Past-E-Mail: Cam Notes - 2005: January: Jan 06-05: Thursday-What'sUP
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Blast from the past: Mid-Winter Midnight
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Recent messages posted in older archives

By Mrs. Bill on Thursday, January 6, 2005 - 04:41 am:

Good Morning! Looks like it will be another beautiful day in the Copper Country.

By joe on Thursday, January 6, 2005 - 05:08 am:

Good Morning from Brighton ,

By Karen... on Thursday, January 6, 2005 - 05:50 am:

Good Morning from Clearwater, Florida. It's going to be another beautiful day no matter where one lives. Enjoy the snow in the UP and we will have to wait until retirement to indulge in the finer things in life. "It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood!" Hello Yooper....can't wait to see what you've got to humor us with today.

By smf in troll land on Thursday, January 6, 2005 - 06:26 am:

Good morning from Wixom.

By Rose on Thursday, January 6, 2005 - 06:41 am:

A foot of snow predicted for Chicago. Looks like this storm missed the UP.

By Margaret, Amarillo TX on Thursday, January 6, 2005 - 07:12 am:


By LZ, SWMI on Thursday, January 6, 2005 - 07:23 am:

Good morning. Only a couple of inches here, but nice, white, and pretty for the moment.

By Therese from just below the bridge on Thursday, January 6, 2005 - 09:30 am:

I heard yesterday that there are three lows that will meet somewhere in the midwest: one each coming from the Pacific, Canada and the Gulf. They should converge Friday or Saturday. The local weatherman said this happens only a few times in a century. Hope the forecast is wrong, as it sounds like the West has had enough rain for a while. Flooding in Oak Creek Canyon in Arizona! The Salt River flowing through Phoenix! (I remember that last as being a dry river bed most of the time.)

Here, we had heavy rain last weekend that saturated the snow then froze, giving it a smooth glassy crust that will bear my weight. And look, it's snowing outside, very softly. Beautiful day! I love the grey January light in Michigan.

By Marsha, Genesee/Aura on Thursday, January 6, 2005 - 10:02 am:

Therese: It gave me a lift to read your last sentence. I feel the same way--grey can be beautiful (except in my hair). It's so pretty here this morning, too, grey and sparkly.

By sandstoneprincess on Thursday, January 6, 2005 - 10:43 am:

You know, there are those of us who have no trouble liking the grey days of typical yooper winter. My foot doctor's office is grey, I told him that I liked it, reminded me of foggy days on The Lake. I think the sun is too bright sometimes, it is sunny right now here in the mid-midwest making the 12+" of snow sparkle. That and a good cup of coffee, hey. Wishin' I were in Jake. However, glad I am in America.
How are those that are "belo" Calumet?

By sue-sue. loveland, oh on Thursday, January 6, 2005 - 12:45 pm:

It is so great to know that I'm not the only one who loves gray days. I only wish all the rain we are having would be snow. Our creeks and rivers are over their banks and there are landslides all over the city. I agree the sun is too bright a lot of the time. My doctor thinks I suffer from seasonal affective disorder (SAD) only in reverse. If so my mom and sister have it also.

By Marsha, Genesee/Aura on Thursday, January 6, 2005 - 12:54 pm:

So you suffer from DAS?

By always a yooper on Thursday, January 6, 2005 - 01:31 pm:

Got 14 inches of snow in Gurnee Illinois. Shoveled a path to the jacuzzi and it was almost filled in when I went back into the house. Love the jacuzzi when it is snowing.

By VT, Copper Country on Thursday, January 6, 2005 - 01:36 pm:

I just crossed the Mackinaw Bridge over the holidays. Went down under to see the kids. We were discussing the bridge and the past when it was being built. I vaguely remember when it was going up as I was just a kid. Wasn't it 1957-8? Anyways, I bet some here can answer questions we have about the ferry days. Remember crossing over on the ferry? I bet there are lots of memories and stories of those days crossing over. I was so young but I still remember a little. My questions are:1. How much did it cost to cross over? 2.How many cars did the straights ferry hold? 3.How many ferry's were there? 4.What did they call the ferry boats? 5.Does anyone have any pictures of the ferry boats from that era that can be posted? Please share your memories!

By maijaMI on Thursday, January 6, 2005 - 01:56 pm:

I remember clearly crossing on ferries. We would have treked up from Detroit before I75. Then you sit at the dock among a huge amount of cars. My Dad was annoyed, my mom trying to be patient. My bro and I were fascinated. There were vendors moving up and down the lines of cars.

Don't know the answers to your questions, but do know we waited a good while. Then drove on with guys guiding the cars to be closely packed.

Then we could leave the car and be out. I remember when the Vacationland first came into service. (the last 'luxury' ferry) We would be waiting and waiting, and hoping we would get on her.

It took a while to cross, but it was wonderful after the containment in the car. Then we'd have to get back into our car and face a long ride to the Keweenaw.

I also remember when the bridge was being built. We could not believe it was possible. Last ferry ride, the bridge was half there. Now, these are only vague memories.

What times those were!

By ls, nova on Thursday, January 6, 2005 - 02:16 pm:

Here is a link that shows pictures of the car ferries. It doesn't say what the cost per car was though.

By FRNash/PHX, AZ on Thursday, January 6, 2005 - 03:00 pm:

Oboy, I remember a bunch of the car ferries from the 1940's & 1950's:
The Straits of Mackinac, City of Cheboygan, City of Munising, City of Petoskey, and finally the Vacationland. We used to pack a lunch and have a picnic on the docks while waiting! It could be quite a wait during the busy times, and 'twas quite the ordeal during deer season.

Not to mention the old railroad ferries. I did quite a few trips in that era on the Michigan Central from Detroit to the straits, then via those railroad ferries to St. Ignace, and on the old "Dust Sand, Soot & Ashes" which provided what seemed like hours of "entertainment" in the wee hours of the morning in the yards at Trout Lake with interminable crashing, banging, coupling, decoupling back and forth as one train was disassembled and another assembled before heading west.

Some of the old railroad ferries were also pressed into service as automobile carriers in busy times, like the dark, black, coal burning, black smoke belching foul nasty old
Chief Wawatam. Compare that to the majestic Vacationland!

Here's another link Trackdog's Michigan Railroad Car Ferry Page.

By dan, muskegon, mi on Thursday, January 6, 2005 - 03:18 pm:

Hey Debra from Muskegon, I miss your comments today... are you snowed under or something?

By Debra, Muskegon, MI on Thursday, January 6, 2005 - 03:32 pm:

Hi Dan from Muskegon!

Nope, not snowed under in Troll Land (I wish!), just enjoying others comments today without making a fool of myself by posting anything. : ) It was quite the hairy drive into work today though - accidents everywhere. What part of the city are you in (if you don't mind me asking?)

By Lowell MO on Thursday, January 6, 2005 - 04:01 pm:

Hello from Balmy Missouri: We have had freezing rain with a skiff of snow. right now its 18 and windy, really cold out. Real feel is 8
I can also remember crossing the straits on the car ferries by luck got to ride all of them even the old side loader. Went aross there one time on the Vacationland when the straits was full of ice. that was quite and experience. Everybody had to stay in the cabin and sit down. The boat would climb up on the ice and then shudder as the screw sucked the water from under the ice and the the weight of the boat would break the ice. Quite a ride, Enjoyed it and nerver forgot it.

By Misplaced Michigander, NJ on Thursday, January 6, 2005 - 05:49 pm:

The car ferries were lovely to watch, but my memories are all of the big Arnold and Shepler boats to Mackinac Island. You could sit or walk on deck and smell that pristine air, and truly experience the Straits. We took the grandchildren to Mackinac two years ago, and I was less than amused at having to sit inside a "Fast Cat" like a sardine in a can. Some things cannot be improved upon by modern innovations.

By FRNash/PHX, AZ on Thursday, January 6, 2005 - 06:00 pm:

Misplaced Michigander, NJ said...
...of the ... boats to Mackinac Island. You could sit or walk on deck and smell that pristine air

I had to chuckle at that one! Believe me it was not pristine air we smelled on the ol' coal fired
Chief Wawatam train ferry (gag, choke, cough), but it sure was memorable, a bit like the old coal burner railroad locomotives, just a bit more er... "potent"!

By FRNash/PHX, AZ on Thursday, January 6, 2005 - 06:11 pm:

Here are a few better pictures of the Chief Wawatam.

By Trish, WA on Thursday, January 6, 2005 - 08:02 pm:

oh man, do we ever have gray out here, well at least
sometimes. If Crayola could
market the different shades (low cloud ceiling gray, fog
gray, rain gray, pre-snow gray, volcanic ash gray,
convergence zone gray, ocean breakers gray) they'd make a

By Lowell MO on Thursday, January 6, 2005 - 09:56 pm:

Does anyone have any pictures of the old side-loader Straits of Mackinac?

By FRNash/PHX, AZ on Thursday, January 6, 2005 - 10:10 pm:

Lowell MO
...the old side-loader Straits of Mackinac?

It's included in the Mackinac Bridge gallery link above, posted...
By ls, nova on Thursday, January 6, 2005 - 02:16 pm:

By sandstoneprincesslovesgrey on Thursday, January 6, 2005 - 10:28 pm:

Hey, VT, I remember the ferry boats, too. Don't know how much it was, Mama always had enough for the trip. There were lots of cars it seemed to me to take forever for the boat to fill up. I remember the sun. I remember the wind. I remember a rainy day. After I was married, hubby and I, then later with the kids, took the ferry from Ludington to Milwaukee, that was fun...and then it was cheap! Now it is a small fortune! Almost moved to WA a few years ago. Would have HAD to live on Whidby(sp??) Is and take the ferry boat across the sound.

By Susan, Fl on Friday, January 7, 2005 - 12:35 am:

I remember the ferries....especially The Vacationland...we would head up "old 27" before I75 was a twinkle in someone's eye...and usually stop for a picnic in the Ogema Hills...the highes one where you could see West Branch on clear days. I understand the need for the bridge and love the wild beauty of it, but still miss the ferries. Wish they could have kept both.

By MK, MI on Friday, January 7, 2005 - 12:55 am:

I don't remember riding the ferry (I was only 4 when the bridge was built) but my family would drive up from Detroit to arrive in Mackinaw late at night and park in line to catch the first ferry in the morning and then sleep in the car! Everybody must have been really glad to get to Grandma's place in Walsh the next day!

By love the straits too on Friday, January 7, 2005 - 06:29 am:

misplaced Michigander: the Arnold and Shepler ferries are still operating.

By pj,mi on Saturday, January 8, 2005 - 11:39 pm:

I can't remember the fare for crossing the straits, but car and driver went at one price and each passenger paid $.25. Didn't mind crossing on any of them in the summer, but always hoped not to get the Cheboygan. It was interesting to cross in the winter before the Vacationland came into service. The other thing I remember was in driving toward the straits, you'd meet a line of cars coming toward you. That indicated that a ferry had just come in. Length of the line depended on the time of year.

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