Thursday, September 18, 2008

The Summer is gone

Hurricane Ike stayed south and west of the Keys, but we did have tropical storm force winds for two days. Our neighbor checked the house and found a couple of small trees and a whole lot of coconuts down. We had no damage to the house at all. It does sound like a new chain saw might be an appropriate gift for Linda’s up coming birthday.

We ended up spending five nights in the Canadian Soo. Three of those days we ended up eating at Jake’s Grill at Reggie’s Place. It is a downscale bar with pound and a half hamburgers for $5.95. Needless to say, Mike was in heaven. Most people split a burger, but Mike was good for the whole thing. For the adventurous eater they also have a double and a triple burger; that would be 3 or 4 and a half pounds of meat. Even Mike didn’t try that. For a dollar extra you can get a basket of fries that would feed four people and still have some left over. The grill is run by a very friendly elderly lady and all the restaurants in Ontario are non smoking, so it was actually very nice dining there. We would eat lunch there and then still be full and not able to eat any dinner.

Thursday we pushed off and headed back down the St. Mary’s River out of the Soo. Floyd and Maggi were still with us so we took the scenic route and went around and through Lake George. They had never done it before and there are some narrow shallow spots that you have to be careful at. We went first and they figured that we would find any problems before they hit them. We managed to keep it in the channel and didn’t have any problems at all getting through. We then crossed over the north end of St. Joe’s Island and through the St. Joe’s channel. It is one of the prettiest rides that you can take in a boat. We ended up that night in Hilton Beach on the west end of the island. The marina was still open, but there was no one around that night to take our money. We had dinner that night in a new restaurant near the docks.

The next day we ventured out into the North Channel to the little town of Thessalon. The Dockmaster here was right there to help tie up the lines and collect for the dockage. It was the first time that we had paid for a dock in a week, so we couldn’t complain. Lincoln and Shirley North, mutual friends of ours and the Lewis live in Thessalon and invited us all for a wonderful dinner at their lovely home on the bay. The Norths have a boat just like ours and we all belong to the same club, the Great Lakes Grand Banks Owners Association. The next morning we all went out to breakfast and then out to buy some wild rice. Shirley made wild rice for dinner the night before and it was the finest that we have ever eaten. It was special rice she said that came from Saskatchewan and a store up the road sold it. Unfortunately they were out of it and wouldn’t get any more in until next year. Shirley was gracious enough to give us a little of her treasured stash.

That afternoon we said good bye to the Norths and then parted ways with Floyd and Maggi Lewis. We were heading to Meldrum Bay and they were heading back to Drummond Island and pulling their boat for the season. New owners had taken over and re-opened the Meldrum Bay Inn and Floyd and Maggi had eaten there earlier in the summer and recommended it. We had dinner there Saturday night and enjoyed it. They had a small parlor at the Inn and it had a TV hooked up to a satellite. We asked them if they could get NBC from the states and they assured us they could. We then told them there was a football game on Sunday night that we would like to watch if possible. They assured us it would be no problem at all. We told them it might be late, but again they said no problem. Just to be sure, Mike went in and tuned in NBC. We would again be able to catch the Steelers!

Sunday evening we went up and had dinner. We went into the parlor and turned on the game. They served us dessert and coffee there while we watch the Steelers humiliate the Browns for the tenth time in a row. Just after half time we were the only people left in the Inn and the owner came in and said she was going to bed. If we would be so kind as to turn the TV off, shut off the lights and pull the door shut when the game was over, she would appreciate it. Needless to say, we had to be a bit subdued on our cheering and antics.

The weather had turned and we had a lot of wind and rain. Monday it was still blowing and we decided to stay another day to let it die down. Unfortunately the Inn was closed on Monday, so we had to fend for ourselves. Actually Mike made a wonderful pasta with Italian chicken sausage in a tomato sauce with onions and green peppers.

Tuesday the wind was still blowing, but from the south west. We made an early morning departure (7:00 AM, you thought we were kidding) and ran along the lee of Colburn and Drummond Islands to Detour. A good friend of ours, Chuck Feltner, who lives on Drummond Island, was coming back from Detroit and saw our boat in the harbor. He stopped to chat and we all went out to dinner at the Mainsail in Detour, before he caught the ferry back to Drummond.

The wind was blowing again Wednesday, this time from the North West. The winds are normally lighter in the early morning than later in the day, so we made another 7:00 AM departure. We skirted the coast of the Upper Peninsula into the Les Cheneaux Island and back to Hessel. The last time we were here we were the only boat in the harbor. This time the harbor is almost full. Officially the harbor is closed, but the power and water is still on and the docks are free. Mike wants to stay for a week. Unfortunately our favorite restaurant (the only one in town) is closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, so we finished our left over pasta. We left this morning and are now in St. Ignace in the Straits of Mackinac. We need to start cleaning the boat up to put it away and to start looking for somewhere to watch the Steelers game this Sunday.

All this wind and weather is to be expected in September. That doesn’t make it any more fun for Jake, the world’s worst boat dog. Oh, he loves it when we are docked and all the people come around and greet him. He just doesn’t like it underway. Here he is begging Maggi not to untie the line and just leave us tied to the dock.

We hope that the fall has been kind to you all.

Take care, love,

Linda, Jake and the Fat Man