Cruising

Wow! It has been a long time.

It has been a long time since I’ve let my fingers walk on the keyboard. So long that I had to look up my last post to figure out where I left off.

Four Months!

July. It has been a long time.

Let’s get started. Here’s what I’m going to do. Give a brief review of our travels in the last 4 months then go back and expand on what I thought were significant.

Last time we were in Canada celebrating Canada Day with new friends. We still are in contact with them through Facebook.

While traveling the Trent-Severn waterway we had a situation with a recurring problem that required the boat to be lifted out of the water. With out a place to stay we rented a vehicle and drove to our home port of Grand Haven, Michigan. Friends and family were gracious enough to put up with us for almost 3 weeks.20160729_134614

 

Thanks again to everyone that helped out.

With the boat back in the water and August slipping away we pushed through the Georgian Bay in 2 days and back into the North Channel of Lake Huron. At the top of Georgian Bay is Killarney, Ontario. We were now in familiar waters, having travelled here in 2013. My thoughts were to push to Mackinac and down the coast of Michigan to Grand Haven. Silly Me

Lake Michigan is not a lake to mess with. We ended up in St. Ignace, MI waiting for weather and waves to become better. Waves again forced us into Beaver Island. Then with our sights set for Frankfort, we were forced into Charlevoix. Let me tell you this. If you are forced into a harbor Charlevoix is a great place to pushed into.

With an open window we moved from Charlevoix to Frankfort and from Frankfort to Manistee. Where again we had to wait for a weather window to move again. Then to Pentwater, Muskegon and finally on September 4 we reentered Grand Haven harbor and completed our Great Loop.

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We stayed at the municipal marina for 2 weeks, met with friends and family, went to Dr, appointments, and caught up with what needed to be caught up with. We were so busy that by the time we left we were ready to get back to the easy pace of cruising.

A salmon festival had us leaving Grand Haven in not the best of conditions. We traveled the Lake Michigan coast in 17 – 20 feet of water. Very close to shore. But any farther out and we were being banged around by 4-6′ waves. We made South Haven and stayed til better conditions arrived. Then New Buffalo MI and Hammond IN.

We arrived in Hammond on Cynthia’s birthday and went to the Casino next door to the marina. If we signed up for Player’s Cards we would get a free buffet. Whoo Hooo, free food and a birthday dinner to boot.

Now off the big lake and into the rivers again for smooth cruising. Our cruise down the Illinois River was uneventful. The upper Illinois River is highly commercial and is not the prettiest of scenery but in improves the closer you get to the Mississippi River Valley.

The Mississippi River has a great current that makes for easy travel at speeds unthinkable in slow-moving vessels. We would travel around 14 to 15 mph at engine speeds that would usually have us at 8 or 9 mph. Then we make the turn up the Ohio and speeds drop from 15 down to 6 in a boat length. But this is only for a couple of days and we enjoyed our nights at anchor on the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers.

From there we entered the Cumberland River just north a Paducah, KY on a Sunday. The Kentucky Lock and Dam was closed for repair and barge and tow traffic had been re-routed onto the Cumberland. Where when we first traveled the Cumberland we saw 1 barge this time we saw and passed more than 12 moving tows. The Cumberland is much more narrow than the Tennessee and the Ohio and water levels were much shallower than the last time we were on it, making the passing just a little more nerve-wracking. But a great day and we were able to enter the Barkley Lock without waiting.

Now up the Tennessee and on to the Tom Bigbee River. We are currently in Columbus MS and what was supposed to be a short stay has become weeks. I turned and put out my back and have been here recuperating until we both feel comfortable in my moving capabilities.

Life goes on.

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Cruising

Cruising Northern Michigan and Canada (The North Channel)

Just an update on our Northern Adventure. We are currently back in Michigan waters. While still technically still in Lake Huron we can’t be to close to Lake Michigan. We are back in St Ignace Michigan just north of the Mackinac Bridge. I recently found out, from my sister, that St. Ignace was one of my Mother’s favorite places. I never knew that. Being the youngest child you miss some of that information. Maybe that’s one of the reasons I like it so much here. It could be buried deep in my psyche, but that’s another case for some therapist or maybe even a book.
We spent almost 3 weeks in the North Channel and Canada. It’s beautiful, people were for the most part friendly and very helpful. Everyone has an opinion of what’s the best to see and where to stay. Word of mouth is the best advertizing. But, you have to just separate the wheat from the chaff. Sometimes that just takes checking out what was suggested and making your own decision. Everyone has their own opinion. (I think I’ve heard that before)
Anyway, some of what we learned are:
You can’t see it all in one visit.
Listen to what people say, then make your own decision
Expect to see the same people in different places
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder
Water diffuses the view underneath
Fog can really close in around you
Radar is a good thing
Loaner bicycles don’t always work the best
Some marinas are smoother than others
Engines burn a lot less fuel going down stream rather than up-stream
It always takes more cash than you thought
There is always someone better at boat handling
There is always someone worse at boat handling
Keep fenders on both sides of the boat

(Hold on the guy next to us is getting ready to leave and I want to be out by the boat.) Holy Shit This same guy that almost ran into us coming into the dock just about took out us and 3 others on his way out. The guy is a menace!
Well, back to cruising. This is a good example, just because you are trying to relax be prepared to “fend off” what you don’t expect. Now take a cleansing breath and get back to where you were.
On a different note. We had a boat tied up next to us here in St. Ignace. Yes, it is the boat of the crazy man who can’t steer a boat for crap. I noticed the name of the boat “G Wizard”. I thought he might be a retired science teacher. Some may remember the science show “Mr. Wizard” at least that’s how my brain went. Then I heard him talking about a “black” being the head of the ATF.
He was not in favor of this appointment. Then I thought of the boat name again, “G Wizard”, and my mind went another way. I know that the KKK had a large following in Southwestern Michigan. Could this be true for Northeastern Michigan also? It is hard for me to wrap my brain around. I will admit that I am naive about a lot of things and this is one of them.
This brings us back to cruising or traveling wherever. You will find many people ready to help. But, with all the good there are people who will take advantage of you. To me it is sad to think that there are people who look for ways to take advantage of someone elses kindness.
Until next time “Be excellent to each other”.

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Blind River, Ont, Canada

Morning shot of the facilities here in Blind River. Last night I did peek out to look for meteors. Saw none but was amazed at the stars. Haven’t seen the Milky Way in years. We will stay here in Blind River for a day or two due to predicted Thunder Storms. I can see now that there are some ominous clouds moving this way from the west. This will give us some time to restock some supplies and do a little laundry.
I am finding that the “North Channel” is smaller than what I thought. Day trips are only 30 – 40 miles. But the constant moving has left the Admiral travel weary and ready for a day or two in one place. So far this is good. The town of Blind River is about a 15 minute walk from the marina so might put the dingy down and see if I can use it to our advantage and travel up the river and dock closer to the Butcher shop and Grocery store. That’s right there is a Butcher shop, how is that for bringing back the 50’s.

Cruising

Blind River, Ont, Canada

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