Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The St. Joseph Lighthouse

Probably one of the more photographed lighthouses in the state is the St. Joseph Lighthouse.  It is a pretty neat lighthouse.  One of the other reasons why I didn't dilly dally at the other two lighthouses was because I wanted to catch this one before dark.
 As I arrived, I noticed the light on the other side of the channel was completely covered in ice.  As this is what I was looking for, I needed to get a picture of it.
 In 1846, the current light was built.  It replaced a light that was built fourteen years prior.
 Just a shot to give you an idea of the lay of the land.
 In 1886, a fresnel lens was installed.  This increased the distance that the light could be seen.  In 1905, this was replaced by a fourth order fresnel lens.
 Just a shot of the water.
 And a shot of the ice build up on the fence.  There wasn't anyone knocking this ice off.
 Another shot of the light.
 This was as close as I would get to the light as there wasn't any guardrails at this point.  And I don't like the idea of slipping in the water.
 Another shot.
 You can kind of see the light in the front.
 The front light was added in 1907 and equipped with a fifth order fresnel lens.  The pair make what is called a range light.
 Another shot of the shore.
 I started to move up a hill to get a better shot of both.
 I kind of like this angle.
 A nice peaceful looking shore.
 Another angle.
 One last shot of the pair.
For this, I tried to get some leading lines to the lighthouse.  Didn't quite work the way I was expecting.

As I said, there was impending bad weather.  I started to get it when I got to St. Joseph but at time I figured that I was already there an so I might as well do what I went there for.  Unfortunately, the weather followed me all the way home making for a fun drive.  This is why you are getting these posts today and not two days ago.

The Grand Haven Lighthouse

My next stop was the Grand Haven Lighthouse.  This one was a little easier to find and I wish that I wasn't feeling pressure by the impending weather front because there is a train I would have liked to get pictures of.
 For me it is a tossup between this light and the St. Joseph Light for coolness.  One thing I do like about a few of the Lake Michigan lights is the fact that they have catwalks.  When you look at this picture, you can see why.
 Speaking of cool, this is the amount of ice build up on one of the fences.  Sadly, there was someone knocked the ice off some of the fences.
 The first lighthouse was established in 1839.  This light was completed in 1905 and the original light was kept as the keeper's house.  You can see the nice layer of ice on the pier which is why I stayed in the fenced portion.  Something about slipping into cold water has me nervous.
 The light in the front was built at the same time.  At one time, it sported a fog horn.  The front was modified to be like the bow of a ship.
 I kind of wish there were more ice on the catwalk.  Oh well.
 There was plenty of ice on this structure.
 It's amazing that there are people that far out.
 Another shot of the pier and the light.
 A better shot of both lights.
 You can see a little ice out on the water.
 I wanted a picture to give a good idea of the length of things.
 The sign is cautioning that the surface may be slippery.
 A shot from the beach.
 And a shot of just the front light.  I think the pair constitutes what would be called a range light.  If you are in a ship and you see the two lights lined up, you are on the right course to enter the harbor.
 Another shot.
 A shot of just the back light.
And a shot of just the front light.

In 2012, the city was given the deed to the two lighthouses but the Grand Haven Lighthouse conservancy is responsible for maintaining them.

The Muskegon Lighthouse and Breakwater Light

So I got to my first destination which was the Muskegon Lighthouse.  I had a little trouble finding it since I hadn't been to Muskegon in a while.  But I did manage to find it.
 The first part I saw was the Breakwater Light.  Believe it or not, it is actually older than the other lighthouse. This light was constructed in 1871.  It has a height of 53 feet and can be seen 9.2 miles out.  It is on the south arm of the breakwater.
 The pier light was built in 1903 and it replaced the light that was built in 1851.  There used to be a keepers house nearby but that was torn down in the 1970's.
 The tower is 48 feet high and the light can be seen 6.9 miles out.  Across the channel there is another light to mark the other breakwater.
 I mainly came to the west coast to see if there was some ice built up on the lighthouses and much to my joy, there was.  I really like the way this one looks although I've seen pictures where it is covered in more ice.
 Just a shot of the mouth.  You can see the other light to the right.
 A shot of the lighthouse through the trees.
 Another shot of the breakwater light.
And one last shot of the main lighthouse.

Monday, January 28, 2013

A Pair of Boats

So I made it to Muskegon.  I arrived there a little later than I had hoped but then again, I started a little later than I had hoped.
 The W.G. Jackson is a vessle that is used by Grand Valley State University for water research.  She was built in 1996 through funds raised by the Making Waves in Muskegon.  She is powered by twin diesel engines.  She also does tours around Lake Michigan.
 Normally, I don't call ships boats and vice versa but with the other boat, I decided to call this a boat for this post.  The Paul H. Townsed was born in 1945 in Wilmington, CA as the Hickory Coll for the US Maritime Service but as with many other ships in that situation, her name didn't stay that way for long.  In September of that year, she was renamed the Coastal Delegate and was chartered to the Southern Steamship Company of Philadelphia.
 In 1952, she was acquired by the Huron Transportation Company and converted to a self-unloading cement carrier.  In 1957, she was lengthened to her current length of 447 feet.  She can carry almost 8,000 tons of cargo.  She was later acquired by National Gypsum as they bought Huron Cement.
Current she is in long term layup as most of her duties are handled by her fleetmate the Alpena.  Occasionally, she serves as a storage barge.  I would love to see her in action though as she is a pretty cool looking ship.

Travelling M-46

I did stuff for my mother early because I decided I wanted to head home by way of the west coast.  For as long as I've been doing this blog I've wanted pictures of those lighthouses with a layer of ice on them.  Since the weather has been particularly cold and the roads were clear, I decided to head over that way.

Based on google maps, there were a number of ways that I could take over there.  One of them took me out of my way to the north, the other took me out of the way to the south (but it was mostly freeway and I was considering that).   The most direct route was to take M-46 once I reached Saginaw.  It was also probably the most rewarding.

M-46 was designated in 1919 and ran from Howard City until Saginaw.  It picked up again from Tuscola County until Port Sanillac.  It wasn't quite the same route as it is today, as it went directly into Howard City.  It also went directly into Alma.  (It does neither of those things now).  In 1927, the gap between Saginaw and Tuscola county was filled in.  At that time, it was also extended to Muskegon.

In 1936, the highway was altered to straighten the path from Howard City to Amble.   That created a gap in the highway again.  The highway was changed a few more times until the 70's when it was mostly given it's current configuration.  There is a little jaunt where it is shared with US-131.  In the 1980's, the final changes where made when the extension to the ferry docks was eliminated.  Now it ends at Business 131 in Muskegon.  One of these days, I may have to take it from Port Sanilac to Muskegon as I didn't have much time yesterday.
 As I said, I was a little rushed because there was a weather front moving towards the state and I didn't want to be stuck on that side of the state in bad weather.  However, certain things will catch my eye and prompt me to stop.  In this case, a T-33 Shooting Star was serving as a gate guardian in front of a veterans post in Breckenridge.
 The T-33 was an offshoot of the P-80 Shooting Star.  The design of the P-80 was lengthened to add a second seat for an instructor.  It's first flight was in 1948.
 It served as an advanced trainer until it was slowly phased out in the 1960's.  After that it was still used as a proficiency trainer and then used as a drone.  Many other air forces still used it long after they were retired from the Air Force.
 There was a fairly large silo in Breckenridge with a bunch of train cars...no engines though.
 My next stop was St. Louis, MI for lunch.  I had to take some pictures of the town while I was there.  I think there is a set of blueprints that is labeled "quaint Midwestern town" somewhere because it seems like many little towns like this look similar. 
 Looking down the street.  I still like the looks of these old towns.
 Trying for a view of just the storefronts.
 I love some of the intricacies on old buildings.
 I thought this bank was kind of cool looking but it has been long closed down.
 Another view of the downtown.
 This seems to be a fairly common statue as well.
 More details on one of the other buildings.
 A couple more buildings.
This section looks like it has seen some recent loving.

There were some other neat sights along the way which means that I'm going to have travel this way again at some point but I had other missions yesterday.