Border Crossings and Bushplanes . . .

We left for the Canadian side of the Soo Locks about 1pm. And after showing our passports at the border, we first headed down to the Bushplane Museum.

First up was this Canadair CL-215 firefighting amphibious water bomber, one of the premiere planes of the type.

Bushplan CL-215

It fills its tanks by landing at high speed on a lake or river, opening the tank fill doors,

Bushplan CL-215a

and then waiting until water starts gushing out of this overflow outlet. In 8 hours they can may as many as a hundred bombing runs.

Bushplan CL-215b


Whenever I see one of these old Bell 47’s all I can think of is “Whirlybirds”, an old TV show.

Bushplan Bell 47


Next up is this replica Fokker Tri-Motor, built for the movie, Amelia, about Amelia Earhart. Although I never flew in one of these, I did fly in a Ford Tri-Motor a number of times when we were living in South America in the early 60’s.

Bushplan Fokker Tri-Motor


Here’s a neat little homebuilt amphibian, an Esperanza 4.

Bushplan Esperanza 4


And this is pretty much the “end all and be all” of bushplanes, the de Havilland Beaver. First designed in the 1940’s, over 1600 were built until production ended in 1967, with more than 1200 still flying. A real workhorse.

Bushplan Beaver


And RC-3 Seabee

Bushplan RC-3 Seabee


And for some reason, they also had several old cars there. This the fabled Stanley Steamer, a car that I had never actually seen in person before.

Bushplan Stanley Steamer

Doesn’t look like you’d have to change the sparkplugs on this one.

Bushplan Stanley Steamer 2


The next two are a couple of Fords. The only problem with the car displays is that there was absolutely no info on them anywhere, I even ask some of the guides and no one knew the make or year of any of them. Bummer.

Bushplan Ford Sedan

Bushplan Ford Runabout

After seeing a couple of good films on bushplanes and aerial firefighting, we left the museum and headed north up PH17, looking for moose.

Yep, we were on another Moose Hunt.

Jan had been told there were a lot of moose about 20 miles north of town in the Mile Hill area. So off we went. But although we found the area with a lot of “Watch For Moose” signs, no moose.

Sometimes I feel like Coronado searching for the Seven Cities of Gold. They’re always right over the next hill.

On our way north we had passed a Boston Pizza, one of our favorites, and by the time we came back past, it was 4:30 and we couldn’t resist stopping for dinner. And as usual, we ordered the large Meateor, to give us plenty of leftovers.

On a related note, what is it with the northern Midwest and cold drinks. First, pretty much every place we eaten since Bend, OR never has any sweetener on the table. And after they bring you your drink, they don’t even offer. You have to ask for it. What’s up with that?

And I’m sorry, but ordering a glass of ice water or iced tea does not mean three lonely ice cubes floating on top of a glass of tepid liquid. It’s usually pretty cold up here. Why do they have to ration ice cubes?

Leaving Boston Pizza and heading home, we stopped off at a Tim Horton’s to pick up some muffins for our next travel days, and also got Iced Hazelnut Cappuccinos to go.

Except for having to wait in line behind a bunch of semi’s, we didn’t have any trouble getting back across the border. I guess Jan’s past hasn’t caught up with her yet.

As I mentioned yesterday, tomorrow we’re going to drive down to St. Ignace and take the ferry over to Mackinac Island, and then the horse-drawn carriage tour around the island.

After we were home for a while, Brandi sent over a bunch of Landon school pics for this year. A real cutie. Can’t wait to see him in about 3 weeks.

Landon School Picture 2013a

Landon School Picture 2013b

Landon School Picture 2013d

Love the hat and bowtie.

Later, just as the sun was going down, I got this shot of a big freighter going by.

Night Time Boat Passing

Don’t know what ship this is, but there are 13 1000 footers here on the Lakes, the largest of which at 1013 feet, is the Paul R. Tregurtha. The American Century we saw going through the Soo Locks the other day is also one of those 1000 footers.


Thought for the Day:

“Sometimes one pays most for the things one gets for nothing.” – Albert Einstein



8 Responses

  1. Remember to buy the famous fudge on the island….think the name is Murdock’s. UP is known their pasties…similar to a chicken/turkey pot pies. We had them north of St. Ignace. If you are into fish, Lake Superior whitefish is wonderful in the area.

  2. Having spent my youth in Sault Ste Marie I was an ice cube miser, then I met and married my beautiful wife from Florida. I could not believe how she would just fill a glass with ice with any cold drink. Now forty years later and living in Southern Ontario, a full glass of ice is the norm and I am amused when I occaisionally return to the Soo and see that they still ration ice as if it was a rare and hard to find resource.
    Have a good visit to the area.
    Pat and Jim

  3. when you visit the Island, plan to have brunch in the Grand Hotel, there is admission to enter the worlds longest porch but it’s deducted from the cost of brunch. I cannot remember if its only on the weekends though. And are you coming across to the lower portion of Mi and going south? You are welcome spend a night, I have water and 50 amp service. South of Traverse City on M37. Bill

  4. Greg,

    You never cease to amaze me. You flew in a Tri-motor while living in South America. Next thing I know it will be about the time you were on the polar ice cap.

    Nice blog.

  5. Your comments about the ice (or lack of) in the ice tea reminded me of when I was at an IHOP in Vancouver BC. I ordered ice tea with my dinner and when they brought it I sipped it and realized that it was sweetened. As I have diabetes I called her over and told her that I had ordered plain ice tea to which she responded that they thought that all Americans drank ‘sweet tea.’ When I asked for some plain ice tea she said she did not know how to make it so I asked to bring me a pot of hot water, a couple of tea bags and a glass with lots of ice in it. I have also had to suggest to flight attendants that if they will bring me the right things I will make my ice tea.

    Will take a good look at your aircraft pictures later. Loved the pics of your adorable grandson, Landon.

    I am in the throes of dealing with sale of my stick house and clearing 14 years of stuff out. Hopefully in a couple of months I will be out in a larger rig having fun.


  6. Bill,

    Thanks for the invite, but we want to get a little further down the road before we stop for the night.

    I think we’ll probably spent the night at the Little Rivers Casino in Manistee.

    Thanks again.

  7. George,

    Never made it to a polar ice (either one), but I’ve been to Tierra del Fuego at the tip of South America, and of course, to the Arctic Circle in Alaska.

    Doesn’t that count?

  8. Rosalind,

    I think the thing with the ‘sweet tea’ up here is that it is from a fountain dispenser like Coke.

    Lipton makes a Brisk Ice Tea as a fountain drink, both in an unsweetened and a sweetened version.

    That’s probably what you got. I’ve got it quite a few times up here.

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