I remember going to Big Boy all the time when I was little. They aren’t around much anymore, so when I can I like to stop. I had the breakfast buffet and snuck some bits out for lunch later.
Upper Michigan has a couple really good waterfalls, but the big one for tourist is Tahquamenon (rhymes with phenomenon). It has an attached park and several paths to see the waterfalls in the area. I’d actually been there before, back in 2007, but hadn’t remembered until I was already there. Since I was there, and Blue hadn’t been, I went for a walk.
There was a Model A tour group I would see off and on while in Upper Michigan. It seemed like a cool idea, though later in the day at Whitefish Point I would find myself annoyed with some of the people.
There are wheelchair friendly paths, but to get right down to the water you have to take the stairs. 94 down, 347 back up. It is worth it, though.
There are four or five waterfalls, upper and lower sections. You can actually get to most of them on paths of various quality.
I did spent a few hours there. Even though there was a crowd, once I got away from the large viewing areas it was peaceful. Just wind and water. Well, mostly water, but there weren’t any bugs and that was good.
Before leaving the falls I made lunch. There was a large visitor center with a restaurant, but I had food along with and some leftovers from breakfast, those were filling. Then I was back on the road headed further north.
Whitefish Point is this little knob of land, jutting into Lake Superior. It’s the last turn before the locks at Sault St Marie, a natural place for shipping to congregate. In the tumultuous waters of the northern Great Lakes, It’s also a common place for ships to sink.
The lifeguard, then light house, station at Whitefish Point has been preserved as a reminder of a time when ships went down regularly, and navigation didn’t have the aid of satellites and GPS.
I have wanted to visit Whitefish Point since 2005 or 2006, when I’d heard about it. It seemed like every time I was headed that way, something would happen to prevent it. This time everything went as smoothly as it could, though it did rain. A little. And it was much colder there, on the lake.
I heard about Whitefish Point on a show, documenting the loss of the Edmund Fitzgerald. As part of a salvage project, the bell from the wreck was recovered and placed at Whitefish Point as part of a memorial.
There was a lot of stuff about the Fitz in the various buildings, but there are (actually) hundreds of wrecks off Whitefish Point, and many of them famous for one thing or another. One of the staff said it was hard to look down into the water and not see a piece of shipwreck. Maybe for him it was, he’d found more than 20.
The keeper’s house was open, with period furnishings and slightly creepy manikins.
There was also a small movie theater showing a (short) film about the sinking of the Fitz and the recovery of the bell. Before the film one of the salvage divers from the museum’s recovery team gave a brief talk. This was where I ran into the people who were on the Model A tour. Older, affluent looking. They were – amazingly disrespectful to the speak, the displays, the…the everything. I was a little surprised at their behavior, it was juvenile. The speaker was taken aback at first, but he quickly switched to irritation. I think he would’ve asked them to leave, if he could’ve.
There was also a boat house, complete with boat –
and other equipment used to rescue sailors. I liked the idea of a cannon-fired-rope.
I wanted to camp above the Sault St Marie locks, and headed that way. It had clouded over, but I was blaming the lake for that. Okay, I didn’t really think about the fact the locks were also on the lake.
I reached Sault St Marie just as it started to rain. It was a cold, driving rain and I found somewhere to stop and check the weather. I also wasn’t really sure where the camping was, and needed to sort that out. The rain, as it turned out, was supposed to last for about an hour, then pause for a bit, then return all night. I found the camping, but decided I would check a couple motels along with way. If I could find something with about the same cost, I would stay indoors. I will camp in the rain, but urban or niche campgrounds can cost as much as a motel, and in the rain I’d rather have the motel.
The first place I stopped gave me a price that was way out of budget, and I passed. He looked at me, dripping in his lobby, and asked what I was looking to spend. I told him the cost of the campground I had found online. He shrugged and said he could match that, and I had a room. He even let me park Curiosity under some shelter, though the rain wasn’t going to hurt it.
Next, I was headed into Canada.