Sunday, August 31, 2014

8/31/14 Racine to Chicago

After 4 days in Racine waiting for a good weather window, we headed for Chicago.  Carey, Nancy, Hal and Wendy decided to go to Kenosha, so we followed them out of the harbor.
LeeLoo and Adagio


 For about 10 miles, we traveled together and then we split up.  They headed in to Kenosha and we set our course for Chicago.   Almost as soon as we parted, we entered a fog bank, but the visibility wasn't too bad. 

7 1/2 hours after our departure, we arrived in Chicago.  Since it was Labor Day weekend, there were a plethora of boats.  We dodged several sailboats and commercial vessels and finally made it in to the inner harbor.  Our slip is at the Chicago Yacht Club, which is in a great location downtown just off of Lake Shore Drive.

Lake Shore Drive in background

Chicago yacht club

 We walked to town for dinner at Mezcalina, a very good Mexican restaurant.  I had tacos and Ron had Octopus (pulpo). 

Tomorrow we will reunite with Ken and Ann (Charis).  They have been in Chicago visiting with family for several days.  On Tuesday, both Charis and Adagio will head into the Illinois River.  We hope both the Amtrack Bridge and the fish barrier present no delays. 

8/30/14 Racine

Reef Point Marina, Racine

The wind and waves were still too dangerous for us to venture out into the lake, so we did a few chores on the boat and did the laundry.  For dinner, we joined Carey, Nancy, Wendy and Hal for another great meal at Olde Madrid.

 If you get a chance to stop in Racine,  definitely go there.  The young couple who own the place are terrific and the food is outstanding.  The variety of tapas foods are unique and the portions are ample.  We highly recommend the gumbo!!!

Our thanks again to our four friends who adopted us while we were in Racine.  We had a wonderful time.  Carey and Nancy are starting the loop in Sept. 2015.  We wish them the very best!! 

Here's another recommendation: Wendy and Hal own a bed and breakfast called Hawk Valley Retreat and Cottages in Galena, IL.  If you get a chance, stay at their place.  888-777-6016.  Tell them we sent you.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

8/27/14 Racine

After sleeping late, we decided to walk in to town to mail a letter.  Main Street is just a couple of blocks from the Marina.  There are a number of restaurants and shops on Main Street, but also evidence of some empty store fronts.  Maybe the businesses couldn't survive in the downtown area and moved toward other shopping centers.

After walking around for a while, we stopped in and had lunch at one of the local restaurants.  Since it was nothing to write home about, I won't mention the name.

We are staying another day so that we can get together with another Nordic Tug owner and his wife.  They are Chicagoans, but keep their boat here in Racine. Three years ago, we met at the Great Lakes Nordic Tug Rendezvous in St. Ignace, MI. 

Our goal is to leave Friday, weather permitting, for Chicago.  The AGLCA Harbor Hosts, Woody and Ellen Sutton are hosting a dinner for all of the loopers at their condo.  Food will include Chicago pizza, Italian beef sandwiches and Eli's cheesecake. 

8/26/14 Milwaukee to Racine

After almost a week in Milwaukee taking care of family business and a side trip to Nashville for Jessica and Josh's baby shower, we headed for Racine We waited until mid-day to leave because of thunderstorms in the a.m.

 By the time we left the marina, the skies were beginning to clear and the water was fairly calm.  We had a slip assignment in advance and a map of the marina, so it was easy to find our slip.  Even though it is a large marina, dock help was available when we arrived.


We've spent nearly a week in Milwaukee taking care of some family business.  The river front in Milwaukee has many restaurants. 

My cousin, Donna, who passed away in December 2013, was very active in historic preservation.  A walkway near Brady Street has been named in her honor and a tree is also being planted in her name. 

  During the weekend, I flew to Nashville for a baby shower for my first grandchild, Leah Lorraine (due in Sept.).  Ron drove me to Chicago's Midway Airport so that I had a direct flight.  Had I flown from Milwaukee, I would have had a layover in Orlando which seemed sort of ridiculous. 

The weekend with Jessica and Josh was wonderful.  I was able to meet Jessica's mom, Lorraine and her best friend Tara.  She and Tara have been friends since they were 5 years old. 
Jessica and Lorraine
Tara and Jessica

JoAnn, Jen, and Lorraine


On Saturday, we went in 95 degree temps to an outdoor flea market with Jess, Josh, Lorraine, and friends Denny and JoAnn.  Jessica grilled dinner for all of us that evening.  She is a real trooper and the pregnancy has not stopped her whatsoever. 

On Sunday, Josh, Jess, Lorraine, Tara and I went to a nearby winery and spent a lovely afternoon there. 

The baby shower was catered by a friend's brother.  The food was outstanding and it was fun to see many of Josh's old friends. 

I returned to Milwaukee mid-day Monday.  While I was gone, Ron had gone to a car show near the marina.  The rest of the time, he and Duke hung out at the boat.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

8/17/14 Port Washington

Last evening, the cold front came through with some really strong winds.  We were so glad to be in port today, because beyond the breakwater looked very rough. 

We climbed the steep hill to St. Mary's this morning.

  Jeanne Beach would have been impressed...they had two horns accompanying the organist today.

After church, we headed back down the hill to town and got coffee and a sweet roll.  This marina has a nice lounge where you can wait while you use the laundry facilities.  Clean sheets again...YEAH!

One of my old friends from Pekin, IL lives in Port Washington and we were able to connect for dinner tonight.  Jeanne and Dennis met us at a restaurant adjacent to the marina where we were able to catch up on old friends and good times.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

8/16/14 Sheboygan to Port Washington

After checking the weather this morning, we decided to make a run for Port Washington.  The winds were over 20 mph, but they were from the SW, so there wasn't much fetch.  Duke thought it was way too bumpy, but it wasn't bad.  As long as I can read while we are underway, it's tolerable. 

Since we were here last (12 years ago), the marina has undergone a big renovation.  They took out some very high fixed docks and replaced them with floating docks.  We stopped at the fuel dock, filled up with diesel ($3.57/gal, the cheapest we've seen this year) and got a free pump out.  Our slip is narrow and it made docking a bit of a challenge,  but we are close to shore for Duke and close to the restroom/shower/laundry facilities.

After dinner on board, all three of us took a walk around town, just before the front moved in from the north.  The winds were calm, and all of a sudden, strong winds were blowing.  We are meeting Jeanne and Dennis for dinner while we are here.  The weather Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday look good.   

8/15/14 Manitowoc to Sheboygan

8/15/14  Manitowoc  to Sheboygan

Another very smooth ride on Lake Michigan took us to Sheboygan today.  We have been pleasantly surprised with the calm waters and cool weather (lows in the 50s at night).  On the way to Sheboygan, we kept getting alerts on VHF channel 16 about sailboat races south of the inlet.  As we got closer, we were able to see perhaps a hundred sailboats.  We found out later that this was the lightning class national race and there were sailors from all over the U.S. participating. 

We are in a large, well protected harbor here called Harbor Centre.  As we arrived, we did communicate by radio, but there was no help on the dock.  That was surprising since this is a very large marina and there seemed to be a number of young men (dock workers)  in the office.  They have an unusual way to keep the geese away here.  It is an electronic set of hawks that circle around on a pole and squawk bird noises.
to scare geese away

Harbor Centre

Ron called the Sheboygan Yacht Club next door and inquired about a restaurant.  Since we are reciprocal members of the Dunedin Boat Club, we were able to get reservations for dinner.  It was great!  Ribs, baked potatoes and soup and salad bar. 


I was able to contact an old friend from Pekin, Jeanne Kimble.  She lives in Port Washington and we are going to try to get together Sunday or Monday in Port Washington. 

Sheboygan is the home of Kohler fixtures (toilets, etc).  They have a museum here….have to see that if possible).



Thursday, August 14, 2014

8/14/14 Algoma to Manitowoc

Gentlemen:  "Start your engines", but NOT AT 4 A.M!  Yes, this fishing mecca evacuates to go fishing between 4 and5 a.m.  Luckily, we were the only ones sleeping on a boat in the harbor, and yes, it did wake us up. 
Where did those boats go?

The winds and waves today were slow, rolling swells on the stern, so we had a wonderful ride along the coast.  A few miles offshore, however, threes to fives with some sevens were predicted.  I am so glad we have already crossed the lake!

We have been to Manitowoc many times by car and once by boat about 12 years ago.  Little has changed in this quiet town.


  The two main attractions are the Badger ferry which travels between here and Luddington, MI,

and the submarine that can be toured.  Many subs were built here during WWII. 


After a short walk to town (about 1/4 mile), we returned to the boat for naps.  We miss the loopers who are across the pond in Michigan. 

We walked a few blocks to Maretti's Deli for dinner.  This is primarily a takeout Italian place, but they have a few tables for dining in.  The pasta dishes were very good, reasonably priced and close to the marina.

8/13/14 Egg Harbor, WI to Algoma, WI

We made several alternative plans because of the wind/wave forecast.  In Sturgeon Bay, we saw this boat under construction.

After transiting under the Michigan St. Bridge in Sturgeon Bay

Sturgeon Bay Coast Guard Facility and Light

and heading out into Lake Michigan, we realized the waves were a non-event.   About 1 foot of following seas made for a great ride.  Algoma is the Sport Fishing Capital of the Great Lakes.  Algoma Marina offers no dock help and no one answered the radio when we arrived.
Algoma Marina

 It was lucky we had a reservation and a slip number.  The note at the office said the person in charge was gone until 3pm.  We are the only trawler in the harbor. The rest are charter fishing boats and private fishing boats.  After dinner on board, the three of us took a walk to town.  It was SO quiet.  Most businesses were closed and there weren't many.  The town seemed to have a fair number of bars, though. 

Tomorrow we head for Manitowac. 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

8/12/14 Another day in Egg Harbor

We were so thankful to be tied to the main dock in Egg Harbor when the high winds started last night.  We had all of our fenders on the starboard side of the boat next to the wall, so that we just had a gentle rocking motion throughout the night.  A 24 hour small craft advisory was issued for both Green Bay and Lake Michigan.  On parts of Lake Michigan, the wave heights were predicted to be 15-17 feet.

We rented a movie at the grocery store last night and spent part of the morning watching "God is Not Dead", which turned out to be really good.

By late afternoon, the winds had calmed somewhat and the sun came out.  Our Florida neighbors, Ned and Carol, who also have a condo in Egg Harbor, loaned us their car for the day.  We were able to pick up a few things that we needed and I was able to get my hair cut. 

We drove to Fish Creek for dinner at Wild Tomato.


While at dinner, Ron mentioned Joe Russell, a friend from the Peoria area, who often vacations in Door County.
 When we returned to our car after dinner, Ron noticed that the car next to us was a Subaru from Illinois.  The couple getting their bikes down from that car looked familiar, as well they should.  They were Joe and Cheryl Russell (Russell's Cycling & Fitness Center) in Washington, IL.  What a small world!!


We also were able to attend the presentation at Stella Maris Parish in Fish Harbor. Fr. Michael Joncas, who has written many songs including On Eagles Wings, did a presentation which included  how he writes songs, humorous stories, and singing (with the audience).  He earned a bachelor's degree in English from the University of St. Thomas and a master's degree from University of Notre Dame.  He also graduated summa cum laude with a degree in liturgical studies from Pontificio Istituto Liturgico of the Ateneo Sant' Anselmo in Rome. He currently is the Artist in Residence and Research Fellow in Catholic Studies at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, MN. 

What an opportunity to hear him speak and sing!