Moving on – sort of and Huron Lightship Museum

7/2/13 Tuesday at St Clair, MI (St Clair-TT)

You may not realize it, but we like to move on Tuesdays, so naturally, we had to move today. Actually, John was NOT happy with the lack of satellite TV and only NBC (not a favorite channel) on the local antenna. Our friends Allan and Pauline moved on yesterday and no one claimed their spot. John was very hopeful that we’d get satellite reception there. I noted that it’s more open to the hot sun. He prevailed (the high’s in the next 10 days are just to the low 80’s).

I didn’t sleep well last night, maybe because it was on the edge of too warm, probably because we were going to move today. Especially with our history in Seaside of moving a little ways to get better TV led to severe damage on the passenger side of the rig. Needless to say, we were really careful this time, so all went smoothly. One small incident: once the rig had left our original site, we saw that a baby robin had crawled under it, then died (NOT squished). We arrived by 9:21 am!

The rest of the morning I organized my photos from June (800 or so) in Adobe Photoshop. John looked into a discounted plan for our phones, since his current employer discount will expire. I ran into a couple Michigan photos I didn’t share before:

2013-6 (583) 2013-6 (516) They like to hang their traffic lights from cable, instead of posts with arms, like we do in Spokane. Is it because of tornado danger?

Their cattails are slender, compared to ours in the Northwest. Just a different species?

IMG_0370 After lunch we went to Port Huron. In Port Huron, we had to stop for a bridge over the Black River to raise up for a ship. Cool. When we found the Huron Lightship Museum, a kind gentleman took our money ($5/senior, over 60) and spent over 2 hours showing us everything anyone could need to know about a lightship. [When I told him I was older than John, he said to John “you must take good care of her.” How sweet is that?] I didn’t realize lightships existed. He said they’re on the West coast as well. This one, built in 1920, worked as a relief lightship until 1935 when it was stationed just north of the Blue Water Bridge, to guide freighters from Lake St. Clair into St. Clair River. In 1970 she was retired, the last lightship on the Great Lakes (and on fresh water), then in 1989 she was designated a National Historic Landmark-the only Great Lakes lightship to be so honored.

IMG_0373 Huron Lightship (Museum). Notice that it’s sitting in sand. They pulled it close to shore, built a wall between the river and the ship, then filled the space with sand, so it won’t deteriorate in the water. Note the light (lantern) at the top of the mast. The shape of that light stretches the light – sends it way farther out than a normal light. When you step inside, you see a current running color video of the fish in the river, just beside the Lightship. Loved it.

IMG_0380The freighters carry mostly Iron Ore, but Henry Ford discovered that it can be pulverized, then bound with clay in to small balls, making it far easier to transport. This is what they use to make steel, so this is also a major reason (proximity to Iron Ore), along with ease of transportation through the Great Lakes, that Mr. Ford built his factory near here in Detroit.

IMG_0421 IMG_0397In 1948 when they discontinued the coal/steam boiler and put in these twin diesel engines, they had to add weight, to compensate: bars of iron, extra heavy chains on anchors, steel deck above instead of wood. Mushroom anchor.

IMG_0377 Captain’s quarters.

IMG_0408Crew’s quarters on the other end of the ship.

IMG_0405 IMG_0411 IMG_0410Kitchen, French Fry maker, dining.

IMG_0416 IMG_0420) The brig or hole, aka jail (they have a cloth doll down there for fun).

Maytag washing machine

IMG_0422 IMG_0423Phone, surrounded by sound absorbent material, for communicating within the ship. This is located in the engine room. I love the Hear-Here note. They also have a bell for communicating.

IMG_0417 IMG_0399 IMG_0418Oldest to newest buoys: You can see the actual light, with the light enhancing lens removed. This is a summer buoy. For winter they put a top without any light on (ships don’t travel from December to March, since the Lake freezes over. The next buoy has a solar panel on the top, but they added the 4 waving wands to scare off the seagulls (and their poop). The last is where they learned to put the solar panels on the sides and placed an LED light on the top.

Came back home for the usual end of the day, with fabulous dinner of grilled pork chops, Annie’s seashell cheddar macaroni and corn on the cob.  MMM Good.

PS:  We’ve found that if we drive to an open spot near the freeway, using the Wilson Antenna, we have Internet with SPEED.

Also:  I’ve just finished a great book “Drinking, a Love Story” by Caroline Knapp.  Wonderful sharing of how an alcoholic thinks. (My father died from alcoholism, plus it’s in my family, so I’m curious).

About Patricia Elser

I've always loved the loose, flowing, transparent look of watercolors, of Chinese paintings and their calligraphy, but alas, no watercolor classes were available when I was in school, so that interest remained buried until my children were grown. Even then, I was afraid that I couldn't really paint, so upon my sister's advice, I actually started to take classes. I signed up for every class available, determined to learn no matter how afraid I was. I came upon a teacher, Stan Miller, who inspired me, who opened the door to success in watercolor. I love to look at beautiful images. I want to capture them forever. All my life, photography was how I gathered images of the beauty I saw. Thanks to all that photography, I enjoy composing pictures, especially up close. Watercolors allow me to add more of me in their translation of that beauty. My paintings reflect my love for music and dance, with their rhythm and flow. I am fascinated by the play of light, so it appears in my pictures as drama for they are filled with darks and lights. Maybe it's the challenge, maybe it's the beauty, but now, when a work comes together, it fills my soul.
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