Thursday, September 13, 2012

Lost and Found, Old and New Friends

 After leaving our friends in Arcadia, we then slowly worked our way to Orchard Beach State Park.  Makeba seemed reluctant to leave since she was constantly stopping dead after every wave hit her.  It felt like a long day, so we were happy to find a sandy shore to pull up on.  Down to one rock here!

 At this campsite we were heartily greeted by our neighbors; we even had a surprise firewood delivery. The kind people at the site next to us offered us a large bag of homegrown organic cherry tomatoes! That sufficed as a delicious dessert. As we settled into our tent we smelled what we thought was a skunk just outside our mesh walls. We both held our breath and hoped for the best....luckily it was just a passerby skunk. The next morning we were greeted by some drizzle, but pushed on towards Manistee. Here we explored the town and dreamed about wearing new clothes that haven't been shoved in a damp bag for 2 months.

 We even dreamed up our very own lighthouse. It will be this pattern and cater especially to female boaters. We will call it "Femme Harbor." Haha! But seriously, there aren't enough girly polka dot lighthouses on Lake Michigan.
 We had a quick interview with the local Manistee newspaper and then decided to push on towards Nordhouse Dunes even though it was already late afternoon. We set up camp for the night on a nice strip of sandy shore.

 Our only neighbors tonight were lots of seagulls.
 And whatever this giant thing was...
 With predicted rain for the next day, we planned to do a shorter day. Off to Ludington State park - we have to have lunch with our friend Loreen!
 We stopped at Big Sable Lighthouse on the way. Pretty! (but still not girly enough.)
 As we pushed off from Big Sable we noticed a Coast Guard boat a little ways offshore. We weren't sure what to do until they tooted their horn at us - we paddled over, not sure what this was all about. "Where ya headed? Where did you come from? Are you in distress? Someone called and said a little yellow sailboat was about 300 yds off shore and they thought you were drifting." Our response - "No sir, we're not in distress. Just going around Lake Michigan, making our way to Ludington State Park today." Amy then had the officer look up directions to the park while Mary decided to discreetly record everything. They talked to us more and then the young guy asked Amy if he was on tape. Amy - "Probably." Mary from the back of the boat - "Yep." It was pretty funny. We laughed, parted ways, and headed onward.
 When we arrived at Ludington State Park we walked up to reserve a site and thoroughly confused the young guy working at the office when we couldn't give him a license plate number for registration. Eventually our friend Loreen found us. Loreen is working on a 1000 Mile Great Lakes Walk currently - stretches of her walk touch all five of the Great Lakes. She was heading north to begin her Lake Michigan stretch and was able to meet up with us for lunch on the way!
 We went to a great place called Blue Moon in Ludington and then were able to pick up a replacement drybag in town before she dropped us back off at our campsite. She left us with delicious snacks and even some cookies baked by her mother! Thanks Loreen and Loreen's ma! As Loreen was leaving we realized that we had lost our last Hydroflask water bottle. Oh no...we were so sad until we stopped in the nearby camp store and realized that it was meant to be...check out this hilarious wilderness scene  water bottle! Buying it! We also found the original bottle right after.

 The next morning we were once again greeted with some rain, but were able to get going on the water anyways. We were headed to Pentwater and were racing the storms predicted for the next few days. We were able to sail in and land right next to these other sailboats. Isn't Makeba just adorable? SO TINY.
 The Charles Mears State Park was pretty full of RV's for the weekend. We looked very tiny, just like Makeba next to the big boats. That evening we were able to connect with Mary's grandma's friend's daughter...Kathy. (We were a little confused too.) This new found old friend turned out to be a great surprise!
 We met up with Kathy and her husband Chuck in the morning the next day. They offered us their little comfy cottage for the night while waiting out the weather. We chatted over breakfast and old family photographs. Here is an old picture of Kathy's mom and Mary's grandma.
Here is a picture of Kathy's brother, Mary's adorable in love parents, Aunt Karen and Uncle Chuck. Amy tells Mary that she looks exactly like her mom. Don't let her tell you otherwise. "How do I look like my mom?" "Your face, you look exactly like your mom." "How?" "This picture is you. You are your mom. That's what you look like. That's Mary."

Of course we got ice cream!

 We were kind of bummed that it wasn't storming like predicted. We walked down to the pier to check things out. Lake Michigan must have known that we were coming, because she brought up these nasty clouds and waves.
 We were spotted by two cyclists who recognized us from a recent newspaper article. It's strange to be known by people in some of these small towns from our faces in the paper! They were very sweet and talked to us for awhile about our trip, before we asked them to take our picture.
 This is the next day - 2 weather days in a row and things still weren't looking favorable. Lake Michigan is just being moody lately. Luckily we were stopped in a fun beach town! We relaxed down by the pier, drank some fall drinks (even though we aren't admitting that fall is coming until we get home), and watched a couple get married.
 Makeba just may be in the background of some of their wedding photographs!
 We explored downtown Pentwater and happened to run into family friends of Amy's from Michigan City! What are the chances! We enjoyed great burgers at the Brown Bear with the Fallons. So great to see such kind friends in such an unexpected place!
 That evening after some rain we saw yet another rainbow. Good omen for taking off on Makeba in the morning perhaps?
 This is what we woke up to - still a little cloudy, but pretty nonetheless! Let's go. Thanks for everything Kathy and Chuck!
 Leaving Pentwater we paddled, then paddle sailed, then sailed, then the wind picked up so we paddle drifted (paddling with the waves helping push us along - one of our faster means of transport). When we were nearing our campgound for the night, Mary noticed someone on shore who looked like they might be flagging us down. Ugh. Again? We reluctantly paddled into shore, riding the onshore breakers from the sandbar. We arrived to shore soaking wet and a little annoyed, nevertheless smiling at the officer. "Where are you headed today? Someone called and said there was a small sailboat without its sail up that might be in distress." Us - "No sir, we are not in distress. We are just paddling our handmade boat around Lake Michigan." He was confused, but determined to lecture us about the risks of hypothermia and drowning in Lake Michigan, confessing that we might know more than he does. We reassured him that we would be careful, as we have been for the last 71 days. We parted ways - i.e. got pounded by waves trying to get back past the breakers on the sandbar. At one point a wave crashed over the side of the boat, carrying with it a little fish. There was now enough water in the bottom of the boat that this fish was able to swim around and make Amy scream like a little girl. It tried its hardest to hide in our tiny boat, but alas Amy scooped him up and set him free. Wow, a little bit too much excitement for the day. We paddled the short 1/2 mile south to Claybanks Township Park Campground. It was a nice grassy lot, but where was everybody? Oh wait, it's after Labor Day now. So we had our pick of any site we wanted! The owners, Jack and Jan, graciously gave us a site on the house. They enjoyed hearing about our adventure and we enjoyed hearing about other fun adventurers who had passed though their campground.

 In the morning we were off, with a mission to reach Kathy and Chuck's daughter Kim's house near Muskegon. We got kicked off the water early when the south winds picked up in our faces. We beached Makeba and began to try to figure out where we were. Where are we?
 Oh. Lost Valley. That is where are. Seriously?! Kim kindly offered to come pick us up from wherever we were, so we tried to describe to her where we were located. She found us by a farm, 2 miles from where we had left Makeba, and we were so happy! Haha, we still didn't know where we were.
 Kim took us to her lovely house where we have been ever since.

 Does Lake Michigan have kelp? This is foreign seaweed to us.
 Weather days, weather days. Please stop.
 The strong south winds and large waves were keeping us off the water so we have been checking out Muskegon. We saw this cool submarine!
 Then we saw another huge ship unloading bases of wind turbines. Those things are gigantic! Anyone know what that little orange pod is?
 This morning we woke up to unsure weather. The lake looked reasonable, but the forecasts were all over the place for their predictions of what the lake would do later in the day. We decided to bring the boat at least from Lost Valley to Kim's house. Departing this morning with Kim and Julie!

1 comment:

  1. Keep it up! You're on the home stretch of the adventure of a lifetime! Orange pod = Life boat!