Monday, June 23, 2008

Rain, Rain, Go Away

We got the Blue Chip launched last Monday right on schedule. We spent the next four days unloading the coach into the boat. The weather was miserable; rain, wind and cold. We had to wait for a break in the showers to run a load from the coach down. But by Thursday we had it completed. We moved the boat over from the service dock to the Marina in Mackinaw City, a distance of about 100 yards and it seemed to be running well. After a couple of tweaks, all systems seem to be functioning.

Friday we loaded what we would need for the weekend, back into the coach and headed back down state to the Crystal Mountain Resort for our annual canoe and kayak weekend with our diving buddies. After a week of cold and rain, we weren’t looking forward to any water sports. Friday, the skies clear and it warmed into the mid 70’s. But the forecast was still for showers and thunderstorms all weekend.

The Kayaking Kohuts

Somebody in our group must be living right. Saturday morning there were thunderstorms and rain showers all over the weather radar. Everywhere that is except where we where. We had a perfect day for kayaking. The river that we wanted to kayak on, the Pine, was closed all week because of high water. The outfitter, Pine River Paddle Sports, suggested rather strongly that we not do the Pine and instead do the Big Manistee, which was less technical. Without hesitation we took his advice. The Big Manistee was in flood stage, so it was still a challenge for our group but instead of a 2 ½ or 3 hour paddle as with the Pine, this was a 4 hour marathon.

Years ago, everyone decided to stop canoeing and instead ride single person kayaks. The reason was to maintain our marriages. Don and Marilyn elected to canoe this time as a couple. The last time we kayaked the Big Manistee they each tipped over in kayaks. This time they both flipped over in a canoe. We guess it didn’t matter which craft they chose. Retrieving the canoe was not an easy proposition with the heavy currents. The Amazing Randy flipped over after about two minutes into the trip and had to walk down stream a ¼ of a mile before he caught up to his kayak. He would still be walking if Karl hadn’t rescued it and pulled it to shore. On his second flip Randy hitched a ride in Don and Marilyn’s canoe. Fortunately, that is all that decided to take swim calls in the frigid waters that day. Bill and Jan, Karl and Juanita, Colette, and we, all made it down at least semi-dry. Back at base camp, Tom and Susan and John and Joan prepared for the cocktail party and dinner. Another great weekend, with great friends is in the books.

We are now back aboard the boat and almost ready to cruise. We are having a new canvas top and covers made. With all the rain last week, the canvas man was unable to complete the patterning. He is here today and hopefully will complete the task. From here it is over to Mackinac Island and from there who knows.

Al, the canvas man, works to pattern a new top as the Blue Chip is in the water and ready to go.

Everyone seems to like the pictures in the blog, so we added more at a photo gallery. They can be viewed at: We hope that you all have had a great week. Hard to believe that we just had the summer solstice and the days are going to start getting shorter.

Take care, Love,
Linda, Jake and the Fat Man

Sunday, June 15, 2008

55 degrees, but we have air conditioning!

First we need to clear up a little misunderstanding from last week. Many of you have written and asked about Mike’s older brother, Tom. Tom is actually younger than Mike, but by only a year, so it would be easy to make that mistake.

Great news; the motorhome air conditioner has continued to function well all week. Not that we needed it as it has been cool and rainy. But we have checked it every day to make sure that cold air is still coming out. Of course we all know when it will decide to fail.

We had a wonderful week. We stopped in Conneaut Lake and visited Mike’s old college roommate, Bill Petraitis, and his wife, Jill.

Linda and Jill prepare dinner in her fantastic newly remodeled kitchen.

Then we moved on to Detroit for meeting with our business partners, Jim and Diane Richards.

Diane and Jim Richards

From there it was to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan for our friend, Capt Pete Lindquist, daughter Kate’s wedding. Capt Pete along with his daughter Capt Kate and son, Capt Joe operate Shipwreck Tours glass bottom boats in Munising. The cruise takes you along Grand Island and near the Pictured Rocks National Seashore to old shipwrecks lieing on the bottom of Lake Superior. We would highly recommend doing the tour if you are in the area.

Capt Pete gave away his daughter Kate.

While in the UP, Linda was introduced to the little menace called black flies. Linda is normally immune to any biting insects, because if she is with Mike, he will attract every bug that is in the area. However, Saturday afternoon she took the dog for a walk, by herself. She got into a swarm of what she thought was gnats. After she got back to the coach, she felt bumps on the back of her neck and they were bleeding; she freaked out. Black flies like to hide when they do their deed and had gotten under hair bitten the back of her neck and forehead. Linda now refused to get out of the coach and it was now Mike’s job to walk Jake. They had already chewed up Mike’s legs, but that didn’t matter. It seems like any future trips to the UP in June are in jeopardy.

We are now in Mackinaw City. The weather forecast is for rain, wind and temperatures in the low to mid 50’s. Everyone says it has been a horrible spring up here, wet and cold. It looks like someone should have packed a pair of long pants.

Our boat goes in the water this Monday, so we are in transition between the motor home and the boat. Now that everything is working on the motorhome, it should be interesting to see what needs fixing on the boat.

Jake and Linda get ready to transition.

We hope that you all have had a Happy Father’s Day.

Take care, Love,
Linda, Jake and the Fat Man

Monday, June 9, 2008

95!!! Who needs air conditioning?

Our first order of business is to congratulate the Detroit Red Wings and Red Wing fan friends on their Stanley Cup victory. They played a marvelous series. Congratulations also to the Penguins and their magnificent fans. They played their hearts out. Their come from behind tying goal with less than a minute left in game 5 and then winning in the triple overtime showed what character this team has. We would have loved to see it have happened again in game 6 and it was oh so close. But Detroit was the better team and they earned and deserved the victory.

On a personal note we still have our computer. It is not fixed and our “friends” at the Geek Squad were virtually useless. They couldn’t even check to see if the battery in the computer was bad. Their solution to everything is that it will have to be sent out and will take 3-4 weeks to get back. Because the computer still works on AC power and we have an inverter in the coach and on the boat, we told them to shove their extended warranty where the sun doesn’t shine. We just won’t be carrying the computer into any coffee shops looking for WiFi’s.

It was 95 in Miami Monday and Mike’s blood pressure and temperature rose well above that after our stop at the Best Buy to confront the Geek Squad. It was shortly after that confrontation that the air conditioning in the coach stopped working. Our $400 rip off “repair” from the Muffler Man in Marathon didn’t even last a whole day. Needless to say the temperature went up another notch. We at least had a partial solution. We can run the generator on the coach and use the roof top air conditioners. They don’t produce a stream of cold air from the front of the coach, but they do prevent the coach from turning into a mobile sauna. We are taking the coach up to Thermo King in Pittsburgh that first fixed it last year.

We stopped for fuel and were pleasantly surprised to find that fuel had dropped by a dime since we left the Keys. We also found that by slowing the coach down 55 MPH that we can get almost 11 MPG. So now we are one of those old codgers in an RV poking down the highway. Our fuel savings were short lived as the price has now jumped back up.

The temperature was in the mid 90’s all week as we stopped and visited friends and family along the way. But we finally made it into the Thermo King. When they started to check it out, the mechanic asked Mike how to get to the top of the condenser in the front of the coach. Mike said the only way he knew was from the underneath the coach, but the fellow said that was too tight to get up into. Mike called the Safari factory thinking there must be something he was missing. The factory told us that to access that area, we would have to cut a hole in the front of the coach and then take it to a body shop to have it repaired. He said the newer models have a door that opens. Needless to say, Linda immediately nixed that idea. Fortunately they found that the leak was in the back of the coach, not in the front. They replaced a couple of fittings and re-charged the system. We had air conditioning again, at least for the rest of that day. We moved the coach over to Mike’s brother’s house and haven’t tried it again. The test will come on Monday when we start off again.

We hope that you all have had a great week.
Take care, Love,
Linda, Jake and the Fat Man

Mike's Brother Tom and his wife Karen host a pool party at their home.

Jake says come on in the water is fine!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

All systems are go!

Linda loads the last of the supplies into the bus.

It looks like everything is ready for our scheduled departure Monday. The last repair on the motorhome was completed this week. No more leaking sewer lines to worry about. Mike has checked everything and declared it fit to travel. We are hoping for a worry free summer of travel.

We do have to make a stop in Miami Monday. Our computer battery will not take a charge; neither will the spare. We have a warranty through Best Buy for it so we will stop there and talk to the Geek Squad. If you have ever dealt with those people you realize that they are appropriately named. Customer service is not part of their vocabulary. We are hoping that batteries or charger is bad and can just be replaced. If not, the computer has to be sent out for a mother board replacement. That means three weeks without a computer and the hassle of trying to have them ship it to a store up north where we can pick it. If you don’t receive any trip updates for a while, you know that is what happened and we are computerless.

Take care, love,
Linda, Jake and the Fat Man