A Quick Trip To the Home Port

The Plan:

Make a fast trip back to Michigan to pick up Cynthia’s car, then back to the boat in time to see the eclipse.

The reality:

Bus ride to Michigan (see previous blog entry) Pick up the car, run errands, see as many friends and family as possible in 3 days. Then drive back to Kentucky. It makes for a busy few days.

Pictures will tell this story better than words.



Friday lunch with the old guys has expanded to ladies also

The Friday lunch started with getting together after golf and has expanded to a large group. Each week these friends get together at local restaurants. You never know who will show up, but it’s always a good group of friends.

Our travels had us downtown Grand Haven, MI running errands and a little hometown shopping.


Downtown Grand Haven, MI

Then dinner at Fricano’s Pizza. While there we had a quick visit from Cynthia’s friend, Hilary Burns.  Full of pizza we made a late night surprise stop at one of Cynthia’s oldest friends, Sindee Maxwell. Poor Sindee had a fall and wound up with a sling.



Comparing injuries





“Walk the Beat” has local bands play around the town. Donations go to help with the school music programs. Some of Cynthia’s oldest friends were playing, and we took advantage to listen to some great music and see people.

Clockwise from Top left, Joe Maxwell w/ Ken Stone,  two close friends, fusion, jazz, reggae, folk and classic rock.

From “Walk the Beat” we headed to the 41st annual Corn Roast at Terry and Marilyn Benkert’s home in Muskegon. This is where friends have been gathering for years to get back together and visit. When this started our parents and grandparents would come and watch as we young people basically drank beer, played volley ball, drank more beer, talked, and made fools of ourselves. The crowd hasn’t changed much, but not as much beer and wine are consumed, and we have become the older people watching grand children.




A table was set up this year to remember some of the regulars that we have lost in the past year.


My cousin Dave Andrus and myself. Dave made a special trip so we could touch base for a short time.








More pictures of the corn roast.

Not only a get together but now a fund-raiser for good causes. This year people were able to spray colored water at Terry (Bummer) Benkert for a small donation. Funds went to Relay for Life. Marilyn Benkert also had a silent auction. Between the two events over $700.00 was raised.

We had to leave earlier than we wanted in able to see more friends for a short time before we headed back. Inga Weaver displaying a quilt started by Robert Weaver’s Grand Mother and finished by Inga and our group photo.

While in town we only had a few minutes with our son Ben. Ben has his own family now and had long anticipated plans. We stayed at our other son Jacob’s home. Between his work and his own life we had just a short time with him. Cynthia got up early on Friday to have breakfast with friend Linda Albonico and after our short visit with Robert and Inga we headed to Hilary and Dick’s for another short visit.

We left our son’s home in Grand Haven on Sunday morning heading back to the boat. Cynthia driving her car and me trying to decide which route would be the easiest way back. Well, that didn’t go as planned. Highway 57 south through Illinois was slated as the fastest route, however, we ran into construction traffic and had to idle for about 1-1/2 hours. Low on fuel and hungry we finally came to an exit and got off the highway and ran two lane roads South. A bright spot was C & C Kitchen in Rantoul, IL. Described as Hip & Cosey C & C Kitchen offered a light fair that hit the spot. We recommend it.

Back on the move and closing in on Kentucky we stopped just before crossing the Ohio River in Metropolis where I had my picture taken. Then on back on the road.


Monday the 21st of August was Eclipse day. We had a great view from the front deck of Bright Angel. Clear sky’s made the view perfect. My big hat and Cynthia’s umbrella gave us the shade we needed while watching and waiting.

It was a short trip and we put as much into it as possible. It’s good to be back on the boat, but miss all our friends and family.

p.s. We realize just how much our friends mean to us when we don’t see them as often as we like. Just in the short time we were in Michigan two more of our friends have passed. We will miss you Linda Little (Holland) and Pat Smith



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.


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.


Restarting the Journey (Can’t Stop Believing)


We stopped at Lightkeepers Marina in Little River, SC in October of 2015. It was supposed to be just for a long weekend to visit with friends we met in the Spring. Now 5-1/2 months later we are getting ready to move again.

During our time here in Little River, SC we’ve met some very nice people and developed friendships that will last for our lifetimes.

Cynthia and I both have bittersweet emotions about restarting our adventures. It’s almost like beginning again. When we left Grand Haven, MI in August of 2014, (do you believe how long it’s been) we were apprehensive about our journey but excited about the adventure. Now we find ourselves having the same feelings. We are looking forward to more adventures and seeing new sights but leaving our good friends is hard.

We’ve been blessed to meet and enjoy everyone’s company, but now it’s time to reconnect with old friends, even if it’s only for a short time. Yes a short time, we plan to leave the Grand Haven area and head back South again. We live on the boat and need to follow the warm weather.

Over the winter months we’ve explored the area and found that we still have plenty to see. We have visited gardens, coastlines, haunted restaurants, and a historic NASCAR racetrack.


Brentwood Wine Bistro


Darlington Raceway Museum

We’ve spent holidays with new friends, and had a surprise visit from our oldest son. We’ve even joined a health and fitness center.

We always said that if we knew a place well enough that we didn’t need to ask directions it was time to leave. Well for the most part that’s what has happened. We can find most of what we need in our little area without asking, so it’s time to move on.

In preparations for starting we’ve checked and run the engines, filled water tanks, pumped the head, and looked for the best fuel prices, about 100 miles north of here.

We’ve been doing other jobs, varnishing teak, washing decks, checking the dinghy, and all the regular activities, taxes, meds, last-minute on-line orders, and saying goodbyes.

Some will be harder than others.

As luck would have it and the time of year what it is, other cruisers and Loopers are beginning their pilgrimages also, we’ve heard from fellow cruisers and many are moving through the area or on their way, so as we say goodbye to new friends we will picking up with others we haven’t seen in sometime.

Our long-range goal is to “cross our wake” in Grand Haven, MI and earn our Gold Looper Flag. Our short-term goal is to leave the dock. Cynthia was reminded of a Girl Scout motto, “Make new friends, but keep the old, one is silver, the other gold.”

We are off to seek new friendship treasures, watch for further updates.


Book Reviews

Book report; The Queen’s Man by Sharon Kay Penman copyright 1996

First edition dustcover of "The Queen's M...

First edition dustcover of “The Queen’s Man” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I found “The Queen’s Man” in a group of books that my son’s friend Jamie was bringing back to the library. She and I haven’t really talked a lot about books so we don’t really know what each other like. But just by looking at the dozen or so books she had I can see she likes to read. She had a series of 6 books that she had just finished and when I picked another she mentioned that I should probably start at the beginning with that one. Meaning it was in the middle of a series. I found “The Queen’s Man” and she gave me the nod. All women know the nod, it is amazing.  Jamie and Ben like to go to renaissance festivals and LARP (live action roll play). I don’t understand it but they like it so, I guess that is OK. That may be the reason most of her books were set in Medieval times. Can’t say anything wrong with that. I read some of Follett’s books that take place in the same time. Maybe I’ll suggest some to her.

The front cover proclaims that “The Queen’s Man” is a Medieval Mystery. It is. Set at the end of the 12th century, Eleanor of Aquitaine is on the throne, Richard the Lionhearted, Eleanor’s oldest son,has been listed as missing on his way home from the Crusades and John, Eleanor’s youngest son, is thinking that the crown would look good on his head.

Justin , the hero of the story, is leaving Winchester and heading for London to make his fortune.  Justin hears a cry for help and rushes to aid another traveler. In time to chase the bandits away, but not before the traveller has been stabbed.  Justin does his best to provide comfort to the fallen man while he dies. In his last efforts the dying traveller begs for Justin’s assistance in delivering a letter addressed to the Queen. With the responsibility of a dying request our hero heads toward London with a quest to see the Queen and deliver the letter.

When I first started the book I was sceptical, used to my usual books with current technology and up to date communication it was hard at first to get into the read. It seemed like I was at a renaissance fair listening to people try to talk like they were from Old England. I kept thinking of the movie “Role Models” and a characters language. “Pip pip,Good Morrow, friend”. Well once you get past the verbal barrier, it is not a bad book. This is a novel with bits of historical fact dropped in to give the reader an idea of where the author, Sharon Kay Penman, is coming from.

Reading about the author I find that she has written five other books in the same area and this could be the first of a trilogy. Now I have to read the rest to see what happens to Justin. (instant update) Just looked at the book again for the copyright date and realized it was 1996. The book from the library was a first edition. Common sense would have it that Sharon Kay Penman has written more books and probably finished the trilogy. If you are familiar with the other books let me know what you thought and I’ll put them on the list.

“And now for something completely different” A memoir Sailing Grace, by John Otterbacher.
This was suggested by my friends at Booked for the Season in Grand Haven. I was looking for the next in the Starvation Lake series and telling them that it was set in Upper Michigan when they found this for me. Otterbacher is from Western Michigan. I can’t be sure, I haven’t started it yet but in the book he mentions Grand Haven. So, the chances are good. I will let you know.

Until next time; Live your dreams, then dream more dreams. (I am sure someone else said that before me, but it sounds good, eh!

Book Reviews

Book report; “The Deep Zone” by James M. Tabor copyright 2012

Deep Zone was suggested by an old friend and reader of this blog. Thanks again “Dixie Dutch Girl”.

Another first time author for me, James M. Tabor. I enjoyed his writing and will look for other books by the author. He writes in the way of James Rollins, another of my favorites.

After a wound that is not considered life threatening a soldier in Afghanistan is eaten from the inside out by bacteria. This bacteria is a mutant and does not respond to the antibiotics in use today.

Anyone with kids now knows that doctors are not as prone to prescribe antibiotics as fast as they did just 30 years ago. Many infections don’t respond like they did and bacteria has changed to be tolerant of many of the first round antibiotics. This is what is happening in the book. The search is on for new medicines that will stop the ramped infection that has started. This new infection has the possibility of wiping out the United States Military from the inside out and take most of the population of the United States along with it.

In the first chapter the reader is introduced to the ultra rich, behind the scenes person, that drives or takes advantage of other minor characters. A taste of the good life is given, but, with the good comes the bad. Our non identified insider not only receives food, drink, and a glimpse at what could possibly by obtained. He is shown what could happen if things don’t go the way they are expected.

Greed drives the mysterious antagonists in this book. Which makes it all to relevant to today’s world. Sometimes I think that these works of fiction really are close to reality. If you can think it then someone is trying to make it real.

I found Jame M. Tabor a good author and enjoyed the book. I looked for additional books by Tabor at my favorite used books store, Booked for the Season in Grand Haven, MI, and found none. I let them know they were missing good reads. Looks like its back to the library or even on-line for additional reading by the my last two authors.

When I finished The Deep Zone I found I did not have another to start. Almost started to panic. It’s 9:30 at night and now what do I do. Lucky for me our youngest son, who still lives in our basement, has a girl-friend that reads. She happened to have almost a dozen books in her car that were ready to go back to the area libraries. She brought them in and I was able to pick from the lot.

Next up, The Queen’s Man, by Sharon Kay Penman copyright 1997. The cover says it is a Medieval Mystery. I started to say it is not my usual read. But it is just a different setting. I will let you know what I think, could be fun.

Until next time, Happy Halloween