Friday, July 31, 2015

7/31/15 Cleveland to Geneva on the Lake State Park

This 45 mile trip began at 7am.  We had hoped that an early departure would give us calmer seas.  Once we were out of the area protected by the seawall, it was rough.  Waves ran about 3-4 feet with following seas.  For those of you who are boaters, you know that following seas twist the boat back and forth and cause you to ride up the wave slowly and down fairly fast.  We were grateful that this was not a beamy ride, though.

Shortly before entering the harbor at Geneva, our rudder angle sensor seemed to stop working.  Ron took it off "navigate" and seemed to gain some manual control.  The hard part was entering the harbor with beamy seas and limited steering.   Once in the marina, the steering seemed to return to normal.

We decided to walk into town for dinner.  The marina staff said it was 3/4 mile, but it was more like 1 to 1 1/4 miles by the time we reached Mary's Kitchen.  By the time we left, there were 15 people waiting outside for seating. 

We are on the outside wall in the marina without power.  $45 is the fee even though power was not available in this slip.  There are several boat clubs coming in for the weekend, so we cannot stay more than one night.  Hopefully the weather is better tomorrow.

We were in bed early, getting ready for that early departure at 0600.  Apparently others at the marina are on different schedules.  Our boat was next to a metal bridge which connected the land to the marina wall.  Each time someone walked on it, the sound was a very loud bam, bam, bam.  People were still returning to the marina (and walking across the bridge at 2:30 am).  About 3am we finally got to sleep, but were up at 0500. 

7/30/15 Second day in Cleveland

We had hoped to leave today, but there were small craft advisories, so we opted to visit the nearby Great Lakes Science Museum.  This is a hands on adventure, primarily designed for kids.  We attended a lecture on the Apollo missions and that was very interesting.  Two hours at this museum was plenty for us. 
We contacted Uber for a ride to a local restaurant (Green HouseTavern on 4th street) which had been recommended by one of the boaters. 

We should have made our own decision, because it was not good.  I ordered a pork chop which was prepared medium-rare.  When I questioned the waitress about the safety of undercooked pork, she said "ours is organic so it is safe".  Portions were very small, no rolls or salad, and prices were high.  We walked the mile back to the marina but is was very, very hot.

We are hoping for an early departure if the weather improves.

7/29/15 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

If you've traveled with me (Jeanne and Kenny Beach especially), you know that I am not crazy about museums.  I believe that I don't like them because my learning style (auditory) is not addressed in most of them.  They are designed for visual people.  That was true until I found the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  I LOVED IT!!   This museum was designed with a sequential theme and then focused on individual musicians.  We especially enjoyed the special exhibition on Paul Simon.

  We had attended one of his concerts years ago in Peoria.

Found some familiar instruments at the R & R Hall of Fame:  bowed psaltry and autoharp.


 We actually spent 6 hours there and I wasn't ready to leave!  We did take a quick break for lunch at the marina public square and it was very good.  We again tried to get Duke to go for a walk but he refused!  What a dog!!

7/28/15 Middle Bass Island to Cleveland

It took 7 hours (60 miles) to get to Cleveland.  There was a freighter waiting to enter the harbor, but we fortunately beat him in. 

The marina (Rock and Dock) is adjacent to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame/Museum.  There were only 3 boats, including ours in the harbor which appears to be new.  It was put up after Superstorm Sandy in 2012 when the previous one was damaged.  Our slip was right next to the showers/restrooms and the closest slip to the Museum.

Great Lakes Science Museum

  Duke does not like cities and their noises, especially garbage trucks.  He refused to leave the dock until we literally forced him off.

Monday, July 27, 2015

7/27/15 Middle Bass Island, OH (Lake Erie)

After our stressful day yesterday, we decided to take a day to relax.  Middle Bass Island is just north of Sandusky.  In the summer there are 1500 residents.  In the winter, only 90.

 There is very little here in the way of commerce.  A pizza restaurant/store is about 3/4 of a mile from the state marina.  Across the street from the marina is a restaurant with a pool (wading only) out back.

 Anyone can use the pool.  They also rent golf carts.  We decided it would be nice to drive around this small island so we rented a cart and took off.  It only took an hour to travel all of the roads on the island. 

yard décor
peaceful water view

boat with statues

airport-2 planes there
winery-currently closed for business
view of the party island

Sunday, July 26, 2015

7/26/15 Grosse Pointe to Middle Bass Island, Lake Erie

We left Grosse Pointe Yacht Club at 0830.  We passed Blue Star on the way out of the marina.  Ron had talked with one of the crew on this boat (a Burger, 1987, 75 feet long).  It is a Fort Lauderdale boat which is currently at Grosse Pointe, but it is headed to Florida on the inland waterways and the Tenn Tom.  That will be quite a site as loopers travel south.

There was a ship behind us entering the Detroit River, traveling at 12 mph to our 8mph, so we decided to wait until he entered and got behind him. 

At 1000, we approached the Ambassador Bridge and I said, "OMG, I think that's a body in the water."  Since I wasn't sure, we circled back and then called the Coast Guard and gave our location.  They arrived 30 minutes later along with a police boat and divers.  Once we pointed out the body, we left the area.  The body appeared to be an African American male. Later in the day, one of my Facebook friends found an article online from the Detroit Free Press stating that a body had been found by boaters.  Although the person had not been identified, it was believed that he was the missing person who had fallen overboard 3 days earlier (at 1:30 am) during a concert.

(The U.S. Coast Guard says boaters have found a man's body in the Detroit River.
WDIV-TV reports the Coast Guard says the body was found Sunday morning. The man wasn't immediately identified.
The Coast Guard has been searching for a 44-year-old man who fell overboard in the river about 1:30 a.m. Thursday. He was watching a concert from a 33-foot boat anchored in the river off shore from the amphitheater at Detroit's Chene Park.

Coast Guard Cmdr. Austin Ives tells WJBK-TV that witnesses saw the man disappear under the surface in the fast-moving water.
Wednesday night's show featured Avery Sunshine as well as the duo Kindred the Family Soul.)

We continued on the river and met lots of weekend boaters, none of whom slowed down when passing.  Once we entered Lake Erie, we encountered a lot of boats returning after the weekend.  
We heard several pon pon calls on the radio.  One was for a plane believed to have crashed in Lake Erie 20 nautical miles north of Astabula, OH.  Another was for a 24 foot vessel adrift. 
The Coast Guard really works hard, especially on weekends!!

We arrived at Middle Bass Island (north of Sandusky) at 4pm.  Apparently it is good that we arrived on a Sunday night.  This island and Put-In-Bay, the adjacent island, had an event called Christmas in July.  There were no slips available and it sounds like it was nothing but a drunken brawl.  We specifically picked this island because the reputation of Put-In-Bay is that it is a PARTY PLACE.  Guess they both are.  It is really quiet here now.

We hitched a ride with a golf cart both to and from the pizza place a mile down the road. 

7/25/15 Day 2 at Grosse Pointe Yacht Club

The Edsel Ford museum had been recommended to us, so we walked the 1 1/2 miles in the mid-day sun and heat to get there. The museum consists of the home and grounds where  Edsel Ford and his family lived.  It consists of a 32000 square foot house built in the 1920s for a cost of 3.5 million dollars.  He and his wife Eleanor researched several places in Europe before deciding on the Cotswold Style architecture.

 We toured 20 of the 60 rooms, then walked to the pool, the rose garden and the children's playhouse which was designed on a child-sized scale.

  We also learned that Edsel used to commute to Detroit for work on his yacht.  Edsel died of stomach cancer when he was only 49, but Eleanor lived there many more years.  Upon her death, Eleanor donated the property and set up an endowment to continuously care for it.

After lunch at the Cotswold restaurant, we walked back in the heat to the marina.  We were desperate by then for a shower, and their shower rooms were very nice.  After walking Duke, we called Uber for a ride to church (St. Paul on the Lake).

  As soon  as we exited the church, Ron mentioned Uber to me and one of the parishioners said, "My wife and I will take you. Where do you want to go". We were looking for a place for dinner and they suggested Pat O'Brien's Restaurant for lake perch.  They took us the 6 miles to the restaurant.  When we thanked them, he said, "Thank the Holy Spirit for putting us together."  Amazing Grace!  We have had this good fortune 3 times on this trip!

After dinner we got an Uber ride but had to take a detour due to an accident.  A 25 foot boat had come off its trailer in the middle of the road.  While we waited for the Uber car, we had heard the many emergency vehicles with sirens on.  It had happened only minutes before we got there. 

7/24/15 Port Huron to Grosse Pointe Yacht Club on Lake St. Clair

After breakfast at a local restaurant (Cavis), we headed down river toward Algonac for fuel and a pumpout.  We were so fortunate to go through the St. Clair River on Friday, because both Saturday and Sunday the river was to be closed (for 6 hours each day) for the speedboat races.  We stopped for fuel at Algonac- Sassy Marina.  It was a little hard to find, since it was off the main channel and had poor signage. 

We began to hear the Coast Guard on channel 16 trying to get someone to switch from channel 16, the emergency and hailing channel, to channel 22 alpha.  At first the person was incoherent.  Then he said he didn't have a channel 22.  Several different Coasties tried to talk with this man.  He was becoming more and more irate and was definitely under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol.  He was slurring his words and was belligerent.  His first response, when asked his location, was none of your business.  Later he said he was on a kayak, then in his yard, and then on a fishing boat.  He told the Coast Guard it was none of their business and he could do anything he wanted on HIS radio.  Little did he realize that a large fine and imprisonment was a possibility.  The Coast Guard asked all calls on channel 16 to cease unless it was an emergency.  After about an hour, we believe that they must have located the man and the chatter ceased.  Wonder if he's in jail.  He certainly needed to be in rehab.

When we exited the St. Clair River, we entered Lake St. Clair.  It is shallow and you must stay in the channel, which is not well-marked.  Our electronic charts were invaluable. 

We arrived at Grosse Pointe Marina and called the harbormaster, who raised the interior drawbridge to let us in to our slip on the outer wall, East Wall Dock. 

This marina is massive.  Docks have different names:  East Wall Dock, Lakeview Dock, Bitter End Dock, Tee Dock, Shoreline Dock, Bridge Dock, Moby Dock, Gas Dock, Hickory Dock, Lakeside Dock, Hoist Dock, Inner South Wall Dock, Outer South Wall Dock.  We were glad we printed a map of the marina layout ahead of time.  (yes we have a printer on board).  There are two bridges within the marina,  the drawbridge and a swing bridge.  We never saw the swing bridge because it was on the other side. 

Our slip was as far as you can get from the club--a very bad spot for dog owners.  The drawbridge is the only way to get from our dock to the marina and boaters take priority over walkers.  If the bridge is up, you must push a button to request that the bridge be lowered.  It is manned 24 hours a day by a real person.

According to one of our boat neighbors, the marina pool cost $7 million. 


The club has 3 restaurants, 2 pools, a ballroom, and outdoor wedding venue, and tennis courts. As you enter from the road, you first come to a security gate.  About 1/4 mile in, you arrive at a circle drive and a valet parking station.


We opted for dinner at the casual outdoor restaurant.

view of marina from our slip

 It was OK, but overpriced for what we had. 

7/23/15 Leaving Port Austin

Finally it is calm!! The wind has died and we are heading for Port Huron (100 miles).

 Thirty miles into our trip, we heard a sailboat calling for assistance. It was out of fuel.  Once we got to its location, we pulled up to assist, but a local fisherman (with nothing better to do according to the Harbor Beach harbormaster) came to tow them in. This was one of the boats returning from the Port Huron to Mackinac race.   Glad we didn't have to stop----we probably would not have made it to Port Huron. 

Once we arrived at the entrance to the St. Clair River, we waited for a 1000 foot long freighter (a laker) to exit the river.

 We had a reservation on the wall of the Port Huron Yacht Club, so we called when we were five minutes out.  Joe, the harbor master, told us to pull up behind the trawler, but there were three large sailboats there, leaving us barely enough  space to tie up behind all of them.  We thought this wall was free, but learned only five local yacht clubs have reciprocity.  We took a short walk into town, but there was not much there.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

7-21-15 Still in Port Austin

We were up at 0600 for an early departure, but the winds were still howling at 20 mph.  Tomorrow is supposed to be very nice, so we are going to wait another day. This has been an unusually long period of high winds.

No use missing out on some sleep.... back to bed by 0700!!

Walked in to town to look for a used book store or a library.  The library is on Railroad Street a couple of blocks east of Lake Street, the main drag, and it does have used paperbacks for 10 cents each.

Ron and Duke in front of Port Austin marina

Statue, Port Austin

Vertical wall of plants in Port Austin

 Had lunch at a small café and then went to look for a hair salon.  One was closed because the owner was in Florida, but I found someone that had an open time at 4:30.  Hope this cut is better than the last one in Ludington. 

7/20/15 Still in Port Austin

Port Austin is on the top of Michigan's thumb, so it is exposed to winds from all directions.  The current winds are coming from the west down Saginaw Bay and have a lot of fetch.  Some sailboats came in this afternoon and said the conditions were terrible...8-10 foot waves and 30 mph winds from the west.  This was the day we had originally planned to cross the bay, so I'm glad we did it a day early.  We will stay in port until the winds die down. 

We tried Joe's for pizza and it was good and only a short walk from the marina.  We are expecting rain tonight with improved conditions tomorrow.

weather moving in

7/19/15 Harrisville to Port Austin

We had planned to stay here one more day, but saw the forecast and decided to leave for Port Austin.  This is a crossing of Saginaw Bay which takes several hours and is open to the elements.  Five to ten mph winds and under 2 foot waves turned in to 20 mph winds and three to four foot waves which were hitting us on the beam, so we started tacking to bet a better angle on the waves.  We've been in much worse conditions, but we were glad to be off the bay.  We walked in to town for a late lunch. 

They have the most unique markings for pedestrian crosswalks....very clever.  Dunedin should do something like this!


Presque Isle to Harrisville 7/18/15

Patchy fog seemed to be rather constant and we sounded the fog horn every 2 minutes most of the morning.  Once the fog lifted, we watched an approaching storm, which according to radar, was only one cell headed straight for us.  It lasted about 20 minutes and just amounted to rain.  We pulled in to Harrisville and realized that we were just in time for the Sunrise Side Wine and Food Festival.  Initially you paid $10 each but that purchased a wine glass and two tickets for the tasting.  Additional tickets were available for those who wanted them.  Not much food was available, just some fried stuff, which we passed up. 
Chelsea-wearing Health Occupations Students of America t-shirt.  She wants to be an Occupational Therapist

Harrisville marina.

our boat in Harrisville

Friday, July 17, 2015

7/17/15 Presque Isle

Conditions on the water today were supposed to be worse than yesterday, so we opted for a second night here.  By noon the winds had died down and fog moved in.  Then the fog dissipated and it was just cloudy.  Tomorrow I imagine all of the boats here will be heading out since conditions are supposed to be good.  We are heading for Harrisville tomorrow, about 60 miles from here. 

This area is the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary, 4300 square miles set aside to protect the estimated 116 historically significant shipwrecks here.

Although this marina is very quiet, there is a small store and a very busy restaurant on site, along with hiking/biking trails.

.  This marina had a descent restaurant across the parking lot with both sandwiches and entrees. We had originally opted for pizza on the backside of the sit-down restaurant, but there was a 45 minute wait so we went to the restaurant instead.  Across the road is a store/ deli.  The ice cream window was very busy.  Duke certainly knows where to find ice cream.  He had a doggie cone. 

Presque Isle sunset

7/16/15 Departure day

Around 9am, we prepared for departure.  A large boat getting ready to pull out of their slip, was caught in the wind and nearly ran in to an adjacent boat.  Several people on the dock ran to help them and we believe no damage was done to either vessel.

We started our engine (or tried to) but the electronic starter had an error message.  Ron tried several things and then put in a phone call to a marine business in a nearby town to troubleshoot the problem.  After waiting about a half hour , the engine started without a problem.  Ron believes it may have been operator error. 

Wind and waves conditions were predicted to be good today, so we charted for an 80 mile day.  We realized after 20 miles that the conditions were much worse than predicted.  Not that they were dangerous, but they were certainly getting uncomfortable, so we turned in to Presque Isle for the night.

 By evening the wind was howling and we were really happy that we tucked in here.  We wondered how the boats did that were crossing Lake Huron today.  Water conditions in the middle were certainly worse than what we encountered. 

Dinner was on the boat, chicken and stuffing.