This is the part of the blog where we deplete our arsenal of euphemisms for the overused “been there done that” cliché, because new places to stop along the route out of Lake Superior haven’t popped up in the last two weeks.
First up, the trip back to Marquette. When we left Houghton-Hancock at 6:45, the predicted fog was hanging low enough to cover Mont Ripley but not so low that it impacted us. Load up some Merle and let’s go.** Very nice.
Not only did we encounter no fog, for all nine hours the water was so smooth that we didn’t waste the energy it would take to bend down and flip a switch to activate the stabilizers. Extra very nice.
As we neared Marquette we snapped a shot of the Superior Dome just to prove that we’re not idiots for thinking on our first approach that it was a huge sand pile. No? Then try squinting like you’re looking through a filter of that sweet Canadian smoke. Looks like a huge sand pile now, doesn’t it?
We’ve already done Marquette so there’s no use flogging that dead horse. This time through, however, we managed to find a statue of the Old Man himself: Father Jacques “Don’t call me James” Marquette, without whom this city probably would’ve been called something else.
We also ate for the third time at Lagniappe Cajun Creole Eatery, because it’s one of the best restaurants we’ve found. In our lives. Ever. Shrimp and Grits for Dana, Shrimp Creole for Doug. Yum. A few errands, boat chores, a drone flight, and a good night’s sleep later, we headed back to Grand Marais.
Thanks to Dana’s unrivaled planning ability, another gorgeous trip. Confederate Railroad and Don Williams provided the sound track. Upon departure we were able to naked-eye the sun—such that we needed neither our compass nor our sextant to confirm that we were heading in the right direction—although the odd square shape did give us pause.
Because of, you know, the whole crappy commercial wall thing, we gave Munising a skip and went straight to Grand Marais. The only thing of interest along the way was being passed by our old pal, the still oddly-named Hon. James L. Oberstar, five miles off to port and on her way to Dearborn.
We’ve already driven Grand Marais into the ground, so not much to add. Topping off fuel and getting a pump-out hardly seem noteworthy. A dude did stop by with a couple of Seaplane Splash-In shirts since the booth wasn’t open yet when we left last time, so there was that. Oh, and there was a unicorn in West Bay, which we know is a reach but at least it’s something.
This morning—very early—a malfunction in some something or other just outside our cabin started an infernal beeping that prevented sleep, so at 4:30 we decided to just get up and start the eleven hours to Sault Ste. Marie in the dark. The good news is that the moon was shining a bit, and up here the sky starts to lighten seemingly right after sundown—which we know from experience sucks at night almost as much as a beeping noise—so we didn’t hit anything.
Shortly before rounding Whitefish Point, we subjectively confirmed that—like so many other things—even through a telephoto lens from a mile away the Crisp Point Light appears much crisper when observed without an opaque screen of smoke and fog. This joint doesn’t get many visitors, probably because it sits at the end of a twenty-mile-long gravel road.
When we passed by here in the other direction a few weeks ago, we completely missed the small stretch of rural Alabama shoreline. Who knew?
Rather than tangle with the commercial American Soo lock, we opted for our first Canadian lock of the year, which sounds like a betting tip but isn’t. By the time we get to Rouses Point we’ll have done another seventy or so, although in Quebec they’re not locks, they’re écluses.
Speaking of the sun, there was nothing new under it in Sault Ste. Marie. Except for the streets blocked off for Gus Macker’s Three-On-Three Basketball Tournament. That was new.
From here, we’re zipping (at 7.5 knots) along the North Channel (the one on Lake Huron, not the one in Europe), down the Georgian Bay, to Port Severn. Where we have a date. With Brad and Kate. And if we’re late, they’ll have to wait.***
*Okay, we apologize. That’s embarrassingly horrible.
**“There’s nothin’ harder on your heart than old Haggard and Jones. They oughta put warning labels on those sad country songs.” – Doug Stone
***We also apologize for doggerel that’s even more embarrassingly horrible than the titular pun.