We enjoyed a haphazard breakfast of cereal and milk (the boys), a steak-and-cheese Panini microwave sandwich (Katherine) and a Ramen Cup o’ Noodles (Chris) before taking our leave of the Plaza Motor Motel.

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Our first stop was only a short drive away. We parked at the Soo Locks just a few minutes before 9 a.m. and submitted my purse for a brief inspection by the security guard, who was friendly and polite. We meandered over to the Visitor Center, which was not yet open, so we walked over and looked at the closest lock, which was all cool and watery and technical-looking.

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Seeing the Visitor Center doors open, we walked on in, only to discover that the river was fogged over: no watching ships go through the locks for us. We were disappointed, naturally, but the morning was livened by one of the best phone conversations we’d ever overheard: the phone rang and was answered by the lady at the front desk. “Soo Locks Visitor Center. You what?” Pause. “The owner of the Soo Locks?” Pause. “Well, no, you can’t, because that’s the U.S. government.” Unfortunately, the person hung up. I would have liked to know who wanted to talk to the owner of the Soo Locks and why!

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I have to say that the people at the Soo Locks were really nice, and I left with a happy feeling about the Corps of Engineers (though I’m not really sure anyone I met was part of the Corps of Engineers). After wandering around a bit more and taking a few photos, we got back into the car and realized that we’d had a piece of luck: one of us had forgotten to put money in the parking meter, but no one had caught us parked without paying. Feeling fortunate, we headed off for the next adventure.