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Seeing and riding SS Badger is a goal that’s been acomplished, a pilgrimage made. And I will return to more fotos of Badger soon, but along the road we looked for nirvana, too. Nirvana, Michigan . . . it’s a place name on my road atlas, and unsuccessfully I looked for a post office and a zip code. Alas! But journeys are comprised of what unexpected places you find and take time to savor. Here are some of what can be discovered between Manitowoc (home of Sputnikfest!!) and Port Huron (home of Thomas Edison Depot Museum).
SS Badger runs on coal, transformed by an engineroom crew of 20 into torque on the twin cast steel 166″ diameter propellers.
Tourism . . . largely derived from the vessel on the welcome sign . . . buoys this town of less than 10,000.
Turn any direction, almost, and you’ll see the importance of the SS Badger and
things Michiganite in this town.
Halfway across this section of the state a billboard brought us to this bakery/coffeeshop, which appeared caught in a timewarp. Here’s the history, and here’s
Now I’ve known the boatnerd website for a long time, but I hadn’t gathered this . . . world headquarters set within Great Lakes Maritime Center. The sixth boro needs something like this . . . maybe this will be my retirement project?? It will need a benefactor or many . . . like Dr. James C. Acheson. More on this renaissance of land once used for scrap.
I plan to do a whole post about this place, for now, let me share an artpiece inside that resonated with me. Read the name on the stickie note. I’ve already befriended a lot of nuts along the fringes of the sixth boro. And they’ve enriched my life.
I love the weathervane on the pilot station and
the exotic small boats passing by, like PonTiki and
this Sea Skiff and
this 42′ vessel–same age as Badger–named for this island,Lime Island.
Are the Great Lakes great? Greater than great, but there are too many great places for me to discover before I cease these gallivants. All fotos here by Will Van Dorp.
This does not look like a highway scene, yet
it IS the stretch of Route 10 that will get you the best fuel economy and can accommodate quite oversized loads
whether they come from Manitowoc or Chengxi or
anywhere else, Badger can move backward
driven from here or
forward . . .
to get you there. It has for a long time, and we hope will continue that role.
This last foto from the Badger onboard museum. All others by Will Van Dorp, who will continue along Route 10 today. More Badger soon. Click here to learn more about the imminent threat to the ferry.
A salmon-fishing dog in a kayak being paddled by a human and tailed by a Coast Guard RIB . . . that’s intriguing, but the 50 or so folks with me at the end of the jetty were not there to greet the pooch. We were there to see the badger,
Badger entered service about the same year I did and
now she’s threatened, at least in her current state of being a coal-fired steam-powered ferry. For part of the year she shuttles between Ludington, MI and Manitowoc, WI . . . as she has for 60 years, but
take a ride, which I’m about to do. More soon from the 60-miles one-way trip between the two Lake Michigan ports.
All fotos by Will Van Dorp.