This is another stop a friend of my Mom's suggested (over half our trip was planned via good advice from friends). Less than an hour north of Mackinaw City are the Soo Locks in the city of Sault Ste. Marie, along the Canadian Border (which will be a brief, but necessary post I'll throw up here in a little while, you have to acknowledge a border crossing, especially when they let you back across the border despite a less than stellar criminal record....fine I'm just discussing traffic tickets, but still, the US border patrol could read this blog and think I'd be better off as Canada's problem.) Anyway....about the Locks...
This little town (full of more 'stuff' to do than just this experience I'm about to describe) borders not only Canada, but also two of the Great Lakes. Strange, but true, the two lakes have different water levels. This area used to be rapids because the level of Lake Superior is 21 feet higher than the lower lakes. I didn't really wrap my mind around what this all meant. I guess I thought the boats passed through, and I didn't know why that was exciting, but my life is filled with things I think are exciting other people might pass by, so it was on my list of 'must do's.' You can go read all about it in better detail on their links, BUT we saw a freighter that was over 1,000 feet in length, and more than 100 feet wide enter the locks, the doors shut, and once the boat was secured they slowly raised the water level so what looked like a flat boat soon loomed above the locks.
The gate on the opposite side opened up, and the boat, and it's crew drifted away.
There are also tours you can take (which I'd do next time around) where you can ride a much smaller boat. It moved a lot more swiftly, but made it that much more evident what happened. This tour group was secured to the side, and lowered down to go back into the lower lakes from Lake Superior.
Trust me (or don't), it was fascinating. Not one person left disappointed. It did take awhile to watch the freighter rise, but it's OK to relax and just enjoy on vacation, at least that's what people keep telling me. ;o) Bring binoculars! ...and spend some time in the city...and then report back b/c I just got to quickly breeze through, and I need suggestions for my 'next trip up north.'