Saturday —- Illinois River MM 196 Henry Harbor Marina Southbound

September 4th, 2010 john

Day: 445   Miles Today: 18   Locks Today:  00   Total Miles:  4898   Total Locks: 139

Ok, here we go again.  I wish I could say that we fixed the engine problem.  We may have but it is still a big “maybe”.  We are heading south in an attempt to get close enough to Peoria Lock so that we can make it through on Sunday.  I am worried about our reservations for today; will they still have room?  There were a lot of  Looper boats that went by yesterday.  I will call them on the way to confirm.

Off we go.  We untied the boat from the two trees and the rocks and I had to hold the boat in position with the engines.  Gary got back on board and we were off.  It was a short day, a bit breezy but clear skies.  By 10:00 a.m. we were at our destination.  The reason we stopped so early is because this was the only marina that was deep enough to take our boat.  We will still have a 21 mile run to the Peoria lock and then not sure where we can get to after the lock.  It very well may be an anchorage.

Anyway we pulled into Hamm’s Holiday Marina.  It is a little embayment just off the river in Chillicothe IL.  When we pulled in there were old riverboats everywhere.  Actually they are old casino boats.  One of them is a big paddle wheeler that is in good shape, but the most of the others are just old casino barges.  We had to pull in slowly and maneuver between all the casino boats then over to an end dock, turn around in place and come back to the dock facing out.  Several of the local boaters came out to grab lines.

The locals were very nice and welcomed us to their part of the world.  After the boat was secured, I walked down the dock and they had a little barge which contained a sun pool and a lot of chairs and tables where they all gathered.  They were very friendly and asked a million questions about the Emery El and the trip.  After about an hour of talking I asked if they wanted to see the boat.  Before you knew it I had about 14 visitors.  They were all very complimentary regarding the boat.

Twenty minutes later there was a knock on the door.  One of the locals said that they were getting together to have lobsters and shrimp tonight and asked if we wanted to join them. They offered gladly to run back to the store and buy some for us.  That sounds like a great opportunity to make some more five-minute-friends.

Hey! The engines ran fine today.  Let’s hope.

Posted in The Loop Part II | No Comments »

Friday —- Illinois River MM 196 Henry Harbor Marina

September 3rd, 2010 john

Day: 444   Miles Today: 00   Locks Today:  00   Total Miles:  4880   Total Locks: 139

As mentioned before we were tied by unusual methods to an old lock wall.  When a storm came through last night we gave it a good test.  All seemed well.  Then at 5:45 a.m. this morning I awoke with the boat jumping all over the place, and there was all this unidentified noise.  It sounded like things were hitting the boat.  I jumped up, put on my shorts and was up top in a flash.

A north bound towboat with its load of barges had just passed.  The towboat somehow had gotten a little out of the channel and had moved over to the side in order to get his barges back under control.  That put his stern right outside of this little old lock channel.  The full force of his props was being directed at this little channel and at us and causing quite a rough ride in the water.  Then to make it more like an Alfred Hitchcock movie the large Asian Carp fish of notorious recent fame made their appearance.  There were hundreds of them jumping straight up out of the water, and I mean about six feet out.  What a site!  They were hitting the boat and just going crazy.  Maggie came up to see what was happening and one jumped up right next to us between our boat and the rock wall.  He bounced off the side of the Emery El and landed on top of the wall, flopped around and then slid back into the water.  It all happened so fast that we did not get any pictures.  And these were not small fish.  They were long and thick.  Big fish!

Ok, now we were up for the day.

At 9:30 a truck pulled up to the boat.  It was from Kittilson’s Garage in LaSalle, IL.  They normally work on diesel trucks, tractors, and forklifts.  “Ah! This is a boat!”

The guy was nice and patient and worked for hours checking everything.  The problem seems to be on this one engine and there is not much between the lift pump and the supply line.  He did find a loose bolt on the pump itself and if it was sucking air that could be the problem.  None of us are convinced that we have solved it.  But it is working now so we will venture out again tomorrow, back on schedule.

Late in the afternoon, two looper boats pulled in and tied right behind us.  We had to move forward to a different tree which was quite a challenge due to wind and current.

Posted in The Loop Part II | No Comments »

Thursday —- Illinois River MM 252 Spring Brook Marina Southbound

September 2nd, 2010 john

Day: 443   Miles Today: 55   Locks Today:  02   Total Miles:  4880   Total Locks: 139

First thing I heard this morning was the pitter patter of rain on the above decks.  The skies were overcast with rain and it just wasn’t pretty.  Part of me wanted to just stay put; we were at a nice location.

We cast off and were again on our way south, wondering down the rivers.  We were planning on a short day, through one lock and into Ottawa, IL. When we reached the first lock they were working a north bound towboat and its load.  As is often the case on these rivers, this tow was what they called a double.  The towboat and the barges were too big for the lock and could not go through together on one pass. They have to break down the load and make two separate passes to accomplish the lock through.  Sometimes it takes three passes. This can take two to four hours.

We were extremely lucky.  There was one other pleasure craft waiting and they had just pulled the first load of the double out of the lock.  So they waited, let us into the lock for the ride back down.  After our departure they then lifted the remaining towboat. 

We were very lucky with timing but it sure did make it exciting.  Going in we had to drive around the barges leaving us maybe a 30 foot entrance into the lock at an angle.  Then when we were leaving we got caught in a whirlpool just in front of the waiting towboat.  The Emery El went around 360 degrees in the gate of the lock.  We reestablished control and finally drove her out of the lock.  It made for a few exciting moments.

We arrived at Ottawa, IL a cute little river town, but when we got there the town dock was only big enough for two boats and there were two already on the docks.  So much for our plans!  We continued on. 

We discovered that we have lost one of our good big fenders.  Not sure how that happened but it is a loss.  We still have plenty of fenders.  I just hate to loose one of the good ones.

We arrived at our second lock and successfully passed through without incident.  These Illinois locks are big concrete locks just like on the Tennessee but they only have three floating bollards per side, and two of the three are too close to the ends of the lock for pleasure boats to use.  They obviously are designed for the bit tows.  If you are unlucky enough to not have a bollard, the lock master passes you a line that you are supposed to hold on to and then let out as the boat goes down.  This is a messy procedure.  We much prefer the floating bollards tied to the mid-ship cleat of our boat.

Now that we were through the two locks we decided to move on down river to Henry Harbor Marina.  However, now we will be a day ahead of schedule.  Remember, we have to try to pass through the restricted Peoria Lock on a Sunday.

Well, so much for being a day ahead!  Six miles out and before we got to Henry Harbor our port engine stopped again.  I tell you it is not a great feeling to have an engine stop when you are in the middle of a busy river.  Thank goodness we have two engines. (I think the next boat will have three!)  And then you spend the rest of the time waiting for the second engine to die.

I immediately went down and turned the appropriate levers to change fuel tanks.  I also switched the levers that control the fuel filters.  We were now running from a different tank using a different fuel filter.  I restarted the port engine, but it would not go above idle speed.  Every time I increased the port throttle the engine would start to stall. 

I left it running at idle because we only had six miles to go and if the engine runs, it lubricates the transmission which is turning due to the prop rotation in the water.  I know, I know, it is much too technical.  Anyway we made it to Henry Harbor Marina safely and pulled up to an old lock wall. 

Henry Harbor Marina is a very small marina for very small boats but it happens to be built right next to an historic old Illinois River lock.  This old lock was built in 1872  and was last used in 1927.  (That is until tonight).  Now it serves as a crumbling old wall to which transient boats can tie up to at night, for a dollar a foot of course.  Out bow is tied to a tree, and the mid-ship is tied to a log sticking up out between two big rocks.  The stern is tied to a metal ring bolted into a rock.  Lucky for us there is a power plug available about 30 feet on shore on the side of a telephone pole.  So we are secure and comfortable.

The two marina managers came out to greet us and in their words said that they are a restaurant with a small marina attached.  Needless to say, they did not have a mechanic.

One of the managers made several calls and came back with a couple of phone numbers.  Now you try getting a marina to send a mechanic to another marina in another town, on Labor Day Weekend, no less.

I finally found a mechanic that will come out tomorrow.  I will sleep with anticipation.

Another day, another adventure.

We walked over to the little restaurant here at the marina and had good hamburgers for supper.  I even got to pay my marina bill as part of the dinner check.

Posted in The Loop Part II | No Comments »

Wednesday —- Illinois River MM288 Joliet to MM 252

September 1st, 2010 john

Day: 442   Miles Today: 37   Locks Today:  02   Total Miles:  4825   Total Locks: 137

We started the day tied to the town wall in Joliet IL.  It was nice in that it supplied free 30 amp power, but we were ready to go.  Then at 6:00 a.m. a huge tow went through southbound.  When they come through here they go real slow and are within 50 feet of all the boats on the wall.  The next lock is about two miles down stream so there is no use moving.  Then another tow came through southbound.  It will receive locking preference so it will be a wait.  It is not going to be our day.

I called the lock master and he said it would be about 11:00 a.m. before traffic would clear. If we get through before 12:00 p.m. we still have a chance of making our destination by 5:00. 

Well at 10:50 a.m. we left the wall in Joliet and went to the lock.  We still had to wait until about 12:30 p.m. for the lock to be ready to receive us. Sometimes there is a place to the side of the river where you can anchor out of the way of the big tows.  But not here!  We had to just hold station.  That means you sit in the river and go backwards and forward and as well as use your gear shifts to keep you pointed where you want to be pointed.  It can keep you busy of a couple of hours. 

Normally when we go through the big U.S. locks we tie the boat to a floating bollard at the mid ship cleat and the Emery El rides up or down just fine. This time we were the fifth out of six boats into the lock and there was no bollard.  They handed down a line for the bow and the stern and we road down very slowly about 40 feet.  No problem!

When we got out of the lock we encountered two towboats that were also going southbound.  We called them on the radio and slowly went around them.  They take up most of the river, but left us just enough room to sneak by.

Then we ran as fast as we could to the next lock about two hours away.  Lucky for us both of the towboats stopped to unload and load new barges.  So we locked through the second lock just fine.

We then had a 20 mile run from the lock to the marina we had chosen and made it about 4:45 p.m..  This was important because they closed their office at 5:00.  They also had a little restaurant and it was great.  It was like having a home cooked meal.   The owner was a young guy and he came over to talk to us as we were finishing up.  He noticed us arrive with the “Big Boat” and welcomed us to his restaurant, “Andrews on the Riverfront”.  Gary made a comment about how good the tomatoes were and he handed us a bag of three tomatoes for our boat.  Now that is the way Middle America works.  It was a very good experience.

Tomorrow will be another day.

Posted in The Loop Part II | No Comments »

Tuesday —- BRIDGE DAY

August 31st, 2010 john

Day: 441   Miles Today: 36   Locks Today:  01   Total Miles:  4788   Total Locks: 135

 Today’s the day.  Can we get under THE BRIDGE?

We were up before daylight and left at 6:15.  The first thing I did was to check the website for the last reading.  At 4:00 a.m. the clearance was calculated to be 20.09 feet.  That is higher then the 19.1 (or 19.7 with an error factor) that we calculated yesterday. 

We’re off and running.

We still had a about 24 more miles to go before we would pass below the bridge.  The Cal-Sag has been delightful.  Yes, it is commercial but with a lot of rural in between.  We saw more wildlife on this section then any section of the loop.  We saw birds of all types plus three deer drinking on the edge of the water and a beaver.

After the merger onto the Sanitary and Ship Canal, it really turned industrial.  Because of the 19.1 foot bridge this is a massive staging area for barges.  The big towboats bring the barges up the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers and then drop them off just before the bridge. The big towboats can’t get under.  Then the little towboats bring them under the bridge and stage them for yet another set of towboats to pick them up and deliver them.  That makes for a lot of towboats and a lot of barges on a very narrow waterway.  And then along comes the Emery El.

All the towboat captains were very nice giving us directions and allowing us to pass.

In the middle of all this area is THE 19 foot bridge. We came up to it and waited for the water to calm down from the last towboat.  Then we eased forward with Gary hanging off the top watching.  He was wearing headphone and communicating with me.  We went very, very slowly.

WE MADE IT!!!!!!!!         WE MADE IT!!!!!!!!

With inches to spare, no less!

We were jumping up and down, but soon had to stop the celebration, there was more to worry about. We had in fact two towboats running directly in front of us, each with a load of barges.  We contacted them by radio and they gave us instructions to pass.  “Two whistle, captain”! (That meant that he wanted me to overtake him on his port side, my starboard side.)  It was a narrow channel and they were so big, but I put the Emery El in full speed forward and around we went.  It is very turbulent when you are behind a towboat or passing it.  Their big propellers kick up a lot of water and it swirls in circles. So during this period you are constantly steering and counter-steering.

Now for part two of our adventure today.  The Carp Gate! 

For those of you who have been following the controversy, a species of fish, the Asian Carp, are in Mississippi and Illinois and are threatening to enter the Great Lakes.  The Great Lake States are up in arms and there has been a big fight to close the inner river waterway permanently.  If you saw all these barges going through you would laugh.  The matter has gone to the Supreme Court and the suit was rejected.  But the fight goes on.  If they close it, then there no longer is a “Loop”.

As an experimental measure to try to stop the carp migration, they have built a quarter mile long electrical gate.  This is a charged piece of water that discourages the fish to pass.  For a while last year, they closed this section of the river until tests could be done on the safety effect on boaters.  Three miles after the bridge we hit the carp gate.  There were signs posted.  No one was to be outside of the boat. And we had to issue a Securité  message when we entered and again when we left.  Only one boat is allowed in the zone at one time.  In less then 5 minutes it was over.  We were passed obstacle two.

We are going downhill (downstream, that is) from here.  Out next focus will be on the Peoria Lock which is closed for maintenance from 7:00 a.m to 5:00 p.m. Mon through Sat.   Looks like we try to figure out how to be there by Sunday.

About 11:30 am we pulled into Joliet, IL.  It is a cute little river town with a casino, no less. They have a free wall that we are tied up to and there are now four other loopers whom we have never before met tied on the wall.

I am going to go ahead and send this out because I know a lot of you a wondering how we did on “the BRIDGE.”  We made it.  Thanks for your many prayers.  I only have one picture of the low bridge and it is from afar.  However Maggie shot a movie for me, but it is too large to send in an email.  I will have to ask Jason to edit it and load it to the web.

Posted in The Loop Part II | No Comments »

Monday —- Chicago IL to Inner Rivers

August 30th, 2010 john

Day: 440   Miles Today: 23   Locks Today:  01   Total Miles:  4752   Total Locks: 134

Ok, here we go, into the next adventure.

First of all, if I could, I would travel the Chicago River right through down town.   But I can’t.  The Emery El is a bit too tall to get under the fixed bridges.  So the alternative is to travel 10 miles down the coast of Lake Michigan and enter the Inner Rivers via the Calumet Harbor, then through the Calumet Sag Channel (called the Cal-Sag) which joins up with the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal.  The Chicago Rivers turns into the Sanitary and Ship Canal so here is where they merge. 

We had been told over and over that the Cal-Sag was industrial and was a terrible transit, with barges and towboats all over the place and a very busy, busy lock.  Well, not for us.  We went through the first lock with one other pleasure craft and were instructed to just float free in the middle and not to tie up.  The water only goes down about a foot.

This lock has been specifically engineered to make sure that the water flows inland and none flows out into Lake Michigan.  If fact, the whole river system has been changed.  The Chicago River’s direction was changed to cause all the pollutants and sewage from Chicago to not go into Lake Michigan but to flow down through the rest of the country, down the SANITARY and Ship Canal, down the Illinois River, then down the Mississippi River to the Gulf.  Thanks Chicago!

We made it up the Cal-Sag passing one towboat with a barge, no big deal.  We then stopped at a small marina on the outskirts of Chicago. I wanted to stay at the closest place I could to the 19.1 foot bridge that I was not supposed to be able to get under.

We paid the marina to remove our radar dome, lowered all of the antennas and tried to get ready for the “bridge experience”.  I have had nightmares for at least three years about this bridge.

Before I left home, my son and I had measured the “air draft” of the boat and it was 21 feet with the radar.  With the radar dome off, it measured 20.1 feet. On the web, I found a site that showed the water levels in that particular pool every two hours.  I knew that some days it would go down far enough for me to get through. But it was not there today.

I filled the Emery El to the brim with fresh water (500 gallons)  I topped up all the fuel tanks (800 gallons).  We even filled the forward and middle bilges with water as far as we would dare.  We then rigged up a measuring pole (nothing too scientific) and it now measured 19 feet 1 inch.  No kidding.  We figured that we may have had up to a 6 inch error at the most which would be 19 feet 7 inches.

We will have to wait until the morning and see.

Maggie and I borrowed a courtesy car from the marina and went to the food store.  We loaded up. The store was big and brand new with the best produce section I have seen in years.  But we soon found out that it was very ethnic.  It was stocked to market to the African American and Spanish ethnic groups.  Couldn’t buy an sticks of pepperoni.  The really bad news was that this particular store as a policy did not sell beer. 

The next stop was to a liquor store.  We turned into the narrow driveway for the liquor store and immediately noticed a group of young men hanging out at the back.  Stop!  Back out!  Let’s find another store.  I finally found another food store and bought four cases of beer and one bottle of wine (for what I paid for one case of beer in Canada.)  Wow!  I bought the four cases because I wanted more weight on the boat. Right!

Maggie stopped at a beauty supply store to get some hair coloring, but they did not carry blond.  This was the wrong neighborhood; it was time to get back to the boat.

Another wonderful dinner on board and we were all ready to retire.

Posted in The Loop Part II | No Comments »

Sunday —- Chicago IL

August 29th, 2010 john

Day: 439   Miles Today: 00   Locks Today:  00   Total Miles:  4729   Total Locks: 133

Beautiful day!  I woke up to the wonderful Chicago skyline.  It hadn’t been a dream.

Maggie fixed a big breakfast with eggs and bacon, toast and blueberries.  That’s the way we should start every day.

I took off on my own in the morning and walked back over to Navy Pier and took a boat ride.  Go figure, one boat to another.  I wanted to take the Architectural Tour and would you believe I was the first passenger on board.  This tour takes you right down the Chicago River, under all the bridges and though all the skyscrapers. (Did you know that skyscraper was a nautical slang term for the tall sail on a tall ship, technically called the Royals?)

The tour was very informative but it sure was hot sitting in the sun.  I could not wait to get back to our cool boat.  After a light lunch, Maggie dragged me off to the Field Museum, “just down the street” on Lake Shore Drive.  Well, after another 10 mile walk in the sun (actually 1.8 Google miles) we made it to the museum.  I just wanted a bottle of water and a seat.  Actually we spent over two hours and saw but a small part of the museum.   It was time well spent.  Then we walked back to the marina.  When we got back I was ready for a beer.  It was hot!  After all the eating out that we have done, we never did eat out in Chicago.  Go figure.

At 9:00 that night we had another fireworks display.  Again I had a hard time coming down from the top of the boat.  I just kept watching all of the boats moving about the harbor, even at 11:00 at night.

Tomorrow is going to be our big day.  We enter the “Inner Rivers” system, our last leg down to Memphis.  And we have the 19 foot bridge to worry about!!!!!

Posted in The Loop Part II | No Comments »

Saturday —- Michigan City IN to Chicago IL

August 28th, 2010 john

Day: 439   Miles Today: 39   Locks Today:  00   Total Miles:  4729   Total Locks: 133

Last night we went to the little restaurant just across the marina parking lot.   All of our meals were great and not expensive.  But I did it again.  I had another gourmet pizza.  I have a new favorite pizza.  It had a thin crust, crisp but not burnt, it was their special and I found out why.  It had no tomato sauce but had ranch dressing as a sauce, covered with a great cheese with strips of bacon and chunks of chicken.  It was truly special.  All three of us raved about it. (I tell you when I get home I will have to open an International Gourmet Pizza restaurant.)

This morning Gary and I went to sneak out of the boat at 6:00 to have breakfast at a little deli on the dock.  It was supposed to open at 6:00 but they must have overslept.  So back to the boat we went for some more blueberry muffins and fresh peaches, supplied generously by Maggie’s sisters.

We had a little mishap when leaving the dock.  We had forgotten that we had two bow lines tied and tried to back out with one still tied.  After all the yelling and screaming I am sure the whole dock was now awake.  But there was no damage. We just retied, and then untied all the lines.  It works a whole lock better that way.

We went straight across to Chicago.  The forecast was for waves 2 to 4 and that they were.  The waves were from our beam, so we turned on the stabilizers and it was a real good ride.  Maggie just laid down on the couch and slept.  She didn’t even need her rosaries

By 11:15 we were across and made a slow entrance into DeSable Marina in the heart of Chicago.  There were boats of all sizes coming and going.  We just went slow as they buzzed around us and enter the harbor, found our slip that had been assigned to us and docked.  We sit here, right in downtown Chicago right next to Navy Pier.  This is the only way to visit Chicago.

Maggie and I took off and walked over to Navy Pier.  It is the largest tourist attraction in Illinois. There were literally thousands of people walking the pier, shopping, and eating.  I had missed lunch so when I saw my first McDonalds in three months I just had to have a Big Mac.  There were 20 lines of people placing orders and they were all at least 10 deep with people waiting in line.  It was big place but there still was no place to sit.  I enjoyed the meal anyway, but I have never seen so many people. 

We retuned to the boat and I went up top for an hour and smoked a cigar just enjoying the view.  The Chicago skyline is special, but looking out over the harbor was even better.  You should have seen the boats.  At least a hundred sailboats, power boats, fireboats, police boats, mega yachts, three tall ships, a four masted schooner, etc.  There was even a triple-decker yacht (guess at 130 feet) with a helicopter on top.  What a site.

Maggie is cooking up a good supper so went up to enjoy the skyline as well as boat watching at its best.  At 9:30, they displayed fireworks off the end of Navy Pier.  We had a ring side seat. 

Maggie and Gary went to bed and I just did not want to give up on the view.  Then just as I was going down to bed at 10:15 there was another display of fireworks just off our starboard side about a mile off.  Two shows in one night.  Wow!  (I tried to get pictures but the booms would not come out.) 

I have included enough pictures in this email, so I will stop here.  Look for a follow up email with pictures of Chicago, from a new perspective.

Posted in The Loop Part II | No Comments »

Friday —- South Haven MI to Michigan City IN

August 27th, 2010 john

Day: 438   Miles Today: 47   Locks Today:  00   Total Miles:  4631   Total Locks: 133

We left at day break.  We were tempted to go direct to Chicago which would have been about 85 miles.  But then the forecast came in and it called for waves of 1 to 3 increasing to 3 to 5.  I decided that we would continue down the coast and go to New Buffalo.  Then we would have a shorter trip across tomorrow.

The waves started out at 1 to 3 and then later in the morning they started to increase.  We were close to shore so they really were running 2 to 4 feet so it was not uncomfortable.  They when I called the marina they said that they did not have any room.  Ok!  This calls for a change of plans.  We looked farther south and found the town of Michigan City and called them.  They would take us so off we went.  Now we have an even shorter jump to Chicago tomorrow.

The bad news today was that the stabilizers are still loosing oil.  It is not loosing as fast but we need to do some more investigations.  I sure do not look forward to getting back down into the engine room again.

The good news is the engines just purred all day and the Emery El was having a blast in all the waves.

This is a good time as any to discuss the nemesis of this trip, the 19 foot 1 inch bridge. Well before we departed I knew about this bridge, we have to get under it and if I have someone crawl up on top and take the radar unit down, I am still at 20 feet 1 inch.  I think there is a problem.  There is no way around the bridge.  If I can’t get under I either have to have the top removed, which is a major task because of the ten solar panels that live on top.  Or, I have to turn around and go back. (Hey, that’s an option!)

I have researched the data on the web and the water pool for that bridge goes down in early September.  At least it has the last 7 years.  It is not down yet so we wait. 

We are going to Chicago tomorrow so we will enjoy the last of Lake Michigan

Posted in The Loop Part II | No Comments »

Thursday —- Grand Haven to South Haven MI

August 26th, 2010 john

Day: 438   Miles Today: 47   Locks Today:  00   Total Miles:  4631   Total Locks: 133

We were going to stay one more day in Grand Haven but the weather changed for the better so off we went.  It was a late start but the Lake was perfectly calm.  We ran the trip in 5 hours and it was a great day.  The engines did not miss a lick.

On the way a funny thing happened.  I looked up at my radar and noticed that it was not showing anything at all.  Oh no!  The radar has died.  I turned it off and reset the breaker and powered it back on.  No difference.  I sat back and shook my head.

Then I remembered that when we left through the channel this morning there were a couple of dozen boats fishing right in the channel.  I was wondering what I would have done if it would have been foggy because there were just too many spots on the radar.  So I zoomed the radar way in to see if it would make a difference. It was at maybe an eight of a mile scale.

Well now that we were out in Lake Michigan, there were no targets within an eight of a mile.  No wonder the radar screen was blank.  I readjusted it and all was well.  We had a good laugh.

We arrived at South Haven safely, cruised up the windy Black River to the Municipal Docks and tied up with a side tie on the main dock.  I had no more docked when a gentleman came up to me and introduced himself to us and said that he had seen us at Pentwater climbing the top and looking on top of the roof of the Emery El.  He asked if we needed a ladder.  We explained that we were just looking at how we would get up to remove the radar.  (I will explain why we want to remove the radar at some later date.)  But it was very nice of him to offer us his ladder. I can’t believe that he had a ladder on board.

Maggie had called several of her sisters and two showed up at the boat.  They live in central Michigan and drove over to see us. It was Elizabeth and Kathleen and Kathleen’s husband Phil. We pulled some chairs out and took over the dock for cocktails.  You should have heard the three ladies. (You would have thought they were sisters. Giggle, giggle!)  Later, we walked up the hill into town and feasted at Clementine’s Restaurant.  It was truly a great meal.

After dinner I let them say their goodbyes and went wandering though town looking for a pharmacy.  I never did find one but I did find a Dairy Queen and that satisfied me for the night.

Posted in The Loop Part II | No Comments »