Snowy Range Pass

Snowy Range Pass

Monday, July 21, 2014

Detroit River classic tugboat race

We stayed in Toledo  longer than originally planned because we were again invited onboard the tugboat Josephine for the annual classic tug boat race in the Detroit River.  We did our first race aboard this tug in 2012.  It turned out this is a Dutch Navy vessel that over the years finally found its way to Toledo as a private yacht.  When the crew found out that Anneke was Dutch, they asked her to translate some of the original documents onboard, since they had no idea what was in them.   When we left the vessel, they let us know that we were always welcome back.  So when our friend Gary said he was going this year, we jumped at the chance to go along.

The Josephine is docked in Toledo, so the race is an all day operation.  We boarded by 7am and started the day with a great breakfast on deck.  The crew were great hosts and food and liquid refreshments flowed all day long.

We lucked out with a beautiful day after several days of heavy rain.  The trip north was relaxing with lots of traffic to observe while talking with the crew and fellow passengers.

As we neared the start point, we toured a couple of the side dock areas of Detroit.  In one of them was the old Boblo Island ferries that transported people to the Boblo Island amusement park.  This has long since closed.  However, some years back I was asked to help someone who had purchased one of the ferries with the intent of restoring and using it as an attraction.  I spent some time working with them, but let them know I thought it was a lost cause.  Sadly, I was proved correct and it is now sitting there with its sister vessel waiting for some final indignity to put it out of its misery. 

All of the boats gathered at the start and the race was on. 

It was a hard run race and the good guys won-that would be us.

After the race, we docked in Windsor for a short walk. Then we leisurely motored along the Detroit skyline and started our journey back to Toledo.

Passing the Toledo lighthouse signaled the end of a great day on the water.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

On the south shore of Lake Erie

After leaving Dayton, we headed north to Maumee Bay State Park on the south shore of Lake Erie.  As I have mentioned before, this is one of our all time favorite state park campgrounds. We spent most of a week here visiting with friends and enjoying nature in the park. I failed to get pictures of most of our friends, but otherwise we enjoyed some great company.

We also visited the Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge near the state park.  During the peak birding season, it is visited by thousands of bird enthusiasts.  Since this is the off season, we had the place almost to ourselves.

Just before our arrival, the new National Museum of the Great Lakes opened.  Since I worked for a Great Lakes steamship company for six years, we definitely wanted to take a look.  It is  a good place to get an overview of the history of the lakes along with some information about the history of marine transportation on the lakes over the years.  Of course, there was quite a display about the Edmond Fitzgerald, which was owned by the company I worked for. They also have a retired Great Lakes freighter docked on the grounds, which can be toured to give the visitor an idea of what they look like and how they work.  We also learned after returning home that the old power plant smoke stacks visible in the pictures from the museum were demolished just a few days after our visit. 

Next time, the Great Race.