Friday, September 27, 2019
Today was a cloudy and cool day but we did not get the forecasted rain – at least yet. Just got off the phone with a prospective NOMADS member in Mississippi. They want us to bring our 66 degree highs home with us in two weeks or better yet, send it on south this week. The high at their house in MS was 95 today. We really hope it cools off at home before we return.
This morning rather than sleeping in we were up at our regular time and were on the road to Bay City, MI at 8:00. We, along with Suzanne, Tom, and Jenny scheduled a tour of the sugar factory at 9:00. This area of Michigan is the largest producer of sugar beets east of the Mississippi river. We can hear the huge trucks dumping the beets at the sugar factory here in Sebewaing from our motor homes. Unfortunately Michigan Sugar Company only gives tours at the Bay City factory where their corporate headquarters are located. The tour was very informative and fun. We all looked so cute in our hair and beard nets, hard hats and safety glasses. The sugar making process is really pretty simple, but when you do it on the huge scale of these factories it’s really impressive. They process 4-5 million tons of sugar beets annually. It takes 7 average size (ugly) sugar beets to make a 5 pound bag of sugar. So the beets come to the factory from the local fields. They are piled up for later processing or dumped into the “washing river” and make their way into the factory. After a good bath they go through a slicer that cuts them to about french fry size. Then they are cooked in water to extract the sugar. The sugar water then is cooked down to a brown sludge. The sludge goes into a centrifuge and then it comes out white sugar. The sugar is dried and then stored in huge storage tanks/silos. As needed it is then bagged and shipped, or they fill train cars with sugar for businesses like Kellogg cereals. We saw some sugar being bagged in Aldi bags and Walmart bags today.
After the tour we did some grocery shopping and then made our way back to Sebewaing. Then it was time for lunch and naps. Later in the afternoon we walked back to old downtown Sebewaing to Cornerstone Ventures and had some really good ice cream. It was a fun day in Michigan.