Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Pulled over by Police; a Lightship; and a park

Location: Lakeport State Park; Port Huron, Michigan
(click pic to enlarge)

Note: Depending on where I'm at in this area, my cell phone thinks I'm in
Canada. When I'm in the campground, it apparently tries to connect to a cell tower in Canada. My cell phone, being much smarter then me, warned me about it and clicked "do not roam". If it had not done so, it would be $0.89 per minute for calls and not sure how much for texts. Texting is shut down also when the cell phone can not connect. I am able to use my Hotspot to connect to the internet for the blog and email. If anyone has tried calling me or texting me, that is the reason I haven't responded. I will be out of this area Thursday and all systems should be restored.

I stopped for gas yesterday at a combination Shell gas station and A&W Root Beer restaurant. It was close to lunch and I almost went into get a burger and a root beer but decided against it. I pulled out of the parking lot onto a side street that connected with the main highway at a slight angle. The turn lane had 2 red lights and an acceleration lane. Like the good driver I am, I came to a complete stop, checked for traffic and made the "right on red" turn. About 2 blocks down the road, a police car turned his lights on behind me. The road was a crowded 5 lane highway with no shoulders. I was thinking he wanted to get by me so I pulled off into a parking lot. Surprise, surprise, he followed me into the parking lot. The business was a bank so I logically thought, he was there to stop a bank robbery so I went to the back of the parking lot to give him room to shoot it out with the robbers. Wrong again, he pulled up behind me. I stopped, turned off the truck and put both hands on the top of the steering wheel as I had been taught. He slowly walked up along the truck, hand on his gun while glancing in the bed as he passed by. I said, "hello officer, was I speeding?" He replied, "no, you made a right on red and there is a sign prohibiting it, driver's license, registration and proof of insurance." I gave him my license first and he said, "Louisiana, uh?, what are you doing here?" Reading this, it sounds like he was mean, but he wasn't. I told him my story about wandering around the country while I looked for the latest registration/insurance card. I gave him an expired one at first, he gave it back and said never mind I'm sure you have one. He told me to "sit tight while he wrote my name down in his car". I'm sure he was running "wants and warrants" on me. I sat there glad that my jury duty wasn't due yet so there shouldn't be a bench warrant out for me if my request for an exemption was denied. After about 10 minutes he came back and said "have a nice day and handed my license back to me". I thanked him for giving me a break and he walked away. I'll go back tomorrow to see how big that "no right on red" sign is at that intersection. I can't believe I didn't see it. Is this the beginning?

The Maritime Center on the St. Clair River

After visiting with the local law enforcement, I went on to my destination. The Maritime Center at Vantage Point was where I was heading. It is a place located on the St. Clair River just downstream from the Blue Water Bridges and about 5 miles from Lake Huron. 

A freighter passing the Maritime Center

The farther you go down the river away from Lake Huron the more the water loses it bright blue color. All river traffic going between Lake Erie and Lake Huron passes in front of this place. The owner is connected with the boat traffic and announces the passing of each ship on a PA system. He mentions where they are going, their registry, what they are carrying, etc. There is also a really good deli inside. I got a Turkey/Provolone sandwich on Rye and watched the river traffic as I ate my lunch. It was nice and relaxing. I walked along the seawall for a little ways and saw several peoplefishing. I hollered for the lady to lift her stringer up so I could get a picture. Someone was going to be eating good that night. They all seemed to know each other and must be regulars there. 

A nice stringer of fish

A "thinking" bench on the St. Clair River

Pine Grove Park looking at the
Blue Water Bridges
The blue water was amazing

I drove away following the river as much as I could. I arrived at my next destination which wasthe Pine Grove Park which is also on the river. There is an old Lightship that has been turned into a museum at the park. The lightship is the old coastguard lightship, The Huron. Lightships are used where it is impractical to build a lighthouse.
Time for a boat tour

The deck of the Huron

The Lightship Huron

The lightship will anchor in an area to help either guide ships somewhere or warn them of a hazard. This lightship was commissioned in 1921 and worked on some of the other Great Lakes before being assigned duty at Port Huron in 1935. Her duty was to anchor about 6 miles north of the Blue Water Bridges, which is the junction of the St. Clair River and Lake Huron. She guided ships to the entrance of the river through a dredged sand bar. On a clear night, her light could be seen for 14 miles and her fog horns could be heard for 10. After 1940 she was the only lightship still in service on the Great Lakes and she remained in service until 1970. I toured the boat and talked with the people in charge. I was the only visitor so we talked for a while. It was a good time.
Pine Grove Park/St. Clair River

Pine Grove Park Bench

As I walked back to Freedom, I noticed several older people sitting in chairs under the shade trees. Most were reading books while others were just relaxing. I stopped to talk to a couple because he was wearing a Texas A&M cap. He said he got it from his daughter who went to school there. She now lives in San Antonio. After talking for a little while, they mentioned they used to be RV'ers. They used to travel about 8 months out of the year then return to Michigan for the summer. They did that for about 11 years and went to 48 states until their health made them stop. They still missed it and get the "hitch itch" every now and then but no way to scratch it. Their kids all live in the south, both Texas and Arizona. I asked if they considered moving south, their answer, "We never found a place better than right here." On nice days, they now spend most of their time at the park, reading books, having a picnic and watching river go by. I told them bye and they both sincerely told me thanks for stopping by because it brought up some good old memories of the road. The told me "Be safe on the road" and I walked on to Freedom. 
Pine Grove Park People

On the way back to the campground, I stopped at an ice cream place I noticed on my way into town. I enjoyed a double dip cone of Butter Pecan and Moose Tracks. I ate it sitting in a swing on their front porch in the shade. It was good. I thought of the older couple who had hung up their RV keys and wondered about the stories they would be telling each other that evening. Stories that may have been forgotten over the years but now would be as if they were yesterday. Stories about places they had seen, things they had done and people they had met along the road. It made me feel good knowing that I may have sparked some of those memories. 

It was a good day.

Ya'll take care each other. Cya down the road.   

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