July 29, 2010

A Leap Across Canada

Today I set out to post a blog. And it’s about time! Since leaving New Orleans in June we’ve been so tightly scheduled with visits, activities and studying about places ahead that you’ve not heard much from us. As a new blog addict, this situation weighs on my mind. I can write only in my sleep. I try not to let guilt overcome me. Many places call out for recognition, yet have not been revealed! ARGH, as my pirate friends would say! A taste of our route:

Michigan Iron County! My first wild blueberries.







The Shipwreck Museum with 1849 Light Station! Since commercial shipping began on the Great Lakes, there have been 6,000 shipwrecks. The Edmund Fitzgerald is among the tragedies spotlighted here. Lost during a monster storm on November 10, 1975 with 29 men aboard, she was immortalized in song by Gordon Lightfoot.

     …That good ship and true was a bone to be chewed
        When the gales of November came early…

Edmund Fitzgerald Bell

Shipwreck Lighthouse & Rudder








                                 Soo Locks, with tour boat and freighter passing through! Soo Tour Boat

Mattawa LumbermanOntario, Canada! Ontario HwyThat’s a BIG lumberman in lovely Mattawa.







We’ve had good times and don't regret it, but I aim for time ahead to share more! We did rush along, and all because we wanted to get where we are NOW before summer's gone.

And where would that be? you might ask.

We’re in the Gaspésie, the part of Quebec Province that swells into the Gaspe Peninsula and lies north of New Brunswick Province. It’s a region steeped in traditions of the Amerindians, Vikings, French, Basques, Acadians, British Loyalists, Bretons, Scottish and no doubt others. Last year, the National Geographic Society designated the Gaspésie as the third most beautiful destination in the world! We’re especially drawn by the cultures, music, and history of the seacoast – the spectacular scenery is a plus.

Our campground is in Cap-Chat, a small town on the south shore of the St. Lawrence River, which is so wide here that you can't see the other side. It’s a seaway first navigated by Amerindians, with many tales to tell. As we drove farther and farther from Quebec (OMGosh I haven’t told you about Quebec!) the landscape was occasionally reminiscent of the Northern California or Oregon coast. That is, if you could include rich green farms on rolling slopes lined with pines and edged by purple, yellow and white wildflowers!

We’ve three days here to relax beside the river with Cap-Chat a bit misty across the way, windmills towering strangely on a ridge. Yesterday we were pinned down by strong, chilly winds that whipped up river waves, shook the camper all night and day, and encouraged general laziness and putting off of all tasks.

That’s OK, it was nice and sunny!

July 18, 2010

Michigan, Mackinac and Michiganders

We’re on the road! We left New Orleans June 15, and since have set some sort of record for consecutive days visiting. A result is occasional disorientation: Where were we last Thursday? What was it somebody told us to see here? When are we going to eat the food we bought? Who wanted us to send them a picture?  









The best part is connecting with friends and lots of Chuck’s family, getting to know them better, catching up on growing kids, and re-uniting with friends from cruising days after more than 20 years!

Temperance Jacob 








We’ve explored the northern Michigan-Canada interface along the Great Lakes. This is a good thing as we’re soon heading for Canada, to blast through Ontario and spend the rest of the already dwindling summer in the Maritime provinces.

Welcome to Mackinac Island – A community that in 1898 rejected the automobile in order to retain it’s historic character. To this day, horsepower and bikes are the only method of transport and travel on the island!

Mackinac Marina from Fort







Mackinac Island occupies a strategic location between Michigan’s UP, lower Michigan, and Canada.

BTW, the UP is always referred to as “the UP”, never as the Upper Peninsula. In any discussion of Michigan geography, such as the location of a town, a true Michigander will always illustrate with a graceful series of gestures. It’s very difficult to emulate by an outsider, especially trying to to get the correct side of the hand turned toward the listener, so the state does not seem “inside-out”!  


“See, here’s the thumb (they always start with Michigan’s thumb, check the map to make sense of it) …

DSC06824and up here … (now they add the other hand) is the UP.  Mackinac (or Frankenfort, or Traverse City, etc.) is right here!”  It’s entrancing to watch this ballet  executed at the speed of speech, because they seem to use three hands to both illustrate the geography and also pinpoint to the location by pointing! 

Mackinac’s historic significance stretches back hundreds of years, involving Native Americans since 1000 B.C., and French, British and Americans in times of war and peace. The island was strategic during the Seven Years War (I must look that up), the Revolutionary War and the Civil War.

Residents, guides, explorers and fur trappers, soldiers and their families all played a role in evolution of the island into an attraction with historic sites, elegant homes, fancy and period hotels, and diverse outdoor activities. It’s a May to October destination for tourists and these summer workers, who told us they return year after year.

Mack Doorway w Buckets




The cook leaves the kitchen for lunch.






Fort Mackinac Ranger led drill squad today.

                               Horses everywhere! If you want a ride, flag one down! 








Our fast trip back to shore!