Thursday, August 28, 2008

Easy Riders

We certainly had an easy week. Mike made an appointment to have his root canal finished this past Tuesday. And that gave us a little over a week to do nothing. Rather than spend the whole time in Petoskey, we thought that we would take another loop around this end of Lake Michigan. Before heading out we put fuel on for the first time this year. We weren’t low, but the fuel had dropped to $4.20 a gallon and Mike didn’t want to lose a bargin. We put on 200 gallons of the 260 that we were down. Mike wanted to leave room in case it went down some more.

We headed out and went back to Charlevoix. Of course that meant dinner at the Gray Gables; a fantastic place. From there we moved over to Leland; our first time there by boat. As usual it was full and we had to raft behind three other boats. Each of them informed us that they would be leaving early in the morning, which meant that we had to move our boat first. We had dinner at the Cove in Fishtown. Linda figured that if we had to get up to move the boat, we might as well leave, so at 8:00 the next morning we were on our way. We dropped back down into Grand Traverse Bay and went into Suttons Bay. There we had a great dinner, cheap, at Boone’s Prime Time. It has great steaks and burgers. The next morning Linda perused the local stores and was ready to go at noon. We slipped over to Elk Rapids. Dinner there is at Pearls, a wonderful Cajun restaurant. Elk Rapids has cable TV on the docks and we wanted to watch the Steelers game. There wasn’t time for dinner Saturday night without missing part of the game, so we ordered pizza delivered to the dock. We are not sure if it was the Steelers play or the pizza that caused the indigestion. It was ugly, but the Steelers did manage a field goal with 4 seconds left to pull it out 12-10.

Coleen and John D’Amour, our friends from Boyne City came down in their boat joined us for breakfast Sunday morning. Linda wanted to do some laundry, but the washing machines were down in Elk Rapids, so we started back to Petoskey.
The weather wasn’t supposed to be too bad, but by the time that we cleared Old Mission Point we were in 2-4 foot seas. Jake was not a happy camper at this point. If Jake isn’t happy, Linda isn’t happy. If Linda isn’t happy, no one is happy. We knew it was going to build the further up the Bay we went and when we got into the open Lake there would be a 3-5 or 4-6 foot sea.

The Admiral gave the orders to the Captain to head north west to the lee shore and into Northport. We used to love Northport. It had a couple of good restaurants and some interesting shops. Now it seems to be dying. The last time we were here we had dinner at the last restaurant that is still open. How was it? Linda elected to eat dinner on the boat this time rather than eat out. That should tell you right there.

We got up early on Monday and headed back to Petoskey so Mike could finish his root canal. If there is one thing worst than having a root canal, it is having to do it again. Tuesday morning he trudged up the hill to the dentist office and was done by noon. Linda did her laundry on Monday and by Tuesday wanted to do something. She wanted the bikes off the boat and wanted to ride. She conned Mike into thinking that they were just going to ride to the frozen custard stand a mile down the road. Which they did, but afterwards she pushed him for another six miles. Actually Petoskey has a wonderful bike path that runs right along the Lake shore. It stretches all the way to Charlevoix one way and Harbor Springs the other. Yesterday it was back on the bikes for a Starbucks and we ended up half way to Harbor Springs. Of course we have been eating out every night, Monday at the Mitchell Street Pub. It has the best French onion soup. Tuesday we did the Thai Orchard, which was good, but not as good as Spicy Siam in Royal Oak. Last night we ate at Stafford’s at the Perry Hotel. We dined outside on the veranda and the view is magnificent. Sunset was gorgeous and all the guests were out watching it and taking photos. It reminded us of Mallory Square in Key West.

Sunset from the Petoskey Harbor

Well that was the past week for us, easy and hassle free. We need to stay in Petoskey today to make sure that there is no infection in Mike’s tooth. If there isn’t we will head back to Beaver Island for the weekend. After that it is back through the Straits and Mackinac Island. We want to make the Canadian Soo by the Steelers opener on September 7th. There is a sports bar there that is very partial to the Pittsburgh Steelers as that is also the name of their local team.

It looks like summer is coming to an end and we only have about another month of boating for the year. This past month the weather has been great. A far cry from what we started the summer with. Now the days are warm, but not hot and the nights are cool. Good sleeping weather, we think the term is. We hope that you are all well and have enjoyed your summer.

Take care, love,

Linda, Jake and the Fat Man

Saturday, August 16, 2008

As much fun as a root canal!

Our friends, Ed and Debbie Moore, made it in from the Keys right on time on Saturday evening. The boat was shiny and clean, but was really rocking as a 25 knot wind was blowing straight out of the north and down the entire length of Grand Traverse Bay. Although we were in a marina and protected by a breakwater it was still bouncy. The waves were crashing over the wall and rebounding through the entrance. A small boat swamped and sank earlier in the day right at the mouth of the marina.

Ed and Debbie Moore of Big Torch Key aboard the Blue Chip

Linda decided it was too rough to cook aboard (what a surprise) and wanted to go out for dinner. Her choice was Stella’s, in the basement of the old state mental hospital. We ate there a few years ago and it was quite good. On the way over the cab driver told us the kitchen was in the old morgue. He advised against having the liver. Ed and Debbie must have thought that we were patients there because the food was ordinary, the portions miniscule and the prices outrageous. Needless to say, we were all very disappointed and will not go back.

Sunday the winds had come down some, but were still blowing hard enough to make for an unpleasant boat ride. We decided to rent a car and to do a little land cruising. We drove up the Leelanau Peninsula through part of Michigan’s new wine country. Mike says Michigan wines are crap and wouldn’t even stop for any free tastings. We did go through the lovely little villages of Sutton Bay, Northport and Leland. All stops on our normal cruising itinerary. At Leland’s fish town we had a snack of smoked fish from the famous Carlson’s Fish House and cheese curds.

Mike insisted that Ed have one of the famous Chubby Mary drinks. It is a Bloody Mary with a whole smoked chub in it. Ed didn’t quite know what to make of it, but did get it all down.

From there we drove down the coast along the Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes through Glen Arbor, Empire and finally to Frankfort. We had dinner at the Fusion restaurant in Frankfort which has moved to a new location right on the water. The food was very good, but didn’t seem quite as exciting as last year. About half way through dinner, Mike remembered why. Last year we never ate dinners, just a wide variety of appetizers. We are going to have to go back and try it that way. We ended up land touring in a day, what would have taken us a week to do by boat.

Monday the winds had died down more and we made our escape from Traverse City. Our destination was back to Charlevoix and of course the Gray Gables restaurant. Needless to say, no one was disappointed. Tuesday the seas were lying down and we made a run back to Beaver Island. We were hoping that they would enjoy Beaver as much as we do. Of course that meant dinner at the Beaver Island Lodge. We had a great meal and a perfect sunset over Lake Michigan.

Wednesday morning at breakfast, Mike bit down on a Honey Bunches of Oats cluster and it bit back. He thought that he either chipped a tooth or lost a filling. Our visit to Beaver was short and that morning we headed back to the mainland and Petoskey. There, we met up with Floyd and Maggi on Bonnie Banks. They were just coming back from the Grand Banks Rendezvous in Sheboygan, WS. That evening we did something totally out of character and ate aboard. Our refrigerators were bursting at the seams from the leftovers and take out boxes. There was only on thing to do and that was to eat them. We had cocktails and appetizers aboard Bonnie Banks and then moved to the Blue Chip for a dinner of assorted leftovers. A grand time was had by all.

Our plan Thursday was rent a car, do some touring in this area and then drive Ed and Debbie back to the Traverse City airport Friday to catch their plane. We had told them about a wonderful restaurant in Cross Village called Legs and were going to go there for an early dinner. However, by now, Mike’s tooth was really hurting and he declared he needed to seek medical attention. He found a dentist that could see him that afternoon. To make the best of it, the ladies decided to shop in Petoskey and Ed and Floyd traded fishing lies on the dock. After Mike’s exam and x-rays the dentist said his tooth was abscessed and he would have to have a root canal done. Being from out of town and on a boat is not the best situation for medical care. Through a series of fluke incidents, Mike got an emergency appointment and finished his root canal at a local endodontist about seven that evening. So much for having an early dinner at Legs; we settled for dinner at one of favorite local places, the City Park Grill.

Friday morning we took Ed and Debbie back to Traverse City for their flight back to the Keys. Back in Petoskey we went to turn the car in and were told that we could keep it for another day if we would like for free. There were a couple of minor issues when we picked it up and they wanted to make sure we were happy. We took them up on the offer and we finally got to Legs in Cross Village for dinner.

Linda, Maggi and Floyd Lewis at dinner at the Legs Inn in Cross Village.

The doctor asked Mike to stay in town over the weekend in case he had any problems with his tooth. He would also need to have a follow up to have the root canal redone and a permanent filling put in place. Although he is not having any problems now, we decided to scrap our planned trip to Lower Georgian Bay and to stay local until he can have the root canal finished. That is now scheduled for next week. He will still have to have the tooth capped, but that can wait.

We hope that you have all had great week. Our Sullivan family reunion was this weekend in North Carolina. We would like to say, “Hey y’all” to all of our aunts, uncles and cousins. Although we couldn’t attend, you were all in our hearts.

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

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Back on line with a new Computer

Our lack of a new blog for the last month is not because of a lack of interest, but a lack of internet. Our computer finally gave up the ghost. As we have previously complained about, we had a Best Buy warranty on it and had to deal with the Geek Squad to get anything done with it. True to form the Geek Squad could not do anything and it had to be sent back for repair. It was finally deemed to be non repairable and we were to get a new computer comparable to our old one. Our old one was a desk top replacement that cost $2000 three years ago. The comparable unit is a $599 special. It also came with the dreaded Vista operating system rather than the Windows XP that we are familiar with. It has taken a little time, but we finally have the new machine up and running and most of the data and programs transferred over. All and all, the new computer seems to be doing a very good job.

Now back to our trip. We left the Straits on July 15th with perfect weather and flat calm seas. It seems like summer has finally arrived. We headed to Charlevoix and were joined by Floyd and Maggi Lewis on their boat Bonnie Banks. That evening Larry and Larraine Coplin stopped on their way back from their family reunion. We all had a fantastic dinner at the Gray Gables Inn. This is one of the finest restaurants in the area and we would highly recommend it to anyone visiting the Charlevoix area.

Floyd & Maggi Lewis

Steve and Paula Atkinson joined us Thursday for a week of cruising. We first headed to Boyne City where Steve had a friend that worked for the police department and Paula had a friend that had a condo there. They were able to visit with both and we were able to see our friend, John D’Amour. We were also able to hook up again with Larry and Larraine before they started their journey back to Arizona. We would like to go into more details, but we made a pack, what happens in Boyne City, stays in Boyne City. We will say that things really got interesting one night when a bachelorette party of about 15 women showed up. Most of them were bigger than Mike and nine were still dancing on the bar when we left and that was about 15 minutes after the band stopped. From there we headed across Traverse Bay to Northport and then back to Charlevoix. The computer had crapped out at this point so Steve drove Mike to the Best Buy store in Traverse City about an hour away. Linda and Paula spent the rest of the afternoon shopping. The day after Steve and Paula left, we headed over to Beaver Island.

Paula & Steve Atkinson

When we tell most people that we are going over to Beaver Island they ask why go there, there is nothing to do; precisely why we go. It is our favorite place to do nothing. Do nothing is a bit of an exaggeration. We ride our bikes a little, Linda walks the dog and every night we go out to dinner. There are a few places to eat out on Beaver Island, but the best is Nina’s at the Beaver Island Lodge. It has the finest view over looking Lake Michigan the surrounding islands and fantastic food. We think that it is the finest restaurant in the Great Lakes given the quality of the food and the atmosphere. Another good place is Stony Acres. They have a Bar-B-Q on Thursday nights that has perhaps the finest ribs that Mike has ever eaten (Linda doesn’t eat meat, but loves the Bar-B-Q chicken and shrimp). They also have a wonderful perch dinner on Friday nights.

Coleen and John

John D’Amour and Coleen from Boyne City flew over to Beaver and joined us for a couple of days. One day we rented a car. As we were picking it up the young lady asked if we had a map with all the highlights. Mike told her we did and were going to see them both. She instantly replied, “There’re two?” Beaver Island is 13 miles long and has about 1 mile of paved roads. We did the whole tour from one end to the other. A few of the dirt roads got down to what we would classify as two tracks, so it was an interesting adventure.

Rev Jim and his wife Carol

While there we met up again with the Rev Jim and his wife, Carol. They were sailing with some friends and were trying to get to Escanaba. The weather was against them and they had to abandon their plan. The problem was his car was in Escanaba waiting for him. He solved that problem by catching a ride with the local air service. Before he left we all had another wonderful dinner at the Beaver Island Lodge.

Another fine dinner at the Beaver Island Lodge

Rev Jim, Carol, Dave & Julie

Floyd and Maggi Lewis stopped at Beaver with their boat Bonnie Banks on their way to Wisconsin. That meant another great meal that the BI Lodge. Do you get the impression that we like this place? Floyd and Maggi liked it so much, they stayed an extra day just to try the Thursday night Bar-B-Q. They were not disappointed.

It was now August and we had company coming and we had to get back to the mainland to pick him up. Best Buy called and said that our computer was toast and we could come in the store and pick up a new one. We tried to go to Traverse City where the Best Buy is, but they were full due to a big film festival weekend they were having. Instead we went to Boyne City and borrowed a car from our friend John and drove to Traverse City about an hour away to pick up the new computer.

Mike & Dr. Ed move the boat around to Harbor Springs

Our company, Ed Gordon or Dr. Ed as we affectionately refer to him, met us in Boyne City. We all linked up with John and Coleen again and had a great few days. When it was time to move, Mike and Dr. Ed took the boat around to Harbor Springs and Linda drove Ed’s car. It took the boys four hours to get around and Linda about a half hour, so of course she had to kill the extra time shopping in Petoskey. Dr. Ed left this Thursday and we moved the boat down to Traverse City to meet Ed and Debbie Moore, our neighbors from Big Torch Key. They are flying in today.

The weather today is cool and windy. That didn’t deter Linda from insisting that the boat be washed. Of course, she isn’t the one that would be washing it. Mike set the bikes off the boat and onto the docks, so that he could wash the decks. When he was done, he asked Linda what happened to the other bike? She said that she didn’t know and hadn’t moved it. You guessed it, the bike blew off the dock. Mike has been trying to get rid of his bike for a long time and Linda accused him of throwing it off. Mike dug out a grapple anchor from the dinghy and was able to hook the bike on the first try and retrieve it. Linda had said earlier that she wanted to wash the bikes, we guess that didn’t include a good soaking.

Well for those few that are still with us, that pretty much sums up the last month. We are over the half way mark for this summer’s boating. The boat is running good, the weather has been wonderful and we are all feeling great. We hope that your summer is going as well as ours.

Take care, Love,

Linda, Jake and the Fat Man