Mission San Juan, December 30, 2017

Mission San Juan, December 30, 2017
Mission San Juan, December 30, 2017

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Tahquamenon and Soo - Wed., Oct.8, 2014

This morning we head northwest from Germfask to Upper and Lower Tahquamenon Falls. Our thought was to spend the night in one of the campgrounds at Tahquamenon State Park. However, the drive was so short, RV parking was abundant this time of year, and the waterfall hikes were so short, we decided to have lunch at the brew pub at Upper Tahquamenon Falls, hike both falls, then continue on to Sault Ste. Marie. We're just filled with great ideas.

Weather forecast was 40% chance of rain. The rain found us for sure. We had rain showers off and on from Germfask all the way to Tahquamenon State Park. Because it was cold and windy, I wanted to eat lunch before we walked to the falls so there would be warmth and energy in my body. We had a very good lunch at the pub. I had their burger with fries and Bob had a whitefish fish and chips. Both of us had their home-brewed root beer. It was excellent and came with free refills!

Tahquamenon Falls Brew Pub moose
After lunch we hiked to the Upper Falls and went down all the stairs to beautiful views of Upper Falls. Then we hiked back up to go to the brink of the falls. The rain and hail found us on the trail. Brr!

Upper Tahquamenon Falls with a very high flow
The color of the water is brought about by tannins from decomposing vegetation from hemlock, and some of the other trees in the area.

Stippled leaf colors
Massive staircase to lower views and boardwalk

Upper Tahquamenon Falls from lower viewing area.
Easy parking at Upper Tahquamenon Falls
After Upper Falls, we drove to the Lower Falls parking lot (again lots of RV parking in October!). Then we walked to Lower Falls in the bright sunshine. Still cold, though. Lower Tahquamenon Falls is made up of five waterfalls. In summer, you can rents boats to go to an island and hike around it.

Luscious colors
Peak of fall color season.
Left side of Lower Tahquamenon Falls
Right side of Lower Tahquamenon Falls
Falls on both sides of the island
Rapids and falls.
All about "rippling"
Rippled rocks
Downstream from Lower Falls
Don't forget to look up.
Lower Falls RV parking - we were the only RV.
See how beautiful the weather is right now. Don't worry it changed again. We had a very active sky all the way to Sault Ste. Marie with rain and wind. It was good to get set up in our campsite at Kewadin Casino RV Park (for two nights). The sites are very muddy and unlevel. We did the best we could and parked behind a windbreak, put two boards under our tires on one side of the fiver to try to get it level, but it's still listing to one side. The only hookup here is 30 amp electric. The shower/bath house is directly across the park road from us. But for $10/night we'll suffer.

Bundled up tight, we walked across the parking lot to the casino registration desk to check in. On the way to registration, we stopped at a desk to get the casino rewards card. That gave each of us $10 Kewadin cash to spend in the casino and a coupon for free hotdogs at the deli. Plus every Thursday night they have a comedian in their theater, so we will go to that show tomorrow night. Once registered, we walked around and checked out the casino. It's beautiful. I'll take some pics of it tomorrow.

The time was 6:45 p.m. We drove into Sault Ste. Marie, found out the Visitor Center at the Soo Locks is open until 9 p.m., parked the truck, and wandered in. Our timing was spot on. Two big ships were just coming into the locks.

Braving the cold once again, we climbed up to the second level of the viewing platform to watch the ships go through the locks. The elevation change at the locks is 21'. Over 22 million gallons of water move through the Poe Lock every time a ship is raised or lowered!

The distance a ship travels from Duluth, Minnesota to the Atlantic Ocean is 2,342 miles. Duluth, Minnesota is the western most Atlantic seaport. The ships travel through four of the five Great Lakes and a series of rivers and locks on their journey. Just to go from Lake Huron to Lake Superior takes nine hours on the St. Marys River where they must navigate a series of tight turns. Can you believe it is still much, much cheaper to ship by boat than it is to use railroads or semi trucks? 

You can see the ship to the left of the building - low in the lock.
Superstructure of the ship in the second lock over.
Here is the ship in the lock closest to us
Army Corps of Engineers workers on the ground.
The ship entering the lock - about 432' long
The ship in the farthest lock rising rapidly
The ship next to us just about up
Up through the lock and on its way
So much information and such a thrill to watch these large ships go through the locks. The ship that came through the lock closest to us had a crew from China. One of the sailors spoke English and yelled "Hello, how are you?" to all of us watching. They were very friendly.

Iron ore is the main product shipped through the Great Lakes with a value of $500.4 billion per year. The second biggest product is coal. Other items shipped through the Great Lakes are salt, wheat, oats, etc.

When we finished at the Soo Locks Visitor Center it was pouring rain so we ran to the truck. We then drove up and down the street to find a place for dinner and decided on Moloney's Alley Irish Pub. Very nice place with good food.

Now we are back at the 5er warming up. Time for some sleep. Tomorrow we plan to visit a maritime museum that is inside an old freighter.

'Til then, nighty night.

Travel Bug out. (Can you believe it? I'm all caught up!)


  1. Great picture of the falls through the trees. We were at the state park last week at the end of our leaf peeping tour of the U.P. The rain cut our trip short - I was tired of being cold and wet and stuck in. But nothing beats those gorgeous fall colors.

    1. Marsha,
      We are now ready to head south to the "mitten" of Michigan. Sault Ste. Marie is the coldest it has been so far on our trip. Brr.

      Did you enjoy staying at Tahquamenon Falls S.P. We were going to, but our main reasons for staying there could all be done in a couple of hours, so we decided to do the falls and the pub and proceed onward. It was a good choice and gave us an extra night in Sault Ste. Marie where we found enough to keep up occupied for a day and a half.

      Still enjoying fall colors, though.

  2. Our friends just left Tahquamenon Falls. Your photos and theirs are beautiful. What a lovely time of the year to do your visiting in that area.

    1. Might your friends be the other Marsha who commented above?

      Yes, we hit a wonderful Indian Summer at the peak of leaf peeping season, but now it's cold,windy and rainy in Sault Ste. Marie. We'll be heading south tomorrow. Saw 65 degrees in the forecast for the Lansing area next week! I hope so.

  3. Too bad the weather wasn't nicer, but doesn't seem to stop you guys. It's awesome to see the big ships go through the locks, but its also funny to see a small speed or sail boat go through. They look like toys inside the locks.

    1. Our weather has been quite Indian-Summer-like for the past two weeks, just now getting the cold-wind-rain. Heading south tomorrow. Yay!

  4. I had no idea Duluth was considered a sea port or the time and effort it takes to get them there. Very cool! Just found your blog and so fun to read about some of the "off the beaten path" places you visit. Looking forward to reading more.

    1. Being from the West Coast originally, we didn't know about Duluth being considered an Atlantic sea port either. You never know what you'll learn when you travel.

      Thanks for stopping by. Happy to know you're reading.,

  5. I enjoyed watching ships go through the Panama Canal a few years ago, amazing how ships are lifted so (seemingly) easy!


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