Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Day 10 - Charlevoix to Traverse City

We waved goodbye to our new favorite place, Charlevoix, for new adventures on Monday afternoon! We had an approx 45 mile journey to Traverse City planned, with waves predicted to be around 2 feet. As usual, as we headed out, the water was pretty rough. Inside Grand Traverse bay, we took the speed down to about 8 mph to give ourselves a break from the pounding waves. The whole trip took us about 3 hours, and we were happy for a few days on land.

Once docked in Traverse City, slip 66, we went off in search of dinner. A few blocks west of the marina we found North Peak Brewery, a really cool bar/restaurant with several handcrafted beers on tap. We both ordered beer and pizza, and then splurged on the Black and White Brownie for dessert! It was a brownie, with cheesecake on top, covered in hot fudge, with a scoop of chocolate and vanilla ice cream on the side! Oh and covered in whip cream! So delicious... and I was glad we had to walk back to the marina to burn some of it off.

We spent the rest of the evening just relaxing on the boat, watching the sunset and reading. We were excited for renting a car the next day so we could explore the rest of Leelanau Peninsula!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Charlevoix round 2! Day 9

After our 2 days in Mackinaw City, our first stop on the journey south was Charlevoix! This was the day we had originally scheduled Charlevoix on our itinerary, it was just luck that we ended up there 3 days last week! We had a pretty rough ride south on the lake, and although the trip went by quickly, we were very happy to pull in to port, just 2 slips down from where we were before.

It was a 90 degree day, so all we wanted to do after our boat trip was swim! We cruised around Lake Charlevoix for a bit, and settled into a small shallow cove, where we dropped anchor. We pulled out the snorkel gear and had some fun swimming around in the crystal clear water. It was a bit colder than at home, about 71 degrees, but it was comfortable. Ben also used this opportunity to give the boat a much needed scrubbing.

Once we arrived back at our dock, we made friends with the couple in the boat next to us, Chad and Allie. They were vacationing with their two daughters, ages 1 & 3, in their Sea Ray Sundancer 250 that they trailered up from Grand Rapids. After the girls went to sleep, we hung out on their boat with a few cocktails and Michael Bublé. :-) A perfect end to our time in Charlevoix. Happy travels the rest of the summer guys!

Recap of Trip Heading North

Day 1 (Aug 21) Portage, IN to White Lake, MI (stopover in Muskegon, MI)
Day 1 Miles: 154.9
Travel Time: 7 hours 9 minutes
Total Miles :154.9
Lake Conditions: Northeast Winds, Waves 1-2 feet
Fuel Used: 77.7 gal
Average mpg: 1.98

Day 2 (Aug 22) White Lake (attempt to leave White Lake for Manistee, turned around due to lake conditions)
Day 2 Miles: 15.5
Travel Time: 20 minutes
Total Miles :170.4
Lake Conditions: North/Northwest Winds, Waves 4-6 feet
Fuel Used: 7.9 gal
Average mpg: 1.96

Day 3 (Aug 23) White Lake to Frankfort
Day 3 Miles: 99.5
Travel Time: 4 hours, 43 minutes
Total Miles :269.9
Lake Conditions: North/Northwest Winds, Waves 2-4 feet
Fuel Used: 50 gal
Average mpg: 1.99

Day 4 (Aug 24) Frankfort to Charlevoix (rerouted from original itinerary to Beaver Island)
Day 4 Miles: 75.6
Travel Time: 4 hours, 5 minutes
Total Miles :345.5
Lake Conditions: Northwest Winds, Waves 2-3 feet
Fuel Used: 39.1 gal
Average mpg: 1.93

Day 5-6 (Aug 25-26) At port in Charlevoix

Day 7 (Aug 27) Charlevoix to Mackinaw City
Day 7 Miles: 58.2
Travel Time: 2 hours, 55 minutes
Total Miles :434.9
Lake Conditions: West/Southwest Winds, Waves 4-7 feet
Fuel Used: 31.2
Average mpg: 1.86

Day 8 (Aug 28) Mackinac Island

Day 9 (Aug 29) Mackinaw City to Charlevoix (with playtime on Lake Charlevoix)
Day 9 Miles: 73.8
Travel Time: approx 3 hour
Total Miles :508.7
Lake Conditions: South winds, 2-4 feet
Fuel Used: 36 gal
Average mpg: 2.05

Day 10 (Aug 30) Charlevoix to Traverse City
Day 10 Miles: 46.9
Travel Time: 2 hours
Total Miles :555.7
Lake Conditions: South/Southwest Winds, Waves 2-3 feet
Fuel Used: 23.6
Average mpg: 1.98

**Proposed itinerary for remainder of trip, may change due to lake conditions

Days 11-12 (Aug 31-Sept 1) At port in Traverse City, renting car to roadtrip to Cadillac, MI for Four Winns factory tour, plus visit Leland, Fishtown, Northport, Suttons Bay, and wineries on the Old Mission Peninsula

Day 13 (Sept 2) Traverse City to Arcadia

Day 14 (Sept 3) Arcadia to Ludington

Day 15 (Sept 4) Ludington to Holland

Day 16 (Sept 5) Holland to Portage! Home sweet home :-)

Day 9 - Mackinac Island

Historic downtown Mackinac Island. It was very crowded when we arrived, but by the time we were leaving, it was clearing out. This was taken on the way back to the ferry, about 7:30pm. We did everything we set out to do on the island... rode our bikes around the entire 8 mile path, and sampled fudge! We decided on chocolate cherry and dark chocolate pecan.

Views from the ferry on the way to the island.

There are no cars allowed.. so all transportation is either horses or bikes!

The Grand Hotel, we couldn't get any closer since we were not in suits and dresses!

These photos are views from around the island. There is a 8 mile bike path that circles the island... each side is unique and beautiful! We had a great time on our bikes... even if Ben made me ride uphill about a mile out of our way! I was ready to pass out!

Mackinaw Bridge at night

Day 7 (Friday) - Charlevoix to Mackinaw City

The weather forecast for this morning called for 2 foot waves, building to 2-4 foot later in the day, but we decided to get up early and try to head to Mackinaw City anyway! Mackinac Island was our ultimate goal for this trip, and we didn't want to give it up even though the waves/winds have not been cooperating! So at about 8am we loaded up our bikes and got ready for departure to Mackinaw City, approx 55 miles northeast.

The lake started out pretty managable... about 1 foot rolling waves out of the west... but soon those waves started building. About 5 miles into the trip, they had built to 2-3 foot waves, and were still building! The worst part about the wave conditions was the direction they were coming from... west. We were trying to travel north, but to do so we would be constantly broadsided by the waves, so we had to alter course to hit the waves from more of an angle, and then turn to have them following from behind.

By the time we entered the Straits of Mackinaw we were in 5-7 foot waves!! They were slow building waves... just enough time between each so we could watch them build up in size and get thoroughly scared about the size. It was honestly the most scared I have ever been with each wave twisting us a different direction, and there wasn't much we could do about it. If we went any faster than the crawl we were going at, we would slam into the trough and back side of the wave in front of us, making it possible to breach the boat! Any slower and the waves could come up from behind and swamp the boat....it was the longest 3 1/2 hours of my life, and a situation I'll be sure to never get in again!

After we reached Waugoshance Point the waves subsided enough, partially blocked by Beaver Island for Dana to grab the video camera and shoot some video.

Finally we made it to Mackinaw Bridge and got our picture under it! (This is how we look after a soaking wet, windy, hellish 3 1/2 hour lake trip. Was it worth going through 3 1/2 hours of rough lake conditions?? We haven't decided yet. Maybe once our backs stop hurting we'll have a different view! :-)

Needless to say, when we got to the Mackinaw City Municipal Marina at 11:20 am and docked in slip 35, we were beat. But extremely happy to be off the lake for a couple days. We followed our soaking wet boat ride with some comfort food, a lunch of grilled cheese and tomato soup on the boat, which made us feel a little better, and then hot showers and a 4 hour nap, which made us feel very refreshed!

We finally headed into town around dinner time and did a little shopping, followed by dinner at the Admiral's Table. It was a little off the beaten path, and the clientel looked like they had been coming there all their lives. Even though it was about 8pm when we arrived, the place was packed! We ordered crab cakes, followed by perch for me and cod for Ben. I also tried a glass of the leelanau reisling, a local wine, and it was delicious! We ended the night by tracking down the cupcake place I just had to find and I got the red velvet cupcake I'd been dreaming about all day! Oh... and stocking up on food & supplies at the local IGA, a good 3/4 mile from the marina.

Overall a long day... but we were excited to explore Mackinac Island in the morning!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Your nightly blog post interrupted by...

saving a 10 month old, 150 pound Newfoundland "puppy" named Moses from drowning!

At least I got a bottle of wine out of it :-)

About 11:30pm, we were diligently working on updating the remainder of our posts up to day 5... when we heard a giant crash from behind our boat. Looked out the back window, and saw a giant dog struggling in the water, and his owner on dock, trying to figure out how to help him get out. If it were a cocker spaniel, or even golden retriever, no problem. But it was a freaked out, panicking Newfoundland! The owner got in the water to try to calm the dog down, but there was no way he could lift him out. Ben and I ran over to help, but there was no way to lift the dog out, and the ladder was too small and the dock too high for him to use.

Making no progress, we decided to try to get him up onto the swim platform of our boat, which would be lower to lift him. Ben and the owner tried lifting the dog several times, with Ben on the swim platform and the owner in the water... after probably 10 minutes or more of this, the owner was getting tired. It made more sense for me to jump in to help, because Ben had a better chance of lifting him out from the swim platform... and keeping him there once he got out. So I put on a life jacket and eased over to the dog, trying to support part of him on my shoulder and help the owner push him up towards Ben. Poor thing.. he was so scared he didn't know what to do! Eventually we were able to lift him to the swim platform, and Ben held him there while the owner got out and tried to call him back onto the dock.

Moses finally out of the water and back over by his boat, the owner got out the only other thing he had with him... a bottle of Cabernet he bottled the week before, as a thank you gift. Ben and I were just happy to help get the dog out of the water... he was so panicked I don't know how long he would have lasted. :-/ Turns out he fell backwards off the boat and it was his first time in the water..

Anyway... now it's 12:45am, showered and warm, and getting back to updating our other posts. Check back soon!


Days 6 at port in Charlevoix

As I'm writing on day 6, an orchestra is playing in the park next to our boat, and over 100 people are gathered on blankets and lawn chairs to listen. It amazes me how happy everyone in this town seems! Ben says he feels like we're in disney world! We get such a magical feeling from this town, and we're sad that we're going to have to leave tomorrow. We really like the municipal marina here, and Hal, the harbor master, may be the friendlist we've met so far.

This morning we slept in late and eventually wandered over to the farmer's market, about 100 feet from our dock, where we bought carrot cake for breakfast. After breakfast, we explored around town for a bit, and then went over to the pier to wait for the Beaver Island ferry to come in. (We were supposed to meet our priest, Father Doug, on Beaver Island... but we never made it there due to the weather) We weren't sure if Father Doug would be on this particular ferry, but we were in luck! We were able to say hello to him and his mom, and apologize for not visiting on the island.

Now we were off to explore what Lake Charlevoix had to offer. Our dock neighbor, Mike from New York, recommended a restaurant on the lake in Ironton, called The Landings. We don't have anything like this place by our house, so we were eager to pull our boat in for lunch. Once we found the restaurant, we just pulled our boat up to the dock, got off and found a table! We were able to enjoy our burgers and margaritas on the patio just in front of the boat.

After lunch we continued about 8 miles down the lake to Boyne City and tied up fo
r about an hour. It was a cute little town, but didn't seem like much there other than ice cream shops... so we got some ice cream! Heading back to Charlevoix, the wind was strong, but it was the smoothest lake we've encountered yet on our trip.

Weather on Day 5: Sunny & Windy, waves 4-6 feet with possible water spouts
Weather on Day 6: Sunny & Windy, waves 2-4 feet

Day 5 at port in Charlevoix

Day 5 (wednesday) in Charlevoix was a day to catch up on fixing things around the boat and relaxing. We had a nice french toast & bacon breakfast, then headed out on a 2 mile trek to Ace Hardware to buy the parts we needed to fix the air conditioning!! For some reason we decided to walk instead of taking our bikes (we didn't know it was 2 miles at the time), so we had to stop for lunch on the way back at Pizza Hut, the only good option that far from downtown.

We spent the rest of the day reading (Dana) and fixing things (Ben), and finally enjoyed dinner on the boat! As much as I enjoy trying new restaurants, my favorite dinners are on the boat with Ben. This particular dinner, Chicken Fettucinni Alfredo, Salad & Bread with Olive Oil & Balsamic Vinegar was a bit more difficult with only one burner on the stove.

We did venture out for a bit to check out the waves on the pier. We were definitely glad we made the decision to stay in port today as we watched the waves crash up over the pier. We have one more day left in Charlevoix due to the wave forecast for tomorrow, so we plan to make the most of it! Check back soon! :-) Thanks for reading!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

A few Charelvoix favorites

Walking along the channel to Lake Michigan

Had to try out the lights in the crystal clear water

Ben tying bumpers upon arrival

Doing what I do best... looking cute and relaxing :-) haha

Park and downtown next to marina

Seapickle II at night

Pyramid Point outside the Manitou Islands

Ben's favorite place on earth... until we got to Charlevoix :-)

Manitou Islands in the distance

Anchored for lunch, facing east