Aug 19

Another beautiful day in Charlevoix! We enjoyed a visit from Bill & Mary DeGrow who live here & have followed our blog. The excellent staff here at the Municipal Marina took us to have an isinglass repair made. We visited the John Cross Fisheries for their famous smoked fish & dip before doing our grocery shopping. That left the afternoon for a bike tour. We pedaled Park Ave to view the “Mushroom Houses” built by Earl Young, Master Builder of the 1920’s. We also visited the Harsha House Museum & Depot Beach on Lake Charlevoix, the Chicago Club & C&O Club Drive. On the way home, we stopped at the Weathervane for a glass of wine & the best Escargot we’ve had in a long time. Many of the Loopers left today for Leland. That will be our next stop also, but we are watching the weather rather closely tonight to see if this front materializes. If it does, we may enjoy Charlevoix for another day or two. It’s all good!

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Aug 20

Lake Michigan is like the ocean, and she is roaring today! We will stay tied closely to the dock while the lake sees 15-30 Kt winds & seas 4-7 feet. It may take her a day or two to settle down from this little tantrum. In the meantime, we enjoyed Charlevoix. We had a nice visit last night from Scott & Angie Way who welcomed us to this area & came bearing gifts!! That’s what we call a “Welcome Wagon”! Today we continued exploring & found out that Ernest Hemingway married his first wife, Hadley Richardson here in 1921. At that time this was a playground for socialites from the Chicago area. They remained married for 6 years through the “Paris”/Gertrude Stein period and inspired “A Moveable Feast”. They remained friends throughout his lifetime. There was a farmer’s market in the park & we bought produce & the local favorites, Lottie’s Bagels & Mike’s Mustard. We toured Club Belvedere by bike, an exclusive summer home community with all the amenities you could imagine for a 1920’s community. All morning it sprinkled, & in the afternoon it showered. I talked Brad into accompanying me to see the “chick flick”, Julie & Julia. We both enjoyed it immensely. It did make us hungry!

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Aug 21

Aren’t boaters just the best? Last night Scott & Angie came by the boat again, left one of their cars and insisted we use it while we are here in Charlevoix. How precious is that? Wind & wave conditions are keeping us from moving along, so today we visited Elk Rapids & Traverse City by car. Traverse City is the Cherry Capital of the World and there are more than 50 wineries in the area. Visited the Old Mission Lighthouse, Friske Orchards & "Silk Stocking Row” where there were many beautiful old houses.  Made the mandatory Walmart run & picked up supplies for Brad to do our 200 hour engine maintenance. Two of the wineries we visited & made purchases from were Chateau de Leelanau & Ciccone Vineyards. Ciccone is owned by Madonna’s parents & when we walked in the hostess heard us talking and said “I’m from Gulf Shores!” Guess it takes one to know one when it comes to Alabamians! We did not see the “Material Girl” but Marcale said she does visit occasionally. Tomorrows forecast remains bleak for mariners, but we don’t care, we are having fun anyway!

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Aug 22

August in Michigan! Are you kidding me? It hasn’t reached 70 degrees in 3 days. Coming from the hot & humid south, we mostly have totally enjoyed the fact that it has been a much cooler than usual year up Nawth! But today, we had to break out the long britches & jackets! Wassup with that? We did chores & then watched “Somewhere In Time” on DVD. Great movie filmed on Mackinac Island. Got a call from Brenda & Bob Gallant. They are on Beaver Island 30 miles of water away from us & we will try to hook up before we get out of the area. Haven’t seen them since Abacos. Tonight we are joining Brad & Susan Light for dinner. We met them several times on the East Coast traveling in their sailboat “Northern Lights”. They have had a summer home here & are currently making it a primary residence. All eyes on the weather as it looks like we could get a break tomorrow & move on down the Michigan coast. Next stop, Leland!

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Aug 23

What a nice evening & great meal we had at Brad & Susan Lights lovely home on Lake Charlevoix. We enjoyed seeing them again & meeting their friends & neighbors, Mary & Bill. We crossed over to their home on a 4 car ferry that is in the Guinness Book of World Records (see photo for details).Special night that adds to the reasons why we will remember Charlevoix fondly. A good weather window allowed us to travel safely to our next stop, Leland. Docked by 11:30am, we got everything ship shape & toured the town for several hours. Leland is called “Fish Town” & the historic harbor (the actual fish shacks that line the Leland River entrance to Lake Michigan) has been restored & now houses stores, galleries, boutiques, restaurants and bars. We think we will move again tomorrow while the going is good. We are watching Lake Michigan closely, she is fickle. 

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Aug 24

Days like today are the reason Michigan has the “Harbors of Refuge” program. There is a safe harbor every 15-20 miles of coastline in this state. Today’s forecast was for 1-2 ft seas. What we actually got was 4-6 ft seas. The difference is whether you are enjoying a nice leisurely relaxing cruise or whether you are hanging on for dear life! Savoring your morning coffee vs throwing it all over the boat! You get the idea! Lake Michigan is changeable & hard to predict. We hung in for 4 hours & made our destination as planned, Frankfort. It just wasn’t as much fun getting there as usual. Tomorrow’s forecast is for 5-8 ft seas. We are thinking how lovely it would be to have an extra day in Frankfort. It’s a beautiful spot and like most Lake Michigan marinas, it’s behind breakwaters and through a channel so it provides a lot of protection from wind & waves. YES!

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Aug 25

Houston, We have a problem! The USCG & Army Corp of Engineers have closed the Illinois River to recreational boaters for 7/10th of a mile, INDEFINITELY!!!!! It has to do with a system they have in place to keep carp from migrating into Lake Michigan. ( See  http://www.uscgd9safetyzones.com/go/site/1295/ )  There are an estimated 50 Loopers above the closure. Everyone knows that weather dictates you be out of the Great Lakes area by mid September. How are we suppose to get home? We are within 8 weeks of completing a year long trip and we could be looking at 2 options: 1) Have our boat pulled and stored up here until next summer (expensive, inconvenient, & leaves us without a boat) or 2) turn around and try to make it back to the east coast before we get weathered in (expensive, inconvenient & we probably don’t have time to make it)! The AGLCA & Ted Stehle with the Waterway Guide are trying to help resolve our crisis!

Does anyone have a direct line to my Congressman? Other than that disturbing news, we had a wonderful day riding bikes on the Betsie Bay Trail all the way to Elberta, got to know the town of Frankfort, visiting the beaches and bars of this town, with the weather blustery all day, but the thunderstorms passing well to the North. Life is still very good, here on the Tour!

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Aug 26

NOAA says conditions look good at 6:30am so I roll Capt Brad out of bed & we are out by 8am. The sea was so high yesterday we can’t believe it has layed down so fast, so we have a flexible plan of: a) going 10 miles to Acadia if NOAA is lying about the 1-2 ft seas, or b) heading to Pentwater 64 miles down the shore if conditions permit! Zip-E-dee-do-da! Here we are in Pentwater! Last year a group of Loopers (including Good News) were held up for a couple of weeks because of flood stage waters on the Mississippi. They got a special award at the Rendezvous making them “Official River Rats”. Our Asian Carp drama continues without resolve at this point. The group of Loopers affected are already being referred to as “Carp Captives”! I think our motto should be “Oh, Carp!! Oh, Crap!!”  If we have to store our boats here Up Nawth, we will all be “Shipless in Chicago”! I wrote a letter and e-mailed my Congressman, the USCG, the Army Corp of Engineers,Boats US, and Fox & Friends. Do you think Gretchen, Steve & Brian could give us a hand?

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