Sunday, December 7, 2014

New Port Captains for Great Lakes Cruising Club!!

Ben and I are so excited to announce that we were recently named GLCC Port Captains for Burns Waterway in Portage, Indiana!  We have been members of the GLCC since 2012 and are looking forward to getting more involved in the club.  We originally joined at Strictly Sail in Chicago, when we were impressed by the Harbor Reports and travel information offered for the great lakes.  We could not have done many of our adventures without the assistance of the harbor reports and the local knowledge of those in the GLCC.  Plus, we meet some wonderful people along the way!

For more information on the Great Lakes Cruising Club, please watch the video above and visit

Sunday, November 2, 2014

South Haven Weekend Getaway Days 2-3

Walked downtown for breakfast from Golden Brown Bakery... yummy!
Waking up on my own comfy boat "home" and knowing I'm somewhere new is one of the best things about boating for me.  No matter where we travel with Seapickle or how far from home, we're always taking our "home" with us.  I know people like to talk about the cost of owning and maintaining a boat and how everything seems to break at once, but to us, boating is like an extended vacation 6 months out of the year.  And, how else can you guarantee a water-view room so close to downtown?  Ahhhh... boating. :-)

View from the boat... just a block to downtown, and a short walk to the lake.
Seapickle Photo Opp
Sporting the nautical and Four Winns gear
After breakfast on the boat, we took a walk downtown in search of ice cream, cute nautical shops, a bookstore, and maybe some food.  We found all of those and more!  South Haven, of the Western Michigan ports, has one of our favorite downtowns with so much to do and see.

Frozen yogurt instead of ice cream for a change (note the two cups)
Taking a break in a bookstore... one of my favorite things to do!  (yes that's a dog in the background)
Sunset in South Haven, Michigan 
Late night dinner at Clementine's
We enjoyed a leisurely day just walking around downtown, then took a nap after a late lunch, woke up in time for sunset and then walked over to a really late dinner at Clementine's.  The next morning, we weren't really in a rush to leave, so we slept in a bit and went for a ride on the lake before heading back to the ramp.  We took Blue Star Highway to Red Arrow on the way home, and couldn't resist a stop at Redemak's for lunch.  Parking the boat at Redamak's was a new experience for us, but definitely worth it.  We took Route 12 in Indiana the rest of the way home, and it was probably the easiest tow we've ever had.  Can't believe we haven't done this trip before, but we will definitely be adding it the list for next summer.

Seapickle in the parking lot at Redamak's
The kind of cheeseburger you crave all winter long

South Haven Weekend Getaway

Daydreaming of Lake Michigan
 On a Monday in August, halfway through the day at work, we decided to we needed to run away on the boat for the weekend... somewhere on the Southern coast of Michigan.  Calling around, I finally found a slip available at South Haven's South Municipal Marina. A 40 foot slip, a little too big for 26 foot Seapickle, but a slip nonetheless. :-)  With something to look forward to, we made it through the rest of the workweek and drove up the coast on Friday afternoon, pulling Seapickle on the trailer, almost 2 hours to South Haven.
About to get ready to launch in South Haven
Black River Park Launch Ramp (too short)
Hmmm... will we make it?
We arrived to Black River Park launch ramp in the late afternoon, launched and tied to the too-short dock.  I had called the Municipal Marina on the drive up and was told we could leave the truck/trailer for the weekend in the parking lot there.  Even though South Haven is such a short trip from home, we had never taken Seapickle!  We enjoyed the trip down the river from the ramp, with just one scary moment when we weren't quite sure if the boat would clear the bridge (it did). :-)

Boater's Beach?? Well.. 2 boats
Happy as could be :-)
At the last moment, instead of turning into the marina, we continued down the channel to the lake... in search of the South Haven version of "boater's beach."  There weren't many boats out, but a few were anchored just off shore of Van Buren State Park, so we joined them!  It was still a few hours til sunset, and the water was a perfect 78 degrees.  It's so interesting to me how every beach/shore along Lake Michigan is different, with a slightly different color/feel of sand and size/color rocks.  We swam and walked the beach for an hour or so, then headed back to the marina to find our slip before sunset.

Headed in to find our slip at South Haven Municipal Marina South
"Baby" Seapickle
Our slip was just inside the Municipal Marina South - hard to miss between 2 boats MUCH bigger than Seapickle.  A nice couple from Chicago helped us dock, and we got to work getting settled in (lines tied, power cord, etc). After a quick rest, checking in, and some people watching on the dock, we went out in search of dinner!  We're usually pretty late dinner eaters, so most times we end up at some type of bar/pub... and this time didn't disappoint.  We ordered the fish 'n chips and perch at Black River Tavern, and both were very good.  We really enjoyed the atmosphere too, but got out just before karaoke was set to begin and took the short walk back to the boat.

A wonderful "first" day in South Haven for Seapickle!

Seapickle II anchored outside Van Buren State Park

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Ray LaMontange Concert at Northerly Island/Burnham Harbor Chicago

Our slip was directly across from the pavilion
 Burnham Harbor, Chicago and Northerly Island: We've been wanting to stay at Burnham Harbor in Chicago for quite awhile now, so when tickets to one of our favorite musicians went on sale at Northerly Island, I jumped on the opportunity to make it a boating weekend in Chicago! We were kinda taking a gamble and hoping for good weather (the weekend of June 26-27), because how could you go to a concert at Northerly Island and NOT take the boat there!

Almost to the city! It's about a 25 mile trip across the lake from Portage, IN
Entering the harbor at Burnham
G-Dock at Burnham Harbor - outside Soldier Field and the Field Museum
We got to Burnham Harbor early in the afternoon, checked-in at the office, and enjoyed spending some time on the dock before the concert. We were at the very end of the dock, on the outside wall (the T). Our dock neighbors were there hanging out, and everyone we met was very nice! 

We could hear the band rehearsing for the show from the boat, so we probably could have heard the whole show even without tickets! But, Ray LaMontagne is one of our favorite musicians, so we definitely were looking forward to experiencing his concert for the first time. The walk to Northerly Island was about a mile from the boat, even though we could see the pavilion from our slip!

Both of ours My first concert at Northerly Island. I forgot Ben saw Damien Rice here in his pre boat days.
Seats with a skyline view!
I can't image a better place to see a concert
Great seats !

 The show was amazing, see a performance from here and here, and the skyline views could not be beat. It's definitely my new favorite place to see a concert, and also a great excuse to take the boat to Chicago. We followed the hordes of people back out of the pavilion and the walk back to the boat went much faster than the walk to Northerly Island.

This is only the 2nd Chicago harbor we've stayed at, and we really enjoyed the view and the people we met. (The other was 31st street a couple years ago - read the post here)  It's still not close to restaurants to walk to, but if you're going to see a concert, to Soldier Field, or to the museums, the location is perfect! We hope to be back again, for a Bears game next time!
Relaxing the morning after the concert before heading back home

Lots of good boat-watching from our slip at Burnham

What do we do on vacation?? Look at boats of course!

July 19-26, 2014: For part 2 of our summer vacation, we are spending a week in a log cabin in Sister Bay, Wisconsin with the whole family! 9 adults, 4 kids, and poor little Seapickle stuck alone in a slip (at the beautiful Sister Bay Marina) so we can stay in the house with everyone else.

We arrived to Sister Bay around midnight Saturday night, dropped Seapickle off in the Sister Bay Marina long-term parking lot (a GREAT place to store the trailer for the week), and followed Ben's parents back to the cabin.  In the morning, we launched Seapickle at Sister Bay marina, got her all settled in her slip, and got to work cleaning off the ridiculous amount of bugs we collected on the drive from Canada. Later on we took a drive over to Yacht Works for some nautical shopping (bought an anchor wine glass and new bracelet) and then stopped across the street to check out a boat a friend was interested in.

And what do we do on a family vacation, even when we have our own boat?? Look at other boats of course! Sailboats, cruisers, bowriders... we seriously have a boat problem :-)

Liss men out looking at boats!
Leisurely drive along the coast
Checking out a Cruiser's bowrider at the Cruiers Show at Stone Harbor Resort
Cool boat docked in Sturgeon Bay
The next day we took a nice drive down the coast to Sturgeon Bay, accompanied by Ben's dad, stopping along the way to check out the marinas and boats in each town. In Sturgeon Bay, we happened upon a transformer-looking boat and also checked out the tugs over by the Maritime Museum.

Visitors on jet skis at Nicolet Bay
Relaxing at Horseshoe Island
A little fishing at Horseshoe Island
Looking out at Washington Island on our LONG trip to find fuel
Sunset at Sister Bay Marina
Although the wind/waves were not on our side AT ALL the whole week, we were able to take Seapickle out a few times - twice to Horseshoe Island (much busier than the last time we were there), and once to Nicolet Bay. There was also an "interesting" trip up to Washington Island, where we somehow managed to run almost completely out of gas, got stopped by the Coast Guard, and barely made it back to a fuel dock before heading down through Death's Door.

One last boat to see!
Before leaving, we had to make one last stop to see a sailboat for sale in Sister Bay, and also make the obligatory stop at West Marine. Seriously, I think it's time for a boating intervention! haha

Final Door County sunset at Fred & Fuzzy's
Enjoying our last night's dinner at Fred & Fuzzy's on the Waterfront - there's a boat dock right outside the restaurant
Back at "home" at our dock

Monday, September 29, 2014

Day 9: Little Current to Spanish, ON to...

Stopping by South Benjamin harbor on the way back to Spanish
Saturday, July 19: The day we go home to Door County, Wisconsin for vacation round 2, this time with family!  We woke up early in Little Current to start our trip back to Spanish to put Seapickle back on the trailer.  On the way, we decided to poke into South Benjamin harbor (can you believe, in 3 years of going to the North Channel, we STILL have not anchored in the Benjamins?!?!).  While seeing the beauty of the harbor made us a little sad since we were not able to stay, we were glad we had the chance to see it and put it on our MUST-DO itinerary for next year!

Poutine stop! This was a must before getting on the road.
 Once back in Spanish, we were able to leave Seapickle at the courtesy dock while we ran into town for gas and a mandatory stop at Lucky's Snack Shop for poutine!  We met a nice couple (who are GLCC members) on the sailboat "Wind Spirit" and drove Mary into town for groceries while we were there as well. :-)  One of my favorite parts of traveling/boating is connecting with others along the way and helping each other out.  There's such a great sense of community that I have yet to find anywhere else!

Ready to go!
 Loading Seapickle onto the trailer was, thankfully, pretty uneventful and we were assisted by Al, who we met last year in Spanish. It took a good hour or so to get the boat ready for the next part of our journey... a nearly 500 mile tow to Sister Bay, Wisconsin to meet up with family for another week. (The drive ended up taking about 12 hours)

Back on the road again... feels like we were just here!
 While we were sad to cut this portion of our trip short, we were really excited to hang out with Ben's family for a week in Door County, where they have been vacationing for many years. We were also very excited to meet our new baby niece for the first time!

Much easier to find this time around!
 Back to the USA! We weren't sure what we would find once we got to the bridge. Last year we were stopped for over an hour in traffic.

International bridge to USA
No traffic this year.. yay!
Somewhere in Michigan's Upper Peninsula
 The drive through Michigan's UP was beautiful and boring, at the same time! :-)  This part of the trip seemed to last forever... and we still had hours to go through Wisconsin.

Finally time to relax
Around midnight, we dropped Seapickle off in the parking lot for Sister Bay Marina, where we would launch in the morning.  It was definitely sad to leave our little home sitting there in the parking lot, but we knew that a beautiful log cabin in the woods awaited!

Door County Wisconsin - Cabin with family