Thunder Bay! Saturday/Sunday 7/2-7/3

Around the thumb, along the western shore of Lake Huron and Alpena, Michigan, our destination for the long holiday weekend.  Though not our first choice, we ended up camping at the Alpena County Fairgrounds.  Funny how things work out, the county fairgrounds was a much better choice than our original pick.  A quiet, uncrowded  haven on a wildlife sanctuary in the middle of the city, with electric, for only $20/night.  How lucky for us.

Following the coastline (the "dotted road") and driving those two-lane roads through towns with traffic signals had us bleary-eyed and weary by the time we finally settled in at the fairgrounds.  To combat body, brain and butt-fatigue -- as in, sitting too long behind the wheel in Tergel -- we strolled along the wildlife waterway.  The stroll ended up being a couple of miles!

I thought I'd spotted a black squirrel, but this was no squirrel ... it's a mink.

At Island Park, we stopped sit on a bench for awhile, admiring the county's handiwork.

The fairgrounds is the beige blob, center, on the wildlife sanctuary waters.  Convenient to everything. Alpena is hands-down the most bicycle-inclined city I've ever seen.  Bikes rule here, and all ages, from very young to white-hairs, are out riding.  In the map above, the colored lines are walking/biking paths, all accessible as well.  The map also shows shipwrecks located in Thunder Bay.

The next morning, Sunday, we drove Smartie to the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary (NOAA), Great Lakes Maritime Heritage Center, an amazing and free museum, more than a museum really.  We spent hours inside at the exhibits, reading, studying, interacting ... and then we signed up for the glass-bottomed boat shipwrecks tour in Thunder Bay at 1 PM.  Oh boy, a boat cruise.

These two signs deal with the Thunder Bay area, and the museum featured a number of exhibits on the shipwrecks in Lake Huron.  Enlarge the sign below if you can't read it (click back-arrow to return to blog post).

A perfect day to be on the water!

Woo-hoo, we went under the 2nd Avenue lift bridge.

Our ship's captain said this giant American flag at the marina weighed over 200 pounds!

We passed cute li'l Alpena Breakwater Lighthouse on our way out to Thunder Bay.

My camera didn't like photographing through the glass bottom panels, but we're looking at the ribs of the sunken ship Shamrock (I think).  It's resting in about 10-15 ft of water.

The anchor of the Harvey Bissell (again, I think that's correct).

The shipwrecks tour was two hours and it was grand being on the water.

This is the remains of a crane on a sunken barge on the opposite end of Thunder Bay, sunk a bit deeper in 15-20 feet of Lake Huron water.

Catching a few rays on the Lady Michigan!  Good thing we applied 30 spf.  The day was fine, warm and sunny, but not hot, and we enjoyed all of it.  Every minute of it.  Tomorrow is the Fourth, and from what we've heard, Alpena will be a real happening place to be!


  1. Nice photo of you two!

  2. Interesting glass-bottom boat tour ... I've not heard of one that takes you to see wrecks.

  3. How cool seeing the mink! Where are you guys next week? Shoot me an email, I'm off starting Tuesday for a week and don't have a plan yet. Would love to meet up with you in Michigan or northern Wisconsin if it's convenient.

    1. OK. We might be in the Ashland area early next week. (I don't have an email address for you that works.)


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