Badger car ferry looking to leave coal behind

Steaming into Sunset by Diann

Steaming into Sunset by Diann

mLive shares that the last coal fired passenger ferry on the Great Lakes, the SS Badger car ferry, is exploring plans to transition from burning coal:

Lake Michigan Carferry, Inc. is in the early phases of looking for ways to ditch the coal that currently propels the 410-foot historic ship across Lake Michigan.

“We are just in the early phases at looking at what other options could be viable for the Badger,” said Sara Spore, general manager of Lake Michigan Carferry. “There are not any definite plans, but we know that coal isn’t the long-term solution. We really are starting from scratch and looking at all of our options.”

More at mLive & check out the SS Badger website.

Diann took this shot of the Badger leaving port in Ludington way back in 2008. See more in her Third Coast gallery on Flickr.

More about the SS Badger on Michigan in Pictures.

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Amongst the Stars at the Ludington Light

Ludington Lighthouse by S Hughes Photos

Ludington Lighthouse by S Hughes Photos

“You cannot look up at the night sky on the Planet Earth and not wonder what it’s like to be up there amongst the stars.”
– Tom Hanks

I feel this Tom Hanks quotation so deeply. Not many experiences on this earth in my book that compare with gazing into the deep night sky.

The photo was taken at the Ludington Light last year. With apologies in advance to the small but vocal minority of anti-Facebook fans, you can see a lot more on S. Hughes’ Facebook page.

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The Night Before Christmas at the Ludington Light

Watch the Skies on Christmas Eve by Fire Fighter's Wife

Watch the Skies on Christmas Eve by Fire Fighter’s Wife

Beth shares a great sentiment for the holidays or any season: May you never be too grown up to search the skies on Christmas Eve.

About this photo (which I’m still pretty sure is totally authentic) she writes: I wanted to do something I’ve never done and I couldn’t help myself. This year I was so inspired and thought it’d be great to bring out my Christmas album with a bang! This lead me to thinking, with a suggestion from a friend, to add a flying Santa sleigh to the moon. I debated back and forth but decided, it’s Christmas. Step out of the box and do something magical!

Indeed!! See more in her 25 Days of Christmas Gallery on Flickr & never grow up!!

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The Magic Of That Day Was Written In The Sky

The Magic Of That Day Was Written In The Sky by David Hoffman

The Magic Of That Day Was Written In The Sky by David Hoffman

Sweet shot of the view of Lake Michigan from Ludington. See more in David’s Lighthouses gallery on Flickr

Have a great weekend everyone & see more lighthouses on Michigan in Pictures.  

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Leaving Ludington

Badger Departing Ludington by Mark Zacks

Mark got this photo of the SS Badger leaving Ludington last fall. See his latest on his Flickr & enjoy your weekend!

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Mapping the Moon

Moon Beam & LIghthouse by RJE

Moon Beam & Lighthouse by RJE

Earthsky reports that for the first time, the entire lunar surface has been completely mapped and uniformly classified by scientists from the USGS Astrogeology Science Center, in collaboration with NASA and the Lunar and Planetary Institute. There’s a video below too. They write:

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) announced the new Unified Geologic Map of the Moon on April 20, 2020. They said it shows the moon’s surface geology, with rock layers and craters charted “in great detail.” The map is a synthesis of six Apollo-era regional geologic maps, updated with data from more recent moon missions.

USGS said it’s designed to serve as “the definitive blueprint” for lunar science and future human missions to the moon, and to be used by the international scientific community, educators and the public at large.

To create the new digital map, scientists used information from six Apollo-era regional maps along with updated information from recent satellite missions to the moon.

The existing historical maps were redrawn to align them with the modern data sets, thus preserving previous observations and interpretations. Along with merging new and old data, USGS researchers also developed a unified description of the stratigraphy, or rock layers, of the moon. This resolved issues from previous maps where rock names, descriptions and ages were sometimes inconsistent.

Head over to Earthsky for more, and if you like astronomy, I really recommend subscribing to their newsletter!

Check out more stunning shots from RJE on Flickr.

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Michigan Lighthouse Festival celebrating 150 Years at Big Sable Point

Summer Evening at Big Sable Point Lighthouse, photo by Craig Sterken Photography

This weekend is the 2nd Annual Michigan Lighthouse Festival featuring Big Sable Point Lighthouse’s 150th Anniversary! The festival features lighthouse tours throughout the weekend, a vendor show on Saturday and Sunday, Friday Night dinner with special guest speakers, topped off with Ric Mixter performing “The Storm” on Saturday night.

Terry Pepper’s Seeing the Light has some great information about the history of Big Sable Point Lighthouse including an explanation of the light’s unique appearance:

Construction began in early 1867 with the arrival of Lighthouse Board and Army Corps of Engineers workers, who immediately began the construction of a dock at which to unload the necessary supplies for the project. Next, a temporary cofferdam was constructed to keep waster from entering the foundation, which consisted of tightly fitted cut stone blocks beginning a depth of six feet below grade and extending three feet above.

On this sturdy foundation, the skilled masons began to raise the tower. Constructed of cream city brick, the walls were laid five feet thick at the foundation, tapering to a thickness of two feet thick immediately below the gallery. Within the tower, a circular inner wall, eight feet in diameter supported the cast iron spiral staircase. On its’ vertical climb, the stairway passed through three landing areas.

…In 1898, the District Inspector reported that the cream city brick used in constructing the tower was found to be flaking as a result of exposure to the elements, and voiced concern that if left as-is, the integrity of the tower would likely be compromised. This flaking grew so severe, that in 1899 a contract was awarded to the J. G. Wagner Company of Milwaukee to construct the necessary steel plates to encase the tower. The plates were satisfactorily test assembled at the Milwaukee Lighthouse Depot, loaded onto lighthouse tenders and then shipped to Big Sable. With the arrival of the plates, the process of riveting the plates together around the tower, and filling the void between the brick and the plates with cement began. The construction was completed in June 1900 at a total labor and materials cost of $4,925. In order to increase the visibility of the tower during daylight hours, the new cladding was painted white with a contrasting black band around its’ middle third.

View the photo bigger, see more in Craig’s Big Sable Lighthouse slideshow, and view & purchase photos at craigsterken.com.

More Michigan lighthouses on Michigan in Pictures!

Ludington Harbor

Ludington Harbor, photo by Daniel L

View Daniel’s shot of the Ludington Marina (with the SS Badger at the back) bigger and see more in his Ludington slideshow.

North Breakwater

Ludington North Breakwater Light

North Breakwater Light, photo by Mark Miller

The entry for Ludington North Breakwater Light at Terry Pepper’s Seeing the Light details a ton of the history of this lighthouse including the reason for its interesting appearance:

Over the summer of 1924, a unique structure took shape at the end of the North Breakwater. The main tower, fabricated of steel plates over an internal steel skeleton, took the form of a four-sided pyramidal tower with four round porthole windows on each of the three decks within. With plans calling for the installation of an air diaphragm fog signal operated by an electrically powered compressor, there was no need for a large fog signal building, and thus the signal building took the form of a relatively small structure integrated into the base of the landward side of the main tower. In order to help protect the structure from the force of waves crashing across the breakwater, the concrete foundation at the base of the structure was formed with angled surfaces designed to deflect the force of wave action up and away from the building.

The white painted tower was capped by a square gallery and an octagonal iron lantern installed at its center. Since the standard lantern design being used by the Lighthouse Service in new construction at this time was of circular conformation with diagonal astragals, it is likely (but unconfirmed) that the lantern used on this new light was transferred from the South Pierhead beacon which the new light was designed to replace.

Click through for more including a number of old photos.

View Mark’s photo background bigtacular and see more in his slideshow.

More lighthouses and more summer wallpaper on Michigan in Pictures.

Skyline Trail at Ludington State Park

Ludington State Park Skyline Trail

Ludington St. PK, Skyline Trail 2, photo by Jerry Herrendeen

Visit Ludington’s page on Ludington State Park’s trails says:

The Skyline Trail runs along a tall sand dune ridge, on the south side of the river between the footbridge and Hamlin Dam. The trail begins at the west end of the parking lot and exits onto the Sable River Trail. This trail is completely elevated, made even higher by an extensive wooden boardwalk system. Several vistas let you look out over miles of sand dunes and Lake Michigan. On a clear day, you can see 20 miles to the Silver Lake State Park Sand Dunes. On the back side is an area where you can leave the boardwalk and run up and down the steep slope of this sand dune.

Read on for more about other trails at the park and click for the official Ludington State Park page.

View Jerry’s photo background big and see lots more in his Moods of Lake Michigan slideshow.

More Ludington and more spring wallpaper on Michigan in Pictures.