Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Day 5 & 6 - Getting Weathered In

When we went to bed on Monday night we knew we needed to move on from Gladstone. As Susan and I woke we went off the boat to start getting ready to leave. I wiped down the boat and she went to the harbor house to let them know we were going to move on and let the dog do her business. She returned with a phone number to call as there was no one in attendance at the harbor house. We thought we would just keep working as getting ready and call later to pay for our slip. There was the fuel situation, however, we needed to fill up before we left and decided we would just go down to Escanaba and check out there marina and get fuel there as they were a bit bigger and probably open.

When arriving in Escanaba we were greeted by two young people who were very nice and pumped us out and fill up the tanks. Escanaba has the nicest pump out equipment I have seen on the great lakes. It almost did not fit under my rail as the waste port is positioned in as tight spot on our boat and this nozzle was very large. It had a fresh water rinse line and valve attached with the waste separated by a couple of 90 degree elbows and a few ball valves. it was bulky ,however, this set up insures you get a good rinse and is a whole lot less messing around.

We decided on Menominee MI as our destination after much debate. It was going to be a stay of at least two days as we were about to get some very high winds and rain for at least a day or two. Once we were all settled in we did some exploring and had a nice dinner at Table Six, "Ta6le". Menominee is doing some great things in there little downtown. There are a few buildings that have been completely renovated and there are plans for some additional ones. The town really understands the economic impact from the boating community and provide some very nice incentives in coupons and other niceties.

As it turned out we only saw the rain through the night into the early morning ending around 8 am. The first half of the second day was cold and windy as by evening the sun came out and temperatures came up. Mission for the day two was to check out the border town Marinette WI. We crossed the Menominee river to the south of the marina you are in WI. Our first intended stop was the Nest Egg Marina in Marinette to see there ship store which they claim is the largest north of Milwaukee (this is not true). Before we made it there Susan and the kids wanted to stop for lunch and we found Ironworks which is a bar restaurant that was nice.

When riding back we stopped at the lighthouse and break wall of the river to watch the waves come in from the high winds we received though out the night.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Day 4 - Washington Island & Gladstone

Since riding the bikes with Pierce had been so challenging I asked Susan if she would mind if I went out in the morning on my own. When I awoke I wiped down the dew on the boat and went on for my ride. A friend of mine Scott Spanbauer had a property on the island and asked me to go check it out if I was near by. This was my first thought of a destination. I thought it would be a fun little adventure to see more of the island. I also wanted to go around and see the other harbor, Jackson Harbor on the north east side of the island. I was gone on my ride for about 1.5 hours and saw most of the places I did not see the day before.

Jackson Harbor

Spanbauer's Property

When I returned to the boat I made some coffee showered and got ready to move on. We had planned on spending more days on the island, however, there just was not a ton to see and do so we moved on. There was also some low pressure weather coming that was going to arrive Monday night into Tuesday and we had more to do in the north and did not want to get stuck in a very remote place. Our plans originally included Fayette, but with the weather and potential of sitting in the next marina for a few days we wanted to skip that because it does not have many services or infrastructure.

Our plan now was either Escanaba or Gladstone, aka Happyrock. As we continued up Little Bay da Noc we decided to do Gladstone first. This decision was made based on temperature. Even though Gladstone is 8 miles north on the bay the temps were and forecast to be warmer than Escanaba. The marina and lake shore was nice. However, the town was not so appealing. We have found that we like a balance of both marina and towns. Susan loves the shops and restaurants. She had a mission to find a new swim suit or at least a new pair of sunglasses on this trip and we have not even found a store yet that sold anything like this. The lake shore had a very nice park for little kids and we all had fun play there for a bit. Susan and I even ran around a bit and played on the equipment. Dinner was downtown at a pizza chain in the UP Main Street Pizza. It was good and we all ate until we were stuffed and brought back the leftovers. 

Before bed we end up walking over to the Gladstone Yacht Club. They claimed to be "the friendliest on the lakes". They were great let us have a drink and were very social.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Day 3 - Washington Island

We woke in the morning and decided to go to Al Johnson's for breakfast.  Their trademark "The place with the goats on the roof" always leaves the kids astounded. We went early as the place fills up quickly and had a great breakfast.  From there we decided to travel North to Washington Island.  We have never been there before and planned to spend 2 days. The water was beautiful and calm as we headed to Shipyard Island Marina.  Lou, the harbormaster helped us into a nice slip that was across the street from "The Red Barn" and next to a small public beach.

We decided we were going to head to the downtown area to see what Washington Island was all about.  I must be honest, it was not what I expected and was underwhelmed with what I found.  We rode our bikes down the county roads all 4 of us on our own bike which in the beginning seemed like a huge mistake.  Pierce learned to ride a bike (barely) last summer, but has been getting better and better, so we thought why not bring his bike along as opposed to the tag along.  Well, after much whining, crying and a whole lotta "I CAN'T!" we made it to the downtown area (about 3 miles from our slip.)  We were going to stop for lunch but Paul encourages us to keep pushing on to the rock beach.  His rationale was that it was only 1 more mile and there was food close by.  So we kept on treading... up hill and made it to the famous rock beach called School House Beach.  Apparently it is one of 5 in the world with smooth stones.  We are having so much luck on our annual vacations that we have now seen 2 of the 5 over the last 4 years. Determined Peyton even managed to find sand after digging through the rocks.

I was disheartened when I saw that there was not any restaurants near the beach so after a little while there we decided to trek back to the downtown and stopped at a roadside restaurant for a quick lunch and then started back to the marina.  Overall, Pierce managed to make it 8 miles, which ended up being a great opportunity for him to get more comfortable on his bike.

We swam at the nearby beach for a little while in the afternoon and then ate at a wonderful restaurant that was right next to the marina.  The food was absolutely fantastic at Sailors Pub!  Hard to believe there is a 4 star restaurant on Washington island, and while a bit pricey, was definitely delicious.  When we arrived at the marina we noticed people working in the restaurant starting at around 11AM but the restaurant did not open until 5pm.  Come to find out they are only open to 8pm, after a nice waitress informed us that "this wasn't Chicago!"

Boys Doing Flips on the Beach!

Beautiful Sunset at Dinner at Sailor's Pub!