Weekend in Sault Ste. Marie
So many changes, so little time.

I read the news of the sale of the USS transportation assets to the CN with both concern and sadness. Concern for the continued loss of "real" jobs in America and a sadness over the loss of a unique Great Lakes carrier with such a long and colorful history. I am new to chasing lakers but have always thought the USS ships to represent the best of what the hobby had to offer: a variety of ships and cargo, interesting paint livery and an obvious professionalism about the business.  The possibility of having this particular operation pass in history without seeing it firsthand struck me with an urgency similar to that when the Union Pacific ceased operations over Tennessee Pass after acquiring the Southern Pacific in 1996. I missed the opportunity to capture that and decided that the USS boats would not pass on without a serious effort to capture them on film.  I made some very hasty re-arrangements to my travel schedule and literally jammed a 1,000 mile round trip to the fabled Soo Locks into my itinerary.  

Nice room with a great view.
I finally rolled into town about 9:45 pm Friday night.  It turned out to be just under 500 miles door to door. When I booked the room, I asked for a view of the locks. I had a bird's eye view of the entrance to the east end and could see down river a bit to watch upbound traffic.  Somebody at the Ramada sure knew what I had in mind!  I got settled in and started to get organized for the next day, cleaning the cameras and getting the scanner programmed.  So far so good.
Hey! Where'd that come from?
A little after 11:00 pm I got up to look out the window and saw something moving.  Holy cripes, there's a boat out there!  I grabbed the camera to take some pictures and discovered that one of the windows opened just enough to get the digital camera outside and take pictures.  It was the Algoway headed upbound into the MacArthur lock. It's a slow but steady process.  Shooting low light with the digital is very handy. You can see the results instantly and just keep making adjustments and taking pictures until you get one that you like.
Algoway upbound into the MacArthur Lock.
Algoway
Algoma Central Marine
Launched: 1972
Capacity: 24,000 tons
Length: 650 ft.
Beam: 72 ft.
Fairbanks-Morse Diesel - 8,065 bhp
Single Screw
Self Unloading
The view is actually better in the winter as all the trees in the park have lost their leaves.  It would be easy to miss a ship's passing during the summer.  It wasn't long before I learned that what I thought was a heavy equipment back-up alarm was actually the warning buzzer for the lock gates and that something was happening.  Back to the window for more late night action.
Back to the Ship Index
The buzzer's going off again, more action!
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