Thursday, July 02, 2009

Day 4 - Crossing the Big Water

June 30th started in Ludington, Michigan.

We skipped the fitness room today and went straight to the port to get in line for the car ferry. We traveled from Ludington, Michigan to Manitowoc, Wisconsin across Lake Michigan on the SS Badger. The trip covered about 60 miles and took about four hours, but it was better than driving around the lake and a total adventure.
A bit of the ship’s history:
The SS Badger is one of 14 ships that served in the Ludington railroad car ferry fleet. The ship was built in 1952 for the Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad (C&O) and named after the athletic team of the University of Wisconsin. After the rail car ferry traffic business declined, the ship was sold in 1983. In 1992 the Badger was renovated and resumed carrying cargo across Lake Michigan, but now it is automobile, truck freight, and passenger service.
The ship travels at about 18mph (15 knots) is 410 feet long, 59 feet wide, 106 feet high. It has a crew of 50 to 60 people on each trip, can carry 620 passengers, 180 automobiles, tour buses, RVs, motorcycles, and commercial trucks.
It is pretty cool too!

The Ludington North Breakwater Lighthouse shown from the outside in toward the beach.
The weather was pretty windy and rather wet, but we managed to get out on the deck for a little bit anyway.
Here is a double butt shot for the friends keeping count. HA!
When we weren’t on deck we played bingo with the rest of the people in the main lounge. There was a karaoke contest that was a lot of fun to watch, no we didn’t attempt to scare people with our singing. We also played a bunch of double solitaire. FabHub cheats at that too. ;-)

About halfway across the lake I got to wondering what TomTom thought of our trip. The map located us correctly in the middle of Lake Michigan, but refused to plot a course since there were no roads. The Manitowoc Breakwater Lighthouse was built in 1918.
The SS Badger is the only coal fired steamship in operation in North America. The coal seems to be replenished on the Wisconsin end of the route.
And this is only a small part of the pile.

As we were backing into the dock
The water getting churned up
Locking the ship to the dock
We managed to get off the ship and down the road into Wisconsin very quickly. Not far from the port yard we found Bessie!

She was just standing there looking for people to come in and try some ice cream.
Further down the road we found a gas station with another one of my state magnets and a repurposed silo.
We went into Green Bay for a bite of lunch at the Lorelei because it is a German restaurant. No other excuse needed. It was worth the trip.
We also went over to Lambeau Field because it is an icon. Vikings Rule!
There really isn’t much to say about the drive across Wisconsin. We just kept moving toward Minnesota. Along the way we saw the power company installing some new poles. I managed to get a shot that shows how tall the new ones are compared to the old ones, which are even taller than what we have at home. Notice the utility trucks for that reference. These new poles are Huge!

We got to Eau Claire, Wisconsin and found a new place for dinner – Boston’s.
After which we both noted that we have been eating too often for all of the riding we have been doing. We have a 5k on Saturday, the 4th of July. That should be interesting. Next up is Minneapolis and the Mall of America. Two days in one place!

No comments:

Post a Comment