Hello everyone! It’s Amy here, writing about an adventure I had. Heather and her family have been going to Ludington Michigan for the past 26 years. You’d think they’d be bored after so long, wouldn’t you? Been there, done that, for so long, over and over again. I guess that’s what tradition is. But surprisingly, she and her family either have some completely crazy adventures. Or they go see something new. And this has kind of been happening for the past 26 years!
This year, they decided to go on a wind turbine tour! So hang on to your hats and I’ll tell you about it! We all got on a bus and drove to the wind farm. Our tour guide was pretty funny. He had grown up in Ludington all his life, (in fact his father founded the Historic White Pines Village, which you’ll hear all about in yet another post!) and seemed to know everything about everyone. He’d be giving us information about the wind turbines and suddenly point out the window and say, “Well, look at that! All those cars in that church must mean Sara and Steven are getting married!” Or, another time we’d pass a graveyard and he said, “My wife and I are going to be buried in that graveyard. Everyone’s dying to get in there. Since it’s on a hill, you have to decide whether you want to face the lake or the road and the woods. For the longest time my wife couldn’t decided. We finally chose the lake. A couple years later we found out someone had bought the plot right next to ours. My wife got all excited and wanted to meet the people. ‘I want to know who’ll be next door to me for all enternity!’ she said.”
Wind turbines are basically the opposite of fans. The wind is solar energy that generates the propellers to spin. The turbine takes that energy and converts it into electricity.
There are 56 of these things in Ludington and it was quite the production getting them here and building them! A factory nearby made the parts and trucks carried the parts to where they would get set up and built. The only problem was they weren’t careful enough on their measurements. The first truck drove down the highway, got to a bridge and got stuck! For hours! After that, each truck had to go 10 miles out of their way and make a u-turn.
Each turbine needed a crane to put it together. “Cranes can be very tipsy things,” our tour guide said, “the ditch along the road had to be filled in and the road to where the turbine was going had to be completely leveled. They did all that, all the looking down stuff, but I guess they never looked up, cause when they were building these, I’d drive by, and I’d see the crane just settin’ there. First day, just settin’ there. Second day, just settin’ there. Third day, just settin’ there again. Finally found out there were power lines from a competing electrical company and the crane was too tall to get through! They ended up having to take the crane apart in order to put the turbine together!”
Our tour guide grew up on a fruit farm just like the ones surrounding all the wind turbines. He said it used to take half a day to pick cherries from one cherry tree. Now, it takes about two minutes because it’s done by machine, but the trees don’t last.
We saw many stumps, many dead trees, and many dying trees. The machine shakes the trees violently so the cherries fall and are collected on a conveyer belt. The trees can’t handle the shaking and they die. So eventually, the farmer will just rip all the trees out and plant new ones. It’s cheaper and easier, but I feel so sad for the trees.
The turbines kind of ‘eat’ birds. So many birds hit them, that lots of scavengers can be found, searching for the dead ones.
We didn’t get to go inside the turbine, but we were told there is a 300ft ladder inside, and in order to climb up you had to take a test, and almost be like an EMT in order to pass it.
But the turbine will automatically turn it’s blades to catch as much wind as possible.
I stood directly underneath one and it hardly makes a sound! Just a really soothing swishing noise. I could fall asleep to it!
The real problem was the wind turbines don’t look so beautiful, they’re an eyesore to some people. And our tour guide showed us the beautiful countryside, of rolling hills and dunes and corn and fruit trees, all interspersed with the turbines, but I don’t know, the turbines look like big huge white spinning flowers that soar above the green.