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What is it about nice people that attract total idiots?Nice people are martyrs. Idiots are evangelists.


Thursday, July 30, 2015

Vacation day 7.5 part one

This is a long, action-packed day and may take a couple posts to finish.  We head this time to the land of Mad Jack and Roland Hansen- Toledo.

Stopping at the Great Lakes Maritime Museum...

...which includes a tour of the  Col. James M. Schoonmaker!

Built in 1911, it was the biggest ship on the Great Lakes for three years- just to see if a boat too big for the locks could be built!

Wow... stay off Lake Michigan!

There was a lot of great stuff to see in the museum- a lot of the interactive stuff was a little problematic, though.

Here's Laurie trying to master semaphore.  We both failed miserably.  Thank God we weren't on the Titanic!

I want that above my bedroom door!

We were amazed that this bit of floaty foam and netting was considered a life raft.  Even more amazing:

FIFTEEN PERSONS?  Was this from the SS Seven Dwarves?

Good news:  Here's a much better raft.  Bad news, it's from the Edmund Fitzgerald.

Much like what our ship looked like.

A Lyle gun- shot a lead line to another ship to help rescuing.

A chunk of the USS Michigan, the first iron-hull ship.

Hand held Lyle gun- formerly a Civil War carbine.

This model is from a ship with a fascinating history.  During the war, Bethlehem Steel needed more cargo tonnage and no way to get it.  So they bought a ship called the Notre Dame Victory, anchored in the Atlantic, and added 160 feet in the middle to make it an iron hauler.  They had to bring it to the lakes by towing it down the Atlantic, across the Gulf, down the Mississippi and Illinois rivers, scraping bridges on its way into Lake Michigan- and the trip took just 37 days!  It was re-christened the Cliff's Victory.

That gentleman id Edmund Fitzgerald.

And it's time for the ship!

For those of you not in the know, I have an ever-increasing fear of heights, and this thing started triggering it about three steps from the deck.  Still, I soldiered on...

Waiting our turn to check out the hold...

How big?  See below.

Laurie in one of the crew bedrooms... in another.  They were four person (2 on, 2 off) rooms.

The galley

Coolest of all for me was the engine room.

Here we find the officer's mess...

The stern end.

Chillin' with the gang...

Next, we went to the Bow end- and this is where it really got interesting...

What lies up the stairway?

Andrew Carnegie...

...showered here?!

...slept here?!

...passed out here?!

The Captain's office

And his phone.  Just set the dial to the right "extension", and crank.

And now, things came to a problem for me.  There were two higher levels, which had to be reached from the outside.  My knees went into "lock mode" two steps from the first one, and I made Laurie look to see if it was worth it before I took those steps.  It took three more steps after the stairs to force my knees into the "upright" position.  By the time I entered the room at this level- the Passengers' observation lounge- Laurie had discovered that we could go up one MORE set of stairs to the pilot's room.  My reaction:  "One more higher? F--- you."  She took the camera and went aloft, whilst I looked around and regained my composure.

The cool stuff and views my fear of heights denied me...

What will happen next?  Will Chris be forever a prisoner of the observers' lounge?  Tune in tomorrow for part two!


  1. Chris:
    Now THAT is a fantastic tour...

    Sorry to hear about your acrophobia.
    ( you would have problems touring an aircraft carrier too, trust me! - the bridge is about FOURTEEN stories off the flight deck)

    Love the pictures, too...excellent coverage of the ship.

    I've read up on the iron haulers of the Great Lakes, followed the search and discovery if the "Fitz" back in the late 70s., and have always admired the men who set out on these ships, especially "...when the gales of November come early".

    Whoever was responsible for the restoration and preservation of the Schoonmaker has done an exemplary job from stem to stern.
    She looks as though she';s ready to set sail again...
    The engine room and wheelhouse are amazingly pristine. as is the rest of the ship.

    Now THAT is a tour I would not mind taking.

    And thanks to you, I feel I have...thanks.
    (nice "part one")

    Stay safe up there, brother.

    1. In fact, there were sections that got roped off for painting after we passed them!