08 July 2013

June 2013 MICHIGAN Sault Ste. Marie 6 - Bella, We're on Our Way Home

Headed home today. Really missing Bella. Many understand this concept, especially those without kids. This kit is our kid.

Skipped the freebie hotel breakfast (anticipating it had not improved since yesterday or the day before) and headed down the road with Mike at the wheel.

We like to try new places to eat, so this time stopped in St. Ignace at The Galley. Mike had his fave pancakes and I had a breakfast burrito. Both good. Coffee strong, but tasty. And a nice view overlooking the harbor area.

St. "I" also had its Old Car Show this weekend, so we saw a lot of vintage hot rods, jalopies and, what I call, "teen idol" cars of the 50's and 60's. From their advertising, they say there could be up to 3,000 cars attending. Good timing by us to miss the peak point of these cars squeezing into little St. "I." We really liked the oldie race above. It had the original Mobile Oil flying horse symbol on the trunk. It was rusted and had been run hard, but had its appeal.

Continuing on we saw lots of folks up on Castle Rock, as it was a beautiful day for long distance viewing. Reminded us that we had not checked it out in probably 30 years.

Back south over the Mackinac Bridge. Still a thrill, especially on such a clear day.

The rest of the trip home was uneventful. The only stop was a muscle-stretching walk around Evart. It is a small town and the downtown was empty. We were the only car parked for two blocks on either side of Main Street. We ran across an open ice cream shoppe though, and treated ourselves. Not sure how much this contributed to the economy, but we tried.

About 10 miles before reaching home we hit a big rain squall with lightning. Once home, we waited in our car a few minutes, hoping it would subside, but no. We and all our stuff, including our bed pillows, got soaked between the car and the front door. The cool rain felt refreshing on my face.

At our loft door, we expected to find Bella waiting for us. Sometimes she is and sometimes she isn't. But, no, she was sleeping on her cat condo in the bedroom. It took a day for her to cozy back up to us. I think she was mad that we left her alone for 3-1/2 days. Oh, well, such is the world of cats. No way to second guess them.

Drove 762 over the weekend for a total drive time of 12 hours 37 minutes. Most of this was home to The Soo and back. Cousins Don and Chris did most of the touring in SSM itself. Thanks, Cousins!

Interesting note: Mike has a Scan Meter on the car that hooks up to the engine computer. It displays a lot of statistics like how much you spend on gas for the day. But as we were leaving home to go Up North, he noticed it took 4 cents just to start the engine before putting it in gear.

Things we still need to do in SSM the UP:  the River Museum; see the Tugboat Parade, Tugboat Races, and the Coast Guard Station and CG ships display on another Engineer's day; tour the Museum Ship Valley Camp; spend a night in SSM, Canada; go to the Bushplane Museum there; climb Castle Rock again; take a Pictured Rocks boat tour; spend the night in a lighthouse (maybe Sand Hills Lighthouse Inn); and see more of west Michigan, especially Marquette.

Little known facts: SSM is the oldest city in Michigan, founded in 1668 by father Jacques Marquette. Population in 2010 was 14,440. Sault Sainte-Marie translates from French into "the rapids of Saint Mary." The largest ships passing through the locks are 1,000-feet long by 105-feet wide. This is roughly 3.3 football fields in length! SSM is also the home of the International 500 Snowmobile Race. It started in 1969 and was inspired by the Indy 500 race.

Here's Bella on her scratcher/lounger. She loves sitting here and often takes a nap here.

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If you have visited any of these places, we would love to hear your comments. Or send us recommendations of places we should not miss.