Friday, September 26, 2008

Officially summer is over. We hope that everyone enjoyed the autumnal equinox on Monday heralding in the beginning of Fall. Our weather here has been holding up very well; sunny days in the high 60’s or low 70’s and not many storms. It looks like we have lucked out.

That is more than we can say for our Steelers. We think the offensive line missed the bus to Philly. Big Ben was surrounded all night by guys in green shirts instead of the familiar black and gold. Thank goodness the defensive unit made the trip or it would have been an embarrassing blow out. Next week it is Monday Night Football against the now first place Baltimore Ravens. You can bet that they will be blitzing on every down. It is a home game though, so there shouldn’t be any buses to miss.

We only spent one short day in St. Ignace last week. Our apologies to all of our friends there, none of who we got to see. Linda was able to run over to the laundromat and wash all of the heavy spreads and pillows. We left the next morning for Mackinaw City, our purpose two fold.

First, we wanted to see the Steelers game on Sunday. Mackinaw City has cable TV that we could watch if the game was broadcasted locally. If not, we got the motorhome out of the barn, so we could fire up the satellite dish and watch it there. It was broadcasted locally, so we could watch it on the boat. It was definitely not one of their better days.

Second, when we put the motorhome in the barn last June, there was a problem with the inverter. Mike wanted to check it out and make sure it was working before we had to get in and use it. What he found was all four house batteries stone dead. That seemed strange as we charged them all up completely before we put the coach away. Mike figured that one of the batteries went bad and drained the other three. After sitting all summer, they were probably all shot now to we headed to Wal-Mart and got four brand new batteries. It was almost three years to the day that we replaced them last time. Happy Birthday to Linda again.

On our way out of St. Ignace we saw our old charter boat, the Rec Diver. We called them and our friend Larry McElroy, who bought the business from us, was running his last charters of the season. He came over to Mackinaw City and we had a great dinner with him and re-capped the summer.

We took advantage of the nice weather on Saturday and unloaded most of the boat. You know, all the things that we put on at the beginning of the summer, but never used. By the end of the day, the Blue Chip was sitting two inches higher in the water.

Sunday was football day. But we already talked about that.

Monday we were getting ready to head back to Mackinac Island for one last time. Before we left Mike wanted to start the generator in the motorhome and charge up the new batteries. He was up there quite a while and when he came back he announced why the batteries had gone dead. The inverter had malfunctioned as we thought. What we didn’t know is that apparently the cooling fan on it ran all summer until it totally drained all the batteries. We do turn off all the 12 volt power in the coach when we store it, but we now know that switch doesn’t kill the inverter. To kill the fan Mike had to disconnect the batteries. When he tried to charge the batteries, he got a fault that said there was an AC back feed. Impossible he thought because it worked all the way up. When he opened up the unit to check the wiring, he found a wire nut had melted and probably shorted out on the case. He replaced the nut and the unit appears to be working great. After leaving the batteries charging for an hour and a half, we shut down the motorhome and cranked up the boat to head to Mackinac Island. There are almost no other boat there, this late in the season.

Our friend, Capt Pete from Munising, called and he was going to join us on the island. He drove over to St. Ignace and caught a ferry to the island and spent Tuesday night with us. We enjoyed his short visit, before he had to return back to his Shipwreck Tours business. The weather was again perfect. We had the bikes down and were able to do a few around the island rides in t-shirts and shorts; although it was a bit nippy riding into the wind. Wednesday evening we had our last supper at the Island House Hotel. It is not the Grand, but the food is just as good and half the price and the view is better. Besides it is close to the marina and was easy for Mike to hobble to. Jake was elated because he knew it was his last night on the darn boat! Thursday morning, Linda got in her big walk with the dog for the last time and we departed at 11:00 for Mackinaw City.

Once we got to Mack City it was all work. The first order of business was to pump and flush the holding tank, always a joy. Next, was to unload everything else that was still on the boat. That was followed by a thorough cleaning of the boat, inside and out. We finished before dark, but we both really beat. We then moved into the motorhome, which appears to be running very well now.

All and all it has been a wonderful summer of boating. We had almost no problems with the boat; a battery problem early on and then one of the refrigerators quick a couple of weeks ago. It was the one we used for beverages so we just moved those to a cooler on the fly bridge. Mike thinks it is a control box and we want to get a new one put on before they pull the boat. We will finish a few small things on the boat this morning before it gets pulled and then we will head towards Detroit. We have business meetings this weekend with Jim and Diane Richards and Tuesday Mike is getting his tooth capped in Conneaut Lake, PA. We will be in Pittsburgh the following weekend.

We hope that you have all had as good a time this summer as we have.

Take care, love,

Linda, Jake and the Fat Man