Thursday, July 8, 2010

Car ferry across Lake Michigan.

We've been trying to stay on track with our initial travel plan. Our next destination is a farm in Wisconsin. So, driving from Shelby, Michigan, going north around the lake or south, would have taken us quite some time. Gasoline, wear and tear on the car, trailer, kids and parents, a night in the state park, food, everything put together, and we would end up spending a few extra bucks anyway. That's why when we came up with the idea of taking a ferry across Lake Michigan, everybody got very excited!

When we looked into pricing it seems a lot! Over $400!
But, the old rule of "if you don't ask, you don't get" worked like a charm this time, again. We negotiated with the "SS Badger" and got ourselves a commercial discount. We saved $67, paying for the crossing of Lake Michigan total flat fee of $350.00.
We arrived to Ludington, Michigan, at 7:46 Eastern time. Our truck and trailer were backed in by a ferry personnel, and we happily went aboard to enjoy our voyage on the "SS Badger".

There was no access to our vehicle, so we had to take something to eat and something to do for four hours. As we found out later, we would have done just fine without our coloring books and toys. There was so much entertainment on the ferry that the time seemed to just fly.

There were two decks for exploring. The outside deck was a lot of fun during the departure and arrival. And in the lounge inside you could choose between an arcade, a movie lounge, a quite resting area with the museum, Kids' Post playing area, a Boatique to browse for souvenirs, or a cafeteria with live music and bingo games. I could have had even a Wi-Fi, but it was a cloudy day and there was no signal.
The car ferry "SS Badger" was launched on September 6, 1952. She was built by Christy Corporation of Sturgeon Bay, WI, for the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad. The badger was designed to carry 34 railroad cars. The car ferry is 410 feet long and 59 feet, 6 inches wide. She has a cruising speed of 18 miles-per-hour. She can carry 620 passengers, 180 autos, tour buses, RVs, motorcycles, and commercial trucks. There are 50-60 crew members on each trip and she takes about 490 crossings per season.
"SS Badger" is the largest car ferry ever to sail Lake Michigan and is the only coal-fired steamship in operation in North America.

We arrived to a rainy Manitowoc, WI, at 12pm Central time, and had to get a lot of patience to drive across almost all of Wisconsin.

It rained on and off, but we still enjoyed a beautiful view of a rural Wisconsin, "the dairy land of America", as they call it. We covered about 350 miles, and it took us 8 hours to come to "Anathoth Community Farm".


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