The journey actually began
21 June 2021
Well, it has been a loooong time getting here.
We picked up my Sister Barbara, and our niece MaryAnn on Sunday, June 15 at the airport. Our son-in-law, Matt, brought our daughter Erin and grandson, Michael and dog 'Early' out to the boat Sunday afternoon and we proceeded to have pizza at Fricano's in Muskegon, followed by ice cream and 'Adult' ice cream drinks at the Fricano Sweet Shop.
After a somewhat late start on Monday, June 14, we did depart Muskegon, heading for Ludington. It was a great ride until just North of Little Sable Point where we encountered rollers of around 4 foot, coming directly out of the North. It was an interesting ride. Michael, our grandson, was starting to get very quiet, which was a sure indication of getting sea-sick. We got him out of it by having him stand up and we all played a rousing game of "I spy with my little eye". Finally the waves calmed a bit and we proceeded into Ludington, MI., where we stayed at the Municipal Marina.
Of course, sleeping was quite the process. Nancy and I of course had our bed. Everyone else was spread across the front bed, the dinette and an inflatable in the saloon.
We did a lot of walking in Ludington.
On Wednesday morning, June 16, Barb and MaryAnn departed for East Tawas in car we had brought up to Ludington on Saturday, June 13. Erin and Michael stayed with us until Friday, June 18, where our oldest Grandson, Nolan drove up from Grand Haven to pick them up and take them home.
Saturday early morning we had sustained straight line winds of around 55 mph. It was quite interesting. After the winds died down, we left Ludington Saturday and travelled to Frankfort where we anchored out in Lake Betsie. it was a beautiful night on anchor and we ran into a friend from church, Bryan Elias who with his wife, Amy, keep their boat in Frankfort. We left at 6:05 Sunday morning, June 20, planning on travelling to Northport. The wind and wave Gods were with us and we instead put in a long day and travelled all the way to Beaver Island where we are now.
We are tied up bow-in, and last night the waves were coming straight into the harbor and crashing up and under our swim platform. Sleep was hard to come by. This morning, it is around 50 F., and very wind and damp with wind gust expected to be around 40 mph. Needless to say, we are staying put. Thankfully the wind has shifted out of the North/Northwest and we don't have the issue with the waves under the swim platform.
We will be dressing warm and taking Max for a nice long walk, and also picking up come groceries.
I promise to update the blog more often than once a week.
Starting out on the Journey
09 June 2021
We are at it again. Nancy and I and our trusty companion Max (our dog) will be out enjoying the Great Lakes once again. We will be leaving, weather permitting, on Monday June 14. You will notice that we are using our old 'Bringing Feath Home' blog. It was easier to add to that than to start a new one. So you will see some of the old pictures from 2016 when we brought the boat back to Michigan.
We will be joined at the beginning of the trip, at least for a couple of days, with my sister, Barb and her daughter-in-law Mary Ann. We will also be joined with our daughter Erin and her youngest son, Michael and their little dog 'Early'. They will be travelling with us for about a week.
We will be travelling up the coast of Michigan, up into the Straits of Mackinaw, up through the St. Mary's River, through the Soo Locks and into Lake Superior. We will work our way over stopping at Munising, Marquette, Houghton/Hancock and other places as deemed necessary by distance and weather. We will pick up my two sisters for a few days around the Apostle Islands in Wisconsin, then they will spend a couple of days in Duluth with us as we visit our daughter Laurel and grandkids Ben and Ruby. We will probably spend about two weeks in Duluth/Superior WI, as we have friends in the area, then begin our way back out of Lake Superior. At that point, we have no idea where we will go. If the North Channel of Ontario is open we may head up there. If not we will meander around Northern Lake Michigan and possibly into Green Bay/Wisconsin waters. We are planning on our returning by the middle of September if all works out as planned.
Of course, no preparation is complete without some setbacks. On Friday, June 4, we turned on the A/C in the boat. On Sunday, June 6 we went to check. Of course the A/C was not working as it should. We searched far and wide looking for someone to come out to the boat and get our A/C running as it should. We finally found someone yesterday, June 8 to come out after hours (of course paying Emergency rates) to the boat. Sooooo, hopefully by the end of this week, we will have working A/C.
We will continue to update this blog along the way with pics as well. We hope you enjoy hearing from us and our trials and tribulations.
Thanks for reading.
Lenny & Nancy
22 August 2016
Well, I apologize for anyone that still checks in at this blog. We arrived back into Muskegon MI, at our marina for this year, Lakeshore Yacht Harbor on July 18. We were in Frankfort, MI and the weather called for a nice calm Lake Michigan so we decided to get up early and leave Frankfort and make it all the way to Muskegon, about 105 miles. It was a long day but well worth the time spent on the water getting home. We called our daughter Erin and she, her husband Matt and our grandsons Nolan and Michael all came to meet us and bring us back to our house. It was a bittersweet day as our journey came to an end. We, Nancy and I had some wonderful adventures, some good, some better than others and some 'not so good', Nancy tripping and cutting her forehead was one of those times. We had some great company along the way, Blake and Jane Horton, who without their help we would have never made it through the Erie Canal and Welland Canal. We are still amazed that they call us friends after the crap that we all went through getting through the canals. We love them! We met some wonderful people along the way, all our friends from Little Falls, NY, Marcie and Wallie, Jodie and Mark. We had a great time cruising by our selves and then seeing family and having my two sisters join us for the close of the trip. All in all it was a wonderful journey of a lifetime. People would ask us along the way, why didn't we just head towards Florida and the South. Well, the answer is, we just were not ready. The couple next to us at LakeShore Yacht Harbor, Steve and Theresa are heading out to do the Great Loop, here in the first week of September. We wish them well. Nancy and I are not quite ready for that. In fact, next summer, we plan to actually stay around the area, except for a much deserved trip to South Manitou Island with our Grandson Nolan. We would like to get back up to the North Channel of Lake Huron again and eventually may do the 'Loop'. We'll just have to see. Right now, we are enjoying being at home, going to the boat when we can and just being around.
Thank you to all that have followed our journey.
Lenny & Nancy Buchanan
Finally, in Lake Michigan
17 July 2016
Well, it has been a long time coming, but we finally made it to Lake Michigan. As I last posted on Monday, we got back into the Straits, and went into the St. Ignace Municipal marina. A very nice marina staffed by great personnel. We ended up staying until yesterday, Saturday, July 16 as the winds that the NOAA forecasters were predicting, arrived. Northern Lake Michigan was called for having 4 – 7 ft. waves, but we talked to a couple that spent most of the week holed up in Leeland. The waves were more like 9 – 10 ft. out on Lake Michigan, so, we stayed in St. Ignace. We wandered around the stores and went in the Ft. DeBuade Museum and the Ojibwa Museum. We had dinner out a couple of nights and had great meals. We went to Mackinac Island on Wednesday and had a great time. After wandering around all day Tuesday, I decided that I was not sitting around the boat all day, so I told them all that I was going to the island. You would have thought my sisters were kids again. Before, when the island was mentioned, both sisters said that they had no desire to go. When I stated that Nancy and I were going, well, it was a different story. We took the Arnold Ferry over from St. Ignace and then wandered around in and out of the stores. We did buy tickets to go on the island carriage tour. It was nice. While up at Arch Rock, we ran into some friends of Diane’s from the East Tawas, MI area. We had a great meal at ‘Horns’ on the main street of Mackinac Island, then took the 5 PM ferry back to St. Ignace. On Wednesdays, there is live music at the pavilion at the marina. Wednesday night’s entertainment left a lot to be desired. It is local entertainment. On Thursday, the rain came in and the live music was cancelled. Friday, was the beginning of St. Ignace Heritage days. They had some re-enactors at the Ojibwa Museum. There was also live music back at the Marina, with ‘Le Compagnie’. A five piece group that plays French, Celtic and Great Lakes Music. They were very good. As we were watching and listening, Nancy thought she recognized someone that she knew. I mentioned that she should at least ask, so Nancy went over and talked to the lady. It turned out to be Lynn Johnson, the head of ‘Project Lakewell’, which Nancy had worked with for years while she was at the Museum. Project Lakewell would borrow the Museums re-created birch bark canoe to take to schools and such. Lynn is also the program director at the Ft. DeBaude Museum in St. Ignace, three days a week. Nancy and I indicated to her that we would love to help out with anything that she needs with Project Lakewell.
We left yesterday, Saturday morning and were going to go into Petoskey, MI. However, since we were at Petoskey very early, we decided to continue on to Northport, MI. We got in here around 3 PM and are tied up on the outer wall, inside the marina. We passed under the Mackinaw Bridge, which my sisters were more that overcome. They were like two little kids trying to get their pictures of going under the bridge. I must say, that it never does get old. It is a pretty neat site and feeling to pass under the bridge.
The weather for today was again high winds on Lake Michigan, out of the South, and thunderstorms, some severe. So we opted to stay for tonight. IF the weather breaks, then tomorrow we will travel to Frankfort, MI, around 55 miles. Then as long as the weather holds, we travel to Ludington, again another 50 miles, then from Ludington, to Feath’s new home at Lakeshore Yacht Harbor. So, if all goes according to plan and the weather cooperates, we may possibly be pulling into Lakeshore Yacht Harbor sometime early afternoon on Wednesday of this week. But again, that is if the weather cooperates. All in all, we haven’t had too many days that we have had to sit out due to weather, since we actually left New Jersey on June 6. Oh, I also am not sure if I mentioned this earlier or not, but at the beginning, we estimated the trip to be a total of around 1500 miles. Well, Nancy’s ‘goes intas’ (her math) was not totally correct. The entire trip will end up being around 2100 miles.
We are ready to be home.
Northern Lake Huron
11 July 2016
Up in Northern Michigan. We are now in St. Ignace. We travelled up from East Tawas and stopped in Alpena, Mi. The marina was a little disappointing. I guess that I was expecting a nicer marina. There was only one attendant, who was very nice, but the docks had loose and warped boards that needed replacing. We only stayed one night, then continued up the Lake Huron shore to Rogers City, MI. What a difference. Wayne, the new Harbor Master is great. The facilities were neat and clean, the attendents were helpful and friendly. If you are travelling by boat, stop by Rogers City Marina. Very nice and very quiet. While we were there, we went to the Rogers City Maritime Museum, which is a museum dedicated to those people who have worked and some died on the Great Lakes freighters. The volunteer who was there when we went in had worked on the freighters for 47 years and was a wealth of knowledge. Then a gentleman came in who was on the Cedarville, which was a freighter that was hit by another freighter. He was one of the survivors and described what happened. Truly amazing. We ended up staying in Rogers City an extra day. Next came the Straits State Marina in Mackinaw City. Nancy and I stayed there last year on our way back from the North Channel. We wandered around town and did all the ‘tourist’ stuff, like looking in all the ‘t-shirt’ shops. Actually, I didn’t look in the shops, I sat outside on the benches and just people watched as my sisters and sometimes Nancy would go in and check things out. On Saturday night, we did listen to a free concert at the bandshell by the marina. It was the ‘Harbor Strings’ a string quartet. It was very good. We were expecting the normal classical music, but they did a series of tunes which followed the 1900’s, starting in 1902 and up through the ages. We ended up leaving around 9 PM,the concert started at 8 PM and it was starting to get a little windy and cold. When we left, the quartet was up to 1988. While we were at the marina, we met a bunch of people that were from Indiana and belonged to a trailer sailing club. They were meeting in Mackinaw City, then were going to travel by boat to St. Ignace, then to Hessel in the U.P. then back to St. Ignace, then to Mackinaw Island for a couple of days, then back to Mackinaw City.
We left yesterday and actually travelled a little backwards. We travelled East, up to and just North of Drummond Island to Harbor Island. This is a beautiful anchorage. We only went up for the night and left this morning for St. Ignace. On our way back down through the DeTour Passage, Nancy went down below to close some hatches and realized that our inflatable dinghy was missing. I tied it up this morning using the same knots that I had always used and for some reason, they didn’t stay. We immediately turned around and using the Chartplotter, started backtracking our course that we took out. As we travelled up, I noticed a small boat stopped in the water. As I looked through the binos, I thought I saw my inflatable. As I was travelling, I received a call from a ‘906’ area code, which I ignored. As I motored along, I did a ‘Attention All Stations, Attention All Stations’ on VHF radio channel 16, and reported the lost inflatable. I immediately received a call from the boat that I saw, stating that they had retrieved the inflatable and had reported it to the Coast Guard. The Coast Guard hailed me on the radio and requested my cell phone number, which they then called. They just wanted to know if it was stolen or if everyone was accounted for on my vessel, etc. The normal stuff that the Coast Guard is concerned with. I explained what happened and told them I was coming along side the vessel that had the inflatable. We retrieved the inflatable, with a hearty ‘Thank You’ to the people on the boat. We then continued on our way, again back down the DeTour Passge to Northern Lake Huron. It WAS a little rough and the sisters were a little scared when we first hit the open water. The waves were very confused and tall as the rollers that were coming in from the SE, were coming into the Passage and bouncing off the shore, back out to the lake. It finally calmed down somewhat as he got further way from the Passage and shore.
We are now at St. Ignace Marina, and the group of trailer sailors were here when we pulled in. Most of the group opted not to venture out and battle the waves that were coming from the East, the direction they would have been headed. So, we have been watching the weather and the next couple of days, the weather does not look good. Thunderstorms are predicted and the winds for the next couple of days are supposed to be 15 – 20 out of the SouthWest, which on Lake Michigan means large waves at the Northern end of the Lake and through Greys Reef, which we have to pass through. So we may be here for the next couple of days until the weather is a bit more settled. That is it for me for now. The picture is of Rogers City Marina
Northwards on Lake Huron
05 July 2016
Hello again. It has been a while since I last posted. Not for lack of wanting to, but just getting to a marina that has a WI-FI, has been a struggle.
We left Algonac and we travelled up the St. Clair River. Now, I must add if I haven’t yet. When we entered the Detroit River, I was doing about 9 ½ mph. As soon as we entered the river, my speed dropped down to 7.1 mph. It was a long slog up to the marina in Detroit. When we left Detroit and went up to Algonac, we crossed Lake St. Clair. Speed again about 9 ½ mph. When we left Algonac and headed up the St. Clair River, I had the boat at the same rpm’s as I would for 9 ½ mph. Again, we did about 7.1. Our Great Lakes Cruising Club report on the St. Clair River for Port Huron and the Blue Water Bridge, states that ‘we should stay to the Canadian side of the river, as the current coming out of Lake Huron, under the Blue Water Bridge is way stronger on the American side of the River. The river narrows at the Bridge and also curves. As we got closer to the Blue Water Bridge, I again had the rpm’s set for about 9 ½ mph. As we got closer to the bridge, our speed dropped down below 5 mph. After we got through the bridge and about ¾ of a mile into Lake Huron, our speed went back up to 9 ½ mph. We cruised up along the ‘Thumb’ of Michigan and both Nancy and I were very surprised that the shoreline North of Port Huron almost all the way to Port Austin, is sand beach. I had no idea. I assumed, very wrongly that it was rocky.
We stopped for the night in Harbor Beach, nice little marina, not really close to town or anything, but a nice stop. The next day we headed off for East Tawas, roughly 50 or so miles North then across Saginaw Bay. We were picking up my sisters for the remainder of the journey. Of course, we got in on Thursday at the beginning of the Fourth of July Holiday weekend. We also got a chance to see our Nephew Dale, his wife Linda and their son Sullivan again, as they came up on Saturday. East Tawas State Dock was very disappointing. The Dockmaster as well as the State DNR office will be hearing from me. Each and every time that you had to walk to or from your boat, you had to run the gauntlet of the ‘seasonal’ boaters from the Bay City area. There were signs stating that there was NO Alcoholic Beverages Open on the Dock. All these people did was drink, then play the music from boat to boat louder than the next boat. If you did want to use a cart to haul stuff to you boat, you almost had to ask permission to weave through their ‘parties’. I don’t mind a little partying around, but when you can’t walk on the dock, and people are getting rude because you are hauling stuff to your boat and they party till almost 1 AM, VERY LOUDLY, then I will say something. I did get into it with a group. I was hauling a cart back up to the bathroom area where the carts were kept and had to go through this group of people, who were horrendous. I stopped and politely asked them to please move. One gentleman didn’t move and didn’t move. I more loudly than the time before kept saying ‘Sir, SIR, SIR!!!’. Some woman, looked at me and when ‘Jeeze’. I then unloaded on her about my paying for a slip and having as much right to use the dock as they do and that I shouldn’t have to ask to have people move to do what I need to do. Nobody in their group said a word.
So, we left East Tawas on Monday morning and travelled as far as Alpena. We stopped for the night and just bedded down.
Today, Tuesday, we travelled from Alpena, MI to Rogers City, MI, as distance of around 62 miles. We went to dinner at a great restaurant and bought some groceries. Rogers City Marina is one of the nicest marinas that I have been too. The Harbor Master is great, the staff is great the marina is clean and quiet. We are not sure what tomorrow will be. There is a good chance of Thunderstorms tomorrow morning, then clear Thursday, then 100% chance of Thunderstorms on Friday, so we are not sure if we will be leaving in the morning or not. We will either go to Cheboygan, MI or to Mackinaw City when we do leave. So far, it is going okey dokey. The picture is the best that I could do to show the current under the Blue Water Bridge in Port Huron.