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

aka, trans-Michigan and not Badger.  More on Badger later.

Lakes Express entered service in 2004, max speed at 34 kts., and has capacity for 44 cars, 12 motorcycles, and 248 passengers.

It crosses the Lake between Milwaukee and Muskegon in 150 minutes with up to 8 crew.

 

 

Until 1970, this run was made by the Milwaukee Clipper, launched 1904 and now languishing in Muskegon.   Here’s a more complete history on Milwaukee Clipper.

 

As promised, here are numbers of Badger for comparison purposes:  launched 1952, 24 kts. top speed, 18o cars and some trucks, 620 passengers, crew size from 50–60, and crossing time of 3 hours.

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The channels –here negotiated by Pride–run close to shore along the southern side of Mackinac Island,

necessitating careful monitoring of navaids, here is Buckthorn.

Near the strait that forms the somewhat undefined boundary between Huron and Michigan,  we meet Sharon M I pushing Huron Spirit, the barge and not the pilot boat by the same name.

The massive bridge spanning the strait here is about 10 miles to the east.  Click here to find out where the Mack Bridge ranks among the longest suspension bridges in the world as of now.

Note the blue color the water.  Here’s how the colors of the Great Lakes look from satellite images.  Earlier this year a Sea Grant scientist told me the new issue on the Lakes, especially the upper ones is oligotrophism related to zebra and quagga mussels.  Erie, however,  tends toward the hypereutrophic with especially serious algae blooms this summer.

Until I’ve a better system for night photos on the dark Lake, I’ll dispense with photos like the one below.

The Budweiser mural on the silos in Manitowoc today is just a mural, artwork, since the silos are now owned by Briess.  No beer–except home brew– is made in this part of this town.  As to the current owners, here’s the Briess Malt & Ingredients site, resident peregrine and all.

SS Badger can withstand anything the Lake can throw at her, but crossing in extreme weather might make for uncomfortable and dangerous conditions for the passengers, as was the case within 24 hours of my taking this photo.

Here’s a fluvial centric map of Chicago.  We docked just south of the area marked 4 here, but I decided to scout out Bubbly Creek, near 1.

Here’s a photo of Bubbly Creek from a century back, along with an explanation of the name.

My actual destination on Bubbly Creek was the Chicago Maritime Museum.  Check them out. If I’d have been there a little later, I could have gone to the presentation on Cap Streeter, a synopsis of which is here.

Once docked, though, I wanted to explore the southern shore water’s edge around to the east, to Indiana.  That’s the Chicago skyline below, and

here, is more of the picture I wanted, the Burn’s Harbor steel making site, part of the manufacturing infrastructure for which much of the Lakes’ traffic exists.

Quite a nice beach, actually.

All photos and sentiments and any inadvertent errors by Will Van Dorp, who will soon return to this area and suspend new blog posts until  reliable wifi is available.

In case you missed the video of car ferry  Badger‘s arrival one day in late June, it’s here.

Rainy weather had caused a lot of runoff, turning the water two shades of Lake Michigan.  And once I got thinking about weather, and the word got stuck in my brain along with this absurd video clip called “badger song” from my early days on the internet, my downward spiral began, like …

badger,

truckers,

tankers,

trucker, tanker, and forester,

camper and forester,

runner  (vehicles are driven off Badger by these shore crew who run from one car to the next),

more runners (from my 2012 trip and these taken in Ludington, with Spartan in the background),

camper (I hope you’ve caught the pattern by now),

trailers,

charger . . .   (by this time I realized fighting the spiral had become hopeless . . .)

Oh well, maybe you had to have been there to catch my giddiness . . .

But!  In an attempt to resurrect my reputation as a sane blogger, you might have noticed that in the first sentence of this post, I referred to Badger as a “car” ferry.  Like me, you might have thought of  four-wheeled rubber tired vehicles, but–in the manner of Detroit River ferry called Detroit in this wonderful SHORPY image–

Badger and sister ship Spartan had different origins, used to have rails built into the deck . . .  as you can see here.

Industries come and go, as does supply chain and people-moving  infrastructure . . .  Here’s more, and I’m not going to turn political here, but this is context .  . . .  Click here for more SHORPY car ferry photos.

Here’s the post I did after visit to Badger from 2012.  And here’s a more recent one showing her underwater layout.

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

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And there’s a boat building tradition and

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

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

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BIDO?   Back in, drive out.

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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.

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

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

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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