Today, We headed into downtown SSM for their “lock tour”, which entails taking a small boat up and down through the SSM locks (up the US side and down the Canadian side). Near as I can tell, the Canadian side is a single lock that could accomodate a dozen or so small pleasure craft at once; the US side is at least four locks, one or more of which fit gigantic freighters. The locks are all free and lift boats the final 21 feet of 601 feet total (spread over 16 locks starting in Montreal, I think), from the Atlantic Ocean to Lake Superior. Our lock took about 10 minutes to fill 10 million gallons of water.
Speaking of gigantic freighters, I think I saw the largest freighter I have ever seen today. It looked like a bulk carrier and seemed to go on forever. Anyhow, the tour lasted 2 hours and besides the locks and various other SSM landmarks it went past the Essar Steel mill, which evidently is the largest employer in SSM (3,600 people) and has massive piles of coal, limestone and iron ore stacked outside; plus non-stop smokestacks and flaring of natural gas. The Inconvenient Truth faddists would not be happy about SSM.
The water passing SSM is called St Marys River and it links Lake Superior and Lake Huron, much as the much-shorter Niagara River links Lake Erie and Lake Ontario. St Marys River had a visibly powerful current and we saw a few people fishing, constantly maneuvering their boats to fight against the current.
Notwithstanding the usual industrial ugliness (there is a big pulp mill here too), SSM seems like a nice little city with lots of trees and greenery in amongst the houses. It is about the size of Kelowna, and in a lot of places “Sault” is spelt “Soo”.
After the lock tour, the weather was looking ugly (and it turned into a big storm overnight), so we decided to go to a movie in the local mall. We went to “Wall-E” which received an effusively good review in the Sun. It was typical Pixar schlock filled with the obligatory anti-corporate, planet-friendly garbage. The more I think about this movie, the more I hated it. I think the kids thought it was OK but nothing special. After that we hung out at Bellevue Park for a little bit before dinner at BP and some pool (as in with cues and balls, not as in with water) time at the KOA. This KOA has more activities than any KOA I’ve seen, including a really nice playground, pool, golf, croquet, karaoke, and Wii. It’s too bad their pool is apparently glacier-fed!
The RV is in need of an oil change, and it looks like your local Mr. Lube doesn’t do RV’s, so this might be a hassle.