Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Home At Last!

Kyle, Lisa, Brady, Don, Ryan
Charlevoix bridge opening to let us through to Round Lake and then Lake Charlevoix.
The journey is over. We're home finally. It was a fabulous experience, we saw places we'd never heard of before, we grew together as a team, we met the nicest people, and WE'RE HAPPY TO BE HOME. :-)
Lisa and her boys came to meet us at the dock in Boyne City on their bikes. We were so happy to see them. There's nothing that could make Papa happier than sharing his ice cream with two year old Brady.

Thank you everyone who read the blogs and gave me encouragement to keep writing. Now I
have a journal of our big adventure.
Lou and I are finding that it's great to be able to be in different rooms and get up in the morning without waking the other person up. At the same time we're remembering the "simple" life on the boat. On land we have to think about cutting the grass, weeding, dusting the house, finishing the laundry, unpacking the boat, finding places for all the "stuff" we're taking off the boat.......all at the same time. We're exhausted! :-) We won't feel so overwhelmed in a few days. It was easier to get the stuff together to go

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Michigan Weather

Lou during a heavy rain and lightening storm on Lake Huron
You probably know the saying "If you don't like the weather in Michigan, just wait 5 minutes."
That just about covers our day on Friday, August 12th.
We left our anchorage in Harbor Beach with south-southwest winds. That was great since we're headed north-northwest. The winds piped up to 15-20 knots, and the white capped waves were hitting our port beam. Up---slide down---up---slide down. Some of the waves were 7' to 8' rollers. Except for having to hold on to move around it wasn't an unpleasant ride. That's opposed to the waves coming over the bow. Then it's up (slide down the side if you can see and slide down)---slam down---up---slam down. Then the waves turned north and began building up to 26 knots. We were headed directly into a thunder, lightening, and rain storm centered over our destination harbor. Lou stayed off shore long enough for the eye of the storm to move on, but we still got wet.
As soon as we docked, the sun came out.
Saturday's predicted weather is rain with light winds and possible thunderstorms. Our next port is about 10 hours north, so we've decided to stay put for another day. We're sitting in the boater's lounge visiting with Ian, from Southhampton, UK. We've having a wonderful visit. There's a bright spot in every day!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Pt. Huron Days

Blue Water Bridge, Pt. Huron
It never fails with destination sailing.......the winds are usually not from the right direction. In this case we are going north and west, so the winds are north northwest with thundershowers and high winds thrown in to get our attention. It must be an unwritten rule! This time we only had to layover two days in Pt. Huron before slipping away from the dock and through the two draw bridges and heading for the Blue Water Bridge.

Passing under the Blue Water Bridge
No matter how high the bridge is it always seems like it's going to break the mast. Sometimes I don't even look.
We managed to sail/motor sail 25 miles closer to home to a little port called Port Sanilac on Lake Huron. We've been here lots of times and like the facilities. We might have to layover another day because our next closest port is Harbor Beach. We have to anchor at Harbor Beach and the winds are predicted to hit 25 knots on Wednesday sometime. It's not good to be on an anchor in those kinds of winds. Lou wouldn't rest a second expecting the boat to pull the anchor free. Our only hope is that the winds shift and we could have a LONG day and get to Harrisville. One day at a time.
As soon as I make a plan, something changes it. We were going to meet some friends from Bay City in Pt. Sanilac yesterday for dinner. Unfortunately, we had to stay in Pt. Huron. Sorry friends. We'll have to get together when we have access to our car. Then our plans are not quite so fragile.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Detroit Again

Put-In-Bay Harbor with the Perry Monument. It's a great landmark when approaching the islands.
We decided to stay an extra day in Cleveland because the winds were about 15 knots but would be directly on "the nose." All that pounding is exhausting. The next day the winds were just as high but had swung around to give us a "following sea." We only flew the jib and made a bee-line to Put-In-Bay. The 58 mile trip only took 8 hours. We arrived in time for Happy Hour. :-)

Ambassador Bridge and Detroit
Day two of this wind pattern saw us slipping out of the P-I-B harbor and heading toward Detroit.
The winds were a little lighter, but the difference was that we could use the autohelm. It was a nine hour day to travel a little over 50 miles. The Ambassador Bridge and the skyline of Detroit welcomed us "home."

I just noticed that I write about the problems on this Great Adventure. These are the challanges that are meant to break up the monotony of the "ho hum we had a beautiful sailing day." We are truly enjoying this opportunity. Lou scrambles around the boat like a 30 year old and then takes aspirins to ease the sore muscles. I have learned to appreciate the sturdiness of this little boat and the variety of the days. There have been many more beautiful sunsets than rainy days.
That being said, we are both ready to get back to familiar waters and known ports. Lake Michigan here we come.

Monday, August 1, 2011


between a rock and a hard place. That was our story for August 1, 2011. We left Erie, PA, early to try to get a jump on some predicted high winds for the day. As we left the dock, Lou and I were extra cautious because we had been told that there was a shale ridge and approximately where it was. You guessed it......we found it. As we sat perched on this piece of rock, we pondered what to do. "Call Boat U S and get a tow." The tow guy's boat was on the same dock as we were on and he met us in less than 10 minutes. It didn't take much to move us forward, but we couldn't do it ourselves. The guy laughed about it being the shortest tow he had ever done - about 11 feet.
Now comes the "hard place" part of the saying. We headed west in 8, 10, 14, 20, 23 knot winds directly on the "nose." That means that the boat was like a bucking bull. After about 7 hours of battling the wind Lou decided that we should get off Lake Erie and finish the trip tomorrow. But, we certainly didn't want to go back to the rock place. So, we nipped into the next port on the chart. Unfortunately, their docks didn't have deep enough water for us, so we started trolling for a safe place to tie up for the night. With winds this high, Lou did not want to put down the anchor. U S Steel had a canal that was deep enough , but the concrete sides were going to be a problem. Before we could get a line attached the trucks started patrolling the banks and watching us. This was not going to be an option. So, back out into Lake Erie for the extra two hours of getting bounced around to reach Ashtabula.
This is a cute port and the Ashtabula Yacht Club has the friendliest members we have ever met.
They could set the standards on how to make a transient feel welcome.
The weather is a bit iffy for the next few days, but we are pushing to get to Detroit and familiar waters of Lake Huron and Lake Michigan. I didn't have a good picture to add to this post so I used one taken in the cold months. Maybe it will cool us down!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Back in the Great Lakes

Good night George. Good night Gracie.

Oh my gosh! We are both so happy to be back in fresh water and in the Great Lakes. We left Buffalo, NY, this morning and started west into Lake Erie. Lake Michigan here we come!!!! :-)
Dr. Seuss wrote a book called "Oh the Places You'll Go" which does apply to our journey on Tequila, but I'd like to change the title to "Oh the People You'll Meet!" In the three years we've been traveling by water to Down East in Maine and back again, we have met some of the nicest people. I'm going to list them so that I never forget how they helped us reach our goal of a long journey on our sailboat. They (maybe you are on the list) appear in no particular order.
*Bill sometimes of Charlevoix, MI - He has patiently push, prodded, provided web sites, fixed problems on our computers, and been our go-to computer guru. We can never thank him enough.
*Bob and Camille, Bristol, RI - This year Bob called us in April to offer us an apartment in his parents' house. We would have drown in a tent this year. It was a perfect little apartment for us.
*Bob, Sr. and Betty, Warren, RI- They were so nice with us and didn't seem bothered by our odd hours. They let us use their washing machine too!
*Gary, Lockmaster at Lock 26, Erie Canal - He drove us miles and miles from the canal to a motel when we couldn't sleep on the boat because of a diesel fuel leak.
*Faith and Ron, Buffalo, NY - They drove us to the grocery store and out to dinner. Those were two wonderful stops with very friendly people.
*Norm and Chris, Littleton, CO-They gave us their battery powered little refrigerator because our refrigerator on the boat stopped working.
*Marlene and Mike, East Lansing, MI-They were "crew" for the three years of the trip. Mike was invaluable in the building of the craddle for the mast and Marlene was a great galley companion.
They gave us a 2 step step-ladder that Lou needs to put the cover on the main sail. Great!
*The Tow Truck Driver, Bristol, RI- He drove us around when our car had a flat tire. Very nice guy.
*Matt, Grand Cayman Islands-He fine tuned the boat and tried to correct all our "bad habits." He needed more than four days to get that job done, but we appreciated his advice.
Cordray Family, Milburn, NJ- They were going to drive our car and trailer back to Michigan for us in August until Matt decided to do the driving. We still appreciated them being willing to do that for us. And, Lori brought enough food on her sail to feed us for a week.
Lloyd and Sharon-They have been storing our car since Matt dropped it off in Michigan.
Marie-She's been getting our mail this summer. (A belated thanks to Lisa and Don for getting it the other two summers.)
All the Lockmasters and Lift Bridgemasters for being so courteous and friendly on the Erie Canal.
The Crews at Bristol, Hop-O-Nose, and RCR Yachts for stepping and unstepping our mast and providing great service.
Everyone who shared charts, information, and stories.
Tim and Susan, Buffalo, NY-for providing us with transportation to the rental car location so that we could get home for Brady's birth.
Everyone who reads this blog and shares our adventure.
Lou-He brought me on this journey with his pockets full of patience. It takes a special person who can give the same instructions to the "helper" who has forgotten once again. :-(

Friday, July 22, 2011

H O T !!!!

Chris and Norm Reynolds holding the lines.
We're in the middle of the summer heat wave. 100 degrees today! That's too hot. Why oh why doesn't Tequila have air conditioning and an ice maker aboard?
In the last week we've dealt with a diesel fuel leak, cleaned the bilges several times, made friends with the Lock Master at Lock 26, met our friends from Colorado (Chris and Norm Reynolds), and stayed three nights at the Peppermint Village aka Lyons, NY. We met the local "greeter", Bob, who took me on a tour and to buy ice. What service. The next day his fellow "greeter", Jack, out did himself by driving me to the laundromat and picking me up. Unbelievable.

Chris and Norm stopped for a few days on the Canal on their way to the Lake Placid area for the next seven weeks. We met them eleven years ago while going through the volunteer training for adaptive skiing in Breckenridge, Colorado. They spent 25 days on a 720 mile canoe trip on the Yukon River above the Arctic Circle a few years ago. That kind of experience makes them adjustable and flexible which is necessary for boat living. They have been real troopers with this heat. Last night Norm tried to sleep on the deck. He heard every train but kept trying to sleep until he rolled off the cushions and landed in the cockpit. It was a short night for all of us! They fit right in to grabbing the slimy lines and pushing off the slippery walls of the locks.

Lockport Tug to the Rescue
As always we try to provide a new experience for our guests. This time we found the silt shoals near the Genesee River. Stuck we were! With a 7 1/2 foot draft there was no way we could force our way through. The Lockport Tugboat came to pull us over the "bumps." At one point the depth sounder read 4 foot 8 inches. Norm sat on the bow and watched the tug pull us too fast and snap the line. He was moving back because he thought the cleat would be pulled out of the deck. Everyday is a new experience.
We've had a good time with them and hope they have stories to tell.