Gore Bay, ON

We’re finally getting to Canada!  Sure feels like it has taken awhile.  We left DeTour Village and made our way across the imaginary line in the water into Canadian waters.  We cruised passed Meldrum Bay, where our friends stopped, and kept going to Gore Bay.  Gore Bay was already closed for the season last September when we came through and it sounded cute in Waterway Guide so I wanted to see it.  We had a smooth trip but we kept noticing how big the waves were.  We were running with them so it wasn’t a problem.  Every now and then we would comment that if we pulled out and saw water like that we would have turned around.  And if we had been traveling the opposite direction it would have been terrible for us.  So, we were a little worried when we had to make the big, sweeping turn into the bay.  But it was pretty smooth and once we got behind the break wall we were fine.  The wind picked up just in time to dock, but the slip they put us in was empty next to us and HUGE.  We have never seen so much space between boats.  The marina was great.  One of the nicest we’ve been to in awhile.  And really big for these little towns up here.

Along the way I managed to complete a 500 piece puzzle.  The girls joined in for the last half hour and helped me finish it.  It’s a Cubs puzzle with hidden pictures in it.  They spent some time searching out all of the pictures.  Then we all went downstairs to help with docking.  The wind got crazy and I heard Ben say through the headset that the puzzle had just gone flying.  Oh boy.  This has happened before and I had a good system figured out for weighting them down and protecting them.  Not so much this time.  One good gust and the entire puzzle up and flew off the table.  So, we picked the pieces up and moved on with our day.  Hey, it was already done!

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Ben got us checked in with Canadian Customs and we got off the boat and walked for ages trying to figure out where to sign in for the marina.  The town has these beautiful wooden boardwalks and benches all over so we just kept following the pathway and eventually got there.  We walked into town briefly and then left the kids at the park while we went back to the boat for a few minutes.  We picked them up and walked to Buoys for dinner.  There was live music and the kids jumped in with maracas playing along.

We knew the winds Thursday and Friday were going to be pretty strong so we decided to stay put on Thursday.  Ben spent the day working so I took the kids exploring.  We walked into town and milled around for a bit.  Stopped in both pharmacies and price shopped and picked up some kinetic sand for the girls.  Stopped in the grocery store to stock up on a few things, but held off on produce because there was a farmer’s market Friday morning.

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After lunch the girls and I took off exploring the other direction.  We went down to the Harbor Center to see what was inside.  But when we got there we discovered that outside they were having a used book sale.  You know how we love those.  We stocked up and bought 11 more books.  After the Harbor Center we went down to the beach.  And then of course the girls wanted to swim so we walked back to the boat, changed into suits and walked back to the beach. Gore Bay isn’t very big but we walked A LOT during our time there.

Thursday afternoon six boats pulled in with exhausted looking crew.  The girls and I could see the bay from the beach and it was insane out there.  I am so glad we didn’t attempt to move.  Two of the six boats had damage to their dinghy brackets.  They were coming from the east, so going right into the waves and just got beat up.  One of the brackets had a cracked welding.  Needless to say it was not a good day to be on the water.  One of the six boats was a gold looper boat we had met on our loop.  It was a lot of fun to catch up with them!

We decided to stay again on Friday because the Harbour Days festival was kicking off and Saturday was full of activities for the girls.  Sunday looked like a good day for travel so we just committed to staying until then.  We went to the farmer’s market Friday morning excited to stock up on produce.  And there was none!  No tomatoes.  No corn.  No veggies other than zucchini and a few greens.  No fruit at all.  It was so strange.  We picked up some butter tarts and muffins and some smoked fish dip and now needed a second trip to the store to buy all the produce I planned to get at the farmer’s market.

Ben went back to the boat to work and I took the kids to explore again.  Our first stop was the Gore Bay museum housed in the old jail.  It was a little bizarre to say the least.  Very tiny and each jail cell displayed a different area of the town.  Old artifacts from a shoemaker in one cell.  A seamstress shop in another cell.  And so on.  There was one jail cell set as it would have been for the jail.

We climbed up to the second level to look around a little more.  Molly got to the top of the steps and gasped.  We ended up laughing.  Anyone who knows me knows how much birds freak me out.  Molly too.  There were huge stuffed birds everywhere!  We finished looking around in the rest of the rooms.  We came across an old telephone.  “That was a telephone???”  Madelyn was shocked.  The other half of the museum was an art gallery so we took a few minutes to look at some of the local art and photography on display before heading out.

The girls were thrilled when Let’s Go pulled into the marina.  They got their puppy back!  Off they went.  Marshall and Judy just handed over her leash and the girls ran around with her for an hour or two!  We walked over to the Split Rail Brewing Company for their one year birthday party and visited with Marshall and Judy.  Then another walk to grab some fish and chips for dinner.

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Saturday morning I took a long walk around the bay.  It was quite a calm and serene setting.  After taking the waterfront boardwalk around one way, I took a different route back.  So often with boating we hop off the boat and walk right to the one little main street in town.  I like to walk around and see the rest of the area.  I found the school and senior center and a really cute Catholic church.  I also looked up at one point and there was a deer right in front of me.

The Harbour Days events ramped up around 11 with a water show in the harbor right in front of our boat.  After the show were the cardboard boat races!  I had heard about these before but had never seen one.  It was a lot of fun to watch.  There were three races.  The first race was kids solo in their boats.  The second was a family race with at least two family members.  And the third was open to anyone.  Blazer won the first race and came in second in the second race.  It was an impressive feat of cardboard and duct tape!  Some of the boats sank immediately or capsized fairly quickly.  But it was a good time for everyone participating and watching.  I liked the Viking ship.

 

Next we headed to the kid activities.  The girls picked inflatable jousting first.  Then onto seeing the Canadian fire truck and talking to the volunteer fireman about all of their equipment.  Next up was the splash park briefly and then they were off to the foam pool party.  They had a great time getting sudsy and then going down the little water slide only to do it all over again.

We were all ready for a little break after that.  We finished the day with BLTs on the boat and a quick trip to the park.  Once the girls were in bed, Ben and I were able to visit with Mike and Maria from Aqua-Fennatic again for a bit.  Sunday morning we were finally going to get moving and head towards Killarney!

 

DeTour Village, MI

We finally left Mackinaw City and headed north.  After much hemming and hawing.  All Monday morning in fact.  Ben and I went back and forth about which route to take so many times.  We’ve lost all ability to make a decision it seems!  The huge plus to heading around the top of Michigan and over to Presque Isle was being able to cross Lake Huron and get to Tobermory the same day the Wilsons arrived there.  Perfect timing.  Travel with friends.  And all the kids reunited.  But….what if the forecast was wrong again and we got into the middle of our 90 mile open water crossing at the widest point of Lake Huron and it was bad???  What then??  Or what if we got to Presque Isle and then we are stuck with more bad water?  So, maybe we should head north towards the North Channel instead?  I texted the friends on Let’s Go we had met the previous day.  They took off around 9 or 10 AM Monday to head to Drummond Island.  I watched them head out and we knew that as the morning went on, the water was supposed to improve.  They reported that it was just fine.  Maybe 1-2′ waves but just fine.  We had planned to leave around noon.  Ben was getting some work done and we needed to fuel up.  As the morning went on we heard from Let’s Go again that it was up to 3-4′ waves and was not super comfortable.  Hmmm.  Now what?  Then Marshall sent us a video and that helped.  It wasn’t too bad and he reported that after about an hour it improved a lot.  So, we decided we couldn’t sit still any longer and had to give it a try.

We definitely had some waves but it wasn’t bad at all and as we got further north it smoothed out.  All the waves were behind us so we kind of rode with them.  We decided to head to DeTour Village instead of Drummond Island.  We stopped at Drummond Island last September and just didn’t find anything to do.  DeTour is right across the water and is on the mainland.  Also very tiny.  There is a ferry that runs seemingly nonstop between DeTour and Drummond.

DeTour Village is a sweet little town.  Emphasis on little!  But after a couple of weeks on the water, we were ready to get back to seeing the tiny towns that we find so fun to explore.  They are just so other worldly compared to Chicago.  Obviously.  We got the bikes out.  Kids rode them around.  They don’t need to be locked up.  Just toss them in the bike rack and they’re fine.  We walked up the one main street.  One tiny, little street had 3 churches on it!  And 3 restaurants.  But only 2 are open on Mondays and the 3rd is just a sandwich shop.  We marveled at the adorable post office.  It reminded me of Cape Vincent, NY.

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And the adorable coffee shop.

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And the one gift store in town.  And the small, charming house with the garage at least 3x the size of the house.  It turns out many of the houses are summer vacation rentals.  Fishing seems to be big business here as well.

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Check out that garage!

We opted for dinner on the boat because at first sight the restaurants didn’t look that great.  But we did stop in the very small local IGA where we could at least grab some fruit and a few other items.

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Sune’s IGA, beautiful hanging flower baskets on side of building

The next day we decided to stay put rather than cross into Canada.  We had planned to head up into Canada into the North Channel and go to a small town named Thessalon.  But it was purely going to be a stop over.  It was 30 miles there and then 50 to Gore Bay.  We decided to stay put instead and leave early Wednesday for a long day all the way to Gore Bay.  One less docking.  One less hookup of the power cords.  So, while Ben worked, the girls rode their bikes and I took a long walk with them.  It was a busy few days for Yacht Devices orders so we headed to the post office to drop off a package.  I asked for a receipt (postage label is already on the package).   The lady asked how she would give me a receipt.  Ummmm…..usually the package gets scanned and the postal worker hands me a receipt.  “We don’t have that new equipment here” was the reply.  Hmmmm.  Ok!  Well then I guess I don’t need a receipt.

Off to explore more on bikes.  Someone said to me tonight that my girls are very free.  When we are out of the city, they are.  It’s WONDERFUL.  They can be independent and carefree and do all the things I did when I was a kid.  They look to me for permission and to check if something is ok all the time.  I said go!  Watch for cars!  Don’t get lost.  Just go ride your bikes.  I found them a dead end street and they rode a couple of miles before turning around and getting back to where I was walking.  I love that they have that freedom and independence in these small towns.

Lazy day with some time on the boat playing cards.  Then back into town for another trip to the post office (I didn’t ask for a receipt this time, just handed over the package).  Then off to get milkshakes and check out the local gift shop.  In addition to local items it had used books!  So we grabbed a couple of those and headed back to the boat.

Another boater had tried the restaurant I shied away from the night before and said it hit the spot so we went there for dinner.  It was great!  And as we were sitting in the dining room a bunch of people from the marina piled in.  They had all just come from the North Channel so we swapped stories and got some not to be missed recommendations of little islands and bays to visit.  Better yet….a man with a sailboat with a 7 foot draft showed us on charts where to go.

We all enjoyed our stay in DeTour Village and will likely stop there when we check back into the US.

Mackinaw City – Part 2

Well, our stay in Mackinaw City continued.  Saturday morning came with rain and a gloomy forecast for the day.  We had a super lazy morning.  We played some cards, had some screen time, and just relaxed.  Just after noon there was a break in the rain so we headed across to the other side of the marina to the USCG Icebreaker Mackinaw to take a tour.  The ship was retired in 2006 after 62 years in service and is now a museum.

USCG Icebreaker Mackinaw was built during WWII.  During our tour we learned that she was built mostly by women since the men were away serving in the war!  The cost to build her was $10 million and she is 290 feet long.  She was painted white to be camouflaged in the ice.  In recent years the ship has been repainted red.  The Icebreaker Mackinaw was built and used primarily to keep supplies moving during the winter months.  The two docents on board Saturday were both retired servicemen from the ship!  What a wealth of knowledge.

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Madelyn loves a good self-guided tour so she was in luck.  With short videos scattered throughout the ship, along with plenty of items to read and see, she was happy to explore.  We were able to speak with a docent in one of the three engine rooms.  He was an engineer on the ship during his service.  The Icebreaker Mackinaw is equipped with six locomotive engines, two per engine room.  This likely sounds silly, but they actually look like trains.  The docents both reported that it was a great place to work in the winter and miserable in the summer, reaching temperatures around 130 degrees.

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The USCG Icebreaker Mackinaw never got stuck in its 62 years on the Great Lakes.  It was built with 3 propellers, two in the back and one in the front.  The picture below is one of the actual propellers.  They are HUGE!  And they don’t bend when hitting things like ours do.  They are made out of steel.  The front propeller was used to chop ice, blender style.  The way the Mackinaw broke ice was to sort of ride up on top of the ice and then come down on it and crush it.  The front propeller would then chop it all up and disperse it.  The ship never got stuck because of the way it was constructed.  It has a rounded bottom and front, back and side heeling tanks.  These tanks hold water, and a lot of it.  There is a valve between them to shift the water from one side to the other.  If the Icebreaker Mackinaw became stuck, all water would be put in one side, causing the boat to heel over in that direction.  Then the crew would shift the water to the other side causing the boat to rock and heel the other way.  It would rock back and forth until loose and crush the ice beneath.

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After we learned about how the Icebreaker Mackinaw broke ice, we toured the rest of the ship.  Later in service, women were on board as well and had separate bunk rooms.  We got to see the bunk rooms, the bathrooms, the sick ward, the galley and the officer’s quarters as well as the pilot house.

We were also able to walk around the decks.  We could see our boat from the deck of the ship.

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There’s our boat! Back right….

Finally we learned that the USCG Icebreaker Mackinaw could tow a ship up to 1000 ft. long through the ice.  It has a towing winch called Big Bertha that hooked boats to the stern of the ship and could tow it through the ice.

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Once our tour was done we went to Scalawags for fresh fish and chips for lunch.  It lived up to its reputation!  Then more fudge.  Yum.  It drizzled on and off the rest of the day.

Sunday we planned to go to Mackinac Island by ferry to watch the Race to Mackinac sailboats finish.  The race started from Chicago in stages Friday and Saturday.  After church we planned to hop on the ferry and spend the afternoon watching them come in.  Just before buying our ferry tickets Ben checked the online tracker for the boats.  The storms on Lake Michigan slowed all the boats down so badly that the closest boat was still 10 hours away so we scrapped that plan and hung around town again.  Our hearts are with the family and friends of the sailor from Chicago who lost his life falling overboard just after the start of the race.

We took a bike ride with the girls Sunday afternoon and got ice cream again.  A number of Loop boats had pulled into the marina so we went and chatted and introduced ourselves.  It was fun to reconnect with one couple we met at the Spring Rendezvous and introduce ourselves to another couple.  After a nice long visit on their boat we headed back for a quick dinner and then went out for ice cream (again!) with the new friends we just met.

With plans to leave Mackinaw City in the morning, we had some planning to do.  We have gone back and forth about which route to take to Canada, but for awhile had been settled on rounding the top of the state of Michigan and crossing Lake Huron over to Tobermory, ON.  Our plan was to meet the Wilsons there.  Monday looked ok and Tuesday looked good for the 90 mile crossing.  But the forecast has been wrong so often lately and wind keeps kicking up the water.  We were both feeling uneasy about the long crossing and couldn’t decide what to do.  The other route is to head north of Mackinac Island up to DeTour Passage and into the North Channel.  We decided to look at all the forecasts again Monday morning and make a decision then.

Mackinaw City – Part 1

Ben was nervous to get the boat out of the Manistique marina.  He spent a long time the day before in the dinghy charting a new path that was all in deep enough water.  It was the same path we took in, but we had used the dinghy so much while there that he wanted clear and easy lines for me to follow!  We got up early Wednesday morning and Ben took one more quick jaunt out in the dinghy to test his track and make sure it was still all good. Then we got lines untied and I hopped in the dinghy to lead us out.  We made it out with no issues and traveled about a mile out past the lighthouse before we stopped to hoist the dinghy.  This meant I was able to take pictures of our boat underway!  That doesn’t happen very often.  We usually have to rely on someone else taking the pictures for us.  So it was fun to be able to snap a few of my own of all sides of the boat.  Ben stopped and didn’t even have to anchor to hoist the dinghy.  Nice and calm water, just the way we like it.

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Once the dinghy was all secured we made our way to Mackinaw City.  I honestly had never given Mackinaw City a thought.  I just assumed it was where you parked your car and got on the ferry to go to Mackinac Island.  Yes, they are spelled different.  No, I do not know why.  But like their brochure said, whichever way it is spelled it’s pronounced “awe”.  It turns out Mackinaw City is a whole vacation mecca with restaurants, a million shops, a ton of fudge, a lovely bike path through a nature preserve, beaches, two big marinas, a lot of hotels, and more.

While we were underway we started talking about schedule and route yet again.  It is part of the fun of traveling but also kind of exhausting.  We knew we had great water Wednesday and Thursday so we planned to get to Mackinaw City Wednesday and keep on going Thursday to set up for our crossing of Lake Huron.  The more we thought about it, we realized that we’d end up in some tiny town with nothing to do for FOUR days if we moved on Thursday.  Maybe we should have spent another day with friends at the beach and just come to Mackinaw City Thursday.  But…we had to determine whether or not we had propeller damage and we didn’t want to chance the weather window.  So, Mackinaw City it was.  I’m happy and relieved to report that we do not think there is any damage!  We don’t feel any sort of a vibration at either low or high speeds.  Phew.  (Next challenge…Canada)  On our way to Mackinaw City, we got to pass under the Mighty Mac again.  It’s always beautiful!  We pulled into the marina mid afternoon and got settled.  The girls were super excited to ride bikes so Ben got those down right away.

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The Mighty Mac

Ben had a couple of Yacht Devices orders to ship so we walked and biked to the post office.  Right outside the marina parking lot were endless ice cream and fudge shops along with the Mackinaw Crossings mall.  We love all of the cute little towns we boat to, and are not big fans of the touristy hubs, but to be weathered in somewhere, it’s always good to be somewhere with lots to do.  Mixed in with all of the consumerism is a lot of history as well.

After the post office we took the bikes back to the marina and headed to Mickey’s for ice cream right across from the marina.  We walked around the outdoor mall a bit, grabbed a quick dinner, and bought our first round of fudge and peanut brittle.  I’ve debated disclosing what we spent on fudge, peanut brittle and sea foam while in Mackinaw City.  We cook and eat most meals on the boat, which in this case was good because during our 5 nights in Mackinaw City we spent more $$ than a meal out on sweets  That isn’t counting ice cream.  We may have issues!  But we were told that it’s precisely 17% cheaper in Mackinaw City than on the island.  See, we saved money.

As long as we weren’t moving, Ben needed to work Thursday and Friday.  The girls and I found the bike path trail head and rode bikes about 7.5 miles or so Thursday, riding the trail, then down to the beach and then to a playground.  After lunch we took a walk to a hand made doll clothes shop and then the girls got more ice cream.  Friday we did it all again.  Molly had a 10 mile goal Friday.  The wind had really picked up so 10 miles was either great or very difficult depending on which way we were headed.  I’m so proud of Maddy for hanging with us!  She wasn’t interested in the full 10 miles but she did it.

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Friday afternoon Ben was ready for a break and we all went to the Mackinac Bridge Museum.  The only access to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan was by car ferry until 1957 when the bridge opened.  The museum has an old movie about the construction of the bridge.  For someone scared of heights (me), I could hardly watch parts of it.  It took 3 and a half years to build the bridge and it spans 5 miles across the Straits of Mackinac, connecting Mackinaw City to St. Ignace.  Watching the video about the construction was incredible.  First the sinking of the very large supports.  Then watching the men walk out to work on the cabling on what looked like a rolled out chain link fence.  There were no tethers.  No harnesses.  Nothing!  They just stood there in the wind and elements so far above ground on nothing!  It made my stomach turn.  The movie also showed the spinning wheel they used to string all of the cabling.  The Mighty Mac is the longest suspension bridge in North America.

The museum is small but housed hard hats and tools from workers from EVERY state in the United States.  I was moved by that.  It also contained memorials to the five men that died during the construction.  Three and a half years, serious weather conditions, no safety harnesses, and only FIVE men lost their lives.  It’s still five too many, but pretty incredible.  One diver, one welder, and 3 deaths from falling.  One man drowned and two fell from the temporary catwalk (that I was so scared of in the movie).  The museum also houses the original spinning wheel used to string the cables.

All in all it was a great stop for a little history in this tourist town!  Next up tomorrow is to visit the USCG Icebreaker Mackinaw.

Just a quick snap of the girls below.  They are the best of friends (almost all of the time) and Ben and I love watching how close they have grown.  We absolutely believe that living on the boat and traveling as a family has fostered this relationship.

Manistique, MI – Part 3

We originally planned to stay the weekend and leave Monday morning to begin our trek towards Canada.  The fog was gone and Monday was a beautiful day.  However, as I said in my last post, we knew Tuesday wasn’t going to be good so we decided to just stay put until Wednesday and enjoy two more days with friends.  Ben and Jack resumed work Monday morning in their boat offices while the girls and I headed to the house to spend the day at the beach with Kathy and her girls.

I’ve been anxious to give our new paddle boards a try but Lake Michigan has been so cold that I am fearful of falling in.  I have pretty good balance, but not like Molly!  Monday was the day.  The lake was so calm and crystal clear.  The wind shifted to be out of the north so the bay where we were was protected by land and there was hardly a ripple on the water.  Molly and Livia took off on kayaks and I hopped on the paddle board and off we went.  What a gorgeous morning.  After awhile Maddy, Claudia and Sabina appeared on the other two paddle boards.

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The girls spent all day on the beach.  Kathy and Jack had more friends arrive Monday afternoon.  Two more little girls to add to the mix!  All seven of them played really well.  It was too nice to go inside.  They played Old Maid, sitting in the sand down by the water.

They also organized a sunset gymnastics show for us on the beach, using giant logs as balance beams.  The sunset was as gorgeous as the day.  Such a gift after the wind and fog.

Tuesday we did it all again.  But this time with a bit of a heavy heart.  The girls knew it was their last day for awhile with Livia, Claudia and Sabina.  They played for hours in the sand building dams and creating new rivers, and then moving them and doing it all again.

We love living on the boat and traveling, as do the girls, but the goodbyes are always hard for all of us.  And saying goodbye to very close friends is all the more hard.  So, we soaked up the sun and the sand and our friends and had the best day we could before the hugs and tears began.

Thanks Manistique and Burnetts, it’s been fun as always!

 

Manistique, MI – Part 2

Race day!  We try to come to Manistique for Folkfest weekend most summers.  We first ran the Paper Chase in 2012.  That was the first race Ben and I had ever run.  We ran it again in 2014, 2015 and 2016 (Molly’s first year running with us!).  We were on the Great Loop for 2017 so we missed it.  Madelyn joined us this year for the first time.  As did Sabina.  So, all 9 of us ran/walked.  Jack ran the 10k and the rest of us did the 5k.  Between my chronic back issues and a spring hip injury, I can’t run anymore, but I’m becoming competitive in speed walking!  I am so proud of the girls.  I figured Madelyn would jog a bit and mostly stay back with me.  But off she went with Claudia and Molly.  She kept up with them for a bit and then hung back and walked/jogged with Sabina and Kathy.  Claudia and Molly paced each other and ran the entire way.  Livia trained hard for the race and finished first place for women overall in the 5k!  Madelyn earned a 3rd place medal and Ben a 1st!  My big accomplishment was that I finished walking the 5k before Jack finished running the 10k.  It was close.

The Denkins family ran the race as well.  We kept in touch while we were both looping, but we were always in different places.  Last winter when we were in FL by car, all of us finally met in Ft. Myers.  Manistique was the first time they had seen our boat.  We told them to stop by after the race and hang out for a bit.

Next up was Folkfest!  Every year Kathy’s dad, Tom, runs the strawberry shortcake booth.  He and Eileen left for a trip that morning so he wasn’t able to be there.  But that didn’t stop the girls.  It was a gorgeous day (once the fog cleared) and we were desperate to get to the beach, but Kathy and I agreed to walk the girls over to the festival to get some strawberry shortcake.  Once that was done, it was time to go relax!

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It was a great afternoon of sand, water and s’mores!

Sunday morning brought more intense fog over the water.  We were asked to come down to the marina basin to have the kids be part of a news story about a local paddle board rental outfit.  We drove over to Blue Mystique and got the girls suited up in life vests.  The four big girls, Kathy and Jack all participated.  Ben and I took Sabina for a spin in the dinghy.  The girls had so much fun in kayaks and paddle boards and loved seeing themselves on the news.

We finished out the lazy weekend with a day on the very windy, very foggy beach.

Monday’s forecast was picture perfect, but Tuesday’s water forecast looked bad so Ben suggested we just stay put until Wednesday.  It seemed silly to leave Monday just to spend Tuesday somewhere else.  The kids (and grownups) were excited to have what looked like it was going to be a gorgeous (and hopefully fog free) day ahead.

Pictured Rocks – Lake Superior

With another somewhat rainy day ahead of us Kathy and I decided to pack up lunch and take the girls to Pictured Rocks National Park on the shore of Lake Superior.  While we were getting everything ready, Molly and Livia got to bake Nana’s famous scones!  Eileen bakes chocolate cake and scones for us each time we visit. She taught the girls how to make both this visit and they went on to make another chocolate cake and two more batches of scones!

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Pictured Rocks was a quick one hour drive north.  Lake Superior was the only Great Lake we had not touched!  We bought our boat in Lake Erie (technically the girls haven’t been to Lake Erie) and we were in all the other Great Lakes on the Great Loop.  I was super excited to see Lake Superior.  It has always been sort of elusive as far as boating.  It’s far away, it’s COLD and it’s known for being super rough.  Lake Michigan is bad enough for us usually.

We pulled into the park and decided to go to Miner’s Castle.  We could have spent days there but just had one afternoon so we picked a lookout, a hike and a beach!  The Miner’s Castle lookout was beautiful.  It was our first glimpse at Lake Superior.  It was flat calm and absolutely gorgeous.  The rock formations and colors within them were also beautiful.  We so badly wanted to be out on the water exploring and I was so sad Ben wasn’t with us to see.

We ate a quick lunch and then took the mile or mile and a half long hike all the way down to the beach.  My girls really enjoy hiking!  Maddy can tire out easily at times but having Claudia to hike with, she was way ahead of me.

We made it to the beach and it got even more beautiful.  The sand was amazing.  It felt like being on the Gulf.  The sand was fluffy and thick and our feet just sank into it.  We anxiously ran across the huge beach towards the water.  We were so excited to dip our toes into Lake Superior!  We walked along the water’s edge and marveled at the all of the colorful rocks.  They truly were amazing!  The girls collected a few.  They are completely different colors when they are in the water.  The water is crystal clear.  And very cold.  It lives up to its reputation.

We hiked down to the beach in our clothes and left all of our swim suits and towels in the car.  It rained on and off on our drive and wasn’t super warm while we were hiking.  But by the time we got to the beach it was hot and sunny and all the girls wanted to swim and play in the sand.  As we were walking down the beach I spotted a very nice, very new staircase a ways down.  I ran ahead and asked where it went.  Magically it went to a parking lot!  We passed the road to it on our way in but wanted to take the hike.  However, we decided Kathy would go get the car and move it to the parking lot.  The girls were kind of upset they didn’t get to hike back up but it would have been VERY vertical.  Kathy reported it was the right call and she had to stop a few times and catch her breath.  She arrived in the parking lot and came down to the beach with swimming suits and towels for the kids.

The little girls all played in the sand while Molly and Livia gathered their courage.  They got a running start and dove right in.  They are INSANE!  They ran out quite quickly and warmed up in the sun.

Next up we hit the dunes for a bit and then all of them got back in Lake Superior!  All five went all the way under the water, over and over!  What we figured would be a quick hike down and a toe dipped in the water turned into a long, wonderful afternoon at the beach.

Next time by boat!

Manistique, MI – Part 1

We arrived a day or two ahead of schedule and looking at weather knew we may be staying a day or two longer than planned.  No complaints from anyone since we were visiting close friends!  Our friends the Burnetts, who visited us 4 times during the loop, spend a lot of time in Manistique as Kathy’s parents have a house there.  Tom and Eileen welcome us to their home every summer and we love spending time there.  The kids have endless time on the beach exploring, building, swimming, and just good old fashioned playing with their friends.

We were excited to be arriving earlier in the day Wednesday since we had a shorter day on the water.  We pulled past the lighthouse just after 3 pm and the girls were jumping to get to the beach!  We can see the house from the water and Kathy could see us so she jumped in the car and zipped over to the marina to get us.  As we were pulling into a channel and marina we’ve been to twice before, we hit bottom so hard the starboard engine shut down.  What.  On.  EARTH????  Ben used the thrusters to spin us off of the sandbar we hit.  We pulled over to deeper water and anchored quickly.  Upon calling the marina frantically, I found that the person working didn’t know anything about boats.  NOTHING.  I was pretty nerve wracked on the phone asking what could be in the channel, if he knew current depths, etc.  I told him we hit a prop so hard it shut our engine down.  He said he’d call his boss and see if he had information.  Meanwhile, Kathy is standing next to him on the dock.  He asked her WHAT A PROP WAS????  Are you kidding me?  She told him it’s what makes the boat move.  Seriously!  Can’t make this stuff up.  He quickly called me back (as she was texting me everything she overheard on the phone conversation with the boss).  He reported that the deep water was on the left….on the side with the marina wall….well, that was on our right.  So, which is it?  Ben was thinking fast and told me to call fellow Loopers Jill and Dustin Denkins.  She and Dustin are from Manistique and left on their deep draft sailboat last September from the marina.  Meanwhile, after I had mentioned to the marina employee that we have a 5′ draft he turned to Kathy and asked what that was.  Boy oh boy.  Jill called back immediately with information from Dustin.  By then Ben was midway through craning the dinghy into the water.  He jumped in the dinghy and scouted out a route with enough depth.  It matched exactly what Dustin told him to do.  The spot where we grounded was around 4 feet.  In the channel.  With NO marker.  Ben found 8′ water and marked a clear path on our Garmin computer we use in the dinghy.  He returned to the boat with Kathy in the dinghy.  She hopped on the boat with him.  I hopped in the dinghy with instructions to follow that purple line exactly and lead him in.  Yikes.  I am not good at driving any boat whatsoever, but that was the best driving I’ve done yet!  So, after a lot of drama and lost beach time we made it to the wall with no more excitement and got tied up.  By this time Jill had also made it to the marina and was there to help tie up lines and say hello.  We have such amazing friends!

A few deep breaths later, Kathy took Maddy, Claudia and Sabina back to the house in her car.  Ben and I took Livia and Molly in the dinghy and off we went to try to relax.

As promised, after our gorgeous three days on Lake Michigan, Thursday started with a bang.  Rain, winds, crazy waves.  It thankfully didn’t rain all day.  It was very windy but the kids got in some boogie boarding and were able to play in the sand when it wasn’t raining.

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Doesn’t look like yesterday!

We were able to play at the park and take a walk on the boardwalk.  And we were with the best of friends so a little rain wasn’t a big deal.  And nothing a big bonfire wouldn’t fix!

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Ben and Jack spent the day working at the boat.  Ben talked with the guy at City Hall who is in charge of the harbor.  The old harbor master retired.  He is a wonderful man who we have worked with before.  There is no one in charge of the marina now.  It turns out they KNEW the channel had a big sand bar there.  Ben said of course they knew.  I was outraged!  He said the channel was dredged last year but that area has contaminated sand so they couldn’t remove it.  No idea what contaminated sand is.  Ben suggested maybe they put in a marker??  Just an idea???  Nick from City Hall agreed they could maybe mark it.  Ben told him what color it should be so as not to confuse boaters.  Yikes all around.  Anyway, for now Ben has posted a review about the hazard on Active Captain.

Always an adventure!

Leaving Chicago, Heading North

Brand new blog and I’m already behind.  But I’m going to get caught up and back on track.  We left Chicago Monday July 9th and traveled up the Wisconsin coast of Lake Michigan heading towards Manistique, MI in the Upper Peninsula.  We’ve done this trip by boat a couple of times before, usually taking a week to ten days to travel north.  We’ve gone both north and south through Wisconsin and Door County (which yes I know is in Wisconsin) and enjoy the towns along the way.  But this trip we had 3 days of PERFECT weather forecast for Lake Michigan and a lot of miles to cover (just under 300 miles) so we adjusted our planned out stops and instead decided to stretch as far as we could each day.

Monday we traveled from Chicago to Port Washington, WI.  We’ve been here before and it’s a charming little Wisconsin town.  We left Chicago early and traveled around 11 hours and about 110 miles.  That didn’t leave much time for sight seeing.  We docked and Ben immediately realized we had some sort of electrical issue.  I got the girls off the boat and we walked around town while he dealt with that.  He wrote an article all about it if you’d like to read it:  https://www.panbo.com/red-hot-studs-and-melted-wires-could-have-been-worse/  The girls and I walked around and remembered where we went a few years ago when we spent a few days in Port Washington.  They played at the park for a few minutes and then we headed back to the boat to eat dinner and head to bed.  Ben and I fought off a black fly invasion all day and we were all ridiculously fatigued from the bugs and heat, but we were so thankful to have had no wind on the lake!  Day 1 complete and successful.

We started very early Tuesday morning and headed north once again.  Our plan for Tuesday was to get to Sturgeon Bay, WI.  We’ve always gotten off Lake Michigan at the Sturgeon Cut and gone into Sturgeon Bay.  This time we planned to do just that, but debated coming back out the cut Wednesday morning and heading straight north on the lake the rest of the way to Manistique, rather than going north through Green Bay and then back out to the lake.  However, as Ben is selling Yacht Devices (http://www.yachtdevicesus.com) parts while we are on board in addition to writing for Panbo, our schedule is subject to change based on work.  He got a couple of orders Tuesday while we were moving that needed to be shipped overnight.  After a lot of Googling and searching Ben determined the closest US Post Office and UPS drop box to a marina were in Egg Harbor, WI.  Unfortunately they weren’t very close by in Sturgeon Bay.  This determined we would be heading north through Green Bay.  We traveled 130 miles Tuesday in a very, very long day.  We tied up in Egg Harbor, the girls and I jumped off the boat and ran into town to drop off packages at the post office and UPS drop box.

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Sturgeon Cut Lighthouse

Egg Harbor is one of our favorite places in Door County.  It has great food, cute shops, a beautiful waterfront and amazing sunsets.  After our quick run into town, we went back to the marina and got Ben to come walk with us.  We all needed a few minutes of moving around even though it was past bedtime for the girls and we were all exhausted. Thankfully no wind or bugs Tuesday so we actually weren’t as tired as the day before!  But we did take a quick walk into town and went to one of our favorites, The Chocolate Chicken, and stocked up on Door County Cherry Salsa.  It’s so good and I’m so happy they still carry it.  We also let the girls get ice cream and then headed back to watch the sunset and head to bed.

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Egg Harbor, WI Sunset

Since we traveled 130 miles on Tuesday, we only had about 75 left for Wednesday.  We were all excited for a shorter day on the water!  The girls were antsy.  We were antsy.  After very much limiting tech time for them through the school year and the summer it all went to hell on these three days.  We were just underway for SO LONG and started SO EARLY.  We woke them each morning starting the engines and they were cooked.  But….they got back to all their normal boat activities as well.  We did a little bit of spelling and math workbooks.  Read.  And they got to work almost immediately on Day 1 with a new Lego set.  We also have a puzzle going as always and they are currently super into playing cards.  One of the days Molly played Solitaire on the floor to keep cards from blowing while Maddy and I played Rummy.

We got back into some of our favorite boat meals too.

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But we were all VERY ready to arrive in Manistique, see our very wonderful friends, and get to the beach and run around!  It was such a welcome sight to see a third day of absolutely mirror like waters on Lake Michigan.  It just doesn’t happen very often.

It was an even more welcome sight to see the Manistique Lighthouse!

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Manistique, MI Lighthouse

Welcome Back!

Have Another Voyage is going to be the new blog for our adventures on Have Another Day and otherwise.  I missed blogging a lot after we returned from the loop.  I also missed traveling and living on the water and any number of other things.  But as we made our way through the LONG winter and finished up a great school year and started doing new fun things, I realized I really missed writing.  I’m not sure why it has taken until July to get a new blog started, but here we are.  We had some fun times this spring and summer so I hope to go back and pop in a few short posts about previous adventures before keeping current with ongoing travels.

I’m sure it’ll take a few days to get things up and running but I figured I needed to start sometime.  Today was as good a time as any.  We left Chicago this morning for 6-7 weeks on the water.  It feels great to be traveling on Have Another Day again and have what will hopefully be a lot of fun planned for the summer.  I look forward to sharing.  Thanks for reading!

Laura