Post #24 – CHANGING OF THE GUARD: Day 106, August 17, 2014. On board: Trish until Thursday, Wendy & Knif, till Friday, Jim K
OK, I admit it – as a group, we’re laundry-challenged. It started when I couldn’t tell the difference between a washing machine and a dryer, put my newly washed clothes into another washer instead of a dryer, and was forced to sit through the entire washing cycle of the clothes that had just been washed. But Pat outdid me when she dumped her load of clothes into the washer, forgetting that she had put a bottle of shampoo in her laundry bag. The bottle opened during the wash cycle – making the clothes VERY sudsy, requiring at least one re-wash. Not to be outdone – on Friday morning, Wendy & Knif offered to wash all the towels on board before they left. However, they were not quite dry when Wendy & Knif were about to be picked up, so rather than hang them on the boat to dry, I asked that they start the dryer for one more cycle and I would get them in 20 minutes. Earlier this evening (Sunday), I couldn’t figure out where all our towels went. Luckily, the marina was filled with people who didn’t need towels, and they were still there – in the dryer!
So – for the past 7 weeks, every Saturday has been a transition day in a pre-chosen location somewhere between Kingston, Ontario and Muskegon, Michigan – one set of friends joined us while another set of friends left us. We usually had 6 people on board, and for one special week, we had eight. Almost all cruisers whom we’ve met along the way have 2 people on board – usually a couple – and most have boats larger than the Joint Adventure. Most cruisers think we’re crazy. Maybe we are. But the camaraderie, the laughs, and the shared adventure have been more than worth any inconvenience caused by scheduled rendezvous points, limited space, or group decision-making. It has been truly a great experience. However, now that the summer is winding down, we’re about to enter the next phase of our voyage. Paul & I are alone again for the next week and a half as we make our way south along the last third of Lake Michigan, then spend time exploring Chicago. Tom – friend, neighbor, and co-owner of the Joint Adventure – and my Dad then join us in Chicago as we head down the inland rivers towards Mobile, Alabama.
In the meantime, back to our trip – we spent our “weather day” in Ludington, Michigan (about halfway down the eastern coast of Lake Michigan) catching up on chores and going to a movie in the afternoon – Get On Up – the story of James Brown. Very good movie – I recommend it. Here are a couple of final pictures from Ludington:
Wednesday dawned cool, sunny, and calm, but we headed out early since the wind was predicted to increase as the day went on (it never did). Running along the coast in the early morning, we saw the most unusual formations of fog that I’ve ever seen – wisps of fog formed different patterns as they hung over the water intermittently. It was hard to capture in pictures, but here’s one picture that did capture one of the fog formations:
We next docked in Whitehall, Michigan, about 4 miles down White Lake, a small lake that empties into Lake Michigan. However, the more interesting town (though smaller) was Montague, just across the river from Whitehall. It is a funky town, and boasts the largest weather vane in the world. Here are some pictures:
Our next stop was Muskegon, Michigan, where I am now. Sadly, Trish, Wendy, and Knif all left the boat here. After spending the summer on the boat, Trish will be returning home and going back to work, since school starts in two weeks. I’ll miss her!
Muskegon is an interesting place. It is the largest city we’ve visited since Kingston, Ontario, and is obviously working hard to re-create itself after its old industrial base has been dismantled. A good portion of the downtown area was cleared via Urban Renewal in the 60’s, with nothing to replace it ( as sad story repeated in many cities across the country). Some old buildings were retained and some well-designed new ones have been built, but much of the land downtown remains vacant. The result is a downtown area with far too much open space between buildings and a glaring lack of people – even the relatively few restaurants and bars were nearly empty on Friday at lunch time and through the afternoon. However, it’s obvious that slow progress is being made, and there were a number of interesting museums, sights, and places to visit. Here are some pictures:
In addition to LST 393, there is a World War II submarine – the USS Silversides – docked at the Veterans Museum near the beach in the Muskegon Harbor channel. The museum focuses on the role of submarines in World War II. Only 1.6% of the Navy vessels in WW II were submarines, but they sank 55% of the total number of enemy ships sunk during the war. The Silversides sank more than all but two other US subs, out of over 200 that were deployed in the war. However, the cost was very high – the mortality rate among sailors on submarines during the war was 22%, highest of any group in the Navy. Here are a couple of pictures of the USS Silversides:
So tomorrow we continue our journey south towards Chicago.