The next day we took a 7 mile trip across the Straits of Mackinac, from Mackinac Island to Mackinaw City. It's not very far, but the route is through some notoriously rough waters if there is a storm or if the wind is strong.
Now spelling isn't my strong suit, but this Mackinac - Mackinaw thing had me puzzled. It seems that Mackinac Island was inhabited by Indians who named it. When the French first came here they pronounced Mackinac with a typical French flair and dropped the last letter so it sounded like Mackinaw. For some reason for all these years, they haven't been able to agree on the same spelling for both the city and the island, even though the French did win out on the pronunciation and we call them both Mackinaw. Just something else to confuse the tourists.
As we approached the brand new marina at Mackinaw City, we saw some windmills that reminded me of California. Good place for them here, because it's usually breezy.Jeff had to do some fancy driving to get into our slip in this curvy entrance.Nearby there was a decommissioned Coast Guard Icebreaker on display. I could see Jeff's eyes light up at the thought of touring it, so I guessed I'd be spending the afternoon on watch dog duty for the "Izzy R".Sure enough, they tied up the lines and took off for a tour of the big boat. OD took me for a walk so we could pal around in the harbor for a while after they left.Izzy took some pictures of the icebreaker and showed me when they came home. This is the size of the propeller on that boat...I bet Jeff's glad he didn't have to cut off a crab pot from that one.We could have used this big winch to tow us off the rocks when we were stuck in the Rideau Canal instead of our 25 HP dinghy motor.Here are Jeff and Izzy standing on the icebreaker with the Mackinac Bridge in the background. They call it "Big Mac" around here. I remember a Big Mac that I had once when we ran out of Purina while we were driving across the country to buy the boat. Not the same I guess. Mine came with fries.When they finished the tour, they had a beer and a burger and looked at the shops down town.That night there was a concert in the park next to the marina with a girl and a guy playing folk music with fiddles, guitars, sitars and banjos. We took our lawn chairs, blankets, wine and dog biscuits and listened to the music as the sun set over the harbor. Forgot our camera...sorry.
Harbor Springs, MI was our first stop along the eastern side of Lake Michigan.We had a choppy ride there with about 3 - 4 foot waves for some of the time even though it was a bright sunny day. After tying up at the marina and stretching our legs in the grass, Jeff and OD got the bikes out. It was a nice town for a ride along the harbor looking at the big old houses with inviting cozy porches, beautiful lawns and big trees where squirrels and dogs could have a good time. The lake has clear clean water and some sandy beaches where we could take a dip if it were warmer.Randy and Nancy from Prime Time V pulled in to the same marina, so we all gathered on the Izzy R for drinks at 5 o'clock somewhere. Everyone was having such a good time that we decided to continue the party and put the barbecue on for a little dinner.It was late when everyone decided to call it a night. I'm glad I can sleep most of the day tomorrow.
We're very impressed with Michigan so far. Since the lake can get very rough without much warning, and create big waves that can be dangerous to recreational boaters like us, the state has created "harbors of refuge" every 25 or so miles down the eastern coast of Lake Michigan. Boaters can pull into one of these inlets and find a friendly town, calmer water, a safe place to rest until the weather improves, and a place to walk your dog. So on our trip south down the eastern shore of Lake Michigan, we stopped in many of these small towns for the night.
The first one was Charlevoix. After the long breakwater that formed the entrance to the harbor of Charlevoix, there was a big bascule bridge. (Nautical term I learned meaning the bridge lifts up in the middle like this.)We've been through hundreds of these on our trip, so I surprised Izzy even took a picture of it!Anyway, after that bridge, we were in Round Lake where we decided to anchor so we could save some money! The lake was 50 feet deep here but calm. We're used to anchoring in 10 or 15 ft of water, and we only have 200 ft of anchor chain, so we were glad that the wind and current weren't an issue here dragging us all over the lake by morning! We had a great view of the town and could dinghy to the city docks and shop and party with the other boaters. That's us out there behind Jeff and OD in Round Lake in Charlevoix.Charlevoix is known for its fairy tail houses that are scattered around town...mushroom houses and gingerbread looking houses. Here's one of them on the lake across from us.This store on the main street tells you where we are on the charts...half way between the equator and the north pole. Jeff and Izzy met up with some of their Looper friends, Dan and Biddi on "Biddi and the Beast",and went to their boat for drinks and story telling with some other boaters. Here's a picture. Sorry...I wish Izzy had asked me to turn around...it's not my best side...
The wind picked up and we had rain for the next day, so Jeff decided to stay for a couple of days and get some work done on the boat at the Irish Boat Yard in Lake Charlevoix while we waited for calmer water. This is where we would exchange crew members too. OD would head back to Bend, Oregon via some long involved trail like when he came, and Parke Davis would join us for the trip down the rest of Lake Michigan.I'm going to miss OD. He's gotten real good at the walk thing - early in the morning or late at night. And he likes to take dinghy rides with me. Maybe he thinks I'm a chick magnet...doesn't really matter. Good for both of us!
Bye OD...come back and play again soon!