What a great time to travel Lake Michigan. For the most part, we have had great weather for our travels and have only had to hole up a couple of times to wait for the current conditions to change. Which is pretty normal for anyone traveling on Lake Michigan.
We traveled from Menominee across Green Bay and through the Sturgeon Bay Canal as far as Algoma. A small boat marina with the largest boat inside the break-wall 36-foot. They did have floating docks along the channel, but with winds out of the southeast rollers came into the channel and made for a rough night. We were not rocking side to side but front to back and the swim platform would be submerged and banging into waves. It made for a tough night and the next morning (Labor Day) with the help of the marina attendant we moved into the harbor through some of the thickest fog ever and tied along their gas dock. It was a lot smoother, a little shallow but we made it in and only touched bottom once.
From Algoma we traveled south to Sheboygan. This is where Dearest got to practice her line handling. Looping a cleat on the dock from the boat and holding us in place while I jumped off and grabbed some more lines to keep us in place. When this occurred it was special but in just over a week it has become more of a common situation. Dearest is becoming quite the line handler. Sheboygan marina is adjacent to a large park, which was convenient for Toots and my walks. Sharing the harbor basin were the Sheboygan Yacht Club and the Sheboygan Olympic Sailing School. The only Olympic Sailing School in fresh water. We spent just one night and with weather remaining favorable we headed south again.
Our next destination was Port Washington. Rated one of the top 10 harbors in the Great Lakes, Port Washington’s marina is right in the middle of everything. A block from Main Street, many eating and drinking establishments were very close. We have begun to meet more “Loopers” now and have begun to share stories of each others adventures. Weather had us staying an extra day in Port Washington. The extra time gave us the chance to catch up on regular chores and to walk around and do a little exploring. It had been suggested to us to have dinner a Smith Brothers Restaurant, unfortunately it is no longer a regular restaurant but now a coffee shop and sandwich shop. We were not the only ones disappointed. Toots and I were able to accompany Dearest on a shopping tour of a Chocolate Shop, a resale shop, and a walk through the rest of downtown.
With winds diminishing and moving more to the south-west we headed out of Port Washington toward Racine. We left the harbor and found little or no waves but some rather large swells or rollers, 3 – 4 footers. The rollers were right in front of us and were not as close together as some we have encountered and so the ride was not smooth but not unpleasant. Racine brought us to Reef Point Marina, the largest marina I’ve ever been in, over 900 slips and a condo marina close by makes over a thousand slips in one area. It took 10 minutes to walk off the dock system. Toots was not impressed. I think the other dogs on boats farther on the docks probably agreed with her also. The grass close to the gate was definitely showing signs of continual dog activity. However, the marina was well maintained and staff were helpful and available.
We arrived in Racine in time for their First Friday celebrations. In our evening walk, Toots, Dearest, and myself took a short tour of the downtown area and made it back to the boat before the rain began to fall hard. The rain dampened the festivities of First Friday but we did see quite a few people out for the evening.
We spent an extra day in Racine because the waves on the lake were supposed to be pretty bad and forecast looked better for the following day. This gave us time to connect with a cousin that I haven’t seen in over 30years. Nancy Waggnaar and her husband Mark. We had a great chat and Nancy and Mark took Cynthia to the grocery store and even supplied us with some vegetables from their own garden. In the mean time I stayed with Toots on the boat. We were able to walk past a swap meet that some of the residents of the marina had. I was able to find a power cord connector that I needed for a real good price. In fact we are connected with it right now.
When Cynthia and the cousins returned we had a short time to sit and relax on the boat before they had to get home and prepare for a block party in their neighborhood. All the activities of summer still going.
We left Racine on Sunday and headed toward Chicago. We started seeing the outline of the shoreline from 45 miles away. With great water conditions we made great time and arrived in Chicago 15 minutes ahead of the estimated time. The roughest part of the trip was when we got into the Chicago area. Boat wakes were coming from all different directions so we rocked our way in for the last few miles.
Entering the Chicago area for the first time on a very pleasant Sunday afternoon was a bit intimidating. We reserved a berth in Chicago’s Du Sable Harbor right next to the Chicago river and just across from Navy Pier. We thought we would have at least an extra day here, but it looks like a lock farther up river is closed Tuesday and Wednesday for repair, so we need to push on quickly to get through without having to wait extra days.
I’ve taken the radar dome off the arch to lower our overall height a little and hopefully we will be low enough to get under the bridges on the Chicago River. We will find out soon enough tomorrow.
Until then keep your head down, it’s a low bridge.