Before we found Big Frisky in Portsmouth Rhode Island, we travelled all over the country looking at boats. One time we even went to Mexico to see a boat and although we didn’t buy it, we met some really cool folks who had spent ten years cruising and offered us wonderful advice. On the return from each of these trips we talked about, “what if we bought THIS boat, where would we start our trip?” The boats were all located in sailing communities far from our home and we could have left from any one of those locations to start our journey. But I was adamant that we start in Lake Michigan. Some folks thought we were crazy trucking Big Frisky all the way to Midwest, but there are some good reasons for choosing to start in Indiana.
First, we wanted the boat near us so we could work on her over the winter. Crowley’s Boat Yard
on the south side of Chicago provided the perfect place for weekend work getting Big Frisky ready to go. We have friends with a cottage near Michigan City and it was the closest marina for moving aboard. Having sailed in Lake Michigan before, we knew the marinas would be nice and if we had trouble in our early days of learning the boat, help would be nearby. And finally, the Inland Seas provide beautiful fresh water sailing and lovely harbor towns.
But the most important reason for choosing to start in the Great Lakes was so that our friends could come and visit us along the way. Family and friends are important to us and we wanted to make sure we would have a regular dose of both as we begin our voyage. Not everyone can afford the time off work or plane tickets to come to Mexico or the Caribbean, but Traverse City, Detroit, Toledo and Cleveland are an easy car drive away.
Our first guests to visit the boat were Mr. Plesner, a work colleague from Lincoln Tech and his wife Ann
, who were returning from their nephews’ graduation party in Michigan. They stopped by Michigan City before we left and we were so glad to see their smiling faces. Honu especially enjoyed all of the extra petting and attention. Mr. Plesner was happy to lend some technical advice for some thorny issues that we giving us problems on the boat.
Our next surprise was having my former basketball teammate, Diane Windler from Benton Central contact me to say she and her sister Lori as well as Michelle Sproull White and her husband, were going to be in the Traverse City area. They had been following our blog and had an idea were going to be close to there. We were able to coordinate plans (Diane is a PLANNER!) and set up an afternoon for a visit on the boat in Leland MI. As an added bonus, they brought along Christine Burton Hardy and her family who were vacationing at their summer home in nearby Northport. Diane, Michelle, Christine and I all played basketball together in high school and Lori was our most avid cheerleader. They showed up with a cooler of local beer and some smoked whitefish dip from a little shop in town. We had a blast catching up and reminiscing. I laughed so hard, my stomach hurt.
Our next stop is Petoskey MI and we have a couple of friends we hope to catch up with there. If your next vacation takes you anywhere near the Great Lakes this summer or the East Coast in the fall, let us know and we promise to give you a warm welcome whether it is an overnight stay, a day sail or cocktails in the cockpit. Your friendship and support are valuable to us and give us lots to talk about during long hours spent underway. We also really like it when you make comments on our blog as it encourages us to keep writing.
Special Thank You to D-i-a-n-e W-i-n-d-l-e-r for providing the photos of our special day.