Car Ferry Across Lake Michigan

I don’t save any time by crossing the Lake, but I lived all my childhood years next to Lake Michigan and was always curious about what was on the other side, so I signed up for the car ferry and I am sitting in the terminal waiting.   The Lake Express allows you to bypass Chicago and avoid driving clean around the southern tip of Lake Michigan.   That doesn’t matter as much to me, since I have to go way south anyway and going through Chicago on Sunday morning probably is not a big deal.   But as I wrote above, I want to cross the lake.

The Ferry leaves at 6 am and goes from Milwaukee to Muskegon, Michigan in about two and a half hours.   The terminal is near the Coast Guard station.  It cost me $191 for the car and me.  I drove over with my sister a couple days ago and it is lucky that I did.  Thought the terminal was on the other side of the harbor at the edge of the Kinnikinnick River.  That is where the old car ferry landed.   It is better to make your mistakes and get lost in the light of day when you have no time pressure than to be driving around like crazy in the pre-dawn darkness.

I thought it might be hard to get a good spot on the deck to watch the sunrise, but I shared the place with only one other guy.  Most people stayed below where they read the paper, played cards or slept.  I suppose it is like an airplane ride to most customers. Some seemed to have been regulars.

Metaphors from Homer came to mind as I stood on the deck, sailing the wine-dark sea and rosy fingered dawn spread across the horizon.  The sunrise was like none I had seen on land.  I waited and then suddenly there was a red band laying on the horizon.   The sun came up fast after that and it was finished. 

Muskegon looks like a vacation paradise.  There are big sand dunes, some covered with vegetation.   This side of the lake gets the prevailing winds and I suppose that over time that means much more sand is distributed on the far side.   You can see on the dunes the effects of natural succession.   Some dunes just have sand.  Grass comes in and holds them down, then after a few years if undisturbed cottonwood trees come in, then pines and finally hardwoods.   I wrote a little about natural succession in yesterday’s post.