Posts from ‘Travel’
According to the folks at the personal-finance and research website WalletHub, the average American spends about 18 hours a week in his or her vehicle. That’s a bunch of time. Enough time to make plans for the upcoming weekend, call your parents (hands free, of course), or to wonder, “Why am I wasting all this time commuting?”
Compared to most people, I do quite a lot of highway driving. Unlike most people, I usually do it in silence. That would probably bore most folks on the bi-weekly, two-hour trek down to my weekend farmette, but for me, it’s a welcome chance to clear my head and think about things that matter … like how I’d spend the vacation time I rarely take.
But for longer drives, I have a different strategy. Before I even leave the garage, I plug in my stone-aged MP3 player that contains a collection of favorite road tunes and crank up the volume.
This past Saturday, I did something I’ve been dying to do for several years now: take a car ferry across Lake Michigan.
The boat that caught my fancy, the SS Badger, has been ferrying vehicles, and people, since 1992. Before that, the ship was a train-car ferry, and the rails those cars rode on into the boat are still visible on the cargo hold’s floor. At 410 feet in length, the Badger isn’t an especially large ship; still, the hold has space for up to 140 vehicles.
Vehicle access to the ship is via a huge rear hatch, visible in the picture above, that lowers as the Badger departs port. Passengers aren’t allowed to drive their cars onto the ship; instead, they must hand over their keys while boarding.
The ship runs exclusively between Manitowoc, Wisconsin, and Ludington, Michigan. During summer months, the ship crosses the lake four times each day, leaving the Wisconsin side at 2:00 p.m. and 1:00 a.m., and the Michigan side at 9:00 a.m. and 8:30 p.m. The crossing schedule is eased back during the off-season.