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The S.S. Badger

The open upper decks are the place to be, for the last hour or so of the crossing. The sun is out, the breeze is fresh, and you can smell the lake.
People gather, and watch, suddenly conscious that they will soon be leaving the ship, and wanting to savor the experience.
There are a number of little hideaways, and nooks in which a nap may be taken, or a good book may be read.
A young one, perhaps a future captain, decides to main the lookout, on the forward deck. Still, I am not certain what he can see, from such a low angle of view.
The bow area, on the forward deck, is a popular place to watch Michigan grow larger.
A look back from the foredeck, past the bridge, and towards Wisconsin, which has been out of sight for the last two hours.
A look back, from near the front of the ship. Note the red navigation light, which indicates that this is the port side of the ship.
A look directly out on the water, from the same spot. the Great Lakes are large, and have about them, much of the look and feel of an sea, or even of an ocean.
A look forward, towards the bow, and the foredeck. The Michigan coastline is visible here.
A couple sits and watches the water. This is a sweet place to be, with someone about whom you care.
Ludington comes plainly into view, and shows itself as a very pretty little place.

The Ludington lighthouse, stands at the end of the breakwater. A number of the locals have come out to wave, as they watch the ship pass.
People come out to the harbor entrance to watch us come in. They, too, wave at us.

The coast guard station stands at the head of the marina. Other photos show the town, and the surrounding waters. What a scenic looking place.

The badger slowly backs it's way into Ludington. The ship must be slowly backed in, and then aligned with the ramp for disembarkation of passengers and vehicles. This is not a job for the nervous. Note the churning up of the water, as the propellers spin to slow the ship down. The Badger landed with hardly a tap or a nudge. I know people (far too many people) who don't park their cars with as much grace.

From the aft control station, the captain maneuvers the ship those last few important feet.
A large commercial load trundles out of The Badger. Though commercial traffic is no longer the primary emphasis  of The Badger, it is far from uncommon.
The Spartan, sister ship to The badger, has seen better days, and sits awaiting her own possible call to duty. There has been talk of refitting the old girl and putting her back in service, possibly in Milwaukee, or some other port.
Passengers head down the stairs, and out past the car deck. It has been fun; but now it is time to head into Michigan.
Passengers, and cars stream out of the ship, and over the causeway.
Some passengers are met by friends or relatives on the other side. Some of these people may be here to cross to Wisconsin; but there is a two hour layover.

This ramp was originally used to lad cars onto the top deck. These days, the top deck is used as the upper deck lounge, though the ramps is still used for deliveries.
Unloading The badger.

Motorcycles and recreational vehicles give a pretty good indication of the new tourist oriented role of The Badger.
passengers and their cars seem to glare at each other, over an expanse.
Crew members run, and even race each other, as they go back and forth to get all of the cars unloaded.
My van leaves it's berth, so that we can drive around the bottom of the lake, and take in the terrestrial sites.
Ludington shows every sign of burgeoning into a full fledged tourist town.
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