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Subj: Ludington, Michigan 
Date: 10/15/2002 7:39:35 PM Pacific Standard Time
From: kbwalk@mymailstation.com

Howdy Everyone!
   For the last several months, my mantra has been to get to Ludington by
October 14th, because that's the last day the ferry runs, and I ain't
swimming!  Every time I'd open up my map and show it to people, I'd always say
that I needed to get to Ludington so I could catch the ferry across Lake
Michigan.  I have been saying that for so long and to so many people now, that
it's going to be hard to stop saying it now that I'm across Lake Michigan!
   A year ago when I made my schedule, I noticed that in the atlas it said
that the ferry runs from May till October.  So I planned on taking the ferry
across on October 15th.  Around 6 mos ago, I decided to contact the ferry
company and make sure that that would work, and then found out that the last
day the ferry would run this season was on October 14th -- one day ahead of my
schedule.  Since I found out about that months ago, it was easy to adjust my
schedule by 2 days and get there on the very last day.  Likewise, knowing that
my schedule would be really tight in order to catch the ferry on that last
day, I've been telling everyone "....I gotta get there by October 14th!"
   When I did contact Lake Michigan Carferry several months ago, Sharla was
very interested in my walk and we've kept in contact ever since.  So while I
was marching up the East Coast to Maine and then headed west again, she's been
following along.  Then when I crossed over into Michigan and the schedule was
getting tighter as the date was getting nearer, we were especially keeping in
close contact.  As it turned out, I got to Ludington on the weekend and then
took the ferry across on monday -- the last day.
   It was great to meet Sharla after visiting with her so much.  She lives a
block away from the ferry, and I was able to spend a couple days with her. 
Riding on the S.S. Badger was a great experience!  The S.S. Badger, which was
launched in 1952, carries 180 vehicles and 620 passengers.  It's 410 feet
long, 59 ft wide and cruises at about 18 mph.  It's the only ferry service
that crosses any of the Great Lakes.  Going across Lake Michigan from
Ludington MI to Manitowoc is approximately 60 miles long, over water thats
400-600 ft deep.  The S.S. Badger is a coal-fired steamboat, and uses about 55
tons of coal a day, when making two daily crossings.
   I was just expecting a small ferry, but as you can tell by the
measurements, the ship was HUGE!  The S.S. Badger also has staterooms that you
can rent the night before the ferry leaves.  Sharla let me stay sunday night
in one of the staterooms for free, and then take the ferry across Lake
Michigan the next morning for free, too.  S.S. Badger left Ludington at 9:00
am, and arrived at Manitowoc, Wisconsin at 1:00 pm.  It was a sunny, clear,
crisp day and the waters were calm and the ride was extremely pleasant.
   S.S. Badger offers many fun services, such as the staterooms, the Upper
Deck Cafe or the Badger Galley where you can get snacks.  You can buy
souveniers at the Badger Boatique or join in the activities that are going on
during the ride, such as Bingo, or watching a movie.  They also have 2 TV's in
the lounge area, an arcade, and plenty of room to relax and enjoy the ride.  I
especially enjoyed being in the stateroom and relaxing as the gentle rock of
the boat lulled me to sleep.  It was blissfully wonderful.
   Here are some nautical terms I learned:
aft, or after -- near stern (or rear) of ship
amidships     -- Center of vessel
fore      -- Located in the front of the vessel
head      -- Toilet and the toilet area
port      -- Left side of the vessel
screw  -- A propeller
starboard -- Right side of the vessel
wake      -- disturbed water astern of a vessel
             caused by her passage
For more information about the S.S. Badger and Lake Michigan Carferry contact:
Lake Michigan Carferry, PO Box 708, Ludington Michigan 49431. 800-841-4243 --
ssbadger.com
   Take care and have a great day!  KB


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