Thursday, July 9, 2009

The Chi-Cheemaun Ferry and the Mackinac Bridge

I’ve been doing some reading and exploring maps prior to our departure for the Great Lakes Loop in a few weeks. I seem to be fascinated with two points of interest on our trip. One is the ferry we will take across Lake Huron from Bruce Peninsula (Tobermory) to South Baymouth on the Manitoulin Island.

My first curiosity about the ferry is how the heck you pronounce that name. While I’ve been unsuccessful in finding a pronunciation, I have discovered its meaning. Chi-Cheemaun is Ojibwe for “big canoe.” It’s a big canoe all right, at 365 feet long. It can carry 143 automobiles and 638 passengers. It is the largest ship of its kind on the Great Lakes.

We will spend two hours aboard the Chi-Cheemaun. I am counting on a glorious day, as the view coming into South Baymouth is reported to be fantastic. We had to reserve our space and pay extra for that, as it seems the time we wish to cross is also popular with others.

From 2009 season

My other fascination is for the Mackinac Bridge. Here I had more luck with the pronunciation, which is approximately mack-in-awe. The Mackinac spans the Straits of Mackinac. It was dedicated the world's longest suspension bridge between anchorages. By saying "between anchorages", the bridge could be considered longer than the Golden Gate Bridge and also longer than the suspended western section of the San Francisco – Oakland Bay Bridge. (That bridge has a longer total suspension but is a double bridge with an anchorage in the middle.). The Mackinac Bridge is the longest suspension bridge with two towers between anchorages in the Western Hemisphere (source wikipedia)

From 2009 season

The bridge is about 5 miles long and while I’m excited about crossing it, I have a few fears as well. One concern is that I have no idea what kind of decking is on this bridge. I certainly do not want to see the water below my tires with my fear of heights. If the decking is grating, then the tires could slip around on the surface. If you add a strong wind to the day, things could get a bit dicey. However, worry, as a characteristic, usually proves to be unfounded, so for the moment I’m going with that.

1 comment:

Willie aka NomadWillie said...

I see you are headed for Michigan. Big recommedation for 2 places. Sleeping Bear Dunes NP is a must. This is on the lower half. Painted rocks on the UP is really kewl too.