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

Homeward Bound

Charlevoix, between Lake Michigan and Lake Cha...

Charlevoix, between Lake Michigan and Lake Charlevoix. The drawbridge is along US 31. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Now we are on our way back south to our home port of Grand Haven. We left Beaver Island and headed first to Charlevoix Michigan. The great thing about Charlevoix City Marina is, after Labor Day the fee for slip rental is 2 days for the price of one. Charlevoix is one of Cynthia’s favorite ports to visit. The Marina is well cared for, the people friendly, and shopping is real close.

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On a walk with Toots we met the Beaver Island ferry coming into the Charlevoix harbor.

While in Charlevoix we met more people on the “Great Loop”and a couple with the same boat manufacturer as ours, Jefferson, and we toured each others boats to see how they compared. We liked ours better.

Because we have been in Charlevoix before Toots and I have a regular walking route. From the marina under the bridge and out along the channel to the pier. Then either back the same way or circle around past the “mushroom houses”

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The houses look like hobbit homes and a lot of the municipal architecture follows the design.

The weather looked good for our trip further south and after 4 days in Charlevoix we decided to push on toward home. Our primary destination to be Frankfort, Michigan. About 60 miles south. Because the wind and waves can change quickly on Lake Michigan we plan alternative stops in case we need to get off the lake. First being North Port on the eastern side of the Leelanau Peninsula, next Leland, on the west side of the Leelanau Peninsula and then Frankfort.

Map of Michigan highlighting Charlevoix County.svg

Map of Michigan highlighting Charlevoix County.svg (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Once leaving Charlevoix we head southwest and cross Grand Traverse Bay. This is a bay that is about 15 miles wide at the mouth and approximately 40 miles long. With a south wind coming up Grand Traverse Bay waves have the 40 miles to build making crossing the mouth of the bay rough. Not only can you have waves coming up the bay but waves can be coming from the west across Lake Michigan. When this happens it’s impossible to keep the boat from rolling in all the directions. Cynthia calls this “hula hooping”. Hula Hooping is not good. The shorter time this happens the better.

We traveled out to cross the bay with south-east winds. Not too bad until in front of the bay where the waves traveling up the bay met Lake Michigan. We angled the boat into the bay the head into the waves as much as possible and still be heading in the right direction. Then when we got closer to the western side headed back out of the bay and around the point using the land for protection from the waves. It was rough for about 45 minutes but smoothed out when away from the mouth of Grand Traverse Bay.

Heading south we stayed close to the shore. By close I mean about ½ to ¾ mile away letting the dunes act as lee from the wind and waves. We made our way to Frankfort Michigan  and Betsie Lake.

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While traveling we met the same people and boats in different harbors. The Active Captain boat arrived later in the same day. They had left Charlevoix about an hour before we did and we passed them while we powered across Grand Traverse Bay.  Any boaters or cruiser should check out the Active Captain web site. It has a lot to offer.

We were weathered in for a couple of days in Frankfort. I was able to find a number of books at the Library, which is adjacent to the marina. If you read the “book reports” you will notice that I mentioned the books and the deal I got at the local library. I know there are not a lot of pictures now. I guess that is because we knew we were on our way home and back to the reality of life. I will add some pictures but they may be from another time and adventure.

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Leaving Frankfort we have to weave our way out the channel between the fishermen. Proceeding south toward Pentwater. Our alternatives could be Arcadia, Portage Lake or Onekema, Manistee, and/or Ludington. That’s what I like about traveling the west coast of Michigan. There are many towns that we duck into if we need to get off the lake.

Our trip to Pentwater was uneventful. It must have been because I don’t remember a whole lot about that day of travel. We like Pentwater. The main town is right next to the Municipal Marina and that makes it easy to walk for groceries, and restaurants. I’ve got to say we don’t eat out a lot while traveling. Most of our meals are prepared on the boat. We do go out once in a while, but when we leave Toots the dog by herself she doesn’t like it very much. She is so spoiled. She tends to bark and make a fuss if we leave her and she has us trained well enough that  we don’t leave her very much. We did celebrate our 32nd Wedding Anniversary while in Pentwater. We walked down to the Brown Bear, local bar eatery, and had “broasted chicken” for our special diner. It was the company that made the date not the food. Although I really like “broasted chicken”.

2013Momphonephotos 157 This picture was taken in 2012, tied up in Pentwater with the Chris Craft during a classic boat show in Pentwater.

Another treat during our stay was, our oldest son Jacob came up and took his Mom to a special evening of diner and music for her birthday that was later the next week.

From Pentwater the plan was to head the rest of the way to Grand Haven and home. Our alternatives were White Lake about 35 miles, Muskegon another 15 miles and then Grand Haven another 15 miles.

This is why we like the alternatives. With winds from the south at about 12 we headed out of Pentwater and south. As soon as we rounded Little Point Sable the wind and wave grew huge. I’m sure we had some 6 foot waves. Mama and Toots were not happy. It was rough. We ran for White Lake in wind waves and rain. Lets just say we were glad to get off the lake and into the marina. It was closed for the season, but they left the power on. A couple of hours of warm and smooth Mama and Toots were feeling better and all was running on greased grooves.

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White Lake light house and marina, safety and security.

The following day had the wind change and be from the North and not very hard so our last trip of the adventure was smooth, although cool, and we made Grand Haven channel in about 3 and a ½  hours.

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Now it’s back to reality. Catch up with bills, arrange to start to move back into the house, prepare the boat for winter storage. All the jobs that need to be done.

At this writing we have delivered the boat to the storage facility for haul out. Cynthia and Toots did not ride along. I had Terry and David Benkert along for the ride. October 2 was a good day, light winds, and sunshine. But where did those rollers come from 3-4 foot out of the northwest, made for a bumpier ride than we would have liked but not bad altogether. Today the boat was supposed to be hauled and set inside for the winter and tomorrow I will check it out to make sure it’s OK. Time to get out the list of all the changes we want to make before the next big adventure in the Spring.

You probably wonder why I wasn’t there to watch the haul out. Well it’s like this, they use a big trailer and pull it out of the water and I get nervous, so it’s better that I stay away. I did have some pictures of it going into the water, but I lost them when I fell into the lake this summer with my phone in my pocket. Hey, if your by the water eventually your going to get wet.

Until next time, dream more dreams and make them a reality.

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