Summer 2007 Log
Page 3 - July
SUNDAY, JULY 15th

We had a pancake and sausage breakfast in the tent this morning….it was good.  It is warm and partly cloudy today - all in all, a lazy day.  The Rendezvous people have some activities planned, but they also give you some “lazy time” to just relax, which is good.


MONDAY, JULY 16th

We are enjoying another nice day in Superior….since arriving here, the weather has improved for all of us.  We went for continental breakfast this morning.  While eating, in walked Don Doak’s daughter, Dee, who came down to see us.  Her dad and mom, along with us & several others, used to cruise together each summer for quite a number of years.  Don has been following us on our website and told Dee we were here in Superior.  Dee was also at the marina for another reason….she is on a team of “Dragon Boat” competitors, and they were practicing this morning.  It was certainly good to see her & get caught up on things!

Late afternoon we were invited over to Pam and Frank’s house for dinner.  We finally got to meet her two daughters and grandson, Cody, who is four years old.  One of her daughters had flown in from Atlanta, where she now lives.  We had a good time!!  Pam and Frank have been so good to take us around in their car, sightseeing - both in Superior and in Duluth.


TUESDAY, JULY 17th

Sorry I never got back to you yesterday….it was a rather busy day.  Most of the cruising club caught ferries in the morning and afternoon, which took people over to Canal Park, Duluth.  There are a lot of shops and restaurants there….very touristy!  Then at 5:30, everyone was boarded on the “Vista Star”for a dinner cruise.  Cocktails, dinner and a ride out on the big lake (slowly)….The lake was smooth as glass last night.  It must have been around 9:00-9:30 before we got back in….an enjoyable evening.

In a half hour they are going to have a “Pet Showing”….Pam and Frank are going to bring their two dogs over all dressed up.  They are both so cute, I wouldn’t doubt that they will win!

They have had activities all day for those who wanted to partake….I took advantage of the quiet time & cleaned the inside of the boat and did wash.  You have to do it when you can fit it in!  Right now Jim is at the museum!

Tonight is the Commodore’s Dinner….it is sort of the climax of the activities.  It really isn’t a “dressy” affair; however, everyone tries to put something on that is a little nicer than the usual.

Tomorrow morning, some of the boats will leave while others will stay one more day, which we plan to do.  We assume sometime tomorrow Pam and Frank will come back to our boat for the ride back to Houghton, where they left their car.  Before we head there though, we will visit the Apostle Islands for a day or so.  There again, Pam and Frank know which islands we can visit, and which ones we shouldn’t.  I’ll sign off for this time!!


WEDNESDAY, JULY 18th

Another beautiful and very warm day…..Frank loaned us his truck so that we and Wally & Brenda could stock up on groceries before leaving in the morning.  Would you believe we filled up the back of his truck ??  By the time we got back to the boats, we barely had time to eat lunch and get all the groceries put away before we and a bunch of others took off for a tour of the Cirrus Aircraft Plant.  Cirrus builds the most popular “small private airplanes”.  The most unique thing about them is, they are made out of all composite materials.  They are now building their first “jet” which they will flight-test yet this year.  They plan on having the first one for sale in 2010.  It was an interesting tour, although it was hard to hear our tour guide with the noise of the plant.

  Oh yes, I almost forgot to tell you, another very unique feature of these planes is, a rocket-deployed 55-foot parachute that provides an extra margin of safety to Cirrus pilots and passengers in the unlikely event of an emergency.  Normally hidden beneath the sleek surface of the airframe, strong Kevlar straps are ready to suspend the entire airplane beneath the canopy.  Once the overhead handle is pulled by the pilot or passenger, the parachute lowers the airplane and its occupants to the ground.  Cirrus is the only manufacturer of certified aircraft to include such a parachute as a standard feature.  This is pretty impressive!!

As soon as we finished dinner, I got myself ready for bed, and Jim is about to do the same.  We are very tired tonight!!!


THURSDAY, JULY 19th

We have clear blue skies this morning and a slight breeze.  We are beginning to feel the warmth of the sun.  We are presently at the fuel dock…it is 8:45 a.m.

Wally and Brenda fueled when we all first arrived, so they are still at their dock waiting on us.

Pam and Frank are on their way down to our boat to join us, and should arrive momentarily.

We are now underway at 9:25 and it is cold out on the water with the water temperature at 58 degrees.  When we got up this morning, the air temperature was 45 degrees.  It is beautiful out here in spite of the coolness.  We are seeing a lot of beauty as we pass the various islands that make up the Apostle Islands - 21 in all.

We pulled into Pike’s Bay Marina at 1:15.  This marina has the most beautiful facilities we have seen on this trip….a huge and beautiful clubhouse that has everything you might need; however, it is a hike up a steep hill to get to it.

Pike’s Bay is on the Bayfield Peninsula.  We all went over to Bayfield this afternoon….Wally and Brenda in their dinghy, and Jim and Frank in our dinghy.  Pam and I went by car, only because of lack of communication.  We all met over there and we all came back by dinghy.

Bayfield is a very busy, touristy town with its many shops and restaurants.  Bayfield is considered the Berry Capital of Wisconsin.  Bayfield’s farms harvest strawberries, blueberries, and other berries, plus cherries, pears, grapes and apples.

More tomorrow……


SATURDAY, JULY 21ST

We have a beautiful morning….a little cool, but a good start to a new day.  The sun is shining brightly and the water is smooth as glass.  We are underway at 8:28 a.m.  Today’s destination is back to Houghton, MI…..we have begun our journey home!!

Yesterday (Friday) we all went by dinghys over to Madeline Island for a few hours.  Depending on which brochure you read, some recognize Madeline Island as one of the Apostle Islands (that would make a total of 22 islands), while others do not recognize it as one of the Apostles because it is not part of the national lakeshore….also, because it is inhabited (it is like a touristy town) with lots of people.

Later:  we just finished lunch while underway (it is fun to do when the water is smooth).  Once again I have to tell you what an absolutely gorgeous day it is…..one of those perfect boating days!!

A little earlier today we crossed into the State of Michigan and are back on eastern standard time; however, we are still on Lake Superior.  We have less than an hour to go before reaching our destination for the day….Houghton.

We are now at Houghton’s Pierhead…it is 2:18.  It will take us about an hour on the river before we actually reach the Houghton Marina, as we have to go at slow speed.

We are at the Houghton fuel dock at 3:29.…although a beautiful day, we are all tired.  Since Frank’s car is here, we will drive to a restaurant for dinner, and probably turn in fairly early.


SUNDAY, JULY 22nd

Pam and Frank left for home this morning….we had a great time, as usual, with them and hated to see them go….Wally and Brenda from the “Exporter” are still with us, of course.

Wally & Brenda, along with us, decided to take a break from traveling today.  Jim washed the outside of the boat while I cleaned the inside and did laundry…you have to have those days once in a while!!  It is 4:30 and we are tired.  I think we will eat a little something on the boat tonight, shower, watch a movie & go to bed!!!

We will see what morning brings and then decide if we “go” or stay another.


MONDAY, JULY 23rd

When we got up this morning, it looked like rain; however, Jim went on the computer to look at the weather stations and found no rain out there…..the trees were very still and it was warm outside.  So we started preparing for our departure.

Wally came over to our boat then and said he had generator problems again….When we pulled in at Houghton on Sunday, he said he had problems shutting his generator down.  Then this morning, the generator wouldn’t start..  He and Jim investigated and found it was a solenloide, plus Wally had a broken part.  He got on the phone and called Onan and ordered the part he needed, which is supposed to be shipped overnight.

We have both a small and a big generator in our boat, and Jim was having some problem with those too; however, he has them both fixed once again.

So we have concluded that we were not meant to go today…..there is a reason for everything that happens!!  Also, Wally called ahead to where we were going to stay tonight, and they were filled up, just one more reason we were supposed to stay here one more night.

I do hope we will be able to get going by tomorrow!!!


TUESDAY, JULY 24th

The part Wally needed for his generator arrived this morning via UPS.  He installed it but the generator still wasn’t/isn’t working….very disappointing for Wally!  So, Wally decided we might just as well continue our journey….the refrigerator/freezer should stay cold for several hours as long as it’s not disturbed, and also until we get to our next destination.

We left Houghton around 11:30 and it has taken us over an hour to reach open water (it is “no wake” on the river).

It is an absolutely beautiful day….sunshine, clear blue sky, water smooth as glass, and it feels like summer (finally)!!  We should have a good, but long, run today.  We are heading for Grand Marais & have made reservations.  This is considered a “refuge harbor” - a place to go to if you are seeking shelter from a storm, but also a place to help break up a long trip.  We have been told that there isn’t much of anything there….just a wall to tie up to, but a place to plug into for water and electric.  No fuel there either (which we don’t need anyway).

The forecast for the next few days is good, so we plan on making it to the “Soo” tomorrow.  That will be a shorter run compared to today.

The water is warming up…it is now 71 degrees.  Lake Superior is usually very, very cold!

I think the “Nauti Gal” and the “Exporter” are the only boats out here today, but when the lake is this perfect, you don’t even care.  We have been out of the sight of land for sometime now.

Later:  We arrived at Grand Marais dock at 6:06.…we were pleasantly surprised with what we saw.  It is a pleasant looking little town - population:  530 people.  They DO have fuel as well as water and electric hook-up.  There is the prettiest little beach right next to where the dock is situated, and not only do they have a couple restaurants here but also a grocery store….all really close to the marina.  So we had delicious whitefish baskets at one restaurant, and crossed the street to get provisions at the grocery store.

We are now back to the boat and, as soon as I finish today’s log, I’m going to take a nice shower while Jim uploads my log and perhaps adds some new pictures.

What a great day the Lord has given us!!  Tomorrow, Lord willing, we will head for the “Soo”.


WEDNESDAY, JULY 25th

Another beautiful day…we left our dock at 9:00 and hope to be at the “Soo” by 1:00-1:30.

Brenda discovered soon after we left that the pressure filter switch on Wally’s one engine was “sparking”….Guess it has stopped now, but they are keeping a close eye on it and hope it doesn’t cause the engine to shut down.

The water may not be “smooth as glass” this morning, but it’s still very, very good.  Towards the last part of our trip today, when we round Whitefish Point, we may encounter more waves which would be on our nose.

We called ahead to see if we could get into the marina on the Canadian side of the “Soo”.  However, they are full as they are having a “Grand Banks” rendezvous….for those of you who do not know this,  Grand Banks is a certain kind of boat…..a trawler (which means they go slow).  Anyway, so we will go back to the “Kemp Marina” where we stayed before, on the American side of the “Soo”.

Tomorrow, Thursday, we have reservations for a one-day train trip called “The Agawa Canyon Tour Train”, which goes into the heart of the Canadian wilderness.  It sounds like the train will make a stop for a couple of hours in the Agawa Canyon Wilderness Park.   We have also reserved a taxi for 7:00 in the morning to take us across the bridge into Canada to catch the train at 8:00.  It should be a beautiful day trip.  We might as well take advantage of this as we probably will not be back this way again!

The lake is still very nice….an enjoyable ride.  I finished reading a book while underway and worked a crossword puzzle too.

We talked to the sailboat “Yasuni” who spent the night at Grand Marais….they left the marina at 3:00 a.m., and we left at 9:00 a.m.  We caught up with him at 11:30 in Whitefish Bay….we expect to get to the “Soo” around 1:00-1:30.….he said he wouldn’t get in until around 5:00.  Boy, am I ever glad we run a “power” boat.  Fourteen and a half hours straight in a sailboat is not my idea of fun!!!

We arrived at the “Soo” lock at 1:13 but had to wait for a couple of tour boats coming behind us.  They went in first and then we were allowed to follow.  By the time we finished in the lock and got tied up at the marina, it was 2:30.  It is a very hot, humid day here, so I think we will just stay right here on our cool boat and relax.  Hey, Lake Superior has now been left behind us!!!!!  We can say we’ve done it and we went from one end of it to the other….it was very beautiful but very, very far to go!!!

You probably won’t hear from me tomorrow as we leave early in the morning and get back later in the day from the day- trip.  After our train ride, we will probably have lots to tell you and, hopefully, a lot of neat pictures to post.  Until then…..


THURSDAY, JULY 26th

The taxi came right at 7:00 a.m. to take us across the “International Bridge” into Canada.  The four of us boarded the Agawa Canyon Tour Train at 7:30 and we were off at 8:00.  We had both breakfast and lunch onboard & we saw a lot of very pretty scenery.
Jim took quite a few pictures on and off the train (we made one stop), but wasn’t real pleased with some of them.  He was getting a reflection off the window glass of the train and, because of that, the color didn’t come out as vivid as he wanted.

  Our one stop was supposed to be for two hours, but wasn’t much more than an hour.  There was a souvenir shop there plus restroom facilities.  The two hour stop was so you would have time to hike up to see several water falls; however, once we arrived there, we found out one water fall was closed because of lack of water (they have had a very dry spring/summer) and there wasn’t much water coming down at the other water falls….very disappointing!

  I’m glad we did the tour; however, the day was long.  It took four hours going and, of course, four hours back. (114 miles each way)  I have only been on two trains in my whole life, so I guess I’m not a good judge, but both trains were noisy and bouncy.

After we got off the train, we went to a very good restaurant just a short way from the train station.  By then we were really ready to eat!!  Our waitress asked about the train tour….we told her it was nice.  She then asked if we would want to do it again, and Brenda and I answered her together “NO”.   :o)

We asked our waitress if she would call us a cab (one in Canada) which she did….he was there within five minutes and brought us back across the bridge.  We were charged $30 to come back across.  This morning we were charged $20 to be taken over to Canada (a US taxi)……hmmmm!

That’s it for today….Jim is uploading some of the pictures right now that he took today…enjoy!


SATURDAY, JULY 28th

The sun is shining and St. Mary’s River is smooth…we left the dock at 8:25 heading back to Detour…four hours.

We were told that anyone who planned to travel today had to be out of the marina by 8:30 as they were going to close down the river for boat races.  It must be a special weekend here.  A replica of the 3-masted ship - the “Nina” came into the marina where we were. 

What I didn’t understand was how they could close down the river where these big ships and freighters come through all the time, and in and out of the locks.

The Tiara Rendezvous must be over in St. Ignace as we just saw a group of them traveling north together….we are going at slow speed today.  There are lots and lots of fishermen all over the river today….it’s Saturday, you know!!

I’m sure I have mentioned this in a past log; however, it is certainly worth mentioning again, and that is how very pretty this St. Mary’s River is.  Not only is the water a pretty color, but the scenery is also very pretty.

We arrived in Detour around l:00 and had to wait to get into the fuel dock.  When we finally got in, we took 600 gallons of diesel so that took a while.  After we were done, Wally fueled up.  We got to our dock at 1:50.

The four of us had dinner out tonight, then went for ice cream cones.  They have a band playing  here at the marina tonight….even set off a few fireworks!!  The band actually sounds really good.

Tomorrow we head for Mackinaw - two hours from here.  If we can’t get in at the Island, City or St. Ignace, we will head for Beaver Island.  Tentative stops from there will be Frankfort, Pentwater (or maybe places inbetween, depending on weather), and possibly So. Haven before arriving home.  We could arrive home anywhere between the 10th and the 15th of August.  I hope we have been missed!!!  I know one thing, I am getting very, very homesick for family!!!


SUNDAY, JULY 29th

We are underway at 9:03.…a beautiful, sunny day with smooth water - boats everywhere you look.  Some are fishing boats but others seem to be cruising, like us.  We feel we are back to civilization once again as we are now on Lake Huron…yea!!

Pam and Frank, we wish you were with us….you had told us that when you went through the Straits of Mackinaw, it was all fogged in and you couldn’t see anything.  Well, no fog today and the water is like glass.  In fact, we’ve never been here when there was fog or real rough water, and we’ve done this many times.

We just passed a tow boat towing a barge behind it…a bit unusual.  Normally the barge is being “pushed” by the tow boat!!

We are coming up on Mackinaw Island and wonder if, by chance, we can get in.  Guess we’ll soon find out!

As we approach the island we see a big boat leaving.  Long story, short - they told us to come on in (11:00) and we have a great slip on a main dock as far away from the ferries as possible, and close to the restrooms and main sidewalk.  We lucked out!!  The “Exporter” is at anchor out in the bay waiting to get in.  Check-out time is 1:00 but I’m sure he will come in before that.  They are so efficient here.  As soon as one boat leaves, another one (waiting in the bay) is called in according to a list they have with boat name, length, beam and draft.  They always have people on the dock to help with your lines.  They also tell you ahead of time, the slip number and if it will be a port tie or starboard tie.  That is always helpful to the person who is handling the lines!

By the way, the Exporter was called in at 12:00 noon, so he is also nicely settled in his slip just as we are.  We plan on staying here for two days; however, the marina allows you a total of four days.

We will probably amble downtown pretty soon and join the crowds we know will be there!!!

More later…..


TUESDAY, JULY 31st

I am beginning to sound like a broken record…..we have another beautiful, warm, sunny day with more smooth water…we are underway at 9:25 a.m.

We are already approaching Mackinaw Bridge in all her majesty!!  After we pass under her, we will no longer be on Lake Huron, but on good ‘ol Lake Michigan!!

We had fun on Mackinaw Island….we had not been in there for a while by boat.  Anyone who really knows me will find this hard to believe; however, the first day I actually went shopping!!!  The second day Jim and I went for a carriage ride….Wally and Brenda went exploring on their bikes that they brought with them on the cruise.

On the first half of our carriage ride, we had a young lady tour guide who was from Europe (Transylvania) and is here for the summer.  She was quite charming with a sense of humor.  I think she was having problems getting used to the beautiful (but smelly) horses drawing the various carriages.

On the second half of the tour, we changed carriages and had another young lady as our tour guide.  Her name is Allyssa and she grew up on a farm east of Lansing, MI, so she is very used to horses and other kinds of animals.  She is presently attending “Western” in Kalamazoo, MI, studying to become a commercial airline pilot.  She is putting herself through colledge and, by the time she finishes (2 yrs.), she will owe $60,000!  She wants to fly so badly, she can almost taste it!  She was sweet and funny and made a good guide.  She reminded us so much of one of our nieces - Jennifer - with her looks and pretty smile.

While still on the tour, we stopped at the “Butterfly Conservatory” which is inside a glass building…boy, was it ever hot inside!!  We did see some very beautiful and unusual looking butterflies flying free inside.  I was saddened to hear that butterlies only live betweeen 3 and 10 days….Monarchs live somewhat longer.  Each week they receive additional butterflies to replace those who have died.

We didn’t visit the fort this time, as we have done it so many other times; however, we could hear the rifle fire and the cannon going off several times a day.  They keep the fort dimly lit at night, which gives a person down below a strange kind of feeling.  But, when they play taps after dark, that really makes a person feel emotional.  I know our two sons and our two oldest grandkids have visited the fort when they were all younger, and enjoyed it and the whole island!  We saw “Arch Rock” again….Keith and Bruce, do you remember posing in front of Arch Rock along with the Prince family, many years ago?  We have a lot of fun memories, don’t we??

We got a phone call this morning from Joann Palmer (who lives in Harbor Springs) asking if we were going to stop there again on our way back home.  Unfortunately, we had to tell her “no”.   She was suggesting dinner together.  Then this afternoon Joann Prince emailed us asking the same question and also suggesting dinner.  These are wonderful friends (all of them), so we feel bad we won’t be able to see them one more time this summer.  There is always next year!!!
Our  destination today is Beaver Island, so this will be a short traveling day….later:  we just pulled into our dock at Beaver Island at 11:47.  We had a nice trip this morning.  We will probably stay here through tomorrow, and then go on to Frankfort.