CHAPTER 27    AUG 20, 2010 to SEP 22, 2010     



LAKE HURON (8/20/10 – 9/1/10)
Throughout Lake Huron, we stayed at Michigan State Harbors. For a boat our size, the dockage fee is $37 and that includes power – what a deal!
Our first stop was PORT SANILAC MI where we bought 100 gallons of diesel at $3.15. We stayed for 4 days, a weather delay due to 4 to 6 foot waves. (Waves in the Great Lakes are short and steep, unlike the long rolling waves of the Atlantic. Since we only cruise at 7 knots, anything over 3 to 4 foot waves in the Great Lakes is uncomfortable. We take our time and only travel in good conditions.) While in PORT SANILAC, we toured a wooden hulled mine sweeper called the "Pride of Michigan"; crewed by Sea Cadets between 11 and 18 years old. Everyone on board scuba dives, and most go on to join the military or coast guard. While at the marina, we were entertained by an antique boat show, an antique power club displaying tractors, went to "Taste of Port Sanilac", and toured classic trailers and motor coaches from 1940’s to 1960’s displayed by the "Tin Can Tourists" club. We met lots of great people at this marina, including new loopers Todd & Paula on "Ocean Breeze" (see picture). It was here that we found our best defense against spiders, "Ortho’s Home Defense Max". We spray the dock lines and around the outside of the boat every few days, or when we see spiders. Spiders are a big problem in fresh water; small ones seem to float in the air and make webs all over, and big ones love wooden docks. Once we get back to salt water, no more spider problems.
PORT AUSTIN MI – cute little town, stayed 3 days due to 4 to 6 foot waves, enjoyed "The Bank", a locally famous restaurant, also found a little pub with $2.99 foot long hot dogs! There was a great little farm market with just picked local produce; basket of tomatoes was $2.50, peppers were 4/$1 peppers, and cucumbers were5/$1.
In HARRISVILLE MI met friends Rich and Marcie (see picture) who live nearby. They summer here, and provided us with many good tips about Lake Huron. We last saw them in Marathon FL where they spend the winter, so we had a lot of catching up to do during happy hour, then went out to dinner.
We’re still enjoying daylight until almost 9pm.
Before arriving in our next stop, ROGERS CITY MI, we passed by several limestone mines on the shores of upper Lake Huron that load directly onto waiting ships (see picture). The limestone, mined from beds hundreds of feet thick, feeds the steel mills of the lower lakes.
Next, we spent a few days in MACKINAW CITY MI, the most northern point of our loop. We visited the 290 foot Coast Guard Ice Breaker "Mackinaw". Launched in 1944, she was built to facilitate shipment of iron ore from the northern Great Lakes to the steel mills in southern MICHIGAN during WWII. In MACKINAW CITY we tried a local favorite "pastie", a hot pastry filled with meat, potatoes, rutabaga and onions – very tasty! Pastie’s originated in Cornwall England. Miner’s wives sent these hot and nutritious pasties with their husband to work, wrapped in newspaper or cloth. Later, Michigan’s Upper Peninsula adapted it, and it became a local favorite.
One day we took the ferry to MACKINAC ISLAND which I consider a major highlight of the loop. The island is about three miles by two miles, and does not allow motor vehicles, only horses and bicycles (see picture). It reminds me of a kinder and gentler time. Ester Williams & Jimmy Durante filmed a movie on the island in 1947, and Christopher Reeve & Jane Seymour filmed "Somewhere in Time" around 1980. We had a fantastic lunch at the stunning "Grand Hotel", relaxed on their 660 foot front porch, and toured the beautiful grounds (see pictures).
As we left MACKINAW CITY, we passed under the MACKINAC BRIDGE (world’s longest total suspension bridge, over 8,000 feet!) taking us from Lake Huron into Lake Michigan (see picture). We spent 13 days in Lake Huron, making 5 stops.


LAKE MICHIGAN (9/2/10 – 9/22/10)
We stayed at a Michigan State Marina in CHARLEVOIX MI, a wonderful facility complete with amphitheater (delightful concert our first night there), and water feature with trout pond! Also enjoyed a very nice farmers market. The town has loads of shops and restaurants, along with a few dozen Earl Young designed "mushroom houses" (see picture). Each house is unique, and designed to fit the site they occupy. They are made of various types of stone with unusual stone fireplaces, unique chimneys, and cedar shake roofs and many have wavy roof lines. They are utterly charming; remind me of Hansel and Gretel! We meet fellow loopers Mark and Sylvia on "Heavenly Ours" (see picture), and Rob and Deb on "Lady Royal" (see picture), and shared many good times with both couples, including a car trip to PETOSKEY and the "Odawa Casino". Our stay in CHARLEVOIX totaled eight days due to two back to back gales! The winds reached a maximum of 58 mph, and the waves on the lake (see picture) were 10 to 15 feet! Docks were coming apart, but it was much worse in nearly town of PETOSKEY were water was rolling over the breakwater walls, cleats were pulling out of the docks, and the lines holding boats to the dock were snapping! At least we had good friends and a great place to wait it out in CHARLEVOIX!
On day 9 we finally were able to leave, and head across LAKE MICHIGAN to WISCONSIN. The crossing was pretty good with 2 to 3 foot waves. In the middle of the Lake we crossed into the Central Time Zone. We arrived in Door County, a peninsula separated from the mainland of WI by a canal in STURGEON BAY. The peninsula’s shoreline ranges from sandy beaches, cherry and apple orchards (many tended by 4th & 5th generation families), to magnificent limestone bluffs (see picture). Cheese rules here (I especially love the cheese curds), and if you aren’t a Packers fan (see picture) – get out of town! These people are obsessed with the Green Bay Packers! The first time we did the Great Loop, we cruised all the way down the Michigan shore of Lake Michigan. This time we cruised all the way down the Wisconsin shore.
First stop in WI was WASHINGTON ISLAND, then on to FISH CREEK. Good friends we met on the first loop, Rolf and Kathy, took us by car on a grand tour of Door County WI. In FISH CREEK, we experienced a traditional Scandinavian "Fish Boil" (see picture), arriving ˝ hour early to watch the show. Outside the restaurant, a wood fire is set under a big kettle of salted water, potatoes and onions are added in a porous steel basket, then the whitefish. When done cooking, a small amount of kerosene is added to make the pot boil over to get rid of the fish oils and scum. VERY dramatic! Cherry pie is the traditional dessert. Some of the other places Rolf and Kathy brought us included SISTER BAY, where we had lunch at the locally famous "Al Johnson’s Swedish Restaurant" complete with goats (see picture) grazing on their grass roof! We also stopped at a local farm market and I stocked up on WI apples, cheese, and cherry products! We had fun finding our way through the corn maze, visited "Stone’s Throw Winery", and walked up the 75 foot tower in "Peninsula State Park" with beautiful views of Green Bay. One night we attended the play "Guys and Does". It was a wacky musical excursion into the world of Wisconsin deer hunting, complete with WI accents and expressions, even included a magical talking deer – what a hoot! We loved it!
Next stop was KEWAUNEE WI, an interesting small town with a very friendly marina. Bought some diesel for $2.72 a gallon. We met Phil & Barbara on "Lagniappe" and had a fun evening at the pub next door. The next day, Rolf and Kathy met us here and we drove to MANITOWOC to visit the "Wisconsin Maritime Museum"; a wonderful collection of boats, model ships, a giant steam engine, and included a tour of the "USS COBIA", a completely restored WWII submarine (see picture).
SHEBOYGAN WI was our next destination. We stayed at Rolf & Kathy’s yacht club, had fun meeting all their friends, went to see their lovely home, and they gave us a grand tour of the area.
Next was RACINE WI, where we met our friends Bob and Lyla (see picture) who live in nearby Kenosha. They were wonderful harbor hosts, bringing us shopping, and to a lovely restaurant for some excellent wall eye pike and sand dollars (homemade thick potato chips sprinkled with parmesan cheese) - delish!
Finally, we arrived in CHICAGO IL on 9/22, concluding 21 days spent in Lake Michigan suffering many weather delays. Took a walk through "Millennium Park" (see picture), and went downtown for lunch. Before leaving CHICAGO, we lowered our mast in order to pass under the many low bridges as we cruise through beautiful downtown CHICAGO (see picture). We left the city with Phil and Barbara on "Lagniappe".

Next, we head into the Western Rivers, and travel 1300 miles from Chicago IL to Mobile AL.

So far, we’ve travelled 16,208 miles aboard SUMMERTIME.

We look forward to hearing from friends and family – please keep the calls and emails coming!