Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Merry Christmas from Ben & Dana

Ok...in the spirit of full disclosure I have to be honest and tell you the cat on the left was photo shopped. He is our cat, and can pull a nasty back flip with ease, but getting them both out there at the same time is not easy. 
Merry Christmas and  Happy New Year!!

Here Comes Winter

With Seapickle II wrapped up and ready for her winter slumber, we braced ourselves for the first big winter storm. With forecasted 50+ knot winds and 25-30ft waves we had to drive out to the lake to see for ourselves. As we pulled up to Portage Park on the lakefront we were pleasantly suprised to see some of our G-dock friends... which only confirmed that they are as crazy about boating as we are.

The wind was blowing so hard it was actually hard to keep a good footing while trying to walk. The picture below shows waves in the 15ft range...they continued to grow to 30ft after we left!!! 

Below is a picture of waves crashing over a 10ft breakwall like it wasn't even there. This storm did significant damage to the southern lakeshore of Lake Michigan. A report in the Post Tribune stated it will take years to repair the erosion caused by this storm. We just hope boaters beach is still there next spring.

The Transhield cover we are trying this year held up in the 50+ knot winds! This cover went on so easy, has a nice soft inner liner, and is reusable...so far seems to be money well spent! Did I mention it was a 1/4 of the price of shrink wrapping!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Day 16 - 150 miles to home!

We left Sheboygan, WI around 11am Sunday, ready for our 150 mile journey home! We were lucky to have a beautiful day, and a flat calm lake to greet us.

We made a stop in Port Washington after about 25 miles to fuel up. Gas here was 40 cents cheaper than Sheboygan, and we found it to be a really cute little town that we plan on going back to visit!

About 3 hours into the trip, we stopped for lunch outside Racine, WI. This is a typical lunch on the boat for us!
Ben was pretty excited when we passed Milwaukee, as it seemed pretty close to home!

We followed the shore all the way to Chicago, and then turned to cut across the lake back to Portage.

Back outside Burns Waterway, Ben's parents met us in their boat, Executive Decision, to film our entrance back home! Thanks Bill & Kathy! :-)

Entering the channel back to our marina was both exciting and a little sad. It was nice to be back in familiar waters, and we had never realized how good we have it in Indiana on the southern tip of the lake! It seemed like we had the warmest and best water conditions around, and also the best marina friends, whom we missed! :-)

This is Seapickle II back home in her slip

And me enjoying some Summer Shandy back at the marina!

Our 150 mile journey home took about 7.5 hours, and after a couple hours of talking to family and marina friends, we were ready to get home! But we are already planning the next trip! Look for a post soon on the summary of our trip and the lessons we learned along the way!
Miles: 165.7
Time: 7hrs 21min
Fuel used: 74.6Gal
Avg Mpg: 2.22
Total Miles: 941.3
Total fuel used: 453.9Gal
Total Avg Mpg: 2.07

Day 15- Sturgeon Bay to Sheboygan, WI

We got a late start from Sturgeon bay and traveled 83 miles to Sheboygan

It was just after sunset when we arrived. Not a planned stop, but we didn't feel like traveling any farther in the dark!
We were really glad we stopped though. The marina was really nice and huge!! They had a pool and hot tub, nice bathrooms, a grocery/supply store, and were open 24 hours. We got there about 8:30pm and, as usual, took off in search of food! One of the guys working at the marina suggested Brisco County Wood Grill, which was a short walk away on the riverwalk. It was a really cool place, although we wish we could have pulled the boat up to it!

We got plenty of rest that night, because in the morning we were making the rest of the journey home... 150 miles... which would be our longest trip yet! We figured it should take around 7 hours, but by this time we were used to long hours on the lake, so we weren't worried. One more day of our trip left!

Miles: 83.5
Time: 3hrs 50min
Fuel used: 36.1 gal
Avg Mpg: 2.31

A few pics around Sturgeon Bay

Downtown Sturgeon Bay... deserted on Thursday!

Stone Harbor resort & marina

We ended up spending 3 days in Sturgeon Bay, WI, mostly just relaxing and catching up on sleep from a few long travel days! When it wasn't too windy/rainy, we shopped a bit downtown and rode our bikes around town and about 1.5 miles to the grocery store to stock up for the trip home. We stayed at Stone Harbor Marina, which is the municipal marina run by Bay Marine. We had access to the pool & hot tub in the hotel, so that was really nice with the cold weather we were having! The low at night was in the 40s! It was lonely when we arrived Wednesday.. we were the only boat there! But it was filling up by the time we left for Sheboygan Saturday. Our trip was winding down, and we were trying to soak up our last few days of vacation!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Day 12 - Safe Harbor in Sturgeon Bay, WI

We weren't planning on visiting Wisconsin, but we're glad we're here!
To avoid the predicted 12-14 ft waves and gale warnings, we made the decision to cross the lake to Wisconsin, where conditions are considerably better. Upon arrival, we were greeted by one of Door County's famous sunsets. Hopefully this is a good sign for the remainder of our trip! We'll be spending the next couple of days here, and moving south when conditions allow, either Saturday or Sunday. The trip is winding down, and we're enjoying our last few days of freedom and relaxation before it's back to real life! :-)
Leland MI to Sturgeon Bay WI
Miles: 83.4
Time: 3hrs to dock
Fuel used: 39.1 Gal.
Avg Mpg: 2.13!(Best yet)!
Total miles traveled: 691.3

Breaking News!!! Poseidon is still pissed at us for the cheap champagne!!

Looks like we're rerouting the itinerary again... Wisconsin here we come!!

Day 11 - Roadtrip!!! Traverse City & Leelanau Peninsula

We woke up early Tuesday morning excited about our roadtrip planned for the day! We rented a jeep and were ready to explore the Leelanau peninsula and the ports we were not able to fit on our trip! It was a beautiful drive up the east coast of the leelanau peninsula from Traverse City, and then back down on the west coast of the peninsula.

We started up the coast on the east side of the peninsula, and the drive was beautiful! Our first stop was in Suttons Bay, which we had heard good things about, and we loved it! We parked and walked around by the marina & downtown, just taking in the small town vibe.

We continued up the coast to Northport, which was much smaller, but still a cute stop! The marina was very nice and everything in town was within walking distance to the marina. Overall it seemed like a nice place to stop, but I'm not sure we would spend more than a day there.

Our next stop was the Grand Traverse lighthouse. We had a lot of fun exploring, looking around the museum, climbing up to see the view from the top of the lighthouse, and spending some time on the rocky shore. I think that would have been a cool job to have, although in the history of the lighthouse only one woman temporarily held the post. They had binders and binders of all the old lighthouse keepers records to read through, dating back to the 1800's.

Driving along the top of the peninsula, I could see pyramid point on the map, and a road that looked like it went close by it. So we took an impromtu turn down a dusty gravel road that led us into the forest near the coast. We stopped for some photos along the way, then found a parking lot that had a trail up to pyramid point. If you saw one of our previous posts, we found safe harbor outside pyramid point, where we had lunch on the way to charlevoix. It was so beautiful, we wanted to see it from the land side too! We passed a sign that warned of cougar sightings in the area, so armed with my cougar fighting stick, we started out on the trail. We didn't see any cougers, but we did meet a cute little porcupine! Have you ever seen a porcupine in person? I hadn't! And I also didn't know they climed trees! Anyway... about a quarter mile in we reached the cliffs of pyramid point. The dunes were very steep here, so we just admired the view from the top for awhile and took a rest, then followed the trail back to the rented jeep!

Moving south on the west side of the peninsula, the next town we came to was Leland! We walked around Fishtown for a bit, then had lunch/dinner at the Bluebird. The food was good and it had a cool atmosphere, so it turned out to be a good place to stop! The marina in Leland looked really nice, with rocking chairs on the porch, so it might be a good port to stop in on our next trip!

We ended the day climbing up the dunes at Sleeping Bear National Park to watch the sunset, but the clouds moved in and instead we got some cool cloud photos!

When we got back to the marina and checked the marine forecast for the rest of the week, we were starting to see some bad conditions on the way. Up to 12 foot waves and gale warnings! We had some decisions to make, and a lot of marine forecasts to check to decide if we would be able to continue on our scheduled itinerary.

We had a Four Winns factory tour scheduled for the morning, so we decided to wait until after that to make any decisions, and I think we both had a bit of restless sleep trying to weigh the options that night.