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Saturday, June 5, 2010

Greetings From Ontario

We had a good trip to Ontario and are enjoying the trip. We took a different route this time and saw more of Michigan than ever before. We drove up through the center of the state to Mackinaw City where we spent the night of May 31. The next morning we took a 15-minute ferry ride across Lake Huron to Mackinac Island.
Mackinac Island has been always been a summer resort. The Indians used to come here every summer to fish. European settlement began in 1671 when Father Jacques Marquette established a mission to Huron Indians on Mackinac Island. During the American Revolution the British constructed a fort on top of a steep limestone bluff on the island.

The first conflict of the War of 1812 occurred here but there was no battle. Surprised and outnumbered, the American soldiers surrendered to the British without a fight. The view of Lake Huron from the fort was gorgeous. It is easy to see why the fort was constructed on this spot.

The fort was returned to the Americans as part of the peace treaty at the end of the War of 1812 and became a military station. In the years before the Civil War, Fort Mackinac became an increasingly obsolete military station and was nearly abandoned. Soldiers returned to the island, after the Civil War and were followed by crowds of tourists looking for a place to escape the summer heat and congested cities. The federal government created Mackinac National Park in 1875, making it America's second national park.
Mackinac Island is a beautiful Victorian village. No motorized vehicles are allowed on the island. All transportation is by horse, bike, or foot. Being thrifty Mennonites, we chose the free method and hoofed it through the town. Everything is very expensive on the island and the price of one hamburger was over $4. We were glad we had the foresight to buy our lunch on the mainland and could eat at a picnic table.
We took the 1:30 p.m. ferry back to the mainland with an energetic group of 62 second graders accompanied by over 30 parents. As a favor to the children, the captain of the ferry took an extra loop under the famous Mackinaw Bridge. Lake Huron and Lake Michigan join at the bridge so we can say we were on the water of both lakes. We got to see the underside of the bridge and men painting the sides; a viewpoint not many people get to see. If you look closely maybe you can spot the painter's scaffolding hanging just below the roadway of the bridge.

We crossed the bridge then and drove all the way across the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, stopping for the night at Ironwood, just two minutes from the Wisconsin border. June 2 was a day of driving. We crossed the border at International Falls around 2 p.m. and got to Sioux Lookout around 5:30.
We have been staying with my brother Merle and Edith. The men have been fishing and putting vinyl siding on Merle's garage. Edith had a quilt in the frame. We women quilted for two days solid and finished it. Now we are free to do whatever we wish today. It was raining steadily yesterday so the men could not work on siding. This morning it is cloudy but not raining so they are out there trying to get some more done before going fishing again.
Merle said yesterday they should do the important things first and go fishing before it starts to rain. Leroy brought home a nice string of seven fish. We cannot have more than eight fish in our possession at a time. We are eating fish every day so they can go fishing again. the next day The Walleye are delicious and I am not tired of eating fish.

Our time with Merles is half over. They live ten miles out of the town of Sioux Lookout. We women have been pretty much tied to the quilt until now but will be seeing more of the town today and tomorrow when we go to church. If the weather is favorable we might to canoeing on Sunday afternoon. And then Monday morning it will be time to strike out toward home again.


Anonymous said...

History wherever you go! I am enjoying it. Maybe you can update me about Sioux Lookout. I can't recall ever wondering about that. Red Lake was definitely settled for the gold mining and several other towns in the area.

Mary Horst

Anonymous said...

Great to hear you two are having a good time! You talking about fishing and eating Walleye reminds me of the mission trips to Poplar Hill and all the fishing and eating Walleye that we did in the past 2 years. I am not going this year, and I will miss it!