Another week, another update. We have seen many lighthouses, more beaches, lots of ice cream and fudge stores and more t-shirt shops than I can count as we’ve traveled south along the Michigan shoreline. We’ve cruised on smooth waters and bouncy waters and anchored out and stayed in marinas. We’ve seen sunrises and sunsets and “docktailed” with our buddy boats and others. We’ve said hello to “new to us” Loopers and we’re getting ready to say “so long” to one of our Dear Buddies. So in summary, it’s been a typical week for Done Diggin’ on The Great Loop!
We left Ludington on Monday and traveled to Muskegon Inlet, Grand Haven, South Haven, St Joseph’s – all in Michigan – and then to Michigan City, Indiana and we’re now in Hammond, Indiana. It kind of tickled me to boat into a different time zone, we’re on CST now until Florida. We can officially say that we’ve boated in two countries and two time zones! Pretty cool.
On most travel days we throw our lines pretty early, usually by 6:30 am. That means that I set our alarm for 5:30 so that I can throw on some clothes, have some coffee and get ready to go. Setting an alarm for 5:30 AM is no way for a nice retired lady like me to be living, but it’s gotta be done. The guidance from experienced Great Lakes boaters is to get out early, the winds and waves can build during the course of the day, so our strategy is to be tied up early. That strategy has worked pretty well for us; most of the time we were pretty comfortable but there was one day that I kept counting down the miles and time on the GPS, it got pretty bouncy. Luckily the weather cooperated pretty well this week, so we made all of our planned stops and arrived here in Hammond this morning.
Having spent 12 days traveling on Lake Michigan I can say that I’ve gotten much more comfortable in big waters. I don’t love the rocking and rolling, but I know that we can handle it and I’m much less whiny. Danny is grateful for that 😁 and probably thinks it’s about time, it’s going on 11 months that we have been “out here”.
When we’re not boating we spend time walking or bicycling around the towns and have seen great beaches and lighthouses. We often run across Farmers Markets and went to a terrific one in Grand Haven. We stocked up on lots of fruit and veggies and we are really trying to eat healthier! This “vacation every day” lifestyle is taking a toll on my hips 😒. Another highlight of Grand Haven is their light show set to music that they have every night during the summer. We were docked in a great spot to view the show both nights, it was really pretty good. They’ve been doing it for over 50 years and it reminded me of the show at Epcot….or is it Disney, I can’t remember!
There are often farmers markets in the towns we docked in – Grand Haven has a great one!
Loopers are staring to bunch up a bit at this point. The next “target” is Chicago and the Illinois River as those of us who aren’t putting our boats up somewhere for the winter make the race south to beat the cold. It was tougher to get marina reservations this week, it really requires planning. Luckily, our friend Laurie on Laurie Jean is a former elementary school principal and the BEST planner, so we’ve been ok so far.
Another complicating factor are scheduled closures for two locks on the Illinois. Since commercial traffic has priority, pleasure boaters will only be allowed through overnight until they close for several days completely. They will reopen to all traffic from September 12th to the 21st and then close until October 5th. Confused? I am, in fact I’m not even sure I got that all right. What I do know for sure is that everyone is trying to figure out what to do. Some have gone quickly to avoid the closings and others have slowed down. We are going to try to get through between the 12th and 21st – so the good news is our trip home for Danny’s scheduled check in with his doctor will be extended to almost two weeks! Our boat will sit here in Indiana waiting for the locks to open while we fly home to spend time with everyone, especially Lilah!! I miss that little munchkin more than anyone, FaceTime just isn’t enough!
Before we fly home on Wednesday we will spend some time in Chicago, which is literally across the bay from where we are now, we saw the skyline as we pulled in today. Our buddy boat,TxAu crosses their wake (that’s what we call it when a boat finishes up, coming full circle) here and since they lived here before they left we’ll get the locals tour of the city, weather depending we may all travel over in their boat so we’re with them when they officially “go Gold”. The gold refers to the color of the flag or burgee that you fly to identify yourself as someone on the Loop. If you’re in progress you fly a white burgee, when you finish you fly a gold one. There are even platinum flags for those who’ve gone around more than once. That will not be us, though I bet Danny would keep going in a heartbeat if I would. It will be hard to say goodbye to Nancy, though we will still see Greg since he’s bringing the boat to Florida.
The trip home is really well timed. It seems like every time the stage of the trip changes, I’ve been really ready for it to do so. For example, I loved Canada but was excited to get back to the US and see trees instead of rocks, but now I’m ready for the Lake Michigan part to be over. I am really ready for a break and hope to come back ready to go, go, go. Until then I won’t blog I can’t imagine anyone would be interested. So thank you for traveling along our Great Loop Adventure and I’ll be back soon!
Captain Dan and Cruise Director Jodi