Sound Boat Works, Parry Sound, Ontario
We logged over 2,000 miles driving back to South Dakota to get the truck and trailer and return to Parry Sound. We drove through the smoke generated by the very large Parry Sound wildfire, wondering if they would shut down the highway before we could get back to the boat. Stress????
We found a public boat ramp close to the Sound Boat Works marina and for the first time in nearly11 months, we put Nellie May back on her own trailer. We took some time to talk through the process since we were definitely out of practice. The only issue was the public dock didn't have cleats. It had these stupid little rings that you are supposed to slip your line through to control the boat.
Stupid rings. Yup, I had a little trouble.
We got Nellie May on her trailer the first try and then did our "trailering" chores. Lines unhooked and stored inside the cabin, mast lowered, everything tied down inside the cabin,..you get the idea.
We returned the rental car and they didn't comment on the 2,000 miles we drove in five days (3,600 kilometers – remember this was Canada). Unlimited miles? yes, please.
Boaterhoming...at the KOA
We planned to do some sight-seeing as we drove through Michigan. We stayed at a little motel one night because it had a big parking lot. The next three nights we stayed at a KOA campground in St. Ignace, Michigan.
We asked for a pull-through spot for a 60-foot rig. They had no problem providing just the right spot for us. We made quite the impression driving through the campground.
"Are you lost?" "Do you know something we don't know?"
Or my favorite---"If you start gathering animals 2-by-2 I want to sign up!"
And, of course, I checked out the bath house right away. Fairly nice showers...
One benefit of Boaterhoming over traveling by boat is that we had a land vehicle. We felt pretty fancy. We took a ride on Shepler's Ferry over to Mackinac Island for the day. This stop was on my bucket list because I love the movie "Somewhere in Time", which was filmed at the Grand Hotel.
Mackinac Island doesn't allow motorized vehicles. That means there are many, many, MANY bicycles and horses. We took a horse-drawn tour of the island because it was pretty darn hot that day – too hot to walk. The tour was a hop-on, hop-off tour so we had the chance to spend time at the Mackinac Fort and other historic spots.
The photo shows us at the end of the day enjoying a quiet moment on the porch of the Grand Hotel. I want you to notice we are the only people in the photo who are NOT on their phone. I swear Tim was going to start yelling at people to put down their phones and pay attention to where they are. It was hot. He was a little testy.
Mullet and Burt Lake, Michigan
We dropped Nellie May back in the water at the Cheboygan County Marina and spent a few days on Mullet Lake and Burt Lake. These are quiet little lakes accessed by the Cheboygan River Inland Waterway river/canal. They are fairly shallow so we knew we could drop the anchor if the boat quit again. Nellie May ran beautifully and we had a few days on the water with no stress. It was glorious.
Back on the road...
After a few days on the lakes we put her back on her trailer and headed on down the highway.
We stopped at Charlie and Vicki's house near Grand Rapids, Michigan. See those little orange cones? Charlie put those out so we would have a parking spot on their cul-de-sac. Vicki contacted all the neighbors to smooth the way for our visit. To show our appreciation we moved our Happy Hour out to the boat and gave tours and answered questions. So many questions...
Our two days with these great people flew by! Did I mention we all went to high school together and Charlie was in our wedding? Loads of laughter, stories, and time to catch up on each other's lives.
I think Tim has talked Charlie into crewing for him next summer for a few weeks on the Rideau Canal. Charlie is a professor at the Culinary Arts School which obviously means he is an awesome chef. I see great things for meals on the boat...
I plan to do some traveling while they are exploring on the boat. So many friends and family to see after being gone a year!
The Badger Ferry was awesome.
Tim decided we would skip driving through Chicago by traveling on the Badger Ferry across Lake Michigan. I think there were at least 50 cars, three semi-trucks, some farm implements and a ton of motorcycles loaded on the ferry for the four-hour ride. They don't let you drive your vehicle onto the ferry so we watched to make sure they handled our rig with care. They did a great job.
As you may or may not know I am somewhat prone to getting sea sick and thought that the motion of a vessel new to me might be a challenge. So, I wore my last scopolamine patch, stayed on the top deck where I could see the horizon and munched on popcorn for the duration of the trip. Tim explored the ship from top to bottom and gave me updates on what he found. We both had a good ride.
South Dakota, Home Sweet Home
After driving another 1,000 miles, we returned home to Lake Madison on August 15, a little over 11 months since we left. One of the first things Tim did was put our R21 Ranger Tug (Little Nellie) on the lift. Doesn't she look pretty?
We miss the community of Loopers. We are keeping in touch with folks through Facebook, emails and text messages but it sure would be nice to pull into a marina and look for AGLCA burgees again.
We plan to put hours on Nellie May's engine next summer and make sure our Emergency Shutdown issues are resolved. Then we will make plans to return to Parry Sound and finish our Loop. We have about 800 miles left on our 6000-mile Loop so we should be able to cross our wake in the summer of 2020.
Until then we will blend back into our country-living lifestyle of mowing in the summer and moving snow in the winter, going to small town football games, Boy Scout meetings, my quilting group, and spending time with family and friends.
It has been fun to share this adventure with everyone through the newsletter. We hope it inspired/entertained you! Thanks for listening.
Tim and I started our Great Loop Adventure on 9-11-2017 in Ottowa, Illinois. We put the boat on a trailer and drove 9 hours from our home in South Dakota to Heritage Harbor Marina in Ottowa to put her in the water. Tim's brother, Dan, drove the truck and trailer back to our house. Thanks Dan!