Sunday, June 28, 2015

6/29/15 Frankfort to Leland MI

This was another smoothe ride and short day. 

Leland is a very nice marina.  The building is very close to the slips and has nice showers, restrooms and laundry facilities. 

6/28/15 Ludington to Frankfort, MI

We stopped at the fuel dock for diesel ($2.80 per gallon) and a pumpout.  We scooted out the inlet and headed for Frankfort before the Badger (large ferry) got underway for Manitowoc.



  Today the water again was dead favorite type of water.  Once in Frankfort, Ron, Duke and I walked downtown and stopped for a glass of wine at a local brewery.  Duke was treated to several customers' leftovers.


Later, Ron walked Duke and he met up with several dog friends.

We should have waited to buy fuel here....diesel was $2.58.  That is the best price we've seen over the last 4 years of cruising.

6/27/15 Ludington

We liked it so much here that we decided to stay an extra day.  The park near the marina has a number of neat statues.

The local Rock Radio Station was hosting an all day concert in the park directly behind our boat.  Each amateur musician played for 1/2 hour.  Some were very good, others, well...............

We were hoping to go to St. Simon's Church, but it was about two miles from our boat.  Mid afternoon, we received a call from Jim and Connie Gillette (loopers and residents in Ludington).  They offered us their car so that we could make a grocery store run and attend the evening church service. 

St. Simon's is a beautiful, contemporary church.  The music was excellent and the priest was warm and friendly, welcoming all of us who were visiting. 

After church, we met Jim and Connie at the Yacht Club for their Caribbean Dinner which was excellent.

 We also met their good friends Michelle and Kevin who had joined them this past winter (on Patriot)  in the Bahamas.  After dinner, we visited Connie and Jim's "double condo".  They needed more room for family so they bought two condos and had a door installed between the two.  Very nice!

Currently, Patriot is in Baltimore.  The Gilettes will return to Baltimore on July 10th to begin the remainder of their loop.  They hope to finish in September. 

6/26/15 White Lake to Ludington

After an uneventful cruise, we arrived in Ludington.  Harbor View Marina is one of my favorites so far. 

They have a pool, laundry, nice floating docks, great showers and close proximity to downtown.  Price $1.70 per foot.  When we arrived late afternoon, I began calling hair salons for an appointment.  I was desperately in need of a trim.  There were no openings, so I took a chance and walked downtown and saw a barber shop on the lower level of a building.  Dick, the barber, was just finishing up a buzz cut on a young guy  When I got into the chair, he pulled out his electric clippers and was done with my haircut in five minutes.  My hair is SHORT!!! ( I call it Dick's Disaster, but it only cost me $13.00).  Hair salons here were charging $27.  I can always wear a hat until it grows out.

We walked a few blocks to a James Street Brew Pub for dinner.  It was crowded and very good.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

6/25/15 Saugatuck to White Lake

Ron was planning for a breakfast of  cinnamon rolls from a downtown restaurant, so after walking Duke, he headed downtown.  He brought back 1 cinnamon roll for me, but he had stayed for their $5.00 breakfast.  The sinfully cinnamon roll probably contained 1000 calories!!

The forecast today was for 30 mph winds out of the east, but when we left, it was dead calm and remained that way all day.  Only a few fishing boats were sighted during the 55 mile trip.  We are at White Hall Yacht Club on White Lake.  This area was hit by severe storms just a few days ago as was evidenced by some debris in the water.  In order to walk a dog here, they ask you to climb a big "heart attack" hill. 

Snacks and sandwiches are available in their club.  In order to stay here, you have to prove that you belong to a boat club with reciprocity. 

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

6/24/15 St. Joseph, MI to Saugatuck, MI

We left St. Joseph at 0710.  Now that we are in the Eastern Time Zone,  it doesn't get dark until nearly 10pm.   Because we left so early, I took a nap.  Late morning, Ron decided to take a nap and that left me at the helm. About 15 minutes into my watch, I saw a boat on radar a mile behind us on the starboard side. This was a big boat moving fast. He was coming closer and closer to us but was not changing course. I decided to wake Ron.  By the time Ron came to the helm, this yahoo was within shouting distance.  Ron yelled, "What the hell are you doing".  There was a couple in the fly bridge and a man in the helm below.  It was difficult to see who was really driving the boat.  The guy down below yelled, "GO AHEAD".  Although he was clearly going to run in to us if we didn't change course.  We pulled back on the throttle and he cut right in front of us.  This guy clearly had never taken a safe boating class.  All of Lake Michigan was available and he refused to change course!! (Watch out for INTRIGUE, from Saugatuck, MI.)

Ron and I are so thankful that we left Peoria and came upriver June 6th.  Otherwise, we would still be stuck due to the high water and closures of the river and locks. 

We pulled in to the Singapore Yacht Club early in the afternoon.  This club charges $3.00 per foot, but it is in a great location for downtown shopping.  After walking up and down the main thoroughfare, we went back to the boat for dinner.  There was a free jazz concert in the park, so we took Duke and had an enjoyable evening.  (Ice cream for dessert, of course).

6/23/15 Portage, IN to St. Joseph, MI

After ten days and after a free pump-out, we left Marina Shores. This marina was a real bargain.  Pump-outs= free.
Slips=$20 per night (the last night there was no charge)
Electricity=included in slip fee
Amenities=club house, pool, showers, restaurant.
Access to Chicago=train station right across the street.

Marina Shores, Portage, IN

The wind/wave predictions for today were good.  Wave heights 2 to 4 subsiding to 1 to 3.  Instead, the wave heights increased leaving us with a bumpy, beamy ride [a bit uncomfortable, but not dangerous].  We arrived at Harbor Shores Marina, in St. Joseph, Michigan at 1400.  This marina was recommended by Ken and Ann Shanley on Charis.  It is a small marina, but has a hotel, pool, hot tub and restaurant.
Harbor Shores, St. Joseph, MI

  The restaurant is a bit pricey, but was very good.  Tomorrow we leave for Saugatuck, one of my favorite ports on the Michigan side of the lake.

6/17-6/22/2015 many days in Portage, IN

We decided to stay in Portage through the weekend so that Ron would have easy access to OHare Airport via the train for his class reunion in NJ and I would be in a safe harbor.  Our new friend Dorothy (whom we met at St. Mary of the Lake Church) offered a ride to the grocery store.  We weren't out of groceries but certainly need staples like bread, milk, juice and veggies. Thanks again, Dorothy!

Most of the day was spent on the boat since it was very cool.  Ron leaves tomorrow morning at 4:30 for a train ride to downtown Chicago where he will switch to another train to OHare.

I spent the day reading, walking Duke and cleaning the boat.  Ron is on his way to his 50th high school class reunion in Elizabeth, NJ.  The actual reunion is being held at the Hilton at Newark Airport.

Dorothy, her friend Jo Ann, and I met for appetizers and drinks at Dorothy's and then webt out to dinner at Latitudes (at Marina Shores Marina).  We had a very nice evening.

  On the way back to the boat, my keychain fell apart and I lost the key to the boat.  Fortunately I had a side door key and was able to get back onboard. 

Dorothy picked me up for church.  Afterwards we went with a group to Denny's.  They have been so kind to me!  Ron returned at 8pm via OHare and then two trains.  His reunion was planned by Great Reunions and had no personal touches like mine did last year.  Although he had a good time meeting classmates, he was not impressed by the event itself.  My boat key was found and turned in to the marina.  We are grateful, because it is an expensive key that can only be ordered through the factory.

We had planned to leave for St Joseph Michigan today, but wave heights were predicted to be up to 9 feet.  Needless to say, we stayed in port.  Severe storms crossed Iowa, Illinois , Wisconsin, Michigan and parts of Indiana, but we were spared.  Not even a drop of rain fell.

Sunset after predicted storms

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

6/16/2015 Sunny but cool

The weather changed from hot and humid yesterday to clear and cool today.  It was way too cool to swim in the beautiful pool.  Ron, Duke and I took a dinghy ride up the river for something to do.  Since the laundry was free, I also did some blankets today.

Dorothy, my new friend from St. Mary of the Lake Church, is taking me on an organized walk tomorrow and then taking me to the grocery store.  I am so grateful for her kindness!

Sunday, June 14, 2015

6/15/2015 RAIN

We are staying here at Marina Shores in Portage, IN through next Sunday.  This is a very safe (though remote) location.  The marina is new:  floating docks, pool, free laundry, fitness center and a restaurant.  The slip fee for a night for our boat is $35.  We negotiated a weekly rate and are paying only $20 per night.  The boaters on our dock were very friendly and I look forward to seeing them again next weekend while Ron is gone to his class reunion in NJ. 



It rained most of the day and we spent time onboard.  A tornado warning was issued for Chicago late this afternoon and a waterspout was sighted out in the lake, but we had no bad storms.

6/14/2015 Sunday in Portage, IN

We wanted to attend  the nearest church (St. Mary's of the Lake) in Gary, IN today. Due to rainy conditions and the distance from church (5 miles)  we contacted Uber for a ride.  ($11)  As we milled around in the vestibule before church, I saw a lady and asked if she knew of anyone who might take us back to the marina after church.  She said she lived near the marina and would take us there, but she usually went out to breakfast and asked if we would like to join her and some of her friends.  We agreed and, after church,headed for Denny's with a group of 11 parishioners.  Ron and I were welcomed by the group and had a very nice time.  We'd like to thank our new friend, Dorothy, for being so generous and providing us with a ride.  Dorothy, after hearing the name of our boat (Adagio) asked if we were musical.  She shared that she has played violin with the symphony orchestra for the past 27 years.  During her working career, Dorothy worked out of her home typing phone books (key punch technology).  Very interesting!


The rest of the day was spent catching up on laundry and arranging for Ron's trip this weekend to NJ for his 50th class reunion.  He will fly out Friday and return Sunday.  Duke and I will hold down the fort at the boat while he is gone. 

6/13/2015 Chicago to Portage, Indiana

After waiting for the NOOD sailors to leave the harbor for their race, we headed for the free pump-out and then on to our 30 mile course.  Although it was very hazy, we had good visibility and the 1-3 seas were very calm.
Our new microphones

  By mid-afternoon, we headed up the Portage-Burns waterway toward the marina.  There are 2 or 3 bridges and our antennas touched as we went under.  Although the bridge clearances are not marked on any charts, we are guessing they are about 20 feet.  For those entering this area, we suggest lowering antennas.  Diesel fuel here was a bargain at $2.86 per gallon.  There was a line at the fuel dock, so after waiting about 1/2 hour, we filled up and headed to our slip on E dock.  This marina was recommended by Steve and Gina Smith (Island Time) who stayed here last fall.  Although the marina is not near town, there is a South Shore Line station across the street.  The docks are floating rather than fixed and they are new.  A pool, restaurant and free laundry are also on site.  Typical evening storms popped up, but they were not severe. 

Friday, June 12, 2015

6/12/15 NOOD Races

Today was rainy and we hung out on the boat.  There was a lot of excitement at the Chicago Yacht Club with rescue personnel called twice.  Someone in the morning had a stroke.  We do not know if that person was part of the NOOD races, but in the afternoon, a number of rescue vehicles appeared.  Someone on one of the NOOD sailboats had a heart attack and died before the boat returned to shore.  Once the sailboat was on the dock, crime scene tape encircled the boat.  So sad to be having fun and suddenly die unexpectedly.

By evening it was extremely cool, but the rain had stopped, so we walked about 1/2 mile to Mariano's Market.  It is just a few blocks from the marina and has several floors of groceries along with a nice deli and eating area.  We enjoyed an early dinner there before stocking up and walking back to the boat.  There was music in the park, but it was too cold for us..

6/11/15 Moved boat to free wall

Since NOOD (not nude) races begin tomorrow, we  can no longer remain in the Yacht Club slip, but we learned 4 years ago that you can tie up along the concrete wall which belongs to the Chicago Park District.

  There are rings on the lower wall for ties. We've been informed that someone may stop by to collect a small fee, but that has not happened yet.    There is also a public dock where boats can get free pump-outs.  This makes staying in Chicago very affordable.  We are still very close to the Yacht Club and can use their facilities for showers, restrooms and dining.  If you come to the Chicago Yacht Club, you must have a current letter from your yacht club indicating that you have reciprocal rights. If you are assigned a slip, there is a slip fee.

By mid-day, we were secured along the wall and ready to explore.  Since the Chicago Art Institute is only two blocks away, we  headed there by foot and spent several hours browsing through the galleries. 


For an early dinner, we walked another 2 blocks to Miller's Pub and Restaurant.  The temperature had dropped and rain was threatening.  A few minutes after walking Duke, it started to rain and that continued all night.

6/10/15 Day in Chicago

It is a beautiful day here, but very hot.  We called Uber for a ride to the Chicago Lady Tour Boat for the Architectural Tour.  This 90 minute ride on the Chicago River is well worth the $40 ticket for each of us.

 Following the tour we ate at O'Briens along Chicago's new river walk.

 When completed, this river walk will be a very nice addition to Chicago's riverfront.  Another Uber ride and we arrived at the Aquarium as many busloads of children were leaving.  Shedd is a very nice place to visit, although we still like Chattanooga's Aquarium better.   

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

6/9/2015 Incredibly No Good, Very Bad Day!!

After getting through the Brandon Lock this morning early, we entered the section of Joliet between the Railroad Bridge and the Jefferson Street Bridge.  Off to our left, we heard someone who sounded drunk yelling, "hey boat".  At first we saw no one, but then identified a male in the water holding on to the right descending bank.  He yelled for help and we immediately called 911and Ron was told by the 911 operator that it had already been called in and that help was on the way.  We could see an officer in a car responding.  We pointed to the person in the water and the officer responded.  At that point we were at least 50 yards off.  The man in the water had his head and shoulders clearly above the waterline.  He was wearing what appeared to be a dark t-shirt. It appeared to us that a line had been thrown from shore to the man in the water.

About the same time, an officer across the water on the left descending bank (about 75 yards upstream) began to angrily yell at us and waving us toward him.  We pulled over to that side of the water and he continued to yell that we were to get back and make a rescue.  We could see personnel on shore. Not one of the first responders had signaled us or called us over to help.  At that point we made what we considered an informed decision:  to stay back and observe.  Our wake, our prop, and a potential crush from our boat was possible if we approached.  This officer on shore was getting more and more irate. 

The rescue was completed by the police and fire personnel. 

At that point this angry officer  (Callahan??)waved us over.  He continued to yell and asked for ID.  He said he was turning us in to the Coast Guard and we "would be off the water permanently. Just how long had we been boating?"  "This is going in with the police report. You'll be hearing from them (the Coast Guard)."  He asked us how we'd like it if that was our grandson that was drowning (this man was not drowning).  Oh, my.  I AM STILL SHAKING and this is hours later. 
According to this officer, the man was thrown in the water by 3 men.  We have no idea if this was a robbery, foul play, or possibly a crime!  I want out of Illinois!!!!! 

Our trip in the afternoon on the Chicago River was a hot one...94 degrees.  The notorious Amtrack Bridge where boats wait for lengthy periods was a big surprise.  I called the phone number requesting an opening and within a minute, the bridge was up.

Once through the last lock, we entered the inner harbor of Lake Michigan, turned to starboard, and arrived at the Chicago Yacht Club.  There were lots of available slips, but we were told that we would be able to stay only two nights because the nude sailboat races started on Thursday.  We later found that it was not the nude, but the NOOD.

Dinner on the Chicago Yacht Club patio was a very nice end to our troublesome day.


6/8/2015 LaSalle Peru to Joliet


tie up for the night outside Joliet
0800 departure took us up river.  The weather was nice until late afternoon when thunderstorms threatened but remained north of us.  We negotiated the first three locks with no wait which is a very rare occurrence on the Illinois River.  Late afternoon we arrived at Brandon Road Lock and were told a minimum three hour wait.  That would have placed us in the lock after dark. We had no good place to tie up, but we saw a drainage wall with some metal fence posts and decided to take a chance.  It was the only place we could get Duke off the boat, although the gravel tumbled from the structure with each footstep.  As soon as we tied up, we got a call from our Credit Card company.  Someone in Great Britain had charged $600 on our card.  The CC company promptly canceled our card and is sending us a new one.  (A glass half empty or a glass half full day?)
home along the river
in the lock


Sunday, June 7, 2015

6/7/2015 A second night in LaSalle-Peru

Two of the worst storms we've ever experienced were at the Starved Rock Lock and Dam.  Since we didn't want to have a 3rd episode, we stayed safely tied up in the marina and let the rain fall around us.  These boat slips are very close to the channel, so when barges passed by we rocked back and forth. 

FYI:  Before canals connected Lake Michigan to the Illinois River, Peru was the top point of navigation for steamships and was a very busy port.  Peru was know as clock city--home of Westclox.  It is also the home of Maze Nails, America's last nail maker.