A Lighthouse, Pretzels, and a German Dinner

Today was a busy day…  We started out with a 70 mile drive to Point Aux Barques Lighthouse in Port Hope, MI.

Great Lakes Frankenmuth

The museum here usually closes on October 1st, but they were so excited about our group of 1928-1931 Model A Fords that the volunteers came in just for us!

They even fed us a picnic lunch, which was really yummy!

Next we drove to Frankenmuth, MI, which is an entire town devoted to Bavarian style architecture and its German roots.  And, it’s the home of the “World’s Largest Christmas Store”.

We had to curtail the shopping, though because we had a date to learn to roll pretzels. We started the class by donning pretzel “glasses” and food-handler hair nets.  The former were optional, the latter were required. Here’s our group and our pretzel instructors:

You can tell that while some of us were a little skeptical, we ended up having a lot of fun.

Pretzels in progress and a few of the finished product:

The staff baked our pretzels while we enjoyed a German dinner with accordion music provided by our own Cindi Krill.

Tomorrow we may be heading further away from the Lakes, but there’s an exciting stop planned for lunch.  Stay tuned!



Farewell, Mackinac

On Saturday, we caught an early ferry back to the mainland. Farewell, Mackinac:

We had a leisurely drive south toward Bay City, MI.

Great Lakes Bay City

As we drove further south, our fall colors began to change.  We had almost no reds, fewer yellows and more greens.

We accidentally found 40 Mile Lighthouse which had a wonderful museum and docents ready to tell tall tales.

Then we stopped for lunch at a wanna-be lighthouse.


Tomorrow, we’ll travel to another lighthouse.




A Step Back in Time

Let’s review for a moment…  Our Great Lakes Model A Tour started on Tuesday, Sept. 24th, in Milwaukee, which is on the western shore of Lake Michigan (LAKE #1).  After a couple of days, we drove basically northward to Ashland, WI, which is on the southern shore of Lake Superior (LAKE #2).  Then we drove a few days along the southern shore of Superior until we reached Sault Ste. Marie, MI.  Here we took a tour of the locks, which had us touch a bit on Lake Huron (LAKE #3).

We will spend days 10 and 11 of on Mackinac Island in Lake Huron.

Great Lakes Image Mackinac

To get there, we drove 60 miles south, then up and over the Mackinaw Bridge – in the rain.

If you notice the two spellings (Mackinac and Macinaw), they are pronounced the same but Macinaw refers to Macinaw City on the mainland, and Macinac refers to the island.

We left our Model As on the mainland because there are no motorized vehicles allowed on the Island. (It’s truly a Step Back In Time.)  Here are photos of some seasonal decorations in the ferry ticket office, the initial view of our hotel, and a shot of our ferry.

After lunch, we did a little window shopping and just walked around downtown.  Because of the rain, we didn’t get too many photos.  The turtle below is the first of many turtles – The indigenous people named the island Michilimackinac (shortened to Mackinac) which meant “the place of the great turtles”.  The island is shaped more or less like a turtle and turtles seem to be a symbol of good luck.


On Friday morning, we all met for a tour of the island.  Mackinac does not allow motorized vehicles — transportation is walking, riding a bike, or taking a horse-drawn taxi.

Here are photos of our tour carriage, with horses “Judy” and “Mona”:

Some of the sights from the tour:

The tour ended at the Grand Hotel, where we had the buffet lunch and were able to tour all the public spaces.

At the very top of the hotel is the Cupola Room, where there are 360 degree views around the island.

We had a pleasant walk home with some more window shopping followed by dinner with some close tour friends.

Here are highlights from the Clausens:

I think I’ll miss the sound of horses and carriages…


We Visit Ghosts of the Shipwreck Coast

Today we drove the remainder of the southern coast of Lake Superior.

Great Lakes Image Sault Ste. Marie MI

It was mostly overcast this morning, but as you can see below, when the sun came out, the trees really lit up!

The morning drive was over 100 miles, but we managed to make time to visit Tahquamenon Falls:

We arrived at the Great Shipwreck Museum in time for lunch in the old boathouse.  After that, some of our group climbed the stairs to the top of the lighthouse.

Others were satisfied vising the museum and the lighthouse keeper’s quarters. I was especially interested in these Fresnel lighthouse lenses:

Then we rushed off toward Sault Ste. Marie to check in and rush on to meet our Locks tour boat. (Yes! We finally made a cruise.)  It was a narrated dinner sunset cruise and really enjoyable.

Some of the giant freighters that float through these locks are 1,000 feet long.  I couldn’t get it in one photo:

Here are some of the shots from the boat:

The following are highlights from the Clausens:

And some from the Hulstroms:

And one from the Krills:

IMG_0614Tomorrow is Mackinac Island, which involves another bost (ferry) ride.  Please keep your fingers crossed for us!

We Miss Another Cruise…

Great Lakes Image Munising MI

Here are a few shots from the day:

We were scheduled for a sunset cruise to see the colorful sandstone cliffs called Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.  Unfortunately, the weather didn’t cooperate and the cruise was cancelled.  (We’re 2 for 2 on cruises!)

Here’s a picture of what we missed:

IMG_5652To be continued…

Rained Out in the UP (Upper Peninsula)

Day 7 of the Model A Tour of the Great Lakes started early as we left our hotel and prepared to drive to Bayfield, WI, for a 3-hour narrated boat cruise of Lake Superior.  However, we stopped for breakfast half way there and learned that the cruise had been cancelled.  We were disappointed, but in truth, it was raining, blowing and we had lightning and thunder.  We were sort of relieved.

So, we returned to our hotel room and just “hung out” for a couple of hours until the rain eased up somewhat.  Then we began a leisurely drive toward our hotel in Silver City, MI.

When we arrived, Marcus and Mary surprised the group with appetizers and wine/beer.  It was a nice gathering, followed by dinner on our own.

Here are some shots the Hulstroms probably took yesterday:

Tomorrow, we’ll try another cruise, weather permitting.


We Reach Lake Superior

Today’s drive northward took us along scenic highways and we saw more color and we drove toward Ashland, WI.

Great Lakes Ashland WI

It was drizzly today, but we stopped at Copper Falls for a pleasant hike through this Wisconsin State Park.

No, there are no copper mines here.  The Bad River leading to Copper Falls gets its copper color from tannin, not copper deposits.  Tannin is a natural dye that results when tamarack, white cedar and other trees decay in northern bogs.

When we reached Ashland, which is on the southern shore of Lake Superior, we were delighted by many murals.

Here are “cheese head” photos from the Clausens:

There’s never a dull moment on  a Model A Tour!


The Berries Have It!

On the fifth day of the Great Lakes Tour (Saturday, Sept. 28, 2019), our Model A Fords found their way to Warrens, WI, to the Cranberry Capital of the World! This weekend is the Cranberry Fest, the largest craft show and flea market (1,400 booths) in the U.S.  Everything cranberry – plus all kinds of things you’d never expect. The ladies in pink below are a mother-daughter group (actually consisting of 7 ladies) who visit the “Cranfest” every year, with a special theme each year.

This town of 363 inhabitants hosts close to 160,000 visitors during the 3-day weekend.


We all parked our cars on the Lions Club front lawn to provide a little car show while we were there. The club took a cranberry bog tour, but our little group got caught in traffic and missed it.  You’ll see some photos from other club members below.

Lunch on our own, and we found a café/biker bar, obviously Harley Davidson fans who enjoy making fun of Japanese motorcycles:

Then, we headed northward and we began to see some of the leaves starting to turn color.  And, we found our own cranberry bog:

And a surprise!

These huge birds are bigger than our great blue herons at home.  They’re cranes, and we learned that “cranberries” were originally called “craneberries” because of the many cranes in the area.  They seem to love the recently harvested corn fields.

Here are highlight photos of the cranberry bog tour from the Clausens;

And from the Robinsons:

And the Hulstroms’ shot shows the Cranfest crowd:

IMG_9056Tomorrow, we reach our first hotel actually on one of the Great Lakes.  Stay tuned…