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Old 09-06-2006, 03:11 PM   #1
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Ships, Trains, Bridges, and Ferries CannonTour - Around Lake Michigan

Just took a quick three day ride around Lake Michigan. Took in a lot of history along the way. Hope you enjoy the pix and background.
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Old 09-06-2006, 03:12 PM   #2
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Old 09-06-2006, 03:27 PM   #3
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Route

Download GPX here.

Here is a map of the route I took. It was about 1356 land miles and 80 nautical miles on a ferry.


I started from home west of Milwaukee in the fog at about 6AM.


As soon as I crossed a subcontinental divide just west of Milwaukee the temperature warmed up and the fog disappeared. This hill mass divides drainage west to east with the west draining down the Mississippi to the Gulf and the east draining through the Great Lakes to the Atlantic. Lake Michigan is big enough for the water temperature to have a local lake effect on the weather.


I decided to start in the Port of Milwaukee to see what was going on there.


On one of the piers were a bunch of components for wind generators. These were manufactured in Spain and shipped by sea to Milwaukee.


These components will be trucked to Peru, IL, to be used as part of a wind generator complex being put in there.


For those of you not familiar with wind generators, they look like these (smaller versions) that I came across in Mackinaw City, MI.


Or this larger wind generator farm just across the lake in Canada.

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Old 09-06-2006, 03:34 PM   #4
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More of Milwaukee

After I checked out the port, I took the bridge over the harbor. A few years back an overloaded truck ran across this and a section fell out leaving a gaping hole. This resulted in all bridges of similar construction being inspected. No problems today though.


On to Lakeshore Drive - a pleasant tour of the lakefront parks.


A side trip for a twisty ride up the bluff.




This is a replica of the wooden schooners that were the mainstay of maritime commerce on the Great Lakes in the early years. Many shipwrecks of these old schooners have been located and are popular scuba dive sites.

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Old 09-06-2006, 03:43 PM   #5
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Riding north along the Wisconsin shoreline.

Here is a map that covers the Milwaukee to Green Bay route.


I stopped in Port Washington. Port Washington is not a major port - except for fishing and recreational boats. They are building a new power plant there, so some seagoing ships have been delivering components to the small harbor. This 453' ship was manufactured in May and is on it's maiden voyage delivering steel ducts from Indonesia and Thailand. Notice it is floating pretty high to clear the shallow harbor. Dock facilities are not available so the components are being off loaded to a barge. A couple of weeks ago a 438' ship was here doing the same thing. During off loading operations a heavy cable broke on one of the ship's giant cranes. The cable severely broke the Captain's leg and caused some other injuries that put him in a Milwaukee hospital.
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Old 09-06-2006, 03:57 PM   #6
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Manitowoc - Wisconsin Maritime Museum

Next stop is the Wisconsin Maritime Museum in Manitowoc.
This is what one of the early Great Lakes fishing boats looked like.


This is typical of the current fleet.


Wisconsin cities have a significant history in shipbuilding that extends from early history to the present day. A few years back the US Navy wanted to build five wooden hulled minesweepers. They came to a Wisconsin company that still had the tools, jigs, and know-how to construct wooden hulled ships.


The museum has a submarine parked outside that is available for tours. During WW II, Manitowoc shipyards built 28 submarines using much of their 7000 person workforce on three shifts seven days a week. Since the shipyard was up a river, subs had to be launched sideways. Once complete they were towed on barges down the lake to the Illinois River where they continued down the Mississippi to New Orleans.


Back on the road heading for Green Bay.

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Old 09-06-2006, 03:57 PM   #7
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Great photos cannonshot. That twisty road in Milwaukee is a neat little road.
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Old 09-06-2006, 04:10 PM   #8
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Green Bay - National Railroad Museum

Stopped at the National Railroad Museum in Green Bay.


They have the usual rolling stock. Also had an exhibit on railroad surveyors and the tools/methods they used. Here is General Eisenhower's command train that he used in Europe during WW II.


Here is the largest steam locomotive ever manufactured. It is so long that it has a special design to allow the wheels to move sideways from under the boiler to allow the thing to turn on curved rails. It is hard to give you the scale of this thing - it is huge.


Here is a view of some of the controls on one side of the cab. I think a nearby placard identified about 120 controls that needed to be dealt with - all by hand (makes the space shuttle look easy). I didn't see any labels either. . .


I think this General Motors design (1950s Aerotrain) was intended as a means to gain profit from medium range (200-700 mile) passenger routes. I guess it didn't work out.
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Old 09-06-2006, 04:16 PM   #9
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I like looking at old trains. If you ever get down to Dearborn, check out the train collection in the Henry Ford Museum...

Now back to your most excellent post

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Old 09-06-2006, 04:28 PM   #10
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Up the Door County Peninsula to Sturgeon Bay

A map of the next segment.



Sturgeon Bay is also known for ship building. Here is an ore carrier in for service.



Here is a piece of recently manufactured hull section.


Here is a new Coast Guard Ice Breaker manufactured just up the coast a few years back. We need ice breaking operations on the Great Lakes to extend our shipping season. Ports and narrow channels always freeze. About 10 years ago Lake Superior froze completely over. We need to keep the lanes open as long as we can each season to move coal, taconite, and limestone for industrial operations in the midwest.


The modern ice breaker above replaced this beloved ship that is now an exhibit in Mackinaw City. How would you like to be the poor guy that has to stand watch on the bow while they break ice?


Here is the Stugeon Bay ship canal that allows for a short cut to Green Bay (instead of going around the tip of the Door County Peninsula).


There are lots of these wooden Coast Guard stations and light houses around the lakes.

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Old 09-06-2006, 04:43 PM   #11
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Door County

Door County is a tourist mecca. You can take that as a positive or a negative depending on your point of view. Door County has more shoreline (250 miles), more state parks (5), and more lighthouses (10) than any other county in the country. It is known for small fishing harbors (populations 300-800), fish boils, scenery and the usual art/craft stuff. You won't see any big box stores and chains here. Traffic can be a problem on weekends. I was there on Labor Day weekend so whenever I got into a small coastal village I was caught in the gawker jam. On the up side, the riding is fantastic. Shoreline roads are scenic and twisty.

Signs like this in Wisconsin mean something good.


A prickly fellow . . .



You need to always be alert for these guys - day or night.


Some of the shoreline roads. Lose the traffic if you can.


One of the problems on this trip was shoreline photography. Bays and harbors require panoramic views. Hard to capture anything as impressive as it is.


Part of Peninsula State Park.





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Old 09-06-2006, 04:59 PM   #12
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DL touring

As usual, great job Cannon!
Pm me next time, you never know I may join you.
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Old 09-06-2006, 05:01 PM   #13
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Old 09-06-2006, 05:12 PM   #14
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Back to Green Bay and On Into the UP of Michigan

I backtracked to Green Bay and then worked my way up the shoreline toward the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.


On the way I stopped in Peshtigo. Peshtigo is known for being wiped out by a forest fire that killed 800 people in the Peshtigo area and many more in the region. The fire happened on the same day as the Chicago fire (October 1871). Even though the scale of death and destruction in this region far exceeded the Chicago event, the tragedy was largely unreported as news effort concentrated on Chicago. This forest fire was one of the largest ever and came with little warning. At the time, Peshtigo had a wood products factory. This marker is on a mass grave that holds 350 bodies that could not be identified.


Next stop, Marinette - another shipbuilding city. The facilities at Marinette produce a lot of ships. Currently they are working on a project for the US Navy. They are building a 378' Littoral Combat Ship that can run from 45 -60 knots (depending on load) and that can turn a 360 degree turn in eight shiplengths at full speed. 0 - 60 knots in two minutes. Some other ships they built include the ice breaker I showed earlier and the Staten Island Ferry. This is the Littoral Combat Ship.


Now over to the other side of the river to Menominee, Michigan.




One of many old coal fired railroad car ferries that used to sail the lakes. Railroad cars would be loaded in the back and short-cutted across the lake. The problem was that all railroads did not have rights of way that allowed them to avoid congestion around Chicago. To overcome this, priority loads were sent by ship. More on these later . . .


Some kind of fancy stevedore gadget. The cab can be raised to see over the rail of the ship.


Well I rode up MI M-35 along the shoreline during the evening. I ran into swarms of small bugs that made me grateful for my high windshield as there were so many of these small bugs stuck to the front of my bike it looked like fur. I got into Escanaba just as it was getting dark. I intended to camp along the shore on M-35 (campgrounds) but heard rain in the forecast so I decided to take an ADV buddy (Skinner) up on his offer to stay in his cabin further into the forest in the UP. I had been there once before, and despite the remoteness, I thought I could find it again - even in the dark.
I did find it and enjoyed a quiet and comfortable sleep in this rustic cabin. An oil lamp provided dim light and warmth. Thank you Jim!




The next morning it was a little cool - button up.

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Old 09-06-2006, 05:46 PM   #15
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Day 2 - Across the Eastern UP of Michigan



I've spent a lot of time in the UP over the years (dirt biking, ATVs, backpacking, etc) so I wasn't concerned about missing anything by cutting across the peninsula to Lake Superior. Along the way I passed an inland lake or two.


I enjoyed riding through the forest and taking in the scenery.


One great stretch of road was north of Newberry (the moose capital of Michigan) on M-123 going into Paradise. It is curvy and scenic.


Once I got to Paradise, I ran up the shore to Whitefish Point. Whitefish Point and Whitefish Bay are well known landmarks in Lake Superior. During storms, ships lay up in Whitefish Bay . The giant ore carrier Edmund Fitzgerald was trying to make it there when it sank in the 1970s. There is a shipwreck museum on Whitefish Point that occupies the old Coast Guard station (obsolete due to automation).


Lighthouse (now automated).


Steam powered fog horn.


You have to keep in mind that when most of these stations were put in, this area was largely wilderness. Materials came over the shore by boat. If you were near a coastal town, you could walk out along the beach (if the weather and terrain allowed it), otherwise you were stuck (no roads).




This is a self unloading ore carrier passing Whitefish Point. The boom allows the ship to unload it's own holds. One problem with a ship like this is that if one hold floods, because of the conveyor eventually all holds will flood and the ship will sink. That is what happened in May 1965 when a ship like this was rammed and holed in the fog by a Norwegian freighter. Despite trying to make a run to ground the ship in shallow water, she rolled over and sank resulting in loss of life. A loaded ship like this goes around 12 mph max. Low in the water and sinking, the ship hardly made any speed at all. If you end up in the water in the northern Great Lakes without an immersion suit, you will not live long.


Leaving Whitefish Point and heading toward Sault Ste Marie, I took the Curly Lewis Memorial Highway along the shore. This is a scenic and twisty route that motorcyclists would enjoy.






And there is always another light house to explore.

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