You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘SS Badger’ tag.

As we follow the west side of Lake Michigan, we see evidence of lots of fish and folks who say yes to catching them.








And there’s a boat building tradition and


regular visits by an iconic vessel . . . Badger, which I’ve done a number of posts about before now.




Badger is a BIDO and carries a lot of vehicles, including this sub.


BIDO?   Back in, drive out.





All photos by Will Van Dorp.

I did two posts on Badgerhere and here–back in 2012.  But until these photos this week, which I’m using with permission from FB’s SS Badger: Lake Michigan Car Ferry, I’d never seen her underwater ship lines.


Above, that’s a ice-reinforced hull.  Read about her dry dock visit here.


As I write, she’s in dry dock for a few more days at Bay Shipbuilding in Sturgeon Bay, WI.




Here are some photos I took back in 2012 as she was departing Ludington MI for Manitowoc WI.


Yes, she burns coal to this day, (one of) the last vessel (s) fueled by coal in the US.  For a good summary of her old and current technology, click here.  To see what goes on in her engine room, click here.


When she entered service in the 1950s, she was designed primarily to transport railcars across the Lake.  Click here to read a story on the vessel published in Professional Mariner about two years ago.


The next two photos are NOT of Badger but rather her twin, Spartan.  By the way, the badger is the mascot of University of Wisconsin and the spartan . . . of Michigan State University.   There was a double christening in September 1952,  but since 1979, Spartan has been laid up at the dock in Ludington.




I hope to ride the Badger, 60 water miles of an almost 600-mile US Route 10,  again this coming summer.

Many thanks to SS Badger for use of the first four photos, taken this past month;  all others by Will Van Dorp.

And to close this with a digression, here’s a one-of-a-kind I saw displayed at the dock in Manitowoc when I was there.



Here was 11.

First, this foto from Colin Syndercombe in Cape Town, and I believe the foto comes from The Latest Maritime News.  It appears MV Chamarel, which burned earlier in August off Namibia, will become yet another wreck in the sands of the Skeleton Coast.

To Michele McMorrow, thanks for her foto of Walrus, snapped near Bahr’s Landing in Highlands, NJ.  At first I thought it was being delivered for use by tugster . . .  I was mistaken.

RORO Cape Washington is the latest MSC vessel in for maintenance at the dry dock in Bayonne.

Currently in the sixth boro, it’s almost-new NCC Shams, not an inspiring name unless you consider that “shams” is Arabic for “sunshine.”

My foto snapped in Port Huron, it’s Lakes Pilots Association’s Huron Maid.

Also along the Port Huron waterfront, it’s Grayfox, a Sea Cadet vessel.

And finally  . . . since this post started with a walrus and since tugster does NOT appear in person frequently on this blog, here’s a foto of tugster and Badger on the waterfront in Manitowoc.  And apropos of nothing . . .  what’s the connection between dachshund and badger?

First enjoy the foto below and read this announcement from Old Salt’s blog here.

Answer:  “dach” is German for “badger,” so the word “dachshund” means “badger dog.”  Now you know !!

Unless otherwise attributed, all fotos by Will Van Dorp.

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

a portrait of the nine guys who saved this business.  And check out the paraphernalia!!

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.

Sign the “save Badger” petition here.  I have.  Here’s the other side.  Here’s an article about the other Lake ferry . .  . the one out of Muskegon.

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,

this 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

like I said, this might be it.  That’s reason enough to

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.

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 1,026 other followers

If looking for specific "word" in archives, search here.
Questions, comments, photos? Email Tugster

Graves of Arthur Kill

Click on image below to order your copy of Graves of Arthur Kill, by Gary Kane and Will Van Dorp. 3Fish Productions.

Seth Tane American Painting

Read my Iraq Hostage memoir online.

My Babylonian Captivity

Reflections of an American hostage in Iraq, 20 years later.

Tale of Two Marlins

Blue Marlin spent 600+ hours loading tugs and barges in NYC Sixth Boro. Click on image for presentation made to NY Ship Lore and Model Club, July 25, 2011.


October 2016
« Sep