Monday, September 7, 2009

Where did the days go?

To our family and friends that have traveled with us it has been a pleasure sharing this experience. I may not have recorded the events and they would definitely meld into a memories if it was not for you guys. I also learned a little about blogs and tried the ideas out on you. There was a lot more to say about the experience and places but I hope it was not to short... or long. Please pardon the grammar, punctuation and whatever I forgot in english composition as I don't have a proof reader... but a good spell checker.

Sunday Sept 6th we departed Elk Rapids on calm waters and sad to see the closure of our trip so soon. Connie is ready for some dirt-dwelling but I could go on a while. I long to join our friends doing the Great Loop.

I just took off my swimsuit and have to make other selections appropriate for the occasion. Connie says "I feel like the boat is still rocking" but not sick... she was never sea sick during some heavy weather.

None of this stuff on our trip (discipline aboard tall ships in the past) kinda like water-boarding I guess!

"Motion torture included some or all of the following techniques. One, by tying a person by their ankle to the ship and dragging them through the water. Two, by tying a person to the figurehead at the bow during high winds where they are nearly drowned by surging water. Three, by tying a person under the crow's nest where they always have to keep themselves from crashing into the masts, the rigging, or back up into the crow's nest itself".

We were greeted by a flock of swans as we arrived at Northport Bay Boatyard and loaded the boat. It was a much larger project than I recalled reversing the process but about 2 hours of work got us on the road.

It has been 21 days out and I can only say this has been one of the busiest times of my life. It was restful at times but more realistically it was engaging. I mean that you were constantly seeing something new and meeting someone new. Old chores like laundry, shopping and transportation to and from destinations was by foot or bike. I actually lost a couple of pounds and Connie is "not sure".

We have decided to continue feeding the fruit flies as they won't leave the boat as we ready for travel back to Flint. They prefer the red wine to white and don't seem to mind bug sprays?

Of course the cost of the trip extends beyond the water. We fill the truck and I measure the mileage. All the steep terrain in the Northwestern part of Michigan drops the mileage to 8MPG!

Back... this photo looks about like the one 21 days ago with Lindsay behind the lens and me in the photo with Connie and of course her very much missed cat.

Before we part I will add a few details of our trip:

21 days out
To and from Northport by truck 550/8 mpg
Boat miles about 675/about 3 mpg (not bad for a boat) $471... this is 90 octane/avg $3.40
Boat travel days 9/about 75 miles per day average
Weather days we could not travel 6
Layover days for fun and recovery 5
Marina costs $540 Michigan has some of the BEST facilities in the states and likely the world!
Our favorite marina... hard to choose but leaning towards Elk Rapids
Blog... well I am slow but I probably spent 1-2 hrs per day writing and adding photos
WIFI at marinas sometimes good but Verizon BBcard usually better even on Beaver Island

Would we do it again... YOU BET! Will we do it again... let's hope so. The North Channel or Erie Canal is on the list. Our ambition to join Kurt and Kristen in the Bahamas as they too have an MC30 and were an inspiration to us on their recent trip.

Thank you Lindsay Jo, our daughter, for holding down the fort and keeping the cat alive for your mother... Mr Pete is a chore we know.

Thank you Sig and LuAnn for the company and adventure on the Lelenau Peninsula... we have great memories and wine now.

Now, mail to sort, hedges to trim, boat and dinghy to clean out... this list is LONG! I hope I still have a job so I can rest up for a while... that will be starting 0600 tomorrow.

No weather to check as it has dictated our schedule. This marine "graphical forecast" is great for planning. Scroll over the days and times to see the "predicted" wind and wave conditions. It is a computer generated model and I have found it to be very useful.

The buoy data is for now only interesting not critical information

Thanks for traveling with us,

Tom & Connie Jo
Cat's Away/Flint, MI
Next destination...WORK!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Made in USA... what is with that?

Just riding the bike early this am I discovered something in the road! Why it was one of those curb gutter grates made down the road in E Jordan... it is nice to see something that says "made in USA" although I don't think we export this heavy cast iron anywhere. Oh, we are going to do wind and export energy!

Unlike Oscoda, our home port, the sun rises over the land not Lake Huron... you know the "sunrise side" of Michigan.

Connie is making some great pancakes and we will use some real maple syrup ... thanks Vanie!



Friday, September 4, 2009

Made it to Elk Rapids

Wow! What a great day to cruise on upper Lake Michigan from Petoskey to Elk rapids, about 55 miles on the GPS. Apart from some early morning fog just out of Petoskey and a 2 ft chop around Charlevoix the seas were calm and the sun was shinning.

There is so much to see and do in these ports that it is impossible to accomplish much in the day or two that we are not moving. We hit it right... appa-teasers at the City Grill and drinks 1/2 price on weekdays. The Calamari and sampler platter was a meal in itself.

We are very glad we toted the bikes and rode a small portion of the extensive bike trails from Harbor springs to Charlvoix, they have over 20 miles of very improved paths. There are scenic overlooks, picnic areas and the portion we rode was on the shoreline. Gotta do this in the fall to appreciate the seasons change. We figure that we have used the bikes for groceries, West Marine supplies and touring to the extent of 30 miles so far. They have been easy to stow but do not add any sense of order to the decks and the handle bars are in almost all photos from the bridge of the boat.

Just before entering the Elk Rapids Harbor I did some snorkeling. The water was 20 feet deep but the bottom was easily visible. The water was almost aqua blue and the photos are straight from the camera without any filters to change the light refraction. Like being in the Caribbean but fresh water and 66 degrees!,+mi&sourceid=navclient-ff&rlz=1B3GGGL_enUS259US259&um=1&ie=UTF-8&split=0&gl=us&ei=xRugSv_dEc6w8QbDwfTzDw&sa=X&oi=geocode_result&ct=title&resnum=1

Thanks for traveling with us,

Tom & Connie
Cat's Away/Elk Rapids, MI
Next destination Northport (tomorrow)

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

What now Connie... Swans?

Well that Cormy is a "fir piece" behind us. But Connie has now taken to swans and feeding them around the dinghy here in East Jordan, MI.

I apologize for the focus but I am usually out and about with my camera in the evenings as the light is fading. Sometimes I wish I had taken the tripod as I can't hold my breath long enough to compose and expose the photos.

We have strayed fom the plan and traveled down Lake Charlevoix to East Jordan on the East arm of Lake Charlevoix where they have some industry left in Michigan! We have left the trendy stores and restaurants of the vacationers for the spot where people still produce something like iron products.

The plant is huffing an puffing tonight as I write this entry into the blog and I fully exect that they have a graveyard shift. No matter as the boat is pretty quiet and despite being downwind I have not noticed soot on the deck yet. My recall of Cleveland, my home town, were that things in the steel manufacturing downwind areas were quite dirty and rusted.

I do not pretend to know this community but from appearances it is a place where families fish together on the local pier for perch or whatever bites.

You can go into the small town and order the "burger basket" with slaw and fries for five bucks and a draft beer for $1.25... a big change from the tourist areas we have visited.

The examples of what folks can do with money only astonishes us! A boat house for four vessels we are told with 17 bathrooms!

Just some photos from yesterday evening... you fill in the captions... life as I see it through the lens.

Thanks for traveling with us,

Tom & Connie Jo
Cat's Away/East Jordon, MI
Next destination Petoskey, MI

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Cormy is gone... Connie is sad.

Ah ha... we are finally rid of that critter! No sign in the sky but be prepared for another visit from him.

We are in Leland, MI for two days enjoying the Fish town and local sites.

This photo inserted especially for Randy S... the fishing must be great in these waters.

There are many Loopers here preparing for the trip south, through Chicago and on to Mobile, AL on their way to the Florida Keys. We WILL follow this migration in the future.

Thanks for traveling with us,

Tom & Connie
Cat's Away/Leland, MI

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Leaving Arcadia Tomorrow

As promised I will introduce you to "Cormy" the KING of the dinghy. He defies my protests with complacency and continues to be on Connie's good side! She takes sides with him until I mention cleaning out the dinghy.

Another unexpected adventure with our friends Sig and LuAnn from Arcadia.

We explored another set of vineyards and sampled the grapes from the LeeLanau Peninsula of Michigan. For what I know and observed from Connie's expressions the grapes and cherry wines are great... how they compare to others of left coast we are not expert. On this subject just satisfied customers. We now have ballast!

We will be leaving from Arcadia in the AM saying good by to our friends with a promise to return soon. The point on the photo is being dredged and we hope to have fair passage beyond the dredge in the early hours. Another much larger vessel ran aground in the piping while entering the harbor during a storm. The dredge boom or some portion of it was partially submerged and fowled props, bent shafts and still has the vessel in slings.

"Red sky at night is a sailor's delight" let's hope it is true. Only 10 miles up the shoreline to Frankfort, MI tomorrow.

Thanks for traveling with us,

Tom & Connie (Cormy too)
All this fun on a MotorCat30 MC 30 friends
Cat's Away/Arcadia, MI