Browsed by
Month: June 2021

Waiting out the Weather and the River

Waiting out the Weather and the River

30-Jun-2021 Wednesday Grafton Harbor, Grafton IL (IL WW mile 0) (0 nautical miles 0 statute miles)

38°58’04.8″N 90°26’19.6″W
38.968002, -90.438771
Elevation: 418 feet     Elevation change: 0 feet debatable
States (1): Illinois

Locks (0):

Along the Way

I thought I’d check in. We are still waiting out the weather and the river. The forecast for today was this.

The past couple of days have been altering every other hour between severe thunderstorms and 98 degrees heat with high humidity. Today was cooler, but still a lot of rain. We’ve been spending a lot of time on the yes dear…

Yesterday the log count was 3-5 logs bigger than I am moving past yes dear… per minute on the Illinois River. Today it’s about 1 log per minute. The water level has dropped considerably, but it is still high.

We’ve got a great view of Grafton’s US flag and the Mississippi Palisades from yes dear’s… mid deck. I check it every morning and several times a day when I do the log count.

Grafton Harbor Marina has ‘free boat detailing’. The rain has scrubbed yes dear’s… exterior. The fish are eating the moss or whatever off her bottom and the grackles and sparrows have picked all the bugs and spiders off her.

There’s a grackle nest just off yes dear’s… sun roof aft corner. One of the grackle parents is really wary about us being here. The other one doesn’t care. Besides watching logs all day, I’ve been watching the birds. Oh, yah. We also did laundry today too.

3:00pm checks

The log count is still around one log per minute.

3:00pm grackle check

It took about 15 minutes for the grackle to build up the nerve to go feed the babies.

The weather and water will be good enough for us to leave tomorrow morning. But we are not. Grafton Harbor Marina has a Looper Special that if you stay three nights you get two nights free. We are staying for both our free nights and will be leaving Friday morning, July 2.


I’ve said this before, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Weather Service is a boater’s friend. Not only does NOAA provide a weather service it also provides a river watch service. River observations and forecasts.


The Illinois River, where we were last week before the rain, is still having hard time with flooding. Below is a NOAA River Chart for the Starved Rock Lock in the Illinois River. (Glad we aren’t there now.)

This is a NOAA River Chart for the Quincy IL lock on the Mississippi River. We are heading this direction.

Drolleries and Yuks

How do you make holy water?
~You boil the hell out of it.

Changing Colors

Changing Colors

27-Jun-2021 Sunday Grafton Harbor, Grafton IL (IL WW mile 0) (0 nautical miles 0 statute miles)

38°58’04.8″N 90°26’19.6″W
38.968002, -90.438771
Elevation: 418 feet     Elevation change: 0 feet debatable
States (1): Illinois

Locks (0):

Along the Way

I bet everyone up river is thankful for their dikes. The water keeps rising. The water level in the marina is noticeably higher than it was yesterday morning. Nineteen feet in the past two days. It’s apparent in the height of the dock poles and the angle of the floating dock ramps.

We watched a continuous onslaught of trees making their way down the river ALL DAY.

The locks and dams must be a mess with all this junk. Locks close down if water is too high. Grafton Harbor Marina has temporarily stopped renting their rental boats. They don’t want them damaged in all the debris.

We also watch the Grafton IL/St. Charles MO Ferry fight the current in and out.

Weather altered between extreme hot and muggy and rumbling, heavy thunderstorms through out the day.

Changing Colors. During a break in the weather we mounted our just delivered, Platinum Loop burgee. The Platinum burgee my only be flown by Loopers who have completed the Loop 2 or more times.

Per Kimberly Russo, Director of America’s Great Loop Cruisers’ Association (AGALC)
“This is an unusual year due to COVID.  Not many boats began the Loop last year, so we’ve had very few completions reported this year.  In most years, about 500 boats show that they’re in progress in our database.  In the last “normal” year (2019), we had 162 new Gold Loopers and 14 new Platinum.  Total Gold through 2020 is 1817.  Total platinum through 2020 is just under 100.”

There are more people that climb Mount Everest each year than complete the Loop. Approximately 800 people attempt to climb Mount Everest annually.

The sun stayed out so we wandered out

Vince the Pirate had to leave to go back to Seneca 🙁 But of course it had to start raining AGAIN as we headed out to use the marina courtesy car.

It quit by the time we got to the Alton Amtrak station.

We already miss you. But I must say it is a whole lot quieter without your “Tweety Bird” phone chirping all the time.

It’s raining again. Alot. Maybe it’s a good thing we live on a boat.

We are currently under a river flood warning here in Grafton until Wednesday afternoon. The water is expected to crest near 25 feet. Rainfall heavier than forecast could cause river levels to rise even higher than predicted.

More thunderstorms are forecasted for all day tomorrow. The weather outlook for the week is not promising. We are going to sit tight here in Grafton until the water and weather settle down. Most-likely I will not create another blog entry until we are on the move again.

I am washed out.

Well, We are here

Well, We are here

26-Jun-2021 Saturday Buckhorn Island, Montezuma Township, IL to Grafton Harbor, Grafton IL (IL WW mile 0) (42.6 nautical miles 49.0 statute miles)

38°58’04.8″N 90°26’19.6″W
38.968002, -90.438771
Elevation: 418 feet     Elevation change: -6 feet
States (1): Illinois

Locks (0):

Along the Way

We anchored last night in 7 feet of water, but pulled anchor this morning at over 9 feet of water. The river rose 2 feet overnight. Over four inches of rain fell yesterday. One inch fell within 20 minutes.

The anchor rode needed to be cleared. It had collected an eagle’s nest worth of logs and branches. It was not an easy job.

As we sipped our morning coffee we noticed a pontoon floating down river that was tied to another pontoon, that was floating down river.

We issued a sécurité on channel 16, pulled anchor and went over to investigate. By this time the pontoons were in the middle of the channel. One pontoon was flipped over. No one was on board the second pontoon and the motor was tilted up (not in use). There was too much current and too much debris for us to do anything to salvage the good pontoon or get them both out of the middle of the channel.

A northbound barge was about 2 miles away heard the sécurité and thanked us for the heads up.

We are a blood thirsty lot. We stayed around long enough to see if the barge would hit the pontoons as it came up the channel. We are pirates.

The tow captain reported the pontoons to the Coast Guard. Take a look at this! The tow’s name is Paul Tobin. It’s from the great state of West Virginia.

We continued down river. It felt like we were playing ‘Frogger’ on the river as we dodged logs.


To “cross our wake” means that we have officially finished the Great Loop. Today we crossed our wake for the second time. We are now Platinum Loopers!

Too early for supper we headed back to yes dear….

The Grafton IL/St. Charles MO Ferry was having a nasty time trying to dock/undock. The current was extreme fast and strong.

Partying with the Pirate. It was time to explore Grafton.

As we walked past the first place we heard the band announce ” I don’t play no Miley Cyrus. No Taylor Swift either.” They went on break so we continued on.

We had to stop at the wood store. It’s too interesting to pass by.

One stop shop.

Our destination was the Bloody Bucket Saloon.

Two years ago we were here with Vince the Pirate when he was the first patron to autograph the newly sided men’s room walls.

Yes, I was in the men’s room watching him do it.

Vince the Pirate called for another celebratory drink. Rumple Minze. It tastes like Christmas and warms your cockles of the heart.

A couple of of the many eclectic things in the Bloody Bucket Saloon.

It had rained like crazy again while we were in the bar. When the rain was over we headed back to yes dear …

There were a few pictures from today I wasn’t sure I should share in the blog or keep them for blackmail.

This wasn’t the end of the night. I just quit taking pictures. What happens in Grafton stays in Grafton ….


We ‘crossed our wake’ stats:

Trip start: 9-OCT-20 St Paul MN to Grafton IL
Nights in a marina: 1
Nights on the hook: 9

Loop started: 19-OCT-20 Grafton IL
Loop ended: 26-JUN-21 Grafton IL
Total Days on Loop: 251
Nights in a marina: 176
Nights on free docks: 24
Nights on the hook: 51

Total Days on Trip: 261


(of a person or their tendencies) not able to be corrected, improved, or reformed.

Warm the cock·les of of my heart
To gratify; to make someone feel good. This term comes from the Latin for the heart’s ventricles, cochleas cordis, and has been used figuratively since the late seventeenth century. “This contrivance of his did inwardly rejoice the cockles of his heart,” wrote John Eachard (Observations upon the Answer to Contempt of Clergy, 1671).

Ponder This

“Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than those you did. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from safe harbor. Catch the wind in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
~ Mark Twain

Boat on the Run

Boat on the Run

25-Jun-2021 Friday IVY Club, Peoria IL to Buckhorn Island, Montezuma Township, IL to Buckhorn Island, Montezuma Township, IL (108.4 nautical miles 124.8 statute miles)

39°30’02.7″N 90°35’22.2″W
39.500739, -90.589485
Elevation: 424 feet     Elevation change: -15 feet
States (1): Illinois

Locks (2):
Mile 157.6, Peoria Lock & Dam
Mile 80.2, La Grange Lock & Dam

Along the Way

Boat on the run! Peoria is bracing for floods with 4-6 inches of rain expected by Monday, four days from now. We took off at first light to get south of it. The rain started last night.

New bridge going in next to the old bridge. They built a temporary bridge for the crane so it could bridge the new bridge.


Mile 157.6, Peoria Lock

There are levees along most of todays run.

We are world tourists. We we’re in Havana today. Earlier this month we were in Peru, Frankfort, Rome and Troy.

Dang there were barges in the La Grange Lock with the more barges and the tow down below. It was wait……

With large barge tows and large locks the tow will break apart it’s tow into smaller section and run them up the lock separately. The first set comes up without the tow boat. The barges get pulled out of the lock by a cleat on a rail when they get to the top.

The cleat

The La Grange Lock dog is a local dog that comes down to the lock pretty much every day and hangs out with the workers.

The La Grange Lock had a lot of work done to it during last year the 2020 Illinois Waterway shutdown. All new cement and new doors.

Blades. The tow boat had to really stretch its neck to see over its load. The barge needs less than 3 feet of water bottom clearance.

Rain started. We obviously didn’t out run it. If a boat can’t take water it shouldn’t be a boat

(The All Terrain Armored Transport, or AT-AT walker, is a four-legged transport and combat vehicle used by the Imperial ground forces.)

Lucky for us the rain was soon over.

Boat on the run! It looked like it was coming our way again.

The ‘better weather ahead’ didn’t last for long. The rain came. It was like driving your boat through a car wash. At times we couldn’t see the bow on yes dear… or the sides of the river. Micro bursts of wind pummeled us. Vinnie the Pirate took the helm and followed the charted red line. Dale and I stood vigilance, one on each side of him watching for logs and other debris between the lightening flashes. An orange bolt traveled down the river at us. Dale and I ducked waiting for the sound of it hitting the boat, blinded as it flashed through the helm. Thunder rumbled. Vinnie the Pirate just kept following the charted red line.

Lightning flashed non-stop. It was too dark for my camera to take pictures until the storm began to lighten up.

We were NOT night running. It was about 6:30PM.

When it was all over it was still hot and humid.


Levees protect land that is normally dry but that may be flooded when rain or melting snow raises the water level in a body of water, such as a river. Dikes protect land that would naturally be underwater most of the time. Levees and dikes look alike, and sometimes the terms levee and dike are used interchangeably.

Drolleries and Yuks

If lightning strikes an orchestra, who is most likely to get hit?
~The conductor.

Why does lightning strike a tree before a person?
~Because it takes the path of leaf resistance.

What do you call a cow struck by lightning?
~Ground beef.

Did you know that when lightnings strikes a church, insurance companies refuse to pay?
Reason: Act of God, in other words, deliberate destruction by owner.

We picked up a Pirate

We picked up a Pirate

24-Jun-2021 Thursday Mariners Marina, Seneca IL to IVY Club, Peoria IL(73.9 nautical miles 85.1 statute miles)

40°44’55.5″N 89°33’25.0″W
40.748751, -89.556953
Elevation: 440 feet     Elevation change: -44 feet
States (1): Illinois

Locks (2):
Mile 244.6, Marseilles Lock
Mile 231.0, Starved Rock Lock & Dam

Along the Way

An armada of vessels from Mariners Marina is leaving today for a weekend in Peoria. We joined the fleet. The group assembled for coffee at 5:30 AM. Butch called the Peoria lock master and he told us to wait for an hour before we headed down. There were a couple tow boats and barges already in the queue.

We were off. yes dear… and four other boats. We picked up a pirate. Vince the Pirate is on board and riding with us to Grafton. Welcome aboard maty!

Marseilles Lock. Our first and last lock of the day and we had a green permission light to enter. The Lock Master personally greeted Butch over VHF. Butch had worked on the lock for 6 months when it was down for repair last year.

Out and on our way

Starved Rock Lock


Illinois Valley Yacht (IVY) Club

We checked out Rizzi’s, a local Italian eatery. Great food!


There are various local legends about how Starved Rock got its name. The most popular is a tale of revenge for the assassination of Ottawa leader Pontiac, who was killed in Cahokia on April 20, 1769, by an Illinois Confederation warrior. According to the legend, the Ottawa, along with their allies the Potawatomi, avenged Pontiac’s death by attacking a band of Illiniwek along the Illinois River. The Illiniwek climbed to the butte to seek refuge, but their pursuers besieged the rock until the tribe starved to death, thereby giving the place the name “Starved Rock”. Apart from oral history, there is no historical evidence that the siege happened.

Drolleries and Yuks

Why are claustrophobics so creative?
~ Because they are always thinking outside of the box

We met the Colonel

We met the Colonel

23-Jun-2021 Wednesday Billie Limaches Bicentennial Park free wall, Joliet IL to Mariners Marina, Seneca IL (31.1 nautical miles 35.8 statute miles)

41°18’01.8″N 88°37’05.3″W
41.300500, -88.618129
Elevation: 484 feet     Elevation change: -54 feet
States (1): Illinois

Locks (2):
Mile 286.0, Brandon Road Lock
Mile 271.5, Dresden Lock & Dam

Along the Way

We called Brandon Road Lock before we left the Joliet’s Billie Limaches Bicentennial Park free wall. The lock said all is clear. Come on down.

The Mc Donough Str Bridge (16.5 ft) was really tight. Dale aimed between the low support beams to make it through. It would have been bye bye bimini if his aim was off.

Check out the guy in orange sitting on the back of the barge. After every couple of scoops he checked the markings on the barge to see how low it was sitting in the water.

This is our 3rd run on this section of the Illinois Water.

Brandon Road Lock

We got to meet the Colonel at Brandon Road Lock.

Colonel Sattinger is the only military office supporting Illinois Waterway, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Rock Island District, about 900 people. He’s the guy who was in charge of the extensive lock repair closures last year, 2020.

I told the Colonel a joke so he told me a joke.

Do you know why Airborne training is only 3 weeks long?
Week 1 – separate men from boys
Week 2 – separate out the idiots
Week 3 – let the idiots jump

Always progress new bridge

The Dresden Lock is 600 ft x110 ft with a lift ~22 ft. It takes 66,000 cubic feet of water (493,714 gallons of water) per foot of lift.

Auto pilot is a great.

Woo Woo! Mariners Marina!

Oopsies. I forgot to take pictures of our friends.


Illinois Waterway from Chicago to the Mississippi River. 8 locks

Ponder This

Why isn’t phonetic spelled that way?

Furthermore, Colonel is pronounced ˈkərnl. It took me a couple of tries to spell it correctly because I kept trying to put an ‘r’ in it.

Water Warriors

Water Warriors

22-Jun-2021 Tuesday McKinnley Marina, Milwaukee MI to Billie Limaches Bicentennial Park free wall, Joliet IL (112.5 nautical miles 129.5 statute miles)

41°31’24.7″N 88°05’14.4″W
41.523529, -88.087320
Elevation: 538 feet     Elevation change: -41 feet
States (2): Wisconsin, Illinois

Locks (2):
Mile 327.4, Chicago Harbor Lock
Mile 291.0, Lockport Lock and Dam

Along the Way

Water Warriors! We were on our way a few minutes before 5:00AM

The sun rose at exactly 5:15am right on the nose as predicted. The sunrise got prettier as the sun climbed. So did its reflection on the city. I’d said my goodbye so the camera stayed at my side while my coffee and I quietly enjoyed it.

When I stood to pour my second cup of coffee I couldn’t take it anymore. I had to take a picture. The reflections continued to grow until it was too bright to even look at the city without burning my eyes

On to Chicago!

Lake Michigan took its last licks at us as we headed into the Chicago Harbor. It just had to hit is hard on the beam one last time for measure.

Chicago Water Cribs. The water cribs are structures built to house and protect offshore water intakes used to supply the City of Chicago with drinking water from Lake Michigan. Water is collected and transported through tunnels to pumping stations located onshore, then to water purification plants Jardine Water Purification Plant (the world’s largest) and the Sawyer Water Purification Plant (operating since 1947). The water is treated and pumped to all parts of the city as well as 118 suburbs.

The city has had nine permanent cribs of which six are still standing and two are in active use.

Sailing ships upon the seas

Chicago. The breakwater wall surrounding the Chicago Harbor is surprisingly low! I bet waves just pound over it on windy days.

The Chicago Harbor Lighthouse (1893) was actually moved and altered in the early 20th century. The breakwater was extended in 1918, so the city relocated the lighthouse relocated to new southern tip.

Water Warriors! It was too early in the afternoon to call it a day so we headed into the Chicago Harbor Lock.

Out of the lock and into the city.

We are still checking clearances. The game’s changed a little bit. The dinghy boom and the radar are back up so we need to account for the additional height. Only one bridge will have to open for us (fingers crossed). We’d rather not wait for bridges to open if we can squeak through. Going down the Erie Canal with so many low clearances numbed the terror out of passing under low clearance bridges. Current water level is always a wild card so we had to proceed with caution.

Two of the many tour boats of many styles.

Heading out of Chicago

The river quickly became more industrial with a few small marinas tucked in.

Water Warriors! The feared, stationary CSX Chessie Railroad Bridge. If a boat can’t clear this 17 foot clearance bridge they need to turn around, go back through the city and take the Cal-Sag Waterway to continue south to the Mississippi. Besides backtracking, the Cal-Sag Waterway (41.9 miles) route is longer than the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal (15.2) route.

Not any Erier than the Erie.

The Erie Canal didn’t look like this. Interesting repair work.

The confluence of the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal (left)and the Cal-Sag Waterway (right).

Electronic fish net to prevent Asia carp from spreading into the Great Lakes.

Lots of dust in the air from heavy machinery working.

Mile 291.0, Lockport Lock and Dam

Water Warriors! A couple of close call bridges in Joliet IL


We tied off for the night on Joliet’s Billie Limaches Bicentennial Park free wall. The police station is directly across from the park and Harrah’s just up river.


The Chicago River is the only river in the world that permanently flows backwards. It flows away from Lake Michigan, which supplies the city’s drinking water. This was done around the turn of the 20th century to stop contamination from the river into the lake. Every year, the city dyes the river green for St. Patrick’s Day.

Drolleries and Yuks

What kind of plants goes in the bathroom?
~Toilet trees

I love Milwaukee

I love Milwaukee

21-Jun-2021 Monday McKinnley Marina, Milwaukee MI (0 nautical miles 0 statute miles)

43°02’49.1″N 87°53’16.6″W
43.046982, -87.887951
Elevation: 579 feet     Elevation change: 0 feet
States (1): Wisconsin

Happy first day of summer!

Along the Way

I love Milwaukee. The city is filled with museums, art galleries and public art installations.

At 10am the large white wings situated atop the Milwaukee Art Museum slowly open. It has the wingspan of a Boeing 747, and contains sensors that will automatically close up if winds reach 23 mph or higher. The wind was over 23 mph today. (Good call by us to stay in port and not travel on Lake Michigan today.)

When the wings are open, as they were yesterday, it reminds me of the Oculus in NYC.

The weather beacon shaped as a natural gas flame was added to the top of the Wisconsin Gas Building in 1956. It indicates the weather forecast by its color and flicker.

Building cleaners

We took the River Walk to see the Fonz.

The Pabst Theater, built in 1895,it is the fourth-oldest continuously operating theater in the United States.

From 1850 to 1870 there was a trend to clad some commercial buildings in cast iron panels. The panels were durable and fire-resistant, and they could be applied to a structure without having skilled stonemasons on site. Milwaukee’s Iron Block building (1860) is one such example. The Iron Block building was initially called the Excelsior Block bluilding.

The Chamber of Commerce Building (aka. Mackie Building) housed Milwaukee’s Grain Exchange Room (1879)

There are beautiful contemporary building in Milwaukee too. I didn’t find them as interesting as the old stuff.

Milwaukee Public Market

Installation Art



I’d like to come back to explore Milwaukee’s museums and galleries.

The Milwaukee Art Museum (MAM) collection contains nearly 25,000 works of art, making it one of the largest museums in the world.

The Milwaukee Public Museum is home to the world’s largest dinosaur head. A 9-foot-by-8-foot Torosaurus cranium, along with a partial skeleton, is on display there.

Drolleries and Yuks

What do you call a person from Wisconsin who always has alot to say?
~A Milwaukee-Talkie

When Pigs Fly

When Pigs Fly

20-Jun-2021 Sunday Port Washington Marina, Port Washington WI to McKinnley Marina, Milwaukee MI (23 nautical miles 26.5 statute miles)

43°02’49.1″N 87°53’16.6″W
43.046982, -87.887951
Elevation: 579 feet     Elevation change: 0 feet
States (1): Wisconsin

Happy Father’s Day to all the fathers and especially to Dale, the father of my children, and to Jake who is celebrating be a father for the first time in his life.

Along the Way

We were among the last to leave the marina this morning at 5:30am. All of the sport fishing boats left more than half an hour before us.

Today was a great day for traveling except for the weather forecast. Waves were under a foot, four second swells. Severe thunderstorms predicted to start around noon. We had hoped to make Chicago today decided on Milwaukee, less than 25 miles away. Milwaukee will be a lot more interesting to sit out the sit out the weather than Port Washington.


For the record, I really hate flies.


We pulled into McKinnley Marine’s fuel dock at 8am and slapped down our credit card for two nights. We will be pinned in by weather till at least Tuesday. As it looks today, there is a slim chance we can head to Chicago on Tuesday. If we can’t get out then we will be in Milwaukee for about a week. But who knows for sure. Weather changes.

The rain came and I took a nap. When I awoke there was a pink pig flying at the end of our dock.

I went back to bed.


The idea for a day honoring dads is generally attributed to Sonora Dodd, a woman raised by her father after her mother died in childbirth, according to the Library of Congress. In 1910, Dodd was apparently listening to a church service on Mother’s Day, which itself had only existed for a few years and was still unofficial, and she began to think about everything her father had done for her growing up. The first Father’s Day celebration took place where Dodd lived, in Spokane, Wash., in June 1910.

In 1966, President Lyndon B. Johnson proclaimed that the third Sunday in June would be officially known as Father’s Day, saying that we look to fathers to “provide the strength and stability which characterize the successful family.” In 1972, President Nixon made the day a national holiday.

Drolleries and Yuks

When does a joke become a dad joke?
~When it becomes apparent.

What’s the difference between a high-hit baseball and a maggot’s father?
~One’s a pop fly. The other’s a fly pop.

What did the mother bullet say to the daddy bullet?
~We’re gonna have a BB!

On Wisconsin

On Wisconsin

19-Jun-2021 Saturday Betsie Lake, Frankfort MI to Port Washington Marina, Port Washington WI (90 nautical miles 103.6 statute miles)

43°23’15.1″N 87°52’03.0″W
43.387515, -87.867488
Elevation: 579 feet     Elevation change: 0 feet
States (2): Michigan, Wisconsin

Along the Way

Following seas were predicted for today’s float plan. Leaving Frankfort before first light 5:30am.

Autopilot was set to 229 degrees, RPMs to 1500 and we were off. Voila. We will be there in Sheboygan in~10 hours. Looking back at Frankfort. You can barely make out the lighthouse.

Garden style rain showers were predicted for about 10:30am.

It did rain.

What we hadn’t expected was lightening. Dale pulled out one of our USPS (Power Squadron) manuals to see if it had any advice for what to do if your vessel gets struck by lightening. It didn’t offer up much but said lightening wasn’t as bad as either capsizing or sinking. OK.

The time zone changed from EST to CST.  Sunset is one hour later tonight. Decisions. Decisions. Do we stop as planned at Sheboygan at 4PM or West Bend at 6PM?

With the weather in our favor we turned 14 degrees to the south, zipped open the isinglass and cruised, with a new heading of 215 degrees, West Bend.

Various time during the day the waves were so jumbled it was hard to say what direction they were coming from. That’s one of the reasons that makes Lake Michigan so dangerous.

The nasty old flies were back, but not in the masses we had earlier.

Someone had suggested using peppermint spray to keep them away. It helped but didn’t solve the problem. They started landing on me.

The jury’s not out for me on the peppermint spray. As long as the peppermint aroma lingered the flies stayed away. I had used diluted diffuser oil. Perhaps if I had used a stronger scented peppermint oil, like a cooking peppermint oil, it might have worked better. Either way it worked well enough to keep the spray bottle at hand.

With Milwaukee in view we pulled into Port Washington. We initially anchored inside the breakwater. Unfortunately the swells were coming straight in so we decide to head into the marina. Dale will sleep better.

The harbor wall wasn’t protective enough so a wall was added above the wall.

Charter fishing is big business in Port Washington. The marina is filled with fishing a boats. At least a dozen of them are charter fishing boats

Good Night

Tonight we are on Wisconsin.


“On, Wisconsin!” can be traced back to the American Civil War where Lieutenant General Arthur MacArthur Jr. exclaimed these words in the Battle of Chattanooga at Missionary Ridge to help rally his regiment. This exclamation worked so well that he was rewarded the Medal of Honor for his efforts.

“On, Wisconsin!” was written W. T. Purdy and designated as the state song in 1959. The state song lyrics are different from the “On, Wisconsin!” the University of Wisconsin fight song lyrics.

State Song Lyrics:

On, Wisconsin! On, Wisconsin!
Grand old badger state!
We, thy loyal sons and daughters,
Hail thee, good and great.

On, Wisconsin! On, Wisconsin!
Champion of the right,
‘Forward’ – our motto –
God will give thee might!

BTW Wisconsin also has a state ballad ‘Oh Wisconsin, Land of My Dreams’ and a state waltz ‘Waltz of Wisconsin’.

More Floccinaucinihilipilification

The Sea Lamprey is the most dangerous fish in Lake Michigan. It is also the most dangerous fish in the entire Great Lakes area. Sea lamprey attach to a host fish, rasp and puncture its skin, and drain its body fluids, often killing the host fish. Their preferred hosts are salmon and lake trout, however they also feed on other fish species, including lake whitefish, walleye, northern pike, burbot, and lake sturgeon. Many of these fish species are important sportfish, highly prized and sought after by local and visiting anglers.

Drolleries and Yuks

Two goldfish are in a tank. One says to the other, “Do you know how to drive this thing?”



18-Jun-2021 Friday Petoskey City Marina, Petoskey MI to Betsie Lake, Frankfort MI (79.5 nautical miles 91.5 statute miles)

44°37’36.5″N 86°13’52.8″W
44.626812, -86.231333
Elevation: 579 feet     Elevation change: 0 feet
States (1): Michigan

Along the Way

It can’t always be sunny. The morning started with much needed rain. Today is ‘Doable’, not ‘Desirable’. We usually don’t do ‘Doable’. We did today.

The Windy app said it was 2 feet waves 3 seconds. Mary said it was 4 feet waves 3 seconds. It was particularly rough crossing shoals and rounding points. Lake Washing Machine (Lake Michigan) did not disappoint in its reputation today. Fortunately the rain passed and the wind laid down some after we rounded Traverse Bay.

I decided to skip they lighthouse pictures today and take pictures of sand dunes instead. I have to say again today, upper Michigan is beautiful.

Sleeping Bear Dunes rise as high as 460 feet above the lake and cover 4 square miles.

There is a ‘walking path’ from the top of the dune to the shore. If you can super zoom in on the below picture you can just make out a few people near the top of dune, some in the path and some along the shore. I think its highly doubtful that you make the trek to the bottom more than once in your life.

Empire Bluff

Betsie Point, Lighthouse and Dunes

The Frankfort harbor has breakwater walls about .4 mile long. It really helped for entering the harbor in the wind.

Good Night


Sleeping Bear Dune is named after an Ojibwe legend of the sleeping bear. According to the legend, an enormous forest fire on the western shore of Lake Michigan drove a mother bear and her two cubs into the lake for shelter, determined to reach the opposite shore. After many miles of swimming, the two cubs lagged behind. When the mother bear reached the shore, she waited on the top of a high bluff. The exhausted cubs drowned in the lake, but the mother bear stayed and waited in hopes that her cubs would finally appear. Impressed by the mother bear’s determination and faith, the Great Spirit created two islands (North and South Manitou islands) to commemorate the cubs, and the winds buried the sleeping bear under the sands of the dunes where she waits to this day. The “bear” was a small tree-covered knoll at the top edge of the bluff that, from the water, had the appearance of a sleeping bear. Wind and erosion have caused the “bear” to be greatly reduced in size over the years.

Drolleries and Yuks

What do you call a bear without any teeth?
~A gummy bear!

Which type of bear is the most condescending?
~A pan-duh!

I’m Pondering This

Someone told me that I should write a book. It’s a novel concept.

Petoskey Stones

Petoskey Stones

16/17-Jun-2021 Wednesday/Thursday Petoskey City Marina, Petoskey MI (0 nautical miles 0 statute miles)

45°22’38.2″N 84°57’37.1″W
45.377284, -84.960293
Elevation: 579 feet     Elevation change: -3 feet
States (1): Michigan

Along the Way

Wednesday. WOO WOO. We rented a car. The only car available for rent in the area. Enterprise said we could have it as long as we promised to have it back by noon the next day as it was already booked for a 2pm pickup. The car was Lincoln Navigator 2021. Way too good for the Tobins.

I wonder what’s going on here. It will be interesting to see if anyone falls in. Having rented cool wheels, we didn’t stay around long enough to find out.

Family first. We went to Traverse City to visit Dale’s Aunt Marilynn. She’s 88 years old and in great health. Aunt Marilynn and Uncle Stans (deceased) were extremely kind to us when we lived in Michigan in the early 1990’s. She has a special place in our hearts.

We also stopped by to visit Mary minus Dave. We met them on the Erie Canal. They graciously said we could use their address to have a couple of packages to us. Mary’s great. How can you not like someone with the same name as you. It’s funny how close you can feel for someone after knowing them for such a short time. Dave is STILL two days away from getting their boat to Traverse City.

Mary likes rocks and has been collecting them and landscaping with them as long as they have had their house, about 20 years. They just sold their house and she is going through a crisis with what to do with her rock collection. She has a lot interesting rocks. Mary has been sifting through her yard and grabbing a few she plans to take with her when she moves. Power to the pebble!

Dale mentioned I really wanted to find a Petoskey stone. I didn’t actually find a Petoskey stone, but Mary said I could select I wanted from her yard and as many as I wanted. Thanks Mary! They are really cool.

We saw the dock hands were done when we got back to the dock. The flags were up and no one had fallen in.


Petoskey has a Meijer store! Meijer stores are the best. They are a combination of a Super Target, a Super Walmart, Fleet Farm and main street all rolled into one store. We used to shop at a Meijer all the time in the 1990’s when we lived in Troy MI.

Back with our stash including a case of yellow bellies and two new fly swatters.

The 2021 Lincoln Navigator was due back at Enterprise in two hours. We took it joy riding along Little Traverse Bay to get our moneys worth our of it. We didn’t at all look out of place with our 2021 Lincoln Navigator as we drove through Wequetonsing and Harbor Springs.

Wequetonsing was interesting. There were a lot of new homes made to look like old homes. All the old was really new. Rich people name name their houses.

Good. Downtown and Uptown are in the same direction.

Obligatory pictures. Michigan is really beautiful.

The Michigan State Police was formed during World War I to serve as a home guard while many men were actively serving their country in the armed forces. Eventually, the duties of the State Police were changed and they became a permanent part of law enforcement in Michigan, totaling 300 men by 1919.

I thought long and hard about putting the Traverse Bay and Little Traverse Bay on my the Best of the Best List, but decided against it. The only reason it didn’t make the list is the traffic is terrible. The infrastructure is not set up to support the VOLUMES of local and vacationer traffic it has.


A Petoskey stone is a rock and a fossil that is composed of a fossilized rugose coral, Hexagonaria percarinata.  The 6-sided coral fossils are found in rock formations dating back to the Devonian period, about 350 million years ago. Complete fossilized coral colony heads can be found in Petoskey stones

In 1965, the Petoskey stone was named the state stone of Michigan.

Drolleries and Yuks

What’s big, red, and eats rocks?
~A big, red, rock eater

Why is a moon rock tastier than an earth rock?
~Because it’s a little meteor.

What rock group has four men that don’t sing?
~Mount Rushmore.

What do you call it when two carbons are in a relationship?
~Carbon dating.

Why was the boulder emotionless?
~Because it had a heart of stone.

What do you call a rock that bunks school?
~A skipping stone.

Why were the rock couple breaking up?
~Because they took each other for granite!

Why was the criminal rock acquitted?
~Because his alibi was rock solid.

What do they do with a dead geologist?
~They barium.

Why was the geologist considering changing his profession?
~Because he had hit rock bottom.

What do you call a dubious rock?
~A shamrock.

Where do rocks sleep?
~In bedrocks.

Which magazine do rocks subscribe to?
~The Rolling Stone.

Pure Michigan

Pure Michigan

15-Jun-2021 Tuesday Cheyboygan County Marina, Cheyboygan MI to Petosky City Marina, Petoskey MI (60.1 nautical miles 69.2 statute miles)

45°22’38.2″N 84°57’37.1″W
45.377284, -84.960293
Elevation: 579 feet     Elevation change: =3 feet
States (1): Michigan

Along the Way

It seems like every time we head towards this bridge it take for ever to get there. This is our third time.

Lake Washing Machine (aka Lake Michigan) is not too bad today. Northern Michigan is real pretty.

All commercial vessels passing under the Mackinac Bridge, through the Mackinac Straits, issue sécurité warnings about 60 minutes so that traffic is kept to a minimal when they cross under the bridge. We heard sécurité warnings all day. Commercial ship traffic was heavy.

Commercial fishing on Lake Michigan is not as prevalent as years ago.

There are 4 big light houses between Waugoshance Point/Island and Hog Island to make sure no one makes a mistake. We ran rogue and didn’t follow the shipping lanes. Less miles and we have a shallower draft.

Little Traverse Bay


Walk about

We stopped to watch a baseball game at Bay Shore Park. I rooted for the Racers because I liked their shirts. I also like the players names on the shirts. Each was a funny nick name. They lost.

Tonight we are at the tip of the ring finger of the left had Michigan mitten.


Lake Huron and Lake Michigan really are one lake.
Lake Huron and Lake Michigan are culturally known as two lakes despite being connected. The splitting point is the Straights of Mackinac.

Nauti Words

Sécurité is a procedure word used in the Maritime radio service that warns the crew that the following message is important safety information. The most common use of this is by coast radio stations before the broadcast of navigational warnings and meteorological information.

Michigan’s Mitten Middle Finger

Michigan’s Mitten Middle Finger

14-Jun-2021 Monday Alpena Municipal Marina, Alpena MI to Cheyboygan County Marina, Cheyboygan MI (84.5 nautical miles 97.3 statute miles)

45°22’38.2″N 84°57’37.1″W
45.377284, -84.960293
Elevation: 582 feet     Elevation change: 3 feet
States (1): Michigan

Along the Way

A light for the way.

Another long run today.  Long runs are hard and when open water, boring. I finished my book a couple of days ago. We were too far out to get internet data. In desperation for something to do, I cleaned.

Overall it was another great run. We did have a over an hour of 2 feet 3 seconds head on swells. That wasn’t so great. It’s on the very edge of the “I don’t like that” zone.


Shortly after we slipped in and showered another Looper couple with a Bayliner (Dan and Gina on Kittiwake) stopped by. That led to great conversations and story swapping. Then another Looper couple stopped by. Imagine our surprise to see Dan and June on Subject to Change. We had met them on our first Loop in Canada. They are traveling slow and still on their first Loop.

Dale and I never made it to see downtown Cheyboygan. I heard it was cute.

Tonight we are at the tip of the middle finger of the left hand Michigan mitten.



Ponder This

Do gun manuals have a trouble-shooting section?

Michigan’s Mitten Pointer Finger Joint

Michigan’s Mitten Pointer Finger Joint

13-Jun-2021 Sunday Michigan State Harbor, Port Austin MI to Alpena Municipal Marina, Alpena MI (65 nautical miles 74.8 statute miles)

45°03’32.2″N 83°25’37.7″W
45.058944, -83.427142
Elevation: 579 feet     Elevation change: 2 feet
States (1): Michigan

Along the Way

Since we came in after hours last night, this morning I walked over to the harbor master’s to pay for our slip. I love dogs but dogs on the beach make me mad.

I looked around for the owners and was getting ready to yell at it then realized … it wasn’t a real dog.

Just leaving the harbor and the flies are already circling in. Bet I find protein in the bottom of my coffee cup again today 🙁

Fortunately it didn’t get worse.

It was a beautiful run, but a long run across Saginaw Bay (60+ miles). You couldn’t have asked for more exceptional weather.

Alpena lies on the 45th parallel, which means it is HALFWAY to the North Pole. BTW so does Larpenture Ave in St Paul MN.

Tonight we are at the pointer finger middle joint of the left hand Michigan mitten.

Downtown Alpena looked like other smaller lake towns. This building caught my eye.



The map is courtesy of tonight’s NOAA neighbors.

Looks like we might get a little push from the current tomorrow.

Drolleries and Yuks

Why do dogs like to run around in libraries?
~Lots of Tales to chase!

I don’t want to talk about it

I don’t want to talk about it

12-Jun-2021 Saturday River Street Marina, Port Huron MI to Michigan State Harbor, Port Austin MI (83.5 nautical miles 96.1 statute miles)

42°58’41.0″N 82°25’46.1″W
42.978050, -82.429482
Elevation: 577 feet Lift: 0 feet
States (1): Michigan

Vroom. Vroom. Vroom. I’m all about driving my Donzi through someone’s boatyard this morning. Donzi cigarette boats and pontoons paraded the channel last night until 2AM.

Along the Way

Since the camera went to bed early last night I thought I’d take a quick picture of the marina wall we stayed on. Last night the boat owners dragged picnic tables from the park grass to the side walks next to their boats. Others set-up their own patio furniture.

We are off

Here on Huron!

Then it was hell.

There must have been a million files swarming yes dear… today. It was like God took his pepper shaker and blessed our boat. The flies only redeeming qualities were that they didn’t bite and were stupid, making them relatively easy to kill. I coward in the downstairs salon. No way was I going to stand outside and take pictures. Dale turned the autopilot to head further out into Lake Huron hoping to move out of their range.

Dale took out the hose and sprayed down yes dear… to get the flies off. The carnage was great. The scupper drain water ran black with carcasses of dead flies. No kidding! Dale continued to defend, spray down the exterior of yes dear… against the plague of flies for about 2.5 hours.

I can’t help wondering how fishermen deal with the flies. They must really like to fish.

I continued to cower on the inside. I too had challenges. Some of our screens do not seal completely tight. Flies were streaming through yes dear’s… screen gaps. If I owned a burka I would have put it on. After waring out my both fly swatters I took to spraying the flies with Mrs Meyers cleaner. It slowed them down enough for me to wipe them up with paper towels and squish them. We had one sticky trap. I placed it in a strategic spot and in 20 minutes it was covered.

Once in the marina and plugged into shore power, we hunted down the remaining flies inside yes dear… with the vacuum cleaner.

I am traumatized. I’m may to have to add therapy to my existing list of weight watchers, marriage counseling and Alcoholics Anonymous for when we complete the Loop. I hate flies more than spiders. Spiders eat flies.

Back to the voyage

You know how lower Michigan looks like a left hand mitten? Tonight we are at the tip of the thumb of the left hand Michigan mitten.

I glanced at a bucket in the cockpit as I stepped off yes dear… The fly aftermath was right there in black and white. The mid-deck and upper helm on yes dear… looked this bad too. But, it wasn’t as evident because the blue gray carpet camouflaged the massacre.

Dale has had a hankering for Revel Stokes Pecan Whiskey for over a month now. It’s been out of stock at every liquor store we’ve checked at. We stopped at the liquor store here in Port Austin, the one that has the Bentley parked outside of it. BTW liquor stores in Michigan are called party stores.

They didn’t have any Revel Stokes Pecan Whiskey either. The woman working behind the counter was a font of knowledge. Business was slow so we visited with her for a while. She said that there is currently a plastic and glass shortage in the US that is affecting liquor supplies and probably other supplies. She showed us several bottles of liquor that are currently using mismatching bottle caps because it’s the only color bottle caps available at the moment. She hasn’t had Corona beer in stock for 4 weeks and is having similar issues with other beers and some liquors. She didn’t attribute this shortage to ‘China issues’ but rather the reticence of American workers to go back to work.

She also said that there have been unusually heavy hatches of flies this year. We told her we had experienced that.

Down the street we stopped a little bar restaurant. We ordered pizza. The choices were traditional round or Detroit square style. We went with Detroit square.

I commented to Carrie, the bartender, as we paid the bill “You look tired. How long have you been on your shift?” Her reply was “Only since four. I just had Covid really bad and I’m still recovering. I really shouldn’t be here.” She wasn’t wearing a mask. She was wearing a chin diaper.


Lake Huron has the longest shoreline of the Great Lakes.
The Lake’s shoreline stretches 3,827 miles. The vast number of islands in Lake Huron contribute to the high shoreline mileage.

Great Lakes Loch Ness Monster.
An old Ojibwa legend claims that a water monster lives in the Lake Huron. The monster, Mishebeshu, is said to live in a den at the mouth of the Serpent River. (Canada)

Over 1,000 Shipwrecks have Occurred.
While Lake Superior is well-known for shipwrecks due to the SS Edmund Fitzgerald wreck in 1975, Lake Huron has had numerous wrecks too. Fathom Five National Marine Park houses artifacts from 22 of the wrecks, only a small fraction of the wrecks. (Canada)

Lake Huron has an Underwater Forest.
Off the shores of Lexington, Michigan you can find 7,000-year-old petrified trees

Lake Huron has a Salt Mine under it.
Goderich Mine, which is the largest salt mine in the world, partly runs 1,800 feet under Lake Huron. (Canada)

Drolleries and Yuks

What do you call an iPhone’s battery?
~Apple juice.

Let the river decide the speed

Let the river decide the speed

11-Jun-2021 Friday  Alcyone’s dock (Todd and Patty), Gross Isle MI to River Street Marina, Port Huron MI (23.3 nautical miles  26.8 statute miles)

42°58’41.0″N 82°25’46.1″W
42.978050, -82.429482
Elevation: 577 feet Lift: 4 feet
States (1): Michigan

Great morning. Got to the bottom of my coffee cup without finding a bug.

Geography Lesson

The St. Clair River flows south from Lake Huron into Lake St Clair. The Detroit River flows south from Lake St Clair into Lake Erie. We are ran up river, both the Detroit River and the St Clair River, all day today. The current was quite strong on both rivers evidenced by a 4 foot elevation rise over ~27 statue miles.

One thing about rivers, its best to let them decide your travel speed. 1500 – 1600 rpms is the sweet spot for yes dear’s… 2-250 Hino engines. At times the rivers today let us run 6.5 kts and other times we ran 3.4 kts, both much slower than our 7.5 rpms – 8 rpms average. In the sweet spot increasing rpms only burns fuel and doesn’t do much to increase speed.

Along the Way

US Steel as far as the eye can see. Iron ore, old plants and new plants.

The south side of Detroit is industrial. Auto manufacturing related plants of various kinds go on and on. The Canadian side isn’t any prettier.

There is a different configuration of tow boat / barge in this area than we’ve seen before. When they are joined they resemble a ship with a swap out bridge/engines. The barges are notched so that the tow slips partially into them. It must be more efficient/cost effective to switch a tow out if mechanical issues arise.
I don’t know what the configuration is called 🙁

Heading into Detroit

Time trials for the Detroit Grand Prix were happening on Belle Isle as we passed by.

Here they come.

Lake St Clair

Nemesis of the Day – NONE. Today there were almost 50 dragonflies on yes dear…. Flies hate dragonflies. Dragonflies eat flies 🙂

The southern end of the St Clair River has cottages on the USA side and open land on the Canadian side. As we headed up the St Clair River the Canadian side became more residential.

The northern end of St Clair River is industrial, little bit more on the Canadian side that the USA side. All of the quaint houses on the USA side of the St Clair River have a most excellent view of Canadian factories and plants.

Remember the Waterworld post-apocalyptic action film staring Kevin Costner? The St Clair River felt that way.

I’m really glad this is not a weekend day. Pleasure boat traffic must be a nightmare. I didn’t take any pictures of Donzi boats (cigarette boats) as I refuse to feed their egos. If I had a dime for every Donzi we saw screaming past I’d own the Queen Mary.

Port Huron

My camera went to bed early, even before yes dear… was docked.

Changing of the Colors

Changing of the Colors

10-Jun-2021 Thursday  Village Marina on South Bass Island, Put-In-Bay OH to Alcyone’s dock (Todd and Patty), Gross Isle MI (32.6 nautical miles  37.5 statute miles)

42°06’21.0″N 83°08’59.0″W
42.105824, -83.149727
Elevation: 573 feet Lift 2 feet
States (2): Ohio, Michigan

Along the Way

Leaving Put-In-Bay

Nemesis of the Day

Todd and Patty graciously offered us a place on their wall for the night. We followed them home.

Todd and Patty live in a Wonderland. I wondered if we could make it in and if we did, I wondered if we could make it back out.

Changing of the colors.
Todd and Patty’s Gold Looper Flag was in the mail stack waiting for them at their house. We had the privilege of watching them change their colors.

Thanks Todd and Patty for your hospitality. We’ll see you in Florida.


Centipedes generally avoid water. They can swim for a short while but soon drown due to lack of oxygen. They take in oxygen from the atmosphere thro’ small pores located under their legs.

Drolleries and Yuks

How much room is needed for a fungi to grow?
~As mushroom as possible 

Islands in the Lake

Islands in the Lake

09-Jun-2021 Wednesday  Mentor Harbor Yacht Club, Mentor-on-the-Lake OH  to Village Marina on South Bass Island, Put-In-Bay OH  (68.1 nautical miles  78.4 statute miles)

41°39’15.2″N 82°49’05.9″W
41.654229, -82.818317
Elevation: 571 feet     Lift 0
States (1): Ohio

Along the Way

Rather than bounce along the southern shore of Lake Erie past Cleveland and Sandusky we decided to head straight across towards Detroit. The forecast said weather would be good for traveling all day but I didn’t think it looked that way.

An unexpected guest

The weather did eventually clear up.

The nemesis of the day was the nematocera. I just don’t where all the bugs come from when we are 3 miles or more off shore.

We traveled just south of the USA/Canada boundary.

There’s a small group of islands in Lake Erie just north of Sandusky OH. Some are in the USA and others are in Canada.

Entering Put-in-Bay OH on South Bass Island.

Someone somewhere along the line released a couple of koi carp in Put-In-Bay. They interbred with the local carp so it’s not surprising for the locals to see orange carp. It is surprising for the rest of us to see the orange carp.

We rented a golf cart and toured the island with Todd and Patty from Alcyone. They had been out here several times before and were great tour guides.

The 352-foot Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial monument is the world’s tallest Doric column. IT was constructed between 1912 to 1915 it stands 47 feet taller than the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor.

We needed to stop for one beer before we had to return the golf cart.

Good Night


The Battle of Lake Erie, sometimes called the Battle of Put-in-Bay, was fought on 10 September 1813, on Lake Erie during the War of 1812. Nine vessels of the United States Navy defeated and captured six vessels of the British Royal Navy. This ensured American control of the lake for the rest of the war, which in turn allowed the Americans to recover Detroit and win the Battle of the Thames to break the Indian confederation of Tecumseh. It was one of the biggest naval battles of the War of 1812.

Ponder This

Do song birds get mad at humming birds for not knowing the words?

Our day went like this

Our day went like this

08-Jun-2021 Tuesday  Presque Isle State Park, Erie PA  to  Mentor Harbor Yacht Club, Mentor-on-the-Lake OH  (68.8 nautical miles  79.2 statute miles)

41°43’35.3″N 81°20’59.2″W
41.726464, -81.349783
Elevation: 570 feet   Lift -1
States (2): Pennsylvania, Ohio

Along the Way

Our day went like this.

The Mentor marina is man made/dredged. There are two businesses, Mentor Harbor Yacht Club and Mentor Lagoons Marina. We stayed at the yacht club,

A shuttle runs between the Mentor Harbor Yacht Club and the Mentor Harbor Yacht Club docks

After sunset the shuttle took us back to our dock


Ponder This

If an electricians kid gets in trouble do they ground them?