More Weather Delays on Lake Michigan

After having to stay four days in Frankfort, we left for Ludington on August 30th. Ludington is another Michigan port city that is very nice with a vibrant old-fashioned downtown. We had hoped to move on after one day but the wind-driven waves on Lake Michigan forced us to stay in port for three days.

Ludington is home port to the last coal-fired ferry, S.S. Badger, in regular use. It moves passengers, cars, and trailer trucks from and to Manitowic, Wisconsin. Our boar was docked very close to the ferry terminal which enabled us to witness the unusual docking technique the Badger must use because of the limited space in Ludington Harbor. As the Badger approaches its berth, it deploys its anchor about 150 yards from its berth. Then, the ferry uses the anchor point to pivot 180 degrees so that it may back into the terminal. The process often draws a crowd. The big boat pictured is the Badger.

Then, it was on the Grand Haven on a day that the lake forecast suggested a reasonably good passage. It wasn’t. We bailed out just twelve miles down the coast to Pentwater having encountered four-to-six foot waves. We had to stay two nights in Pentwater (a very nice town) waiting for the lake to settle down. The long pleasure boat pictured is a very old 100-foot wooden pleasure boat that happened to come in when we did.

Finally, we got a good day to travel, destination Grand Haven, for two nights. But, on the way we heard a weather broadcast for severe thunderstorms near Grand Haven warning boaters to get off the lake. We took refuge in Whitehall which is rather an uninteresting place to hole up, for THREE days. On September 6th, my birthday, we left for Grand Haven on seas that were pretty much benign. The waves were two feet and it was following sea.

Grand Haven is a very nice town. It has a museum that is surprisingly good. The Coast Guard has a long history here. Grand Haven is known as Coast Guard City, USA. The museum has many CG artifacts and displays. The museum also has a complete Bastian Blessing soda fountain counter. These could be found in many drugstores stores around the country and were manufactured in Grand Haven. Here with us in the municipal marina are several Loopers we have seen along the way in one place or another. It’s that way all along the Loop.

Grand Haven, although being a very modest-sized town, has two brewpubs. It seems that almost every Michigan of any size that we have visited has at least one local brewery. Last night (Thursday) we went to a local dive bar for Mexican food. The food was outstanding. The place was already packed at 5 o’clock, a place  obviously frequented by locals. We haven’t had good Mexican food since we left Maryland in early May. We are going for a repeat tonight.

Tomorrow we leave for South Haven, a 45-mile run. Seas are forecast to be 1-foot so we expect a smooth transit. On Sunday, friends from Battle Creek will be visiting us there.

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