After returning from Lake Superior, we decided to use Grand Haven, MI as our base of operation for the remainder of the year. This also gives us a chance to return home to Chattanooga for a few weeks. Although we very much enjoy the boating life, it is good to spend some time at our land home every once in a while.
While at the marina, we decided to take care of some nagging problems aboard IT. She has had two small leaks for a while now and they are not getting any better. One leak is to one of our hydraulic stabilizers. A new hydraulic cylinder was ordered and quickly installed. Our other leak was up in the pilot house to our throttle system. What we thought would be a simple repair turned into a nightmare. While changing out the cylinder, the mechanic discovered lots of gunk inside the tank which should not be there. After further investigation, we discovered major corrosion to our entire throttle system. The manufacturer, Hynautic, admitted that they had a bad batch of fluid several years ago. We happened to get this bad fluid when our boat was built and now our whole throttle system has been compromised and needs to be replaced. Although our warranty was long gone, Hynautic stepped up and accepted responsibility and agreed to send us a complete new system at no charge. We were very pleased with their quick resolution to this problem. We are also very thankful that we happened to catch this problem before any major disaster. Can you imagine what could have happened if our throttle system suddenly quite working properly (while docking?).
While waiting on our boat parts to arrive from Canada, we decided to spend some time exploring the lakes by land. We had hoped to reach Bayfield, WI and the Apostle Islands earlier this year aboard IT but never made it that far while exploring Lake Superior. We set that as our destination in our RV, Miss Daisy. Over the next week we traveled 1500 miles to Bayfield, WI and back. Departing Grand Haven, we made a quick stop in Leland to visit fellow loopers, Jerry and Jenny Reeves, aboard Sweetgrass. Another Krogen looper, Muddy Waters, with the Samway family aboard was just a few miles away in Charlevoix. It was great meeting them and we hope to see both loopers again in Chattanooga a few months from now. Traveling across the Mackinac Island Bridge high above the Mackinac Straits, gave us a very different view of the waterway than the one we have experienced by boat. We found some great county parks to spend our evenings along the way and also got a chance to check out some new ports for next years cruising. We spent three days enjoying the sights around Bayfield, WI. This charming little town was packed with tourists exploring its many shops. We spent one day biking to the many apple orchards along the small country roads. It was beautiful scenery although quite hilly. Bayfield is the stepping off point for the Apostle Islands. The Madeline Island ferry runs every hour taking tourist to and from the islands. We will save this trip for another year. Hopefully Idyll Time will be back in these waters in the near future.
With Idyll Time now back to 100%, we were anxious to resume our cruising and explore some new ports south of Grand Haven. The winds on Lake Michigan would not cooperate. We waited patiently at the docks for many days. Winter seems to have arrived early this year. The winds remained a brisk 15-20 knots out of the North West for several weeks. This creates seas on the Lakes of 6-8 foot most days. Combined with the high winds, the temperatures are now dipping down into the 40’s at night. It is just not good boating weather. We did get one good day and were able to take IT out into the lake and make sure all of our repairs worked properly. The sea trial went great and IT ran like a charm. Sebastian has been quite happy with staying here at the docks. Each day he makes his rounds to the office where he is quickly rewarded with lots of treats and petting from the office girls. If we don’t stop by the office on our daily walks, he pouts all the way back home.
The weather finally got the best of us and we decided to end this years cruising. IT will spend the winter in heated storage here in Grand Haven until we return next May. Until then we will spend our time enjoying the Tennessee River aboard our 18 foot Wellcraft and also hope to do some touring around the United States in our RV.