Pictured is a 1000′ long lake boat that fits almost as tightly in its photo frame as the real thing fits in the lock at the Soo. It was designed specifically to maximize the load of iron ore through the newest lock there. When they first appeared, they were dubbed big-uglies. Their boxiness and lack of a forecastle, were seen as a sacrifice of form for function, but they were progress. Fast-forward to now and you’ll still find as many of the older boats plying the lake, as the big-uglies. The overall lake boat population in down from its peak and this particular down-bound 1000′ is riding high in the water. Both are signs of the anemic state of American steel. One step forward in transportation was canceled by two steps back by industry. Salty’s, foreign flagged, ocean-going ships, mostly bulk carriers hauling grain, have gone a long way to fill the absence in native lake boat traffic. One of the benefits of Anne’s Lake Superior cabin is that we get a ringside seat to this flow of big boats and the effects of globalization on them.
Chris and Jane left this morning. We all enjoyed one last breakfast together at Jack’s Pub & Grub. As Jane forecasted, her departure gave us the most lovely beach day. Our own time here is coming to a close and soon home we will go.