through town we remarked on how efficient our bikes are for getting around. In summer, with no rain, and distances under 10 km they can not be beat!

Today's ride: 15 km (9 miles)
Total: 4,800 km (2,981 miles)

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