Pure Michigan!

Back in the USA and we are happy to be here.  Not that we did not like Canada; in fact we really enjoyed all the places we went, and the Canadian people were wonderful to us.  However, working with limited communications was a bit of a challenge, and we got sick of seeing the Customs people.  Here is what we have been up to:

Wednesday (8/5) – De Tour Village, MI – Back in the USA – We left Meldrum Bay in what was supposed to be 2’ seas, but they seemed to grow up to 3 -4’ in no time at all.  The wind was blowing out of the west (on our nose) so it was a very bumpy ride and it started to make Denise seasick. We considered turning around and called back to TiKa who was following us. They suggested that we tuck in behind them for a smoother run and see how that would work, which we did.  Fortunately, it was much more tolerable and Denise was grateful that we had made friends with a bigger boat (yacht).  After the first hour or so, the seas died down and it was much more comfortable. We were able to really enjoy the emerald green water of the North Channel.

We entered into US waters and were anxiously awaiting the ATT&T signal on our cell phones.  Shortly after it appeared and we got to turn on cellular services, we had several voice mails and emails that we had not been able to retrieve previously.  If any of you called us and didn’t get a response, we apologize as we were not aware of your call.

Within 3.5 hours of leaving Meldrum Bay we pulled into Drummond Island, MI.  In addition to TiKa were several other looper boats pulling in all at once, including friends on “Ariel” whom we met in Solomon’s, MD, and had not seen since St. Michaels, MD.

Loopers coming into Drummond Island

Loopers coming into Drummond Island

As we were not staying overnight here, we pulled in behind TiKa to the temporary dock they have for customs clearance only. They were first greeted by a US Customs agent and received their clearance within 15 minutes.  When the agent approached us she mentioned she had a phone call to make and she would be with us shortly.  After about 15 minutes she returned, barely asked us our boat documentation #, looked at our passports and gave us our clearance number.  It took less than 5 minutes with no other questions asked (nothing to declare, etc.). What a refreshing change from the Canadians who seemed to have followed us everywhere.

We left Drummond Island right away and crossed into the waters of Sturgeon Bay and then De Tour Passage Inlet (a major shipping channel).  The water was emerald green and crystal clear. Something we had not expected. It turned out to be a beautiful day and we were happy to be enjoying the US waters.

We pulled into De Tour Village Municipal Marina after completing 43 nm; one of our longest days in a while.  After getting our boats settled, we both did some work and replied to emails; Denise finalized and then posted our last blog.  Mark had some phone calls to make, so Denise took the bike and rode all around the village, stopping at the Outfitters store and buying a magnet, as well as a stop at the IGA for a few grocery items that we have not been able to get.

Outfitters store and lone traffic light

Outfitters store and lone traffic light

IGA Market

IGA Market

She also went by the ferry dock that takes people and cars back and forth to Drummond Island, and rode through a few neighborhoods that look right out onto Lake Huron.

Ferry to Drummond Island

Ferry to Drummond Island

That evening we had TiKa over for docktails, then we all walked into the small village and ate dinner at a restaurant called Mainsail. There were only three to choose from and we chose the one that was closest to the marina. The food was ok and the service was slow, especially considering there were only 2 other parties in the restaurant.  But, it was no big deal as there was nothing we were in a hurry to go do.   We spent most of the time discussing our plans for the next day.  The weather looked great for a crossing of Lake Huron, past Mackinac Island, and going directly into Mackinaw City.

We also heard from friends on “Snug Tug” today, and learned we had missed them by 8 hours in De Tour Village. They had left this morning for Cheboygan where they would be leaving the boat for a week to enjoy the family reunion.  We agreed to keep in touch and hopefully meet up again down the coast of Lake Michigan.

The marina here is right off the major shipping channel but is buffered by a very long breakwater which offers protection from the passing ships and that you can walk out on. There is a park that surrounds the marina and offers some pretty spectacular sunrises and sunsets.  It is one of many that are run by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR), where you can go online and make reservations for any of the affiliated DNR marinas; for an $8 registration fee.

Here are some other pictures from DeTour Village:

Marina at De Tour Village

Marina at DeTour Village

DeTour Village Marina at sunrise

DeTour Village Marina at sunrise

DeTour Village, MI

DeTour Village, MI

Morning Breaking

Morning Breaking

Thursday (8/6) – Mackinaw City – We left De Tour Village Marina just before 8:00 and cruised the 40 nm to Mackinaw City on a very pancake-flat Lake Huron.

DeTour Reef Light

DeTour Reef Light

It was sunny and beautiful, with no wind to kick up a sea.  We passed by Mackinac Island and stopped with TiKa to take pictures of our boats with the Island in the background.

 IO near Mackinac Island

Island Office near Mackinac Island

Island Office near Mackinac Island

Island Office near Mackinac Island

We would have liked to have stayed here, but the reservations in the marina were full for the days in our travel window, so we will be coming back to visit via the ferry next week.

Mackinaw Straits

Mackinaw Straits

We arrived in Mackinaw City, staying at the Strait’s State marina instead of the municipal marina right in downtown.  This marina is also part of the DNR system, so it has good accommodations at reasonable rates.  While it is a little further away from the downtown, it is not too far to walk and we were very happy we did not have to deal with the rolling wakes created by the ferry boats.

At the entrance to the marina is berthed the US Coast Guard Icebreaker “MACKINAW WAGB-83”.  It is the largest ice breaker class ship that was known as the “Queen of the Great Lakes”. Decommissioned in 2006, it is now set up as a museum that you can tour, but we did not have time to do this. You can learn more about it here.

USCG Mackinaw

USCG Mackinaw

After we settled our boats, we went for a bike ride.  First we rode along the water as there is a beautiful park with a bike path leading along the edge of Lake Huron, almost all the way to the Mackinaw Bridge.  We stopped along the bike path long enough to take some pictures then continued on. We passed by the old Mackinaw Lighthouse, and we rode out to the fort and Welcome Center, but chose not to go in as it was getting late in the day and would not have been able to see much.

Bike ride stop

Bike ride stop

Mackinaw Bridge

Mackinaw Bridge

Bike Ride Stop

Bike Ride Stop

We rode back into the down town area and decided the place was way too touristy for us.  Most all the stores are fudge shops (which we don’t eat), ticky-tacky souvenir shops, or t-shirt shops. None of this interested us so we made our way back to the boat.  Along the way back we stopped at a fish market near the marina and purchased a few things we could take with us on the boat, including some smoked salmon which we had for dinner that night.

TiKa invited us to watch the early debates on FoxNews as they have satellite TV onboard and were finally able to get US stations again. We had docktails for a while and then went back to our boat for dinner on board.  Later we tried to stream the debates via the internet, but there was too much demand and our signal strength was not that great; it would constantly crash.  Finally we gave up and went to bed.

Friday (8/7) – Petoskey, MI – We woke up to a cool morning (53 degrees) and headed west, and eventually South, – a direction that will eventually take us home.  Again buddy-boating with TiKa, we left the marina and within a half hour we went under the Mackinaw Bridge and entered Lake Michigan; cross off another “bucket list” item!  The waves were a little bumpy throughout the morning, and the wind blew a bit, (10 – 15 kts), but it was tolerable for Denise who had taken a small piece of Dramamine as a precautionary measure.

We cruised another long day of almost 50 nm down the Michigan coast until we came to Little Traverse Bay and the town of Petoskey.  We entered the city marina only to find several other looper boats, including “Gypsea” whom we first met in Coinjock, VA, and two others who would be completing their “loop” in the next few days as they are from Michigan ports.

Upon checking into the marina office we learned there was a farmer’s market in town that would be ending within the hour.  Quickly Denise got Karen on TiKa and the two of them went up the hill to town and got some fresh vegetables. Up until now most of the farmers markets we have seen have been a bit disappointing as they have been small.  This one was different and offered lots of choices of vendors as well as everything from fresh organic turkey, honey, jams, sauces and the usual fruits & veggies.

Karen at Petoskey Farmers Market

Karen at Petoskey Farmers Market

Once back on the boat we researched locations for dinner (via Yelp) and chose to go to “Whitecaps”; a place right near the marina that overlooked the bay.  The food was very good and we enjoyed our meal; probably the best one we have had in a long time.  After we got back to the boat we realized how tired we were. Three days of being on the move was tiring work and we were beat.

Petoskey is a very cute town with lots of unique shops, restaurants and parks.  There is a bike path that runs the entire perimeter of Little Traverse Bay – some 17 miles, with public restroom and water fountains that are well maintained.  There are lots of things to do here and we decided we would stay at least two nights and enjoy as much as we could.

Saturday (8/8) – Petoskey, MI – The day started for Denise with a morning run along the previously mentioned bike path where she encountered several other runners as well as walkers.  Along the way she snapped some pictures of the sights, and hoped to get in at least 3 miles before it began to rain; which it was threatening to do.  Well, the rain never really came and she finished up in town at a local coffee shop after getting in a terrific hill workout.  Once back at the boat, we went back to the coffee shop for one of their terrific cinnamon buns (which Mark cannot resist) and a bagel.

Bike Trail

Bike Trail

Dog friendly fountain

Dog friendly fountain

Facilities for the public

Facilities for the public

Downtown in morning

Downtown in morning

There were boat chores to do in the morning, including cleaning the head & galley, vacuuming, washing sheets & towels, and then making travel arrangements for Claire (Denise’s sister) to come for a visit.  Mark, Tim & Mark – the younger (from TiKa) all decided to go to the movies and see MI-5.  As Denise wanted time to do some exploring in town and a little alone time, she passed on the movie and handed Mark the Wal-Mart shopping list – the chore he had to do since he was getting a cab to the movies. Denise managed to do a little shopping in a local kitchen store (for a few galley gadgets), and getting a souvenir t-shirt before returning back to the boat.

In the evening Tim & Karen came over for drinks and we discussed the plans for the next few days. We would like to explore one of the other towns along this bay before moving along, so we agreed to try and get into Harbor Springs for Sunday night.  Mark called and they were full up, but agreed to put us both on the waiting list; we would have to call to confirm in the morning.

We then walked through town and went to a restaurant called “City Park Grill” which is one of the oldest establishments in town. It is known as being a hang-out of Ernest Hemmingway when he lived in Michigan.  The bar (still held over from the original restaurant’s heyday of the 1920’s) has a burn mark in it near the seat where Hemingway would actually put out his cigar.

City Park Grill

City Park Grill

Plaque at City Park Grill

Plaque at City Park Grill

Hemingway picture at bar

Hemingway picture at bar

After dinner, we meandered over to a microbrewery (“Beards Brewery”) that Mark – the younger had discovered earlier in the day. It was definitely off the beaten path, but was an interesting place.  We had a sampling of one of their home-grown beers then went back to our boats to call it a night.

Beards Brewery

Beards Brewery

This evening the sunset over Lake Michigan was spectacular and the sky stayed colorful for a long time.

Harbor at sunset

Harbor at sunset

Other sights from Petoskey:

IO at Petoskey Marina

IO at Petoskey Marina

Little Traverse Bay

Little Traverse Bay

Sunday (8/9) – Harbor Springs, MI – We got up in time to make the 8:00 mass at St. Francis Xavier’s Catholic Church which was a short walk up the hill from the marina.

St. Francis Catholic Church

St. Francis Catholic Church

On the way back we decided to find a place for breakfast and discovered “American Spoon”; a little restaurant we had walked past the night before.  Here we had a delicious breakfast that was super fresh and made from locally grown items, including the different jellies offered.  Mark said it definitely tasted different!  Afterwards we walked back to the marina via a different path and discovered the Hotel Perry. (Not to be confused with the Inn at Perry Cabin in St. Michael’s, MD).  This is an old hotel that has a spectacular view of the bay and a pub that is supposed to be quite good.

Hotel Perry

Hotel Perry

From here we took the path back through a neighborhood with townhomes and then back to the park at the marina. As we arrived in the park they were having a non-denominational Christian service complete with choir/band and about 100+ people in attendance.   It was a beautiful morning and we certainly had much to be thankful for.

Other pictures from Petoskey:

War Memorial

War Memorial

War Memorial

War Memorial

Once back at the boat we called and got confirmation that Harbor Springs Marina could take us, so we made the short 3-mile trip with TiKa across the bay and on to explore a new town.

Entering Harbor Springs

Entering Harbor Springs

We arrived at Harbor Springs to find a very busy marina with lots of boaters coming and going.  Shortly after we arrived another looper boat (‘Sea Venture”) pulled in near us and we introduced ourselves.  Ron & Bev Copeland were telling us of their stay in Little Current when we discovered they had been traveling with “Renegade” who had lost a prop as they were leaving the harbor.  All is fine now and they are supposedly in Mackinaw City.  We are hoping they will catch up to us and we will get to see them again.

TiKa & us -side by side

TiKa & us -side by side

Later we had drinks aboard TiKa where we discussed the upcoming weather, and made the decision to leave for Charlevoix the next day.  We had a good weather window and the trip would take us back out on to Lake Michigan, so we took the conservative approach to move when it was going to be calm.

We also decided to collectively order pizzas from a local spot that was known for being delicious.  After being told our wait to have it delivered to the marina would be over 1.5 hours, the guys took the 10 minute walk to town and found the pizzas were already done when they arrived. When they returned, we all ate to our hearts content and agreed that they were very good pizza’s.

Later we went for a long walk around the bay and to see a little bit of this small affluent resort town.  It is really pretty and the houses are very nice; definitely a playground for the rich!

Downtown Harbor Springs

Downtown Harbor Springs

Church and green downtown Harbor Springs

Church and green downtown Harbor Springs

Park at Harbor Springs

Park at Harbor Springs

Here are some other pictures from Harbor Springs:

Marina office

Marina office

Chamber of Commerce

Chamber of Commerce

 

Remote Control Tug

Remote Control Tug

Little Traverse Light

Little Traverse Light

Monday (8/10) – Charlevoix – We woke up to the aft deck being totally covered by these pesky little bugs and spiders.  They seem to be in all the marinas in Michigan, but this was the worse yet. They had come out in the afternoon the day before, but now they covered everything.  We couldn’t go out the door without some coming inside, so we ended up vacuuming the boat several times just to keep them at bay.  We never want to hear about the bugs in FL again!

We left Harbor Springs at 10:30 and headed to Charlevoix.  It was a calm sail with no wind and a little fog, which didn’t last long.  Cruising with TiKa we had to speed up in order to make the bridge opening at noon and then we entered the harbor.

Waiting on bridge

Waiting on bridge

Entering Charlevoix Harbor

Entering Charlevoix Harbor

We both decided to put some fuel on the boat and pulled into Wards Marina first, and then made our way to the Charlevoix Municipal Marina.

The marina is in the heart of this downtown area which is a lot like Winter Park.  It has one major avenue with shops and restaurants, and a big park with a band shell (like Lake Eola). There are gorgeous homes all around the harbor and there is an entrance to the lake (Lake Charlevoix) which we may or may not explore with the dinghy while we are here.

Homes on North Shore

Homes on North Shore

After settling our boats and checking in, Mark washed the boat to get rid of the bugs, while Denise cleaned the inside.  Afterwards we did a little bit of work on board, and got to know the lay of the land.

Tim & Karen (“TiKa”) decided on a land-stay and checked into a local hotel that overlooked the harbor for a two-night’s visit, leaving Mark – the younger on the boat alone.  We met all three of them for dinner at one of the local microbreweries (Bridge Street Tap Room) where we had sandwiches. The food was good and the view was terrific.

Bridge Street Tap Room

Bridge Street Tap Room

We got to watch the boats in the harbor and discussed all the things to do in this area.  Karen mentioned they found a good grocery store and were able to get a few products we had both been missing. So after we said our ‘good nights’ we walked through town to the grocery store and purchased a few things we wanted, and then went back to the boat for the night.

Tuesday (8/11) – Charlevoix – The day started with emails and watching some news (via internet streaming which was not very good).  At 8:05 we walked up to marina office to put our name on the “Extend” list so we could stay at the marina another night.  If we had made reservations online (and paid the $8 service fee) we would have a guaranteed spot. However, since we were already here the procedure is you put your name on the Extend list, and then once all the (paid) reservations have been filled, boats in the marina are approved for an extension of their stay on a first-come, first-serve basis.  As this harbor has several other marinas we could go to, and because we were watching the number of slips available via the website, we were not too worried about getting in for another night.  We were, however #7 on the list and agreed that we needed to get there earlier tomorrow.

Charlevoix City Marina docks

Charlevoix City Marina docks

After procrastinating Denise went for a run through Charlevoix, out to the airport and back, and then through some of the neighborhood streets.  Although it was cool at the start, it warmed up quickly and she regretted forgetting to put anti-chafe on her inner thighs. My how easy it is to get out of the habit when you haven’t been running in the Florida heat.

Mark spent a lot of time on the phone with clients and our subs to ensure certain projects were on track.  Denise got a couple of loads of laundry done, while also working on the blog and cataloging pictures.  This is a very time-consuming task, but it is easier to do when the pictures are fresh in mind and you can remember names of places (and people).

In the afternoon, we walked through all the little shops in town and managed to escape without spending too much money.  Mark purchased a t-shirt and we bought a few items at “American Spoon”; a store that makes jams, jellies and sauces from Michigan-grown farms and it is really good.  We had had breakfast at their café in Petoskey and really liked their products. Now we have some on the boat to enjoy.

We ate an early dinner that night at the East Park Tavern, a place right on the main street of town that offered an affordable meal that was quite good.  Denise wanted some ice cream and heard that “The French Place” served “Rum Chata” Ice Cream and she just had to try it.  We were first treated to “Rum Chata” by our friends on “Patriyachtik” when we were in Brewerton, NY awaiting the reopening of the Eerie Canal.  There we learned to pair it with Fireball Whiskey for a delicious, but kick-in-the-behind drink.  Even without the whiskey, the ice cream was delicious and creamy and was worth the 10 million calories!

As we headed back to the boat we noticed there was a concert going on in the park.  Although we knew about the one on Thursday night, this one was a surprise to us. Come to find out it is a Community Band – residents from Charlevoix who get together and play every Tuesday night during the summer months. As we could hear the music (lightly) from our boat, we went back home to enjoy it while reading our books.

Concert in park

Concert in park

A little while later Tim & Karen came by and we talked about our planned itineraries and dates for being in which ports on Lake Michigan.  Both of us are meeting up with people in the coming days and we will soon have to separate.

Wednesday (8/12) – Charlevoix – Taking advantage of the low-cost washer and dryers, Denise completed two loads of laundry and was able to put TiKa and us in the first two slots of the Extend list at the marina; all before 7:45 am.  (Yes, we cheated and were in the dock master’s office early as he was printing out the list). It wasn’t long before we received confirmation that we were good to stay for another night.

Pat & Gloria - harbor staff

Pat & Gloria – harbor staff

To date we have put over 250 hours on the boat motor, so it was due for an oil change. Normally Mark would have done it himself, but we have no way of disposing of the old oil.  So, following in TiKa’s footsteps we secured a technician (Brian) who was able to do it for us at a very reasonable cost, and he took away the old oil.

Brian - oil change tech

Brian – oil change tech

Once the oil change was finished, we went for a long bike ride through town.  Denise had wanted to go see the Mushroom houses that are unique to this area.  These are a series of homes that were built by builder Earl Young in the early 1900’s using stone and cedar shake roofs.  They look as if they were built to house Smurfs or gnomes, and range in size from very tiny to very large. You can learn more about them here.  These are very unique and can only be found in Charlevoix.

Mushroom homes

Mushroom homes

Renovating mushroom homes

Renovating mushroom homes

After visiting the area where most of these houses are located, we rode down the street to the local hospital where patients there have a multimillion dollar view.  This health-care facility sits on top a hill that overlooks Lake Michigan and the entrance to Charlevoix Harbor. Not a bad place to recover!

We left there and went down the hill to the beach and the entrance channel to the harbor before the bascule bridge.  There we were able to take some pictures the lighthouse and surrounding areas.

Charlevoix Light

Charlevoix Light

We also saw the boats coming into the channel and noticed one of them was fellow looper “Marquesa” whom we had met in Baie Finn, Ontario.  We took their picture too and will email it to them shortly.

We carried our bikes up the hill and back onto the main street (Bridge Street) and crossed the bridge to the other side.  We then rode for another 45 minutes or so through the neighborhoods and along the northern shore of the harbor.  This area was definitely the high-rent district and the homes were large and beautiful.

Exhausted from our morning ride, we headed back to the boat for lunch.  We spent the rest of the day doing work for our business; mostly bookkeeping tasks and answering emails and returning phone calls.

That evening we were invited to dinner aboard TiKa as a final farewell before we would separate; they would be heading out tomorrow and we will stay while awaiting the arrival of Claire (Denise’s sister) tomorrow night.

After dinner we walked across the dock to Charlevoix Brewing Company to play team-trivia.  There were small door prizes for the winners; but that was not us. We didn’t care as it was a lot of fun and a great way to spend one last evening with our friends on TiKa.

Trivia Night

Trivia Night

Trivia night

Trivia night

Trivia night

Trivia night with TiKa Karen, Tim & Mark – the younger

Tomorrow they will leave us and we will try to reconnect with them sometime down the Lake Michigan coast.

Thursday (8/13) – Charlevoix – Today we planned for a low key day as we readied for the arrival of Denise’s sister Claire. There was a farmer’s market in the morning that took up the whole main street in Charlevoix. It was by far one of the best farmer’s markets we have seen to date.  We walked up and down and purchased a few items that were locally made, including fresh baked bread and some mustard – highly recommended by Dock Master Hal.

Farmer's Market

Farmer’s Market

We also secured our place in the marina with Hal for Friday night, as we are planning to leave on Friday before the marina office opens to drive to Mackinac Island with Claire.

In the afternoon Mark was able to get a ride to Hertz for the rental car, and Denise cleaned the boat and worked on this blog post. Then we got on the road to Pellston Regional Airport, which is about 50 minutes from Charlevoix on a road that would take us right through Petoskey.  Claire’s flight was scheduled to come in at 6:30 pm, and we planned on eating dinner with her after her arrival. Since we knew there was a Wal-Mart in Petoskey, we planned a stop on the way to get her and then continue north.

We hit a bit of traffic in Petoskey, but were able to get in and out of Wal-Mart pretty quickly so it was not that big of a deal.  Just north of Petoskey we learned her flight would be delayed until 8:30, so we decided to find a place to eat dinner.  Seeing nothing that interested us on the mostly rural two-lane road, we decided to go back to Petoskey and chose to eat at the Palette Bistro restaurant.  They had a happy hour special until 7:00 that included 40% off of small plates, so we ordered 4 different ones and found them all to be quite delicious.

During our meal we received notice that the flight was further delayed and now it was not going to be 11:15 before the flight would be coming in.  So we drove the 15 miles back to Charlevoix and rested before leaving again at 10:30 to go get Claire.  Fortunately, the flight arrived on time, her baggage came through ok, and we headed back to Charlevoix. Unfortunately, we missed the 2nd concert in the park in town. It was almost 1:00 am before we got to bed, but we were happy to be safely back in our floating home.

Other Pictures of Charlevoix:

Charlevoix Marina office & boater facilities

Charlevoix Marina office & boater facilities

The Weathervane

The Weathervane

Near Bridge

Near Bridge

Historical marker

Historical marker

Marina - storm building

Marina – storm building

Friday (8/14) – Charlevoix – Mackinac Island side trip – Despite being tired from the late night, we stuck to our plans to use the rental car to go to Mackinac Island.  Of course the road to get there was the very same highway we had already traveled four times the previous day. Although we didn’t get off as early as we had wanted to, we were able to leave by 9:30, giving us sufficient time to get to Mackinaw City, park the car, and get on the 11:00 am ferry to Mackinac Island.

The ferry ride was uneventful as it is a short 16 minutes and we could not have asked for more perfect weather.  Once we arrived at the ferry dock we walked quickly through town and went immediately to the fort.

Downtown Mackinac Island

Downtown Mackinac Island

Fort Mackinac

Fort Mackinac

It is one of the coolest forts we have seen with spectacular views of the harbor.  We ate lunch at the Tea Room in the fort; a restaurant that overlooks Mackinac Island Harbor and is run by The Grand Hotel.  The food was delicious and reasonably priced, but the view was priceless.

Ft Mackinac

Ft Mackinac

Tea Room for Lunch

Tea Room for Lunch

After lunch we finished touring the fort, then walked along the harbor to the bike rental shop Mark had determined was the best value (there are at least 20 to choose from in the downtown area).  We secured mountain bikes for the three of us and headed out for an adventure.

Bike Rental place

Bike Rental place

As there are no cars allowed on the island, getting around is by foot, horse-drawn carriage, or bike. Therefore there are bike paths all around and throughout the island, with many interesting places to stop and see, or to cross to other inland trails. It is a dream vacation spot for a cyclist.

We rode the 8.2 perimeter path around the island, stopping along the way in a few key areas.  One such place was the 207-step climb up to “The Arch”; a whole in the rock where you can look out onto water.  It was beautiful and a great workout to climb up all those stairs.

Arch Rock on Bike Trail

Arch Rock on Bike Trail

207 steps

207 steps

 

At The Arch - Denise & Claire

At The Arch – Denise & Claire

View from Top of Arch Rock

View from Top of Arch Rock

Once back on the bikes we passed the beautiful clear waters of Lake Huron on the Eastern shore.

Claire averting the storm

Claire averting the storm

We dodged a thunderstorm that roared past us and stayed mostly over the water, getting us only slightly wet.  Because it was so hot, the sprinkles actually felt good, but we didn’t like the muddy mess it made of the pathway.  Eventually we realized that the bikes were kicking that mess up our backs and we had very dirty bottoms. No we do not have pictures of this!  The only reason we were not too embarrassed about this was that every other person on the island had the very same streak up their backsides as well.

On the Northern and Western shores of the island we had terrific views of the Mackinaw Bridge and the Northern shores of Lake Huron.  The bicycle traffic was much heavier at this point and there were several close-call collisions with other cyclists.  Eventually we ended up back in the downtown area which had become quite crowded.  We were anxious to return our bikes and get back on foot as it was just too congested to be on bikes and negotiating with the carriages and pedestrians.

After the bike rides we walked through the downtown for a few souvenirs but found most of the area did not interest us.  It was late afternoon and we decided we wanted to eat dinner in Charlevoix, not Mackinac Island. So, we took the ferry back to the mainland and once in the car drove Michigan Highway 31 one more time back to Charlevoix.  We returned the rental car, got a cab from Hertz back to the marina and walked to Bridge Street Tap Room for a second dinner there.

It had been a very fun day and we were happy that Claire was along to share it with us.

Other pictures from our adventures on Mackinac Island:

St Anne's Church

St Anne’s Church

Stations of cross at St. Anne's

Stations of cross at St. Anne’s

D&M at Fort Mackinac

D&M at Fort Mackinac

Miniature Golf Course

Miniature Golf Course

Saturday (8/15)Leland, MI – Today we said good bye to the very cool town of Charlevoix and moved the boat 30 miles south to Leland, MI.  Along the way we encountered very thick fog and had to use radar for navigating most of the way.

Foged in

Foged in

At one point we had to slow the boat down considerably as there were other boats in the area and we did not want to hit any of them.  By the time we got near the entrance to Leland harbor the fog had lifted. Along the way we had contacted TiKa and learned they were planning on staying in Leland another night, so we would see them for docktails

We pulled into the fuel dock for some diesel and then settled into our slip. Afterwards Mark washed the boat and Claire and Denise went for a walk to scope out “Fishtown” and the rest of the places in downtown Leland.

Fishtown is a collection of weathered fishing shanties, smokehouses, overhanging docks, fish tugs and charter boats along the Leland River in Leland, Michigan. There is Carlson’s Fishery, a fish market right along the river that buys the fresh fish right off the boats, and there is the “Cheese Shop” which has the best sandwiches for $6.95. There are efforts to preserve the shanties and the fishing activities and you can learn more about Fishtown here.

Fishtown

Fishtown

Also near Fishtown and as part of the harbor is the ferry boat that can take you to both North and South Manitou Islands – located 10 -12 miles off the mainland coast.  Both Islands are part of the Sleeping Bear National Park and offer camping, hiking, birding trails as well as an anchorage. Had the weather been more perfect we would have considered taking our boat there and anchoring out for a night.

However, the weather for the next day was not looking great; high winds were anticipated and it was supposed to blow hard. We did not have a reservation for another night, and we didn’t want to be forced to leave.  Leland Harbor is a “Safe Refuge” harbor and they have to take any boat that comes in during a storm.  This can result in boats being shifted around or rafted up in order to accommodate any who come in and we didn’t want to be ones that got kicked out once the winds died down (which they can do).  So we went ahead and paid for the second night, hoping we wouldn’t regret making that call so early on.

Also during the day other looper friends on “Ivory Lady” (Jann & Bill) and “Next Chapter” (Caryn & Willie) came into the marina, so together with TiKa we made plans for docktails in the nice cruisers lounge this city offers.

Ivory Lady & Next Chapter

Ivory Lady & Next Chapter

In the meantime we decided to cook dinner on the boat. Originally we were thinking we could get some whitefish or walleye at the fish store, but they were sold out of the fresh stuff by the time we got there (you have to get there early).  Therefore, we opted for some ribeye steaks we had seen at “The Mercantile” (grocery store) earlier in the day. So Claire and Denise walked back up the hill to the store, to get the steaks and some potatoes to roast along with it.

At 5:30 we had docktails with all the Loopers and another non-looper couple Chris & Karen (on “Good Grief” – a 1974 Chris Craft motor yacht that had been fully restored).  They own a few marinas on the Michigan coastline south of where we were and they were full of information to share.  Afterwards we went back to the boat and cooked our steaks and potatoes.  Of course we had to top the evening off with an ice cream. So, we walked up to the only shop still remaining open in town – and there is a reason they were still open – they served “Moomers” Ice Cream. A Michigan-made ice cream that is really good and was voted America’s “Best Scoop” on ABC’s Good Morning America in May 2008.  The servings were definitely not as big as “Lone Oak” in New Hampshire, but it was delicious and was the perfect ending to a fun day

Sunday (8/16)Leland, MI– Our first order of business was getting to mass.  This was a bit of a challenge as the closest Catholic Church was 5 miles away in Lake Leelanau, but we had secured a ride thanks to the Harbor Master.  He introduced us to an older couple (Bob and Boots on “BobbnBoots”) who were from Wisconsin, but had been at the marina 3 weeks already and allowed them to take his SUV the past few weeks. Fortunately, they were able to take us as well and so we all went to St. Mary’s for 9:15 mass.

Bob & Boots

Bob & Boots

St Mary's Catholic Church

St Mary’s Catholic Church

When we returned to the marina we decided to get sandwiches for lunch from The Cheese Shop, based on the positive feedback from Karen (on TiKa). So Claire and Denise went early and picked them up. We were not there more than 5 minutes when the line grew out the door with 15 people behind us. Clearly, we timed it well, and yes, the sandwiches were terrific!

The Cheese Shop

The Cheese Shop

We then planned the rest of the day, including a dinner outing with all the Loopers.  Mark had some work to do, so he took his computer and went up to the cruiser’s lounge where he had a better Wi-Fi signal.  Denise worked a little on the blog and Claire read her book.  Afterwards the girls dragged Mark back to Fishtown and the Leland downtown area to show him some of the things in town.  In the meantime, the wind had picked up and it was really howling and a small craft advisory had been issued.

Late that afternoon everyone was discussing plans for the next day as the wind was supposed to die down in the morning.  More boats had come into the marina, including Loopers Betsy & Dave Frye (“FryDaze”) and Gold Loopers Evelyn & Sid (“Something Special”).

Evelyn & Sid "Something Special"

Evelyn & Sid “Something Special”

So now our dinner party grew to 14 and we all met at Bluebird restaurant where they squeezed us into a corner booth + tables in the bar area.  It wasn’t the greatest accommodations, but the food was good and the company of other Loopers made it so great.  Then the entire group meandered back to the ice cream store for dessert and we said good night to all.  Tomorrow we would be moving on and most likely will run into each other again soon.

Other pictures from Leland:

Leland Marina

Leland Marina

Fishtown Shanties

Fishtown Shanties

Amphibious Car

Amphibious Car

Trailor hitch on SUV

Trailer hitch on SUV

Sunset at Leland

Sunset at Leland

 

Stay tuned for more adventures from Island Office!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.