Bandon By The Sea, Oregon 2020

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Cedarville and Sault Ste. Marie

Water has been a big part of our summer adventure this year. We are now at a little RV park in Cedarville Michigan, located on a small bay of Lake Huron.

We can see the water from our rig and have enjoyed the reflected color of sunset on its mirror-like surface.

The ducks are all done raising their families, and seem to be just hanging out and enjoying the summer too. Speaking of the season, the weather has been delightful, 70s in the afternoons and "sleeping cool" at night.

I have never noticed this kind of water flowers before, but they made an interesting design in the sunset reflection.

Amazingly, this was the actual color of the water, in the opposite direction from the sunset. 

Going back a few days, we rounded the top of Lake Superior, and returned to the USA at Sault Sainte Marie. We stayed at the Soo Locks RV park for four nights.

The above picture was taken from a boat on the Saint Mary's River. Although we were not backed up against the river, we had a clear view of it from our dining table windows. We also took our chairs  riverside, and joined the other campers watching the giant lake  freighters and ocean-going ships go by, as they made their way between Lake Huron and Lake Superior using the Soo Locks.

There is a great observation deck next to the Visitor Center that overlooks the two American Locks. Lake Superior is 21 feet higher than Lake Huron, and before the locks were built, the river boiled over a massive rapids as it went from one lake to the other. Now the water is controlled by the locks, leaving only smaller rapids on one side. We watched as a very long freighter entered from the Lake Superior side, then was then lowered to the Lake Huron level by letting water out of the lock.

This is part of the same ship. I was unable to capture all of it in one image because it was one of the 1000+ foot long ships.

[From Craig] The neat thing about locks is that they never have to pump water.  If the water in the lock is low and they want it to be high, they just let water in from the high side.  If the water in the lock is high and they want it to be low, they just let water out on the low side.

In addition to watching the ships from the RV Park and the Visitor Center, we took the Soo Locks Boat Tour. 

It is aways interesting to hear about the history and the various buildings along a water front.

The Cloverland Hydroelectric building was fascinating.

The repeated images of lighthouses in the stonework were great.

One of the smaller boats we saw was this little red tug. Craig and I remembered  a children's book we had both enjoyed as children.

Our tour included a trip through the locks. We went upriver through one of the American locks.

No toll or other charge is made to any boat going through the locks.

After coming through the lock the tour went a little way upriver, under the International Bridge, and into Canadian waters.

The three main ingredients for steel production are limestone (the large white pile), coal, and taconite (a pellet of refined iron ore)  are all brought in by ships to this Canadian steel mill and to other mills in Michigan and Indiana. 

I would love to see the inside workings of one of these mills, but this trip was just included a short view from the river.

The urban areas on both sides of the river are called Sault Sainte Marie. The population on the Canadian side is 75K. The population on the American side is around 13K. The difference is due to the lack of business and industry on the American side. We observed numerous empty buildings.

All of the large freighters come through the American locks because the older Canadian lock is too small. It are used by pleasure boats and smaller commercial vessels.

Our tour came through the Canadian locks on the return to the Lake Huron side where we started.

As with the picture of the ship in the lock taken when we were at the Visitor Center, it was difficult to get a picture of the really long ships as they passed our campground. 

This was one of the much smaller ones. More than 20 ships, large and small, go through the locks every day. When camping riverside, you don't have to wait very long for the next one to glide by. We will be returning to Sault Sainte Marie after going down to see Mackinaw Island, and I'm sure I will be taking more ship pictures then.

We saw some Cranes in a field on Wednesday. I am including a picture of this one in memory of a dear friend and fellow blogger, Judy Bell.

I am feeling very sad.

Tuesday I learned she had passed away over the weekend. Judy hung up her RV keys a few years back and has been living full time at Jojoba Hills. I do not know the details of her passing, but I do know she had some health issues in the last few years.

Judy was an inspiration to me. She traveled solo, and volunteered at wildlife reserves throughout the country. She was an honest and down-to-earth lady, and a wonderful photographer. 

I will never take a bird picture without thoughts of Judy's excellent work which she posted on her blog Travels with Emma.

May her spirit roam free and soar with the birds she so loved.

I will miss you Judy. 


  1. I filed an unemployment claim one winter for a guy that was from Sault St Marie, he said in the winter it was a "cruel and bitter land" he was a Native American.. probably never forget that!
    It looks beautiful. Love that picture of the goose taking off!!! what a shot!!

    1. Thank you for the praise. The water splashes are in better focus than the goose, but that's how it sometimes goes with long zoom lenses.

  2. Yes, an outstanding photo. Enjoyed the pics and narration about the locks. I don't even think we need to see them due to your thoroughness...nice job!

  3. Such a beautiful area to explore, the Soo Locks, watching those huge ships. now onto Lake Huron. we are just across the lake from you now, keep enjoying some more exploring and safe travels.

  4. Great shots of the area. We enjoyed watching the ships lock during our visit a year ago.

  5. Hello, I see you are visiting the beautiful UP. We are Yoopers presently in Lower Michigan visiting our son and his family. We will be back in Escanaba by September 1st and will probably stay until around the 24th give or take a couple of days. We will parked at our Fairgrounds not real exciting but convenient and the price is right. Please contact us if you come our way. (Celebrating the Dance).
    I also read you are thinking of possibly checking out the Door Peninsula, another beautiful area, but it gets busy there in the Fall especially on weekends which sometimes makes it hard to find a place to stay.
    We do usually see Fall Colors towards the end of September, sometimes even earlier, especially along Lake Superior. The Keweenaw Peninsula is especially pretty and the Porcupine Mointain area is also beautiful. Though I will say camping on Lake Superior can be cold especially if the wind is coming across the lake. I am sure you have all the information about what you want to see up here but if you have any questions do not hesitate to ask.

    Tom and Deb

  6. Those are amazing locks. I used to ride some of the Greatlakes Freigthers thru those locks when I worked for Oglebay Norton Steamship Company for a few years afer I retired from my real job:)


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