Saturday, September 24, 2011

Hell on Wheels!

 Tessa seems awfully quiet and empty without the James' presence. Especially after the Mackinaw City antics and then the funfilled Bon Voyage party last night with Tom and Marlene in Whitehall Michigan. This morning they loaded up the James' and headed for Port Clinton, while we headed for our next port of call, Saugatuck.

Last Wednesday morning we arrived in Mackinaw City after an overnighter from Harbor Beach. Lynne limped back from the showers. Her little injured piggy now referred to as "roast beef" was throbbing and it was going to be very uncomfortable to walk around town all day. Nick James was not about to have his princess in pain, so off he went in search of a wheelchair. Little did we know how that loving gesture was going to impact our day!

The streets, bars, and fudge shops of Mackinaw City became unsafe for normal pedestrian traffic. Although we did not witness it, Lynne claimed that he nearly threw her from the chair several times. We did however witness him racing her up and down the dock with a lapfull of laundry. It was like seeing a car wreck. You just couldn't help but watch even though you were afraid of what you might see. We breathed a sigh of releif when he turned it back in to the marina that night. Just go about your business folks, nuthin to see here. Thankfully!!

Another overnighter to our final destination with the James' on board to White Lake yesterday. Now it is just the two of us for the rest of the journey to Carrabelle Florida, where Bryan Diveto and Danielle will join us for the Gulf crossing to Fort Myers Beach.

It sure is quiet on board.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


Tuesday September 20th

When weathered in waiting out 25 knot winds and 8 foot waves, try this recipe to avoid becoming frustrated and depressed. Combine great food with lots of red wine. Add a large serving of Lynne James and a small serving of Nick James. Mix in music. Heat up with SONG and DANCE! It worked for us!

This is how we passed the time Sunday and Monday while tied to an unforgiving cement breakwall with large chunks of iron protruding from it, just itching to scar Tessa in a surge. The wall was definitely not part of the overnight accommodations I had planned. Harbor Beach Marina surprised me by having only five feet of water, just a smidge too shallow for Tessa. I guess I’m out of practice, as my normal m o is to always call ahead and check depths. The dockmaster suggested we tie up just inside the break wall near their lighthouse. We had to find somewhere to wait out the incoming storm fast, with no other harbors within striking distance, so it was our only option.

Our first encounter with bad, unpredicted weather on Saturday reminded us all how unreliable the forecasts are. All the reports were favorable for our Friday afternoon departure. Less than 10 knot winds and calm water was in our future all the way to Port Huron. We entered Lake St. Clair before dawn on Saturday and were immediately slammed with a stiff 20 knot wind right on our nose for the next six hours. Not fun!

Later on Saturday it cleared up and we enjoyed a lovely trip up the St Clair River into Port Huron for an overnight stay. We quickly found the local watering hole and Nick began harassing our server, who gave it right back at him, which made for lots of laughs. We walk into a bar as strangers but always leave friends behind.
We made a meal of escargot and crusty bread, then lights out early for an early departure Sunday morning.

Sunday evening after an hour of securing lines to the Harbor Beach break wall and some pipes on top of the wall, Lynne split the bottom of her foot open on some deck hardware. After we got her bandaged up, we felt secure enough to throw together the recipe for fun and had a great time. The wind continued to build throughout the night, which made for a lot of “what was that???” sounds to which we would jump up and check out. Morning brought a heavy downpour that lasted all through the day. We hoped the winds would subside enough to move on, but NOAA warned of 8 foot waves all afternoon. The crew decided on a predawn departure this morning, so we broke out the adult beverages and had a wonderful Italian Sausage Pasta dish, compliments of Mike and Debbie’s care package sent along for the trip.

Today is absolutely gorgeous out on Lake Huron and we are truly appreciative of the bright blue skies and gentle rolling waves. Our plan is to continue overnight and arrive in Mackinaw City or St. Ignace tomorrow morning. After being confined here on board since Sunday morning, we need to walk on terra firma, diesel up, pump out, and check the weather window for the next leg of the trip. We hope to get the James’ to Chicago by Sunday at the latest. Tom and Marlene Kelleher have kindly offered to transport them back to Port Clinton.

Chicago by Sunday is the best case scenario. Lake Michigan and Mother Nature will decide how that all plays out! In the meantime, the four of us are enjoying that Milson/James combination of ingredients that create a recipe for friendship, fun, laughter, and lots of memories!