Saint Clair RV Resort

We left Mackinaw City at 9:45 on Thursday morning, September 2, 2021. Acey had 77,041.1 miles and Thor had 91,576 miles. We headed south, stopped to make lunch at a rest area and arrived at the Thousand Trails resort in Saint Clair at 3:30. We got set up, did some cleaning, went grocery shopping, made dinner and called it a day! We will be here THREE WEEKS – so this will be a LONG blog!

It rained off and on – we caught up on laundry and bills, etc. We visited War Water Brewery and got a table almost IN the brewing bay. Tasty brews on tap! Their name seemed kind of odd; their website explains “THE NAME WAR WATER BREWERY CAME FROM THE MILITARY STRUGGLES OVER THE GREAT LAKES REGION OVER THE COURSE OF SEVERAL GENERATIONS SPANNING 1754-1814.”

On our way back to Acey, we noticed a freighter going up the Saint Clair River, so we looked for a place to pull off and watch it go by; we found a vacant lot. Saint Marys Challenger was coming downriver. She is 552 feet long and has a 56 foot beam. Smaller than most of the bulk carriers on the Great Lakes.

From Wikipedia: “The SS St. Marys Challenger is a freight-carrying vessel operating on the North American Great Lakes built in 1906. Originally an ore boat, she spent most of her career as a cement carrier when much larger ore boats became common. After a 107-year-long working career as a self-propelled boat, she was converted into a barge and paired with the tug Prentiss Brown as an articulated tug-barge. Before conversion, she was the oldest operating self-propelled lake freighter on the Great Lakes, as well as being one of the last freight-carrying vessels on the Great Lakes to be powered by steam engines.”

We waited a little longer and saw the John J Boland coming upriver – heading to Marquette.  Built in 1973, she is 680 feet long and 78 feet wide, More info here.

On Sunday, we worshipped with Stephens Valley Church, watching last week’s service – The sermon was entitled “The Lord Hurled a Great Wind” – talking about Jonah – it was somewhat timely as Hurricane Ida was approaching the Gulf Coast last Sunday. We are thankful that friends in the area weathered the storm — with some damage and loss of power – but nothing major to report. Many others did not fare so well, especially up East. Our son Chuck had already scheduled a trip to Atlanta a few weeks prior and watched the Nashville Soccer Club beat the Atlanta team and he also caught a Braves game – he does get around! We Zoomed with our Sunday School class, had lunch and went for a bike ride on the Bridge to Bay Trail – from Saint Clair to East China and back – 16 miles. Another beautiful day to ride bikes!

Monday – Labor Day – we didn’t do a whole lot – relaxed and took it easy! In the afternoon, we drove over to the Saint Clair River to watch freighters go by. We got a close up view since the river is not terribly wide, and the channnel is on “our side” with Canada just across the river! The first freighter we saw was the Maria G built in 2007; she is 656 feet long, 78.7 feet wide. She is sailing under the flag of Malta.

Maria G was built as an ocean going freighter, and had an escape pod on the back.

The next bulk carrier was the Great Republic built in 1981. “It is about 650 feet in length and nearly 70 feet wide… At the time the vessel was built she was described as “the most nimble and manoeuvereable ship in the world”.” Quoted from an interesting article here. Fun that an almost matching boat was passing by her!

Tuesday morning we went for another bike ride on the Bay to Bridge Trail – from East China to Marine City and back; just 12.5 miles logged in on that ride.

Wednesday, after breakfast, Jim played barber and cut his hair and Linda’s with the Flowbee – an interesting device that hooks up to our central vacuum.

After lunch, we went to Palmer Park on the river to watch the freighter traffic again. It was a nice afternoon to sit by the river! The first ship we saw was the John J Boland returning from the north. We noticed a small lifeboat/tender on the back of the ship.

Next up was the Coast Guard Cutter Hollyhock. She is 225 feet long, 46 feet wide and was launched on January 25, 2003. A Seagoing Buoy Tender, she is responsible for nearly 150 aids to navigation on the lower Great lakes.

As the Walter J McCarthy Jr came along and the sky was getting darker.

 Built in 1977, she is 989 feet long and has a beam of 105 feet. Originally named Belle River, she was renamed Walter JMcCarthy Jr. after the retired chairman of the board of Detroit Edison on May 25,1990. These huge ships are fascinating!

There was a nice statue in the park – a mother and son with the pet dog – waving at the ships going by.

It reminded me of the Waving Girl statue we saw when we were in Savannah, just missing the little boy!

This sea gull was watching the people – maybe looking for a bite to eat?

CSL Tadoussac was the next ship to pass – a busy day for traffic on the St. Clair River!

She was launched in 1969; the last Canada Steamship Lines vessel built with the forward pilothouse and the first to be built with stern mounted self-unloading gear. She is 730 feet 4 inches long and has a 75 foot beam.

It began to sprinkle on us, with one more vessel to see, so we waited in the car for the Appledore IV to pass by.  The eighty-five-foot-long Tall Schooner with a 67 foot mast has sailed the Great Lakes for nearly 40 years.

And with the rain came a rainbow; looks like the Mom caught the end in her hat!

Thursday we went to visit Linda’s childhood neighborhood and (almost) saw the house she grew up in. The trees have grown quite large!

Linda’s family moved from this house in 1972 and by 2004, several changes had been made – as would be expected! No shutters, added skylights and new windows. The aluminum siding may also have been changed. Who knows what kind of changes have been made inside!

Linda’s dad used to put Christmas lights on the pine tree in the center of the cul-de-sac; that tree is REALLY tall now!

The two neighboring homes don’t look much different from the 70’s.

We visited Barb who had lived in the house behind Linda’s, and her mother had still owned the home! Barb’s mom recently passed and she and Brian – and her family – have been going through the parents’ accumulated stuff and getting the house ready to be sold; her parents had owned the house for over 50 years and you can imagine what a monumental task that is!

Linda and Barb

We visited the Franklin Cider Mill and got some cider and doughnuts!

Can’t you almost smell this tasty spiced doughnut?!

On Friday, Jim had an appointment to have his wrist and hand looked at – it’s been bothering him off and on for quite some time and now the pain is starting to interfere with his sleeping. They scheduled an EMG scan for Monday. After that, we went for a bike ride on the Wadhams to Avoca Trail in Port Huron.

Another gorgeous day to ride! The trail is partially paved, but mostly crushed gravel.

The trail used to be a railway route.

A typical rails-to-trail, it was fairly flat with gentle inclines. There was a long trestle we rode on – 60 feet above the Mill Creek.

We brought our lunch and ate at a park at the end of the trail – and rode back to the car, riding nearly 20 miles. We had heard there was an antique boat show in Port Huron that was starting that day, so we went to take a look at the wooden boats.

MOLLY-O — 1939 Chris Craft – 24.9 ft
“Jazzy” is a 1948 Chris Craft – 17 foot Deluxe Runabout

One of the oldest boats we saw was Isabella – a 1933 Robinson; 36 feet long – really nice restoration job!

This car was also on display – this Bugatti won the first ever Grand Prix in Monaco in 1929.

Linda found this photo of the car as it raced in 1929 – it looks just a little different…

Saturday, September 11 – we watched the TV coverage remembering the tragic day 20 years ago today when so many lost their lives and the world was changed forever.

In the afternoon, we had some visitors; Candi and Mark – who Linda knew from her school days in Michigan. We showed them around Acey, had a great time chatting and went out for dinner at Pepper Joe’s in Saint Clair. It was fun to catch up with them and we hope to have an opportunity to see them again before we head south!

Sunday we worshipped with Stephens Valley Church via YouTube – watching last week’s service, finishing up the “Summer in the Psalms”, focusing on Psalm 1 this week – and then Zoomed with our Sunday School class. We had lunch and went shopping – and did a few maintenance chores. We fixed our pizza dinner and Zoomed with the family. It was raining – and hailing! – making it hard to hear. It continued to rain all night and into the morning – and a good part of the day Monday. Jim had the EMG scan and has an appointment to see a doctor before we leave Saint Clair. Apparently he has carpal tunnel in BOTH of his wrists.

On Tuesday, Sept 14, we went to the Henry Ford.

This museum is HUGE; we had no idea what exactly we were in for – so many things to see! The first thing we saw was the “cornerstone” that Thomas Edison signed on September 27, 1928 on the future site of the museum (Read more here) – and a DC 3 hanging in the hall! You can also download the App – THF Connect

Presidential Limousines were on display – The Reagan Car was first – a 1972 Lincoln

Used by Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan and George H W Bush

Next was the Kennedy Car – a 1961 Lincoln

We were rather surprised to read that after Kennedy’s assassination, the car was rebuilt and occassionally used by Johnson, Nixon, Ford and Carter.

Eisenhower’s Bubbletop – a 1950 Lincoln was next.

This car was used by Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy (Until the 1961 Lincoln was delivered) and Johnson used it as a spare.

FDR’s Sunshine Special – “the FIRST car expressly designed and built for a president” a 1939 Lincoln

Harry Truman also used this car.

Teddy Roosevelt’s Brougham – he did not really like automobiles and used this carriage only for public parades and outings.

The buggy was also used by Taft, Wilson, Harding and Coolidge only for household errands.

There was a HUGE 1941 Allegheny steam locomotive – C&O 1601

From the cab, It is really quite impossible to see what’s ahead!

1958 Rogers wood burning locomotive

There were several train cars on display too, not as interesting as the engines! Here is a 1923 Canadian Pacific Snowplow, used in New England and Canada 1923-1990

This chariot was colorful

They don’t make ’em like they used to! How about this old School Bus from 1927!

or this 1908 Stevens-Duryea Model U limosine

Wow – this 1948 Tucker 48 sedan was futuristic looking – for it’s time anyway!

Racecars were in the next exhibit area – this 1965 Goldenrod held a land speed record for more than 25 years! 409.277 MPH – WOW!

It ran on 4 Chrystler Hemi engines with fuel injectors!

2011 Ford Fusion – driven by Daytona’s youngest winner; 20 year old Trevor Bayne!

“Bayne was too young for champagne, so his teammates showered him with Coca-Cola and confetti in Victory Lane” – and the car is still coated with it 20 years later!

In 2016, this Ford GT was the winner at Le Mans – 50 years after Ford’s first victory there – did you see the movie Ford Vs Ferrari?

Has it not been washed since the race? Interesting!

Ford’s FIRST racecar – the 1901 Ford “Sweepstakes” – Henry Ford drove it to victory in a 10 mile race. It had a reported top speed of 72 MPH

The story of the Ford “999” in 1902 is quite interesting!

Henry Ford and the builders of this car were afraid to race it themselves! Barney Oldfield to the rescue! it averaged a scary 54.878 mph in the October 25, 1902 race, and won the five-mile race.

There was much more than cars and transportation featured at the Henry Ford! Here are some old neon signs! McDonald hamburgers were only 15 cents!

The original Howard Johnson logo was based on the nursery rhyme “Simple Simon met a pieman”

And back to cars – this was Henry Ford’s first successful car – the 1896 Ford Quadricycle Runabout.

In the 1890’s there were many Americans – and Europeans – working on developing a “horseless carriage” – Ford did NOT invent the car per se.

Did you know there was an electric car back in 1901?!

And this 1899 STEAM driven Locomobile runabout

A 1909 Ford Model T touring car – not just black!

The Model T was built from 1908 to 1927 and “was named the most influential car of the 20th century in the 1999 Car of the Century competition” (see this)

This “exploded” Model T is pretty cool!

The production line concept was off and running by 1914 – what a concept!

we saw this car at Greenfield Village – keep reading!

1937 LaSalle coupe – what a beauty!

1955 Chevy hardtop

There was a replica of the Wright Brothers Flyer – we saw one at Kitty Hawk a few months back (See this blog) – but Henry Ford wanted one here!

Actually, there are TWO replicas – there is another at the museum entrance!

This one was actually flown several times in 1978 by Ken Kellett at Kitty Hawk!

The Ford Tri-Motor was produced from 1925 to 1933 – a total of 199 were made.

This is Lincoln’s chair (the one he sat in at the theatre…)

This was the actual bus that 42 year old Rosa Parks rode on and refused to give up her seat on December 1, 1955 in Montgomery Alabama.

We didn’t do a whole lot on Wednesday but decided to go for a short bike ride after lunch, before we hit the grocery store. We rode to the other end of the Wadham to Avoca Trail and at the end, we saw a train waiting on the live track! 8 1/2 miles today

Thursday after lunch we went to watch the ships on the St. Clair River again.

The first ship we saw was Elbeborg,  built in 2011 and sailing under the flag of Netherlands. Her length is 474.28 feet and her width is 52 feet.

Another statue at the park caught our attention – a family on bicycles!

Looking back at the river, we saw a tug – The General – pushing a barge for Kokosing Construction. This may not be an integrated vessel like some of the other tugs we have seen.

We read that the Paul R Tregurtha was the “Reigning Queen of the Great Lakes” – being 1,013 feet long and 105 feet wide. The Marine Traffic App showed it was to come past St. Clair this afternoon – which is why we came to watch to river traffic today. Sure enough, we spotted her coming toward us!

We were surprised at how small a wake this behemoth left after it passed by!

We took a short break for ice cream – Linda had not had blue moon for many years. Its only available in the  Upper Midwest of the United States. Its flavor is unique – sort of like almond-raspberry. You’ll have to try it yourself next time you get to Michigan or Wisconsin!

The next ship coming downriver was The State of Michigan – a 224 foot training ship built in 1985. Great Lakes Maritime Academy at Northwestern Michigan College

American Courage was the next ship; a bulk carrier built in 1979, it is 636 feet long and 68 feet wide

As it headed downriver, another freighter was coming upriver!

Here is the Willfred Sykes – built in 1950, she is 660 feet long and 70 feet wide.

That was a fun afternoon of ship watching!

Friday, September 17 – we went back to The Henry Ford – to see Greenfield Village. On our way, someone had a very bad start to their day – we passed a car-b-cue.

It looked to be a nice clear day – and not too warm – a great day to be out walking around Greenfield Village!

This fountain welcomed us to the Village

The first place we visited was the Firestone Farm – yes, Firestone like the tires! As with the other buildings here, it was relocated from its original location – this farm was in Fairfield Township, Columbiana County, Ohio

These horses are cutting the grass with a a “sickle bar” mechanism – triangular blades attached to a bar that oscillates back and forth as they drag the machine forward. The cut grass is fed to the farm animals. Nothing is wasted at the farm!

We visited the barn – lots of sheep there!

some chickens wandered in too

and two little piggies were cuddled and snoozing

We also visited the farmhouse which was built in 1828 and remodeled in 1882.

In the craftworks area, we visited a weaving shop, pottery shop, priniting office, a millinery shop, a tintype studio, 2 sawmills, and a carding shop. In one of the shops, the ladies were spinning fibers to make linen We had no idea FLAX was used to make linen! No photos of those… We watched some glass artists at work and then went to the glass gallery. We saw a very similar bowl like this at the Corning Museum of Glass in New York.

Cityscape Bowl, 1998 Jay Musler

This teapot is pretty but won’t hold water….

The title of this display – “IMPORTED GLASS FOR SHOWING OFF” says it all!

The gallery had a piece by Dale Chihuly and many other items – if you want to see more glass, see our blog that includes our visit to the Corning Museum of Glass! So much to see at Greenfield Village. We followed the ducks…

This grist mill was quite picturesque!

Henry Ford’s boyhood home was relocated to Greenfield Village

This windmill was nearby

Here is the last Model T that was made on May 26, 1927

In 1937, with Orville’s cooperation, The Wright’s Cycle shop was relocated here from 1127 West Third Street, Dayton, Ohio.

A small piece of the Wright’s flyer went to the moon with Apollo 11 on July 20, 1969. Linda’s family was at Kitty Hawk on that day, watching the moon landing on a TV brought in to the Kitty Hawk Visitor Center for the occasion. How cool is that?!

The Wright brothers had a machine shop at the back of their cycle shop. The sign here reads “…Unbelievable that sixty-five years later, Neil Armstrong was walking on the moon…this from two brothers with a high school education and from a cycle shop in Dayton, Ohio.”

The Wright’s home, relocated from Dayton Ohio

Ford and Edison were great friends and had winter homes in Fort Myers, FL.

Henry Ford duplicated Edison’s Menlo Park, New Jersey Complex

The Laboratory had more machines! We found it interesting that Tesla was not mentioned at all – he and Edison apparently had differing views about AC and DC power; they didn’t see eye to eye…

Crossing the covered bridge would cost you! Interesting toll structure…

Next up – a lovely English cottage! We should have taken more photos to show more of the garden…

This windmill came from Cape Cod and may be the oldest in the US!

The Daggett Farmhouse came from Andover, Connecticut. The doorways were may be only 6 feet high – watch your head!

Model Ts and horse drawn carriages roamed the streets…

On Saturday we met up with our nephew Bill and family – it had been several years since we saw Bill, Lois, Ryker and Sophie!

After lunch, we went to the Franklin Cider Mill again.

Lots of activity at the Cider Mill today!

Franklin is a quaint little village that has not changed a whole lot over the years.

This school is where Jim and his siblings attended elementary school. It is now a private Montesorri school.

Sunday we watched last week’s service at Stephens Valley Church on YouTube and then Zoomed with our Sunday School Class. After lunch, we went for a bike ride on the Macomb Orchard Trail in Richmond.

It was another rail-to-trail ride and the trail was in great shape. It was a beautiful day and we rode just over 20 miles!

Monday we went back to the Henry Ford to see some Giant Screen movies and to catch a few more exhibits in the museum. This steam engine was used by young Henry Ford and was influenial in his life.

There were many pieces of farm equipment that we did not take photos of – corn harvesters, a combine, an assortment of plows – interesting stuff! Fast forward 100 years to this solar-powered race car!

We saw the clockworks exhibit and more glassworks too. So much to see – you just can’t see it all even over 3 days! Last but not least – the 1952 Oscar Meyer Wienermobile!

Oh I wish I were an Oscar Meyer Weiner, that is what I’d truly like to be. Oh I wish I were an Oscar Meyer Weiner, that is what I’d truly like to be. ‘Cause if I were a Oscar Mayer weiner. Everyone would be in love with me…

While we have been out and about, we have seen a few BLACK squirrels – and one was by the side of the road as we drove into the campground!

Tuesday, was Jim’s birthday and we didn’t do a whole lot – Linda worked on the Blog, JIm did some preparations for our move on Thursday and took it easy. We went out for dinner at the Voyageur in Saint Clair – right by the park where we have watched the ships on the river. While we were there, The Joyce L Van Enkevort paired with the barge Great Lakes Trader sailed by headed south. They have been paired since 2000 and are 845 feet long in total.

As we left, Sam Laud was sailing north up the river. She is 635 feet long and 68 feet wide.

Tuesday evening it started raining – it rained all night, most of the day and into the night Wednesday. Nearly 6 inches have fallen and its been windy too! Maybe its the remnants of Nicolas – the storm that went thru Houston. It continued to rain Wednesday all day and night! Thursday morning, Jim packed up in a drizzle and we are off to western Michigan!

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3 thoughts on “Saint Clair RV Resort”

  1. I had no idea that there was so much freighter traffic on on Lake St Clair. You caught a busy day. Thank you for all the great photos.

    1. Apparently watching the freighter traffic is a big deal there – the St Clair River at St. Clair is fairly narrow and you can get a close up view of the river traffic!

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