01 Milwaukee, WI to Hessel, MI

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We are finally slowing down enough so we have time for some fun stuff like putting this letter together. Just so you know where we been, here’s a map showing the places we stopped on what I’ll call the Lake Michigan segment of out living aboard adventure. The little x line in the lake is basically our route up the coast. The town names and island names are places we stopped and explored.


We sailed under the Mackinac Bridge on 6/17/97. For us it was a major milestone. We had that touch of sadness knowing that it would be quite some time before we sailed back westward again. However, for every touch of sadness, there is the offsetting of excitement of going to new territory.

It still seems like we look at each other at least once a day; smile or laugh and comment that we get to do this all the time. Not only that, we get money for doing what I call perpetual vacation.

It would be easy if I could say there was one highlight of Lake Michigan. There wasn’t. Instead there were many. The first night motoring across, we finally drank our $200 bottle of wine. It’s the one we were going to drink when Cindy first got married, drink when we moved to Wisconsin, and drink on many other occasions. It was nice wine, but no better than the wine we normally drink. What was nice was watching the Milwaukee skyline disappear into the sunset.

Muskegon was fun, met Steve, a sailing friend we met the first year we were on Lake Michigan. Manistee, we learned my dad was in the hospital and tried for rental cars. Leland was mixed emotions. We met Jim and Rita and left the next day to go to Detroit to help my dad. Once we returned, we did Harbor Springs (a new town for us) and Charveloix with Jim and Rita and then back to Leland where Jim and Rita headed back to New York.  South Manitou will always be special for us. It was especially so this time when we were the only boat at anchor in the harbor. We explored the island for two days. The second day we attempted to walk part of the shoreline and succeeded climbing over rocks and trees that had toppled into the lake because of the high water.

High Island is like South Manitou, totally uninhabited. It was a first stop for us, nice anchor out, but the mosquitoes chased us off the island and we never got a chance to explore. Beaver Island has become a favorite stop, mixing the wilderness feeling with people who are working hard to make a day to day living. We learn more and enjoy it more every time we go there. This time was special since we met the author of a book we had both read.

Technically, I should cut off with going under the bridge, but since the Lake Michigan charts claim Mackinac Island I’ve included it and St. Ignace as part of our Lake Michigan adventure. We spent 3 days on Mackinac. Did a lot of bike riding and walking the trails. Got flower and butterfly books so we could identify what we were discovering. Between pulling up the anchor and the hiking and bike riding, we are getting more exercise than we have had in years. Feels great.

St. Ignace was our last Lake Michigan stop. It was a good place to put on more provisions and begin to relax. Got a kick out of seeing an old car show featuring antique cars from the 50’s and 60’s.

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