Saturday, January 7, 2017

Day 1: Trailer Boating to the North Channel, Ontario! (aka A 16 Hour Tow with a 6 month old)

Rj's first roadtrip!
Ahhhh... the North Channel. It's early January as I'm writing this, and we're watching a North Channel DVD (and drinking wine) for inspiration as we finally start writing about our July 2016 summer trip. There were so many differences to this trip from previous years (obviously), and one of them was NOT taking detailed notes on our daily activities and weather conditions! I guess you could say we had other top priorities, aka keeping a 6 month old alive and fed. :-) So, we're sorry this is coming so late and may not be as detailed as previous trip blogs! Hope you still enjoy reading about our sometimes crazy, sometimes relaxing, 2 week boating trip with our baby RJ.

On this trip we had friends and fellow GLCC members, Kurt and Beth, also from Indiana traveling with us once we reached the North Channel. They boated all the way up from Michigan City, Indiana in their Sea Ray Sundancer 340. Last year they accomplished an amazing trip of traveling all the around Lake Michigan and enjoyed it so much they decided to retire early and push further North this summer into the North Channel!! 

Day 1 is going to cover our travels from leaving home Thursday night at approx 8:45 CST to arriving at Spanish Marina Friday afternoon at approx 2:00 EST.

Day 1 - Drive to Spanish
All tucked in (with bunny and binky) and ready to go!

Thursday, July 14th - 8:45pm -  
For our first trip with a baby, we decided to try out leaving Thursday night when Ben got home from work and driving overnight. We figured this would be the best bet for RJ sleeping the majority of the trip and hopefully not crying too much! In order to do this, we had to have the boat packed, washed, and on the trailer in advance so that Thursday we could head out right around RJ's usual bedtime.  Overall, we didn't do too bad!  We pulled the boat out Sunday morning and spent the day getting it washed, packed with our clothes and non-perishable goods, and canvas down and ready for towing.   On Thursday, we left the house a little later than we wanted to, stopped at the bank and gas station, and spent way too much time at the marina hooking the trailer up to the truck, but we were on the road to the NC by 10:30pm.

Friday morning and still on the road!
Our first gas stop was in Grandville, MI (exit 67 - just "ok"), followed by a nap stop from 3:30-5:45am EST at a rest area.  Our second gas stop was in Houghten Lake, where we also had breakfast at the Burger King next door around 7am.  Our third gas stop was the Mackinaw City Citgo (kinda small/busy - full service), and final stop right before the border at the 3 mile road exit (the Admiral, our usual).  At every gas station stop, RJ would wake up for a few minutes while we pumped gas and stretched our legs, but as we got back on the road I would stick a bottle in his mouth and he'd be back to sleep in no time!  He did wake up around his normal time of 7am, so we took the opportunity to stop for breakfast and take him out of his seat for awhile.  He did great though getting back on the road, and took his morning nap as usual.  Once he woke up from that though, we had to stop for a side-of-the-road diaper change and he wasn't too happy for awhile.  He napped on and off the rest of the way though.  Traveling overnight and stopping for a "nap" and then breakfast extended our drive by about 4 or 5 (long) hours.  Looking back, though, we think it was the right call and we plan to drive overnight again for our next trip.

Arriving to Spanish Marina, Ontario
Unpacking the truck and packing the boat! RJ shows off our supplies in the mid-cabin (his bunk)

Day 2 - Spanish to Benjamins
Trailer boat launch at Spanish Marina, Ontario
We arrived at the Spanish Marina around 2pm EST to a chilly, overcast, windy day and got to work getting ready to launch.  Our original plans were to meet our friends Kurt and Beth in Gore Bay, but after our long drive and seeing the windy conditions, we decided instead to secure a slip in Spanish for the night.  We were able to make contact with Kurt and Beth to update them with our change in plans and decided to meet in the Benjamin's in the morning instead. 

Tying up in Spanish for the night
We made the best of the rest of the afternoon and tried to catch up on sleep and just prepare ourselves and the boat for the weeks ahead!  Spanish has a beautiful marina, and we always enjoy spending time there at the beginning or end of our trips.

Excited and nervous for our first trip together!