1,909 miles, 102 hours — Part 3

It’s been a while, so if anyone needs a refresher, Parts 1 and 2 are HERE and HERE. BUT . . . since it’s a rare reader indeed who follows links, a quick recap:

  1. Original plan: Chicago, north through Wisconsin, across Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, down to the Lower Peninsula, through Indiana, and home.
  2. Modification 1: North to the Lower Peninsula, up to the Upper Peninsula, back down to visit friends, down through Indiana, and home.
  3. Modification 2: 1,909 miles from home to as far North as Whitefish Point in the U. P. and back home in 102 hours.

This post, then, is about September 18th, 2022. Them who read the previous posts know today’s travels start at the Ojibway Hotel in Sault St. Marie (The Soo). It would end nearly 300 miles later in Traverse City, MI. We’d originally planned a stopover at Tahquamenon Falls, but based on the accelerated schedule, we decided to skip Michigan’s largest falls (upper and lower) and its tannins-tainted waters.

For some reason, some of the photos are loading slowly, and I don’t know if that’s WP or SmugMug’s fault, but if I mention something and you don’t see it, try refreshing the screen. Like, for instance, the following map.

That’s the route, and what follows are the photos . . .

We left The Soo under overcast and rainy conditions, expecting most of the day to be the same . . . cloudy and rainy. I was not looking forward to snapping photos while holding an umbrella. As luck would have it, the forecast was as reliable as a politician’s honesty, and within 30 minutes, the heavy cloud cover and rain gave way to thin layers of clouds that were perfect for the subjects I would be photographing.

Cloudy and slightly damp days make shooting landscapes easier, and as most lighthouses are painted white, the muted light keeps highlights from being overexposed.

Interestingly, the map highlighting the locations of lighthouses along the shores of the Great Lakes didn’t have this lighthouse marked (or I missed it). It was hence a pleasant surprise as we blew by the Point Iroquois Lighthouse at speed, and we gladly doubled back.

One other car was in the large parking lot, and one more car stopped shortly before we left. Luckily, those people were as intent in keeping their distance from us as we were from them . . . my kind of people.

I should mention that the photos below are a mix of DSLR and Smartphone photos presented in pretty much chronological order. While I made the effort to avoid duplicates, some photos are quite similar to each other. Astute readers might discern the difference in quality between a phone and a DSLR photo, but probably not unless they click on it for a larger version or go to the SmugMug gallery for the originals.

That means that while there are a lot of photos in this post (I don’t yet know exactly how many I’ll add), I won’t be all that I’ve processed. As usual, I advise going to the SmugMug Gallery HERE. Alternatively, there’s a link to a slideshow of all the photos at the end of this post.

As befitting the lateness of the season, this lighthouse was closed. Not a big loss, really, as we seldom avail ourselves of tours, especially not these days when people are under the impression we’re done with COVID. Going up to the tower to see the fresnel lens would be great, but we’d be in close quarters with unmasked and possibly diseased people.

One has to admit it doesn’t sound attractive when put that way.

As a reminder, I did something unusual on this day . . . all of the DSLR photos were taken using my Sigma 10-20mm wide-angle lens. The phone’s regular lens can be considered a wide-angle, but it too has an ultra-wide lens.

What I’m hinting at is that most photos — when taken close to the subject — have significant perspective distortion. Sometimes I adjust it using DxO’s ViewPoint 3.0 (They just released 4.0, but they’re asking too much money for the upgrade — I like the company and many of its products, but at this point, they’re just getting greedy).

Unlike the McGulpin Point lighthouse, most lighthouses are situated right at the shoreline of the lake, and are occasionally on man-made piers or other rocky outcrops. Which mean that a short walk to the back of the structure gets you to — in this case — Lake Superior.

Two things I’d like to mention . . . one, Lake Superior is big, hence the name. Or, the name could be an indication of its geographical position above the other lakes. Regardless, Lake Superior is big. It’s estimated that if you take all of the water from Lake Superior and distribute it evenly over the entire surface of South and North America, you’d be left with a really big — and probably muddy — hole. Not to mention, you’d piss off a bunch of people . . . except for the farmers.

Two, you might have noticed the stone fence. You’ll see other examples of stone structures, including dwellings, and that’s because there are a lot of stones around (look at the above photo, you’ll see them on the beach, but also underwater. So, maybe, it wouldn’t be a big mud hole, but a big hole lined with stones. Enough stones to build many walls[citation needed].

Anyway, once at the water’s edge, I quickly turn, snap a couple of photos . . .

. . . and hightail it out of there because sandflies and mosquitos consider my legs epicurean meals.

Continuing North along the mostly deserted Whitefish Bay Scenic Byway, we arrived at our destination; the Whitefish Point Lighthouse.

There are no words to describe my reaction upon reaching our destination . . .

. . . wait, I’m a writer; I think I can find the words . . .

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot are all these frelling people doing here!? Where the frack did they come from? We saw maybe three other cars on our way here, and now we’re having to park 80 yards away along the road because the gorram parking lot is full!

Anyway, we made it here, and we tried to make the best of it, people notwithstanding. Many of the people appeared to have purchased admission to the various buildings because — given the number of cars in the lot (four rows of cars) — the grounds were remarkably (and happily) devoid of crowds.

I got a slight moment of anxiety because I could have sworn we’d visited here before, but none of this looked familiar. It either points to the fungibility of memory (we create our own stories and memories which only per chance and occasionally match actual events), or I’m losing my cognitive abilities (assuming I had some, to begin with).

Of the two options, it’s probably the first, where I thought we’d visited here, but actually hadn’t. But, if it is the second, I look forward to rediscovering the many things I enjoyed discovering the first time around, not just here, but in everywhere.

Anyway, we strolled around the grounds, and I — to the surprise of no one — snapped a few photos. No, I did not enter any buildings.

Here’s an example of the perspective issue I mentioned. Using the widest possible zoom (10mm, 15mm equivalent) results in being able to capture the entire structure even when standing right next to it. The penalty is severe perspective distortion.

DxO ViewPoint can adjust some of it, but at some cost. Namely, the further distortion at the upper part of the photo.

I don’t know which version is better, whatever ‘better means in this context. I would say the first is more realistic, and probably what your eyes see . . . except that your brain compensates a bit for the distortion, essentially post-processing the image that you end up ‘seeing’.

For this next photograph, I shot that wheel that’s leaning against the wall with the camera lens roughly perpendicular to it. Since the lens is angled relative to the wall, the lines on the wall are not parallel. If I ‘fixed’ the wall, it would distort the wheel, turning it into an oval.

I typically avoid this issue by shooting from a distance and using a longer zoom to get the closeup. But, if I’m using a wide-angle lens and want to get the details, I need to be fairly close to the subject. For most photos at eye level, only a mild perspective adjustment is needed, as it was for the wood posts in this next photo of a memorial for the Wreck of the SS Edmund Fitzgerald.

Canadian Sculptor Timothy P. Schmalz gave a nod to Gordon Lightfoot’s song “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” with the inclusion of the Mariners’ Church and the 29 bells, one for each life lost in the wreck. I can’t find the exact date that monument was dedicated, but I believe it was in late 2017.

As mentioned, there are near duplicates for many photos because I made it a point to shoot both the DSLR and the phone. Often, they are difficult to tell apart, but the phone is set to shoot in HDR, and while both versions are edited nearly the same (meaning with similar adjustments), the photos can occasionally look quite different.

The DSLR photo is ‘warmer’, but the white balance for both photos are calibrated to the same spot on the granite base.

Before heading to the water, I stopped to photograph a clump of interesting grass. Or, at least, grass I found interesting.

Do you see the two flies? If not, click for a larger version.

Since I’m not keen on having sand in my shoes, I stood on the deck and photographed the scene before me . . . a large expanse of water blending with an equally large expanse of sky.

Then, I did something weird . . . rather than shoot a video with either my DSLR or phone, and rather than use the DSLR to snap photos I could stitch into a panorama, and rather than use the panorama function of the phone, I snapped photos with the phone to stitch into a panorama. Perhaps the least optimal way of capturing the scene, but I kind-of got away with it.

Click for a larger view (2000 x 600 pixels).

The “original” in SmugMug is 5000 x 1550 pixels . . . but why have the word original in quotes? Because the actual original is 25,500 x 8,600 pixels and is 998 MB. Lemme ‘splain . . .

I mentioned the Note 20 has the option to shoot 108MP photos with a resolution of 12,000 x 9,000 pixels with a typical size around 50MB (the sky doesn’t have much detail, so compression works well on it). Once merged and sharpened, I typically output DNG files before reading them into Lightroom, and DNG files aren’t compressed. Hence, HUGE files. Once in Lightroom, it’s useless to output something that big at full resolution, so I limit the output to 5000 pixels, and that’s what gets uploaded to SmugMug.

If this were a DSLR photo, the detail would be there to justify full size, like THIS photo of Lake Powel spanning 180° and composed of 11 stitched photos.

Warning: that file is 12.6MB; don’t click unless you have a decent internet speed and no data cap. But, if you open it, you can click on it to zoom in and get pretty good details.

After leaving the beach, I wandered the grounds a bit more. Here are three shots of the lighthouse taken with the phone at three different zooms . . .

For them who did not read the story, on the night of the Fitzgerald’s demise, both the Whitefish Point Lighthouse radio beacon and the light went out which, although not the main cause, were contributing factors to the wreck.

Again, given the number of cars in the parking lot, it surprised me how few people were visible, milling about.

For a sense of scale, the sign next to that rudder is taller than I am (as most things are).

This next signage is about the Graveyard of the Great Lakes . . .

I don’t think most people in the US are used to contemplating time the same way Europeans do. By that, I mean that we’re seldom in the presence of places dating back 160 years. The 1849 original looked more like the traditional stone and brick lighthouses. In contrast, the structure you see is more modern . . .

. . . dating from 1861.

Before leaving, I snapped another photo of the parking lot . . . still full, and with more people coming.

Next up, what could arguably be said to be the reason for the trip.

Clyde’s Drive-in . . . the cars you see there have people in them. Someone comes out to take their order, they wait, and then the order is brought out along with a tray to hang on the door.

We got there at 1:17 pm, and it was packed, with people waiting inside and outside.

more people waiting in the area to the right
. . . and more coming.

The menu sports The Big “C” hamburger. In the olden days, I would dispatch one of those on my own.

The last time we were there was in the 90s, but the place hasn’t changed much. Same counter, same cooking area . . . probably different people.

On this visit, we opted for the half-pounder (two quarter-pounders on one bun) and a basket of Whitefish with fries, which we split. Then, rather than sit there, we went to the Bridge View Park nearby to enjoy the food in less-crowded conditions.

. . . and, of course, to take some photos . . .

I didn’t notice at the time because of the wide-angle, but I got photo-bombed (not that I minded).

The full-size photo shows those two grinning ear-to-ear and posing for the camera.

This park also sports a memorial to the ironworkers who lost their lives in the construction of the bridge.

The difference in lighting is due to the first photo being backlit and my efforts to bring details out from the shadow. I snapped a few more photos, including a proper 180° panorama with the Note 20.

Again, a more photos in the gallery.

From there, back down to the Lower Peninsula and another ride on the Mackinaw Bridge.

This time, only one minor glitch while filming and a brief loss of focus, or, rather, focusing on my hood, but only for a few seconds. Pay attention to the sound when we get onto the middle span, and I briefly ride on the grating.

By the way, as it was for the whole trip, apart from the early morning weather on this travel day, the weather for the entire trip was beautiful.

Next Stop, the Charlevoix South Pier Light . . . and surrounding features.

These are the phone photos and are, perhaps, a tad over-processed, likely due to the in-phone HDR processing. Here are two versions of approximately the same shots, one with the DSLR and one with the Note 20.

I suppose personal preference comes into play, but I should, perhaps, turn off the HDR option on the phone; it would give me greater control over the processing of the photos. On the other hand, it makes sharing phone photos easier because I seldom have to process them before I share them.

And, yes, that’s the light in the background . . . and here are some additional photos from the spot.

I should mention this portion of Lake Michigan’s shoreline — and, indeed, most of the lower peninsula’s shoreline — is lined with expensive homes, condos, and real estate. When I say expensive, I mean seriously expensive. It certainly gives one the idea that there are a lot more people with a lot more money than one might assume.

These owners, for instance, likely didn’t find this at a garage sale. As whimsical decorations go, this one probably isn’t cheap.

Hey! . . . that looks like a perfect candidate to try Luminar Neo’s wire-removing option!

A little aggressive on the weather vane, and a slight discontinuity on the copper cupola, but for a one-click adjustment, not bad.

But, is that all the indication of serious money? I’ll let you decide . . . this house was on a street lined with impressive houses . . .

As we drove by, a couple walked out of the house, the woman pushing a stroller. I congratulated them on the house and its unique architecture . . . they said it wasn’t theirs. They were just renting it (at $1,100/night), but that the house was for sale for $4.5M.

Serious money, indeed . . . $1,100 is what I paid for my D7500 and two kit lenses. My hearing aids cost just a tad over that, and for less than that, I could buy a P1000 to play with . . . or, we could rent that house for a night.

The day was getting long, and we wanted to ensure getting to Traverse City before sunset, so, while not rushing, we also didn’t make any stops until we got to our hotel, which, by the way, cost us 16% of the cost of renting the house. It was still more than we like to pay, but, again, affluent areas command a premium to suffer your presence.

As it turned out, we made better time than we thought, so we took the opportunity to get a jump on the next day’s itinerary, and visit the 45th parallel.

Well, I was a bit south of the parallel, but I wasn’t about to wade a few hundred feet out into Lake Michigan. You can read about Mission Point Lighthouse HERE.

It’s a nice lighthouse with a correspondingly nice beach and nice rocks on the water for seagulls to stand on.

I believe those three were newlywed and the photographer (in black).
Not a great photo, but you get the idea . . . one seagull per rock, but not those close to shore.

The sun was beginning to race for the horizon, so we headed back to our hotel . . . which we were not happy with.

Despite costing a fair amount, it was quite dated. Mind you, it was a fine place to sleep provided one wore earplugs (which I always travel with), but the big annoyance was that the room was small, and made even smaller by the fact someone thought it would be a good idea to include a jet tub in the main area, the result of which left no room for much of anything, including a luggage caddy, proper desk area, or extra chair.

Well, at least our luggage relaxed . . .

I’ll end here and cover the next day in a future post. Don’t worry, nowhere near as many photos once we got into the ‘let’s head home’ mode.

Here’s the slideshow of the above photos and many not shown above. As always, you can pause it and scroll manually.

Slideshow of the 1,909 miles and 102 hours — part 3 Gallery — 91 photos

That’s it. This post has ended . . . except for the stuff below.


Note: if you are not reading this blog post at DisperserTracks.com, know that it’s copied without permission, and likely is being used by someone with nefarious intentions, like attracting you to a malware-infested website.  Could be they also torture small mammals.

Note 2: it’s perfectly OK to share a link that points back here.


If you’re new to this blog, it might be a good idea to read the FAQ page. If you’re considering subscribing to this blog, it’s definitely a good idea to read both the About page and the FAQ page.