CHAPTER 27 AUG 20, 2010 to SEP 22,
HURON & LAKE MICHIGAN
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
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.
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
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
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!