Thursday, August 31, 2017

Hello Indiana & Central Time Zone!!

South Haven MI 8/29/2017
Wow!! After an overnight stop in South Haven MI & extensive weather research we opted to follow the shoreline of Lake Michigan to Michigan City, INDIANA and not cross directly to Chicago.
As previously mentioned Lady Blue can be temperamental & defiant – a dense fog advisory was reported for Wednesday morning…it was clear on the lake. BUT there was no mention of rain and we were clearly not prepared for THIS…
we did not receive one drop of rain - Thank You Lord!
 It was a 5-6 hour cruising day with a light chop and high anticipation…we entered the Central Time Zone upon arrival in Michigan City!!  What a fabulous marina – BIG and FULL of super friendly people.  Seriously, we were idling down the fairway looking for our slip number (8014); a man was jogging down the dock yelling “What slip are you looking for?”  I said, “8014”. Colonel Friendly (my nickname for him) said, “Keep going, I’ll catch your lines.”

Once we were tied up and shook hands, Southern Cross was coming down the other side of the fairway…SAME SITUATION!!  We helped them dock and Cathy (Southern Cross) mentioned she was looking for a grocery store.  Colonel Friendly reached into his pocket & handed me his car keys!!  He told us to take our time & he would catch up with us later.  Not. Even. Kidding!!!  It wasn’t long before Cathy, Mary (Jaycee Lynn) & I were cruising around Michigan City looking for Al’s Supermarket!  Jackpot!

Snapped this from the fly bridge while docked at Michigan City IN  8/31/2017
Back at the marina, the winds picked up and the 3-5’ wave predictions are spot on!  We will be here until Saturday at the earliest!!  The sun is shining brightly but the wind will knock you over…we are staying tied to the dock. And why wouldn’t we…people are coming out of the woodwork with offers of local knowledge, vehicles even hosting a pizza party on the dock tonight for loopers!!  There’s a “boatload” of loopers here-all dodging high winds!!  And we are walking distance to a MALL!!

We are not far from Chicago and honestly we are not in a big hurry to get there.  Tropical Storm Harvey is making his way north and the river system will experience elevated levels & debris.  With respect to all who have suffered/endured/survived Hurricane Harvey, we have no reason to complain about rain & wind but we are also smart enough to let the system run its course.  Chicago will be there.

Make this last day of August the best day of the month…do something unexpected & nice for someone unsuspecting.  

God Bless!
The Lower Place & Pharm Life (right) docked in South Haven MI 8/29/2017

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Grand Haven, Michigan

The Lower Place docked in Grand Haven MI 8/28/17

We spent the weekend in Muskegon celebrating & saying Good Bye to our friends on Sanctuary. When Monday morning rolled around and the weather was “acceptable”, we left the marina behind…and a couple life-long friends but it was time to get moving!!

"Steve, will you look at something with me?"
The weather (as usual) was unpredictable so we picked an ultimate destination (South Haven) with several shorter distance “plan B” locations.  Lady Blue (Lake Michigan) was a little lumpy Monday with 2’-4’ swells/waves on the bow.  We were cruising about 1 mile off shore and the sun was trying to peek through the clouds.  While I can’t say we were getting “tossed about”, “hammered” or “rocking & rolling” – we’ve had better days.
The Breakfast of Champions on Lake Michigan
Grand Haven MI was our first “plan B” destination – we turned in the channel, the sun broke through and the water flattened…WHEW!!!  What a great stop!!  We tied to the city wall, plugged into electricity and for $20, we spent the night in the heart of friendly Grand Haven!  The walking/running/bike path was our front yard and we met a guy from Oxford MS and a Navy family of 5 just returning from Meridian MS!  Seems flying true Maroon attracts folks from everywhere!
True Maroon gets a lot of attention!
 We walked the downtown area, ate cheap Mexican for lunch (it’s been a LONG time since that happened) and headed back to the boat.  Before long our buddies Dave & Kim from Overtime docked right behind us…YAY!!!  We haven’t seen them since Canada!
Water & Rail is an important part of Grand Haven MI

Grand Haven presents a light & water show every evening during the summer.  We were docked right in front of the action…what a nice surprise!  These shots were taken from our seats on Overtime!

Tuesday morning brought flat water, light wind and sunshine…yep, we are underway as I write!!  I think today we are going to South Haven – but that could change.  We are kind of dragging our feet to delay entry to Chicago before Labor Day weekend.  We feel the week after Labor Day will provide a little more room on the water!
Remember what I said about weather changes?   This JUST happened! But we have RADAR!

Enjoy your Tuesday and please remember our friends in the water logged areas of Texas and Louisiana – their lives will be forever changed.

God Bless!
And there are days like this...

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Celebration in Muskegon MI!!!

Sunset Muskegon Lake 8/25/2017

Happy, happy, happy with Cathy (Southern Cross)

What a fantastic afternoon we had on Friday 8/25/2017!!  Sanctuary crossed their wake at the mouth of Muskegon Lake and I think the whole town showed up for the celebration!!  Balloons, cheering, pictures, horn blowing…I felt like we were in a parade!!  In true looper fashion…we all joined in on the festivities; Southern Cross, Jaycee Lynn, Ivanhoe, Bad Habit, Tranquillity III and The Lower Place motored through the channel & docked for the party!  Special thanks to Last Call (who crossed their wake earlier this month) for showing up in their dinghy to take photos of everyone and to Cathy on Southern Cross-she ordered banners of congratulation shipped to the marina.  The club house looked great!!  It was a reunion filled with lots of smiles, a few tears and of course looper family love!!  Congrats to Steve & Teresa!!  By the way, they haven’t made it to their dirt home yet, they are still on the boat!!

Sanctuary leading the way - Gold Loopers!
Everyone getting lined up for the processional to Lakeshore Yacht Harbour
We opted to stay in the marina for a few days and get some much needed cleaning done – spiders and webs are never-ending.  So Saturday was spent cleaning & polishing isinglass, canvas and floors; a bike ride to West Marine (Charlie) and naturally, laundry.  Later in the day I received a text about a pot luck dinner at the club house and I was happy to share a blueberry cobbler – made from blueberries picked in the North Channel! YUM!

Professional installation of a new broken bones (or boat).
On a more serious note – we have been attached to the weather reports regarding Hurricane Harvey and the impact on our family in the Houston area.  As of this writing everyone we know is safe and dry.  Prayers for all involved.

The weather in our area has been sunny, windy and cool at night.  Today (Sunday) the clouds have rolled in & it’s spitting rain.  We plan to leave in the morning heading toward Chicago – we are days away but good to know there is a destination.  Our friends on Tranquillity III & Ivanhoe headed out on Saturday with their own plan.  That’s the joy of loop travel, everyone has their own ideas/routes and it’s a surprise when we cross paths with each other!

Teresa & Steve aboard Sanctuary with the GOLD!
We hope you have a safe and wonderful Sunday…be kind and helpful – every face has a story.

God Bless!

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Ludington, Michigan - A Great Stop!!

Ludington MI-blooming flowers everywhere

High winds, lots of clouds, a little sunshine, lots of walking/bike paths and plenty of retail therapy!! A great way to spend the past 5 days!

We anchored on Saturday – wow, I miss the days of anchoring!  Then Sunday morning tied up at Ludington Municipal Marina…and there we were…for FOUR days!! Ludington is a great little town full of super friendly people but I’m not a fan of chronic marina life – however…lady blue (Lake Michigan) has quite an attitude and when she’s feeling snotty, you sit still!!!

Winds & waves closed the access to the breakwall & prohibited swimming
We filled our time with lots of walking, shopping and a pedicure (me).  We weren’t the only boats in the marina so there was plenty of time to visit with old friends we haven’t seen in months and meet several “new” loopers just getting started.  And the ever present local boaters who look at us from two different perspectives; we are living their dream OR we must be absolutely crazy!! I agree with both opinions because an element of crazy is necessary.

The SS Badger approaching Ludington Harbor
Watching the SS Badger come and go was amazing! This passenger/vehicle ferry is coal powered AND a National Historic Landmark. It runs from Ludington MI to Manitowoc WI daily.  It is 410 ½’ long, 59 ½’ wide and draws (amount of ferry underwater) 24’!!!  It makes our boat look like a dinghy!  Wednesday was a rough day out on Lake Michigan and when the SS Badger pulled into Ludington (approx 7:00pm) we heard several passengers yell “Land Ho, Land Ho”!! I understand their excitement!

Why, yes, that is a full sized 18 wheeler parked on the ferry!
Thursday morning it was 49°, Charlie looked at the weather forecast and decided we would leave the marina but anchor in the harbor – 3’ wave predicted “out there”.  And then…he walked down the dock, talked to a charter captain, came back to the boat and said “it’s not gonna be bad – let’s go.”  Well, of course…it had warmed up to 53° and the sun was trying to peek through!! Within the hour, water tanks filled, holding tank emptied, power cords wrapped, water hoses rolled, fenders up, lines in, engines checked…whew!! Nothing like a fire drill after breakfast to get the day rolling!  We were underway along with Ivanhoe, Tranquillity III, Jaycie Lynn and we heard Kia Mae & Bad Habit behind us as we cleared the break wall – LOTS of company out there today!!

Entrance to Pentwater Harbor 8/24/2017
Twelve miles later we are all anchored at Pentwater MI – well Jaycie Lynn is at the marina, but the rest of us have established a very nice “Trawler Park” in the Pentwater Harbor.  It is partly sunny, the winds picked up and this was a nice protected stop.  Weather predictions for Friday are favorable & I think everyone is going to make it to Muskegan MI.

Stand Up Paddleboarders 8/24/17 - Air Temp 63 & water temp 68, hmmmmm
Friday is a very special day for Sanctuary (currently docked at the marina)…they will be HOME!!  In looper language “Sanctuary will cross their wake”!  We first met Steve & Teresa on the Tenn Tom River and anchored with them in Bashi Creek (north of Demopolis AL), crossed the Gulf of Mexico, leap-frogged up the east coast, toured Washington DC, New York City, the Erie Canal, parts of the Trent Severn, bounced around the Great Lakes and here we are…sharing the excitement of their accomplishment!!  It’s amazing how fast the time has passed but even more amazing is the feeling of “family” we have developed!  We are so blessed to have shared the past 10 months with them – memories forever!

Routine maintenance is VERY important-just enough room for two!
Make sure you have "friends like family" in your life - every family tree needs a couple "friends limb"!!

God Bless!

Friday, August 18, 2017

Michigan FUN, FUN, FUN!!

Frankfort MI 8/17/17 Full Double Rainbow

It’s been eight-ish days since my last post but seriously it’s hard work to pack in so much fun…and then document it!!  Sometimes there aren’t enough hours in the day and then again sometimes there’s just too much fun; it’s like a happy reunion at every stop!

Tim "the butterfly whisperer" from Ivanhoe. Anchored at S Manitou Island for the day
Since our last visit we have been to Petoskey (3 days), Charlevoix, & Leland (1day each) and Frankfort (3 days)…all Michigan State operated marinas.  Nice facilities & staffed with super friendly people! And one day stop at South Manitou Island for hiking & exploring! To keep this post brief…I’ll let the pictures do the talking…

Flower baskets everywhere in Petoskey!
Bike & pedestrian trails are everywhere - and it's rare to see one empty!
...and so is ice cream, chocolate & fudge. The path on the left? Bike Trail!!
A triathlon in Charlevoix - water temp? 64!!  I just watched!
Not the Caribbean...but Lake Michigan!!! Breath-taking!
A 6 mile run/walk in Leland took me past ice cream...
...and into Elberta! I love it when that happens!

Friday 8/18/17-Frankfort MI-not everyday is sunshine & rainbows
As promised we used several hours each day in Frankfort to do boat maintenance (change filters, clean strainers, scrub bilge, wash, rinse, repeat) and household chores (laundry, cleaning, grocery) but still squeezed in enough time for a solo 6 mile walk/run!! And multiple walk/strolls around town…Frankfort is a great town – not “touristy” – feels like a family-friendly community.

Weather is going to be a big factor for the remainder of our time on Lake Michigan – the big blue lady can be a little contrary – but Saturday looks like a good travel day so we plan to see more of the fabulous sand dunes!!  Wind is the biggest concern – this lake can generate 10+’ waves!! GULP!!

The Lower Place finally has a MAROON flag! We've seen Big T flying on Tranquillity III forever!
We continue to enjoy the natural beauty of Michigan…maybe you can plan a little get-away and head to “the mitten”?!?!  You won’t be disappointed…just pick your season, there is fun all year ‘round!

Sand Dunes!! With homes on top?! ...builds his house upon the sand... hmmm...
God bless!