Friday, July 23, 2010

5 Great Ones! Day 8

Today we accomplished a fete that we didn't really plan on doing:  It sort of "evolved." 

As we continued to see one Great Lake after another  (Erie, Ontario....then Huron......and Michigan....) we decided that to complete the entire "tour," it was not only good to, but also necessary to see the 5th Great Lake: Superior! 

This afternoon, we accomplished this goal (which we just decided was a must-do last night.)

This morning we left our lovely motel in St. Ignace, Michigan, with two coupons in our pocket. They were for "gold tokens" at the Kewadin Casino nearby.  Since these were free, we felt compelled to use them.  Thelma graciously rushed us to the casino. Surprisingly, there were not throngs of people there.  Of course, this was in the far north woods, and most of the tourists were probably over at Mackinac.  We got a quick lesson in how to use this casino from a couple in line ahead of us, who had just spent all last night gambling and seemed to be back ,for their vacation, to have another go at it.

We won money at the "gold token" machines!  Then we had to spend our own money, which we were less willing to do.  I broke totally even, winning $10 and spending the same amount, and Randy walked away the big winner with $10.50 !!  Lunch money!!! (Ya gotta know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em, know when to walk away, know when to run...........and we decided to RUN!)

We managed to rip ourselves away from the casino, knowing that our eyes would become lifeless and longing, like the couple we'd met in the line, if we stayed there.  This place really has a good plan, though.  The hotel gives its guests 2 free rolls of "gold tokens."  You get another one just for being a first-time guest there, and for your Mackinac Bridge ticket or your ferry ticket to Mackinanc Island you get another roll for each.  We had left our tickets in the trash can, so didn't claim those last ones, but we would probably still be sitting on a stool pushing a button if we had.  Getting hooked on those machines is very easy. (Right, Alison?)

Our driving goal today was Sault St. Marie, in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.  At this point, Lake Superior meets Lake Huron, and Lake Michigan, also. Sault St. Marie is the location of the Soo Locks where freighters pass through locks to go from one lake to another.

The word "Sault," according to this reading teacher, SHOULD be pronounced like "salt"....but oh no....up here it is pronounced "soo"..........and as a famous person from this location said in so many words, no wonder the kids in this city cannot spell. (That's not how he said it, but that's what he said.)
So say "Soo Saint Marie," and you've got it.  You also won't make a fool of yourself when you say the name of this city in public.  (I speak from experience.)

The one and only thing we did in Sault St. Marie, besides having a Subway sandwich which we carried off to a green space to eat, was go to the top of the Tower of History.  This is a tall concrete tower that is 21 stories tall that let us look over the entire area where the ships and freighters pass through the locks. We could see all 3 of the Great Lakes that met there, and some lovely "tall ships" that were passing by.

We also saw some of the largest spiders that have ever appeared in North America.  For this I paid money.  Once up, all I wanted to do was come down.   Oh well....................

Once back on ground, we asked Thelma to take us to northern Lake Michigan, so that we could ride down the western side of that lake, going south. Our audio novel is really getting good, so driving was not a problem.

Thelma only tried to lose us in the woods once, and we are "onto her," so got back on the main road quickly again.

After a lovely afternoon of driving west on Rt. 2 that skims the northern shore of Lake Michigan, we came to the small town of Manistique, Michigan.   There are motels here, and we are located at the Comfort Inn tonight.  Across the street is Lake Michigan, lapping the shore. There is a lovely red lighthouse that we walked on a boardwalk to see, a beach where we wet our feet in the water, a Big Boy restaurant  right next door (remember them?) where we ate al fresco.  I had fried shrimp and Randy had pot roast. We watched the waves from our patio dining area, then took our walk.

I love this little place.  There are boats in the lake, and in a river that seems to head into the main part of the town.  We will investigate it in the morning (and get the real estate brochures...................hahah!)

Our northernmost point was Sault St. Marie, Michigan. Our easternmost point was Lily Dale, New York.  Tomorrow we will hit our westernmost point............and obviously, we are headed home.

But it ain't over til it's over!