Allen's great circle trip

Lake Michigan

Elegant Living Indoors and Out.
image_map.gif (62358 bytes) Planned Trip route

De Tour Village , Michigan
Michigan City Marina, Indiana

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Lake Michigan greeted us with unusually calm seas making for a smooth ride to Mackinaw Island. Arriving at the dock we were surprised to learn that the Chicago to Mackinaw race was underway and that the first boat was to arrive by ten pm and the rest a few hours later. Touring town, tee shirt sales were booming as the visitors were anxiously awaiting the arrival of the boats. Lee as always, was willing to talk to anyone who would listen. By ten thirty, news came that the boats had run out of wind. Arising the next morning, we saw that the first boat had arrived only a few hours earlier.
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mackinaw_bridge.jpg (26144 bytes) As we reentered the lake and passed under the Mackinaw Bridge, we were once again greeted some of Lake Michigan’s calmest seas. However just to remind us of what she could be like she gave us a sample as we entered Grays Passage. Once thru the passage she became the gentle lake we all love.
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boat_race_1.jpg (24356 bytes) When the race boats finally came into view, we exchanged greeting and offered a hearty thumbs up. At this point, we were faced with the urge to spend a long day on the water to get us closer to home. However, we decided to stick with our original plan of traveling fifty miles a day, as each day was a new adventure.
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 Michigan boaters proved to be very helpful as Allen tried to radio the Charlevoix Marina on the VHS. Allen tried numerous times to raise the  marina, each time pronouncing Charlevoix a different way. A helpful boater broke into the radio and corrected his pronunciation. Allen thanked him and tried to raise the marina , once again butchering the name. Another boater came on the radio stating that the marina did not monitor the channel he was using. When Allen asked him what one to use, he replied, “I don’t know.” A few minutes later the same boater came back and said, “Sorry they do monitor that channel.” Allen looked at Lee who was snickering and said, “You call them.” As luck would have it, they responded to Lee’s first call and he strutted around the boat for the next hour as if he had just won the Mack race. 
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charlevoix_town.jpg (52053 bytes) At Charlevoix, we once again became tourists, walking the streets, looking in shops, and sitting at a curbside café sipping coffee. 
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franrkfort_marina.jpg (35795 bytes) Frankford was our next port where a boater, in the marina, gave us some fresh salmon fillets, which we promptly put into the freezer for a cookout back in Michigan City.
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winston_place.jpg (52237 bytes) Ludington, Michigan
Winston was so happy that he had finally found his own rest area.
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Grand Haven was truly a treat as we toured town ate at a belly busting meal at Clementine’s and watched the spectacular laser light and water show that evening.
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The South Haven bakery provided us with a hearty breakfast and a reminder of how beautiful Lake Michigan Marinas are before we headed out on our last leg home. 
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However, it was not the peaceful trip as we had expected as the lake greeted us with some six-foot waves and rollers. We tried a course along the shoreline with no avail then we tried going out further from shore and still the lake was determined to make last leg uncomfortable. A diagonal course cutting the waves a forty-five angle seemed to smooth out the ride. As we neared St. Joe we contemplated docking to escape the pounding of the waves, but the vision of the Michigan City lighthouse in our minds made us even more determined to take on Lake Michigan.
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lake_michigan_rough.jpg (19234 bytes) As we neared New Buffalo, we heard a sail boater whom we had talked to at the marina earlier in the morning, franticly call the Coast Guard telling them that they were scared and were turning back toward St Joe. Allen called them and suggested that they cut the waves at an angle and to call us if we could be of any help.
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A short time later, we sighted the NIPSCO cooling tower and the most beautiful lighthouse of the whole journey. Turning and docking was a bittersweet experience as we were greeted to our slip, which had been decorated with balloons and welcome home signs. Winston was extremely happy to inspect the dog walk at his home marina, as we were to meet and greet our fellow boaters. 
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