At this point I’m blogging to catch up so I have a record of everywhere we stopped this summer. It’s such a distant memory at this point that I’m just happy to have pictures to remember our time at each stop. The past couple of weeks on the water have been exhausting and somewhat difficult so it’s fun to look back and remember the fun we had this summer (even when we were stuck waiting on weather!)
This is our third trip to Ludington by boat, but I have a long history there. My grandparents had a house on the beach in Ludington for 20 years, so I spent some time there every summer. I loved to watch the Badger every morning and evening with my grandparents. I loved playing on the beach and I loved going to House of Flavors. I have a lot of fond memories and it’s great to share those with my kids now. We were in Ludington last October as well so the girls remembered the marina, the beach and the Badger.
We got stuck with weather yet again. When we left Leland we planned to make a beeline across the lake over to Sturgeon Bay, WI so that we’d at least have the boat on the correct coast for getting down to Chicago. We knew we had to be home a few days before Labor Day weekend to head to Kansas City for my sister’s wedding. This would give us a few days to either get home, or to get close to Chicago. Mother Nature once again had other plans. Just as we passed the Manitou Islands a thick fog set in. There were a lot of us on the water that day and in touch with each other. The fog was everywhere. We decided that even though only seeing with radar wasn’t any different in the middle of the lake than near the coast, we’d feel more comfortable heading back towards the coast. It took until south of Frankfort for the fog to finally lift. It was a long 2-3 hours. We couldn’t see a boat 500 feet away. Scary stuff.
The rest of the day was easy. Once the fog lifted we had an easy cruise down to Ludington. We got settled, the kids made a mad dash for the park and we were there in plenty of time to enjoy the evening and watch the Badger come in. The Wilsons ended up coming to Ludington as well and we all went and grabbed some ice cream before bed.
The next day it became clear we were not going to get a weather window the rest of the week to cross to Chicago. At that point we decided to pack up and head home early to get ready for the wedding. Ben’s dad generously offered to drive all the way to Ludington to pick us up. There are no rental cars in Ludington, so to get a car we have to have a local harbor host (person in town who offers to help out boaters) drive us 45 minutes to Muskegon to rent a car. This means a 1.5 hour round trip for the also generous harbor host. When Fred offered to come get us we took him up on it. We assumed we’d have to impose on the harbor host for our return rental car drop off. So, Tuesday at lunchtime we piled in the car and headed to Chicago. We had a couple of days there before jumping in the car again to drive to Kansas City.
We had whirlwind wedding weekend. A lot of great meals. A nail party. A wedding! Hotel pool swimming with the cousins. Not a lot of sleeping. And a whole lot of fun.
We drove back to Chicago on Labor Day and started watching the weather again. There were once again no weather windows for travel on Lake Michigan. While we were home waiting on weather, we had our first day of school and I got the girls back into their cooking class.
We also had the opportunity to make a couple of trips downtown to see Loopers coming through Chicago. The Zeeffs arrived first and the girls and I spent the day at Maggie Daley park with them in some crazy sweltering heat. As we were going back to their boat to grab some things before heading up to our house, Marshall and Judy on Let’s Go arrived. The four kids were more than excited to take their puppy Mindy for a run around the park. After that we took the Zeeffs north to our house for dinner and more visiting time.
Finally Thursday it looked like we should head back to the boat so we could leave Ludington on Friday. Over the weekend, at the wedding, my uncle offered to drive us all the way back to Ludington. This too seemed way too generous and we said thank you but moved on to looking at rental cars. He has all the same memories I have of 20 years in Ludington and insisted he didn’t mind the drive and would enjoy the trip. So, he drove into the city in a horrible rain to pick us up, adding lots of extra time to his drive. Ugh! We stopped and had a nice lunch in St. Joseph and then finished the drive up the coast. After unloading all of our stuff we walked to House of Flavors for ice cream before he headed back home. We wish he could have spent the night with us on the boat. One of these days we’ll work out having him ride along for a leg on the boat!
Friday was the day! We were finally able to leave Ludington and continue south. We headed out to South Haven. It had been quite a few years since we’d been to South Haven so we were excited for this next stop.