Thursday, June 05, 2008

A Little More Michigan

Ludington, Michigan, has a pleasant main street, sporting a mix of shops, many catering to out-of-towners. Maude's Garage, where we bought a couple of small items, is an interesting adaptive reuse. Their line of antiques and bric-a-brac was fine, but I was more interested in the old newspaper articles and magazine ads plastered to the walls.

Not far away is a town park, long and narrow, near the town beach, which is also long and narrow. The park features the one and only monument to the little-remembered Armistice Day Storm of 1940 that I've ever seen. It may be the only one anywhere. This isn't an especially good image, but here it is.

This particular monument recalls the men who died when their ships sank in Lake Michigan as a result of the unexpectedly strong winds that began that day. Elsewhere, especially in Minnesota, the extreme temperature drop caught a number of hunters unprepared, and they froze to death. Such was life before satellites, radar and the Weather Channel.

Can't visit the edge of Lake Michigan without seeing a lighthouse, and Ludington provided that as well. You have to walk along a long breakwater to get there, but once you do, you see this:

And a fine view of the lake to the west and the shore to the east. The wind was brisk and cool, but a shade above uncomfortably cold. A lot of people were out on the breakwater, but only one sailboat was within sight, and so were two guys on jet skis. They buzzed around, and seemed to consider the people on the breakwater as a kind of audience.

Near both the breakwater and the park were two other points of interest: a municipal shuffleboard court that was fully occupied -- mostly by people younger than me. It's always nice when life defies stereotypes. A nearby playground also caught our attention, actually the attention of the girls. Its distinction was that it was built on sand, rather than grass or soil of some kind. While the girls played there, we heard the SS Badger carferry blow its horn as it approached Ludington, ending its journey across Lake Michigan from Manitowac, Wisconsin, and watched it sail toward its slip.

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