28 July 2014

July 2014 MICHIGAN Upper Peninsula 4 - Bridge and Falling Waters

This morning we (Jan, Mike C and I) almost missed the boat, or I should say the bridge. I advised it started at 9:30am. Last year they did a little intro talk before the actual bridge walk, so I thought we had some leeway. This year, however, they started the walk promptly at 9:30am. We got to the starting point about 9:40am and were next to the last to join the parade of people walking the International Bridge to Canada.

It was a lovely day. Nice and sunny, but not too hot at this hour. The views of the locks, the ships, the surrounding area were fascinating, even the second time around. Lots of great photo ops.

The next photo is of the Canadian lock that we shared with the little tug boat yesterday.

Once we got to the Canadian side, we flew through customs. As we were at the back of the pack we had a long wait for the return school bus trip to the US. We heard rumor that  there was a shuttle from the nearby casino to the US for only $2. Adventurers that we are, we decided to go for it. Well, that was a mistake.

First we went to the casino. They directed us to a nearby shopping center. The info booth directed us to the shuttle stand, but they said it was not the most reliable. We waited around til long past the expected pick up time. We tried for a taxi, but they didn't go across the border, but he gave us directions to the bus station. We high-tailed it there and were advised we could pick up the shuttle there, but that they had not seen it all day and were not sure it was running...because of the bridge walk tie up.

Not having a lot of faith at this point, we hurried back to the official bridge walk bus stop and got there just in time to take the last bus back to our US starting point. Whoa! That could have been a mess if we hadn't lucked out. All in all the ordeal was not so bad as we got a walking "tour" of da Canadian side of da Soo.

By the time we finally met up with Mike at the hotel we were starved. Back to Moloney's for a quick lunch and then on to Tahquamenon Falls. This was a must-see on Jan's list. It is only 61 miles from the Soo, but an hour and 40 minutes drive time on flat but windy two laners. There is a Lower Falls area, but we opted to spend our time at the Upper Falls. It is one of the largest waterfalls east of the Mississippi with a drop of 50 feet and a width of more than 200 feet.
When I was a youngster you could walk in the rocky space under the falls, but no longer. Instead there are several viewing platforms for contemplating this water wonder. The amber shades of the water are not rust or muddiness. It is caused by tannin leached from the cedar, spruce and hemlock trees in the swamps draining into the river. It is certainly a sight to see. The falls are open year round and must be lovely in winter. For more photos and info, go to:

Back up the 93 steps and the trail to the parking lot we worked up a thirst on this hot and humid day...again in the 80's. Inside this State Park is the Tahquamenon Falls Brewery. We were going for a beer, but ended up slurping "brewery made root beer" floats. We've eaten in their rustic dining room in the past and the food was upscale and delish. Check it out here: www.tahquamenonfallsbrewery.com

Time to head back to the big city of SSM. J & M snoozed away in the back seat on the drive. Mike and I reminisced about other UP trips. Back at the hotel we went to our respective rooms to refresh. We got a call that Jan was down, but Mike was needing a nightcap. My Mike was down so Mike C. and I went to (guess where?) Moloney's for a couple of refreshing gin and tonics.

We split ways, but I decided to take one last look at the locks. Through the park trees I could see the sky was a lovely pink, so I raced down to see the sunset. It was sinking quickly, but a got one photo of the orange sun slipping behind the good ship Kaye E. Barker.

The next morning we did a leisurely good-bye to da Soo. Stopped in Mackinaw City for breakfast at Kensington's. J & M arrived there just as we were leaving, so we said our personal good-byes over one last cup of joe. Checked out the fudge shop next door--some for us and some for our neighbors who were watching Bella. Home at about 4:30pm. Great trip and wonderful company to enjoy it with.

No comments:

Post a Comment

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.