Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Back to Lake Michigan and now Gold Loopers!! August 27-September 16, 2018

We waited a few days at Duncan Bay for the winds and waves to subside.  Stirling (Element) a fellow GLGBA member who was also at Duncan Bay was kind enough to pick me up in Pellston when I dropped off the rental car.  Thanks so much Stirling!
Here we are leaving on a rainy foggy but relatively calm morning.

Carole and DeVere (Job Site) were planning to go to Mackinac Island on Wednesday, the waves subsided, and we were able to meet them there.

We had a great lunch and dinner with them.  It was so great catching up with our Bahamas buddy boaters!  We missed you guys last winter!  Bahamas 2020!!

We also had the opportunity to do some walking there and enjoyed the nice, albeit cloudy, weather.

Thursday we pushed off for Harbor Springs, one of our favorite stops, hoping to get a slip for the Labor Day holiday weekend.

Back in Lake Michigan!!

The "rules" have not changed here, they do not take reservations but do take your boat name over the telephone.  Once you pass the lighthouse on the point you call on VHF and they assign you a slip if available.  We had a great slip overlooking the harbor.

We were able to say hello to another GLGBA member, Laura (Meritage).  This is their home port and we last saw Laura and Vern in Killarney where they also attended the Grand Banks rendezvous.

On Friday our friends Paula and Rich rode their motorcycle from Farmington and joined us aboard for the weekend.  We had a great walk around town, a great dinner at the Pier and generally laughed and caught up with these two.

We were not successful in gaining an invitation to this beautiful 160 footer...

We also hoisted our Gold Looper Flag here!

We bought the boat here in June 2014 with the intention of doing the Loop starting in 2015.  So we are "officially" Gold Loopers although we will have another celebration in Muskegon or Grand Haven later this month when we arrive there. That will be the crossing we publish on the AGLCA as official.  We moved aboard in Muskegon on August 5, 2015 and we cannot believe we have been aboard for over three years! We love the cruising lifestyle and we both wonder what the winter of travelling via land and air will be like in comparison....a big change for sure.

Saturday, because of the gracious hospitality of Carole and DeVere, we were able to go about 5 miles to Bay Harbor Yacht Club as their guests. Wow, what a beautiful facility and setting this is!

We had a wonderful lunch with Carole and DeVere and afterward they allowed us use of their electric vehicle to explore the beautiful area.  We toured around on the electric vehicle and saw beautiful homes, golf courses and the Bay Harbor shopping area and hotel as well.

A wonderful sunset along the way.

We also used their car to go retrieve the motorcycle.  Thanks so much for the wonderful hospitality Carole and DeVere!  We look forward to a trip to the Bahamas with you in winter 2019/2020 when we get Sum Escape back south again.

Sunday morning Paula and Rich took the motorcycle and Julie and I took Sum Escape over to Charlevoix City Marina.

Being the last night of the Holiday weekend we were luckily able to secure a slip at the marina. They said they had 85 boats in 79 slips on Saturday night!  This is also one of our favorites so we are happy we could get a slip here.  Some more nice walks, a few beverages and ice cream...and more laughs.  Thanks for joining us Paula and Rich!
Monday our guests left as did many boats at the marina.

And the rates drop to buy one night, get one free.  So this is nice as we need to leave the boat here for a few days as we drive to Grand Rapids for doctors appointments and a wedding.  We hope to be back underway on Sunday.
Enterprise picked us up on Wednesday and doctors appointments, visits with Mom and a wedding to attend kept us busy the rest of the week  through Sept 10. We were able to meet friends we had not seen for seven years, Rhonda and Paul, for lunch at Rose's on Reed's Lake on Friday as they were in town for the wedding too. The Saturday wedding was at the parish we attended for 25 years in Jenison, MI.  It was like "old home day" as many of our friends still attend the parish and we were able to chat with them after the wedding and at the reception.  It was great to catch up a bit.  All were surprised we had been living aboard for three years, time flies!  After the wedding we drove to Big Rapids to make the trip back to Charlevoix a little shorter on Sunday.
We arrived in Charlevoix, got a few groceries, dropped the car at the library parking lot, turned in the keys to the harbor master and made the 11 AM bridge opening.  It was a nice day for our trip to Leland and we arrived early enough to take a nice walk before dinner. Lunch was served along the way, thank you Julie!
Scott and Nancy are renting a cottage nearby in Glen Arbor so they stopped to say hello in the evening as well.  Its always nice to have visitors, thanks for stopping Nancy and Scott and for the accommodations last week when we were in the Grand Rapids area!!

On Monday, we departed for one of our favorite anchorage spots, Portage Lake.  As we passed Sleeping Bear Dunes, Nancy and Scott were hiking and waved at us.  Looking for them on the dunes.

Pictures were taken by them from the dunes too! Thanks!!!

Entering Portage Lake there was some construction and we found the depths much improved versus 4 years ago.
Portage Lake was nicely protected from the strong northerly breeze and once again proved to be a good anchorage. We departed on Tuesday morning bound for Pentwater. Removing a pretty large bundle of weeds from the anchor. 

It got a little snotty with beam seas after rounding Big Sable Point so we cranked the speed up to 12 MPH or so to take some roll out of the equation.  We arrived at Snug Harbor Marina around 1 PM, 

took a nice walk and later Bill and Carol joined us for dinner at Gull Landing.  After dinner we thought ice cream sounded great but after a walk a few blocks to the ice cream store we found it closes at 5 PM during week days after Labor Day.  Yep, the season is changing and things are already winding down in western Michigan resort communities.  We think our first part of October storage timing is going to be good!
But "never fail Bill" asks how far it is to House of Flavors in Ludington.  As it is only 10 or 12 miles we all decide we should go there!  And it was worth the trip, very good ice cream.

We also were able to meet friends of Carol and Bill,  Sue and Bob, who are planning to do the Loop next year.  We toured their steel hulled trawler that they spent 9 years finishing out.  It is fabulous work and should prove a very good Loop boat.
On Thursday we departed for an anchorage on White Lake, one of our old favorites.  Leaving Pentwater.
Arriving White Lake.

It was a very warm day for mid September so I checked the water temperature thinking maybe a swim.  66 degrees does not fit my tolerance so a no go on that!  In the evening after dinner we took a dinghy ride out into Lake Michigan for a walk along the beach and to watch the sunset.
Friday morning we pulled anchor after a fog delay to head for Grand Haven for the Salmon Festival weekend activities and to welcome our son and daughter in law aboard to Celebrate Jordan's 35th birthday.  

But along the way we officially crossed our wake as we passed the Muskegon Channel. We left this channel on August 27, 2015 around 11 AM and passed it again on September 14, 2018 about noon.  We travelled over 13,000 miles over these three years!  I never would have imagined doing that many miles by boat.  Look, there is our wake with the channel in the distance!
Well OK, maybe that wasn't our wake but it made a nice picture!  We arrived in Grand Haven to what could have easily been a July day.  Such wonderful mid September weather!
 The water has to be about two or three feet higher than when we left judging by the height of the pier above the water!  Doesn't take much of a wave to breach the pier now.  And it is all rebuilt with new cement surface after a couple year project to renew it.  the iconic catwalk will be reinstalled next year.
 A beach day in mid September in Michigan.

Jordan and Eliza arrived to celebrate his birthday with us.  Thanks so much for coming!  It was Eliza's first time to see the famous musical fountain!
We had a great dinner at Snug Harbor on the deck, enjoyed the Salmon Festival food, wine and beer tasting event and generally enjoyed their company for the weekend.
We also had many friends stop by to say hello as so many of our boating friends from the area were in town for the festivities.  It was pretty much a whirlwind weekend but it is so great to catch up with everyone!

On Sunday, Jordan and Eliza headed home and Julie's brother Kevin picked us up to take a boat ride around Spring Lake in his and Deb's new boat.  Craig and Erin, Julie's other brother and spouse, also joined us.

We enjoyed a great dinner at Kevin and Deb's after the boat ride.  Thanks so much for a great day all!
We will spend a few weeks in the Grand Haven area visiting family and friends, doctor's appointments and readying Sum Escape for heated indoor storage.  We will likely leave the area before mid October with Florida being our first destination for a couple months. 
Posting here will likely be sparse but we will occasionally post our adventures.  Thanks for following our three year journey.  It has been a wonderful lifestyle and we look forward too resuming living aboard and cruising in the Spring of 2019.....