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ContinuousWave: Trips and Rendezvous
Grand Traverse Fourth of July
|Author||Topic: Grand Traverse Fourth of July|
posted 07-06-2006 09:40 AM ET (US)
We're just back from a long weekend up north with the boat. It was a our first long boat trip of the season. I am pleased to report that just about everything went perfectly. The weather and seas were quite cooperative, and most all mechanical and electrical devices operated very well.
We put about 600 miles on the trailer on the highway. This spring the trailer brakes and wheel bearings were inspected and some repairs made. Even the truck air conditioning--serviced at insane expense--worked adequately during the trip.
Important safety note: never attempt to drive through Traverse City on the Cherry Festival Weekend just prior to the start of the Air Show. Traffic was very slow.
We arrived at Leland on Saturday around 1 p.m., joining Dave on GAMBLER and Steve and Caroline on BACKLASH, who had arrived the evening before. The launch ramp was empty and we got the boat in the water without delay. Unfortunately a strong front was blowing in from the southwest, and the winds were up to about 25-MPH. We had to go out into Lake Michigan for a sea trial. The three-foot swell off the lake was building up at the mouth of the sea wall. The third wave in a closely spaced set put green water over the bow. This was our cue to return to the marina. I turned to Chris and said, "Too bad we don't have a 150 SPORT--we could run 20-MPH or more through this kind of stuff." She just looked at me like I was completely out of my mind and delusional.
We spent a warm afternoon harbor bound, fiddling around with the boat and waiting for the front to blow through. We made dinner reservations for 7:45 p.m. at THE COVE, a local "fish town" landmark. Just as we walked to dinner, the wind abruptly changed to the northwest, and a cold front blew in at 30-MPH with some showers. By the time dinner was over, the high pressure system behind the front was taking over our weather, the showers were finished, and the wind was dying. This was a godsend. The southerly winds had been banging our boat against the main pier all afternoon, and we were strongly contemplating hauling the boat back on the trailer in order to get a good night's sleep. By nightfall--which comes very late at this time of the year and at this 45-degree North latitude--the harbor was a mill pond. We got a wonderful night of sleep.
Sunday dawned clear and mild, and the winds were light from the south to west. Only a remnant of the prior day's waves remained. About ten o'clock we ran out to South Manitou Island, about 16-miles offshore. We circled clockwise around the island, working our way around to North Manitou. There we stopped ashore for lunch, anchoring off a beautiful sand beach. After lunch we had a gorgeous downwind run back to Leland, running at optimum cruising speed with almost calm conditions. We put over 50-miles under the keel in the four hours we were out.
Back at Leland, we hauled the boats back onto their trailers and set out for the other side of the narrow peninsula by highway. One of the great assets of boating on the Leelanau Peninsula is its narrow width. Only about eight miles of road separate Leland and Suttons Bay. It is easy to change sides of the peninsula if the winds and waves are a factor. The highway stop also allowed us to re-fuel for about $0.50 less per gallon than at the marina fuel dock. We re-launched the boats at Suttons Bay, and went for a short cruise just to escape the heat and confusion of the marina.
After settling in to our new dockage, we struck out for dinner around 8 p.m. We just had a pizza on the deck of a local take-out place. A very casual meal but it suited our mode after all the boating and trailering.
Monday morning I was up early and watched the sunrise. The rest of the morning was filled with boat keeping, until we departed around 10 o'clock for a cruise down to Traverse City (TC). My old Evinrude was running a bit cranky, so I stopped to check the fuel filter for water. It was calm enough in Grand Traverse Bay to easily change the filter. I didn't find any water, and the engine seemed to heal itself after that. We ran down to TC in glorious sunshine and beautiful blue water.
We poked our nose into the excellent municipal marina at Traverse City. It was adjoining some of the Cherry Festival activity, and there were many people about. The shower facilities here are top-notch. It is a very nice spot to stay, although the steam whistle from the Zoo's landmark railroad engine and train ride could get to be irksome after a while. The Zoo is planned to be re-located in the near future, we learned later from local Whaler owner ConB.
From TC we ran north to Power Island, now a park preserve and a favorite anchoring spot for the locals. We had a great lunch at anchor, although the passing boat wakes put our fendering to the test.
During lunch the sun began to be obscured by clouds rolling in from the southwest. We hauled anchor and headed north, intending to visit Elk Rapids. By the time we made Old Mission Point Light, the weather had deteriorated, and a cold northwest wind was raising white caps on the bay. We curtailed our trip and headed back to Suttons Bay for the afternoon.
The front blew through, and sunshine returned without a drop of rain falling on us. We met up with local OUTRAGE 18 owner Tony, and checked out his new 150-HP HPDI Yamaha. I spent the afternoon installing a new RACOR fuel filter, while Dave tightened some fasteners on his radar arch that had loosened. We both borrowed a drill from ConB who came by with ROCKY the Whaler Dog for a GAM.
We struck out for dinner about eight o'clock. The popular local bar and restaurant was overwhelmed with patrons, and we had to wait about an hour for a table. But the food was worth it--excellent fresh perch was everyone's choice for dinner.
Tuesday morning was cooler and the breeze was from the northwest. We were beautifully sheltered on the lee side of the peninsula. BACKLASH hauled out early for their long run back to Ohio. GAMBLER and CONTINUOUSWAVE took a ten-mile boat ride up to Omena Bay and back, hugging the shoreline to stay out of the rough water. ConB joined Dave for test drive of the E-TEC twins. On the way back, Dave edged GAMBLER into the three-foot water at Con's dock to drop him off at Stoney Point.
From there it was back to the marina and then onto the trailers for the trip home. We were on the highway about one o'clock, and found the holiday traffic light. I guess everyone else stayed until the last minute.
Grand Traverse was a great destination on the Fourth. It will probably be less crowded the rest of the summer, and that will make it even more delightful. If you have not been up there, you are missing some great boating.
posted 07-06-2006 10:34 AM ET (US)
It was indeed a great weekend. On Saturday morning before Jim and Chris arrived, Steve and Carolyn and I took advantage of the still-calm winds for a run over to the Sleeping Bear Dunes – about a 20 mile round trip from Leland.
My trip log on the GPS showed that I traveled nearly 163 miles for the weekend aboard the boat. Not too bad, though I wish we had pressed on toward Elk Rapids – I’m sure there would not have been such a wait for dinner there, and it would have been a nice evening cruise back to Suttons Bay!
So, in the three times I’ve added fuel to the boat this year, I’ve calculated fuel economy with the twin motors at 4.5, 4.3 and 3.83 MPG. With this baseline, I can feel fairly confident in using 3.75 MPG as a baseline figure for estimating range of the boat – so around 215 miles of maximum range, figuring 58 “usable” gallons of fuel in the tank. – or approximately 71 miles “out” and 71 miles back with 1/3 tank in reserve.
The trip home revealed the first signs of weakness in the V-6 Explorer tow vehicle. It is getting a little tired with 115,000 miles on the odometer. On a long uphill climb near Silver Lake state park, the “service engine soon” light illuminated and has not shut off. I’m pretty sure that hot exhaust gasses have fried a sensor somewhere in the emission system. I’m hoping I did not damage the catalytic converter.
I’m actually surprised. I expected the transmission to go, or even show signs of weakness, by now – but it’s still running strong, shifting smoothly and predictably.
Other than that and some trailer running light problems that I’ll be troubleshooting tomorrow afternoon, the trip home was uneventful, and I also experienced rather light traffic. I was home in Chicago by 8:30 PM, in time to catch the tail end of a July 4th barbecue that my roommate was hosting, and to see the fireworks in the city.
posted 07-06-2006 08:22 PM ET (US)
Dave just take the Furd to any Autozone, they have a scanner and will hook it up for free and tell you what sensor is bad.
Run it until it does not feel dependable, its always cheaper to fix that old truck than to buy a new one. If you get a truck you know my philosophy, get nothing short of a Dodge Cummins with 600 ft lbs of torque. You will never mess with the cruise again lol
posted 07-06-2006 10:24 PM ET (US)
Grand Traverse Bay and Leelanau county is a great place to have lived and boated for a life time. As already stated, you can find relatively calm water somewhere.
In the summer months, where I work, I can look out at the water and it's rare I can't see a Whaler.
Rocky is ready to greet any Whalers that that come to his bay.
Dave, a Ford transmission engineer was camped out on my beach. I should have introduced you.
posted 07-07-2006 09:42 AM ET (US)
It was a great weekend indeed and nice to see Jim and Chris as well as Dave again. "Gambler" looks fantastic with the new E-TEC's and they are very well proportioned to the classic 18' Outrage hull.
This was our first time to cruise Grand Traverse Bay and will definitely not be our last! It was our pleasure to see Con again and meet Martha. We were also fortunate to finally meet up with Tony and see his very nice 18' Outrage with the new HPDI Yamaha.
In hindsight, I also wished we had made the run to Elk Rapids, but with the building seas and strong winds, thought it prudent to make a dash to the safety of our slip in Suttons Bay.
The predicted storms during the weekend never materialized and we all enjoyed a wonderful boating holiday. Here are a few photos:
posted 07-07-2006 02:50 PM ET (US)
nice photo's........I'm jealous again.....hope to see you on the water some time soon....
posted 07-09-2006 09:40 AM ET (US)
You guys hit the better areas around these waters. The crossing to South Manitou can be a greeat experience but the waves didn't seem over whelming, just mellow. We have crossed over in our 1964 Eastport/Saconnet/Whatever several timeds and loved every trip.
If you do get back up here, Elk Rapids is indeed worth the trip. The marina is the best run and maintained of any in northern Lake Michigan thanks to the harbor mistress. The most interesting food is a Cajun restaurant called Pearl's which is either a mile walk away or the marina will shuttle you up and back.
We cruise our sailboat to the North Channel almost every summer for a few weeks and are always amazed by the quality of the water here in the bay right at our own mooring. Clear water and sandy bottoms, some days even warm.
Does this sound like a tourism pitch? Maybe but this is home and life is good. Glad you guys had a good trip. Suttons Bay also has a fist class movie theater with good seeats and sound that can't be beat.
posted 07-11-2006 12:19 AM ET (US)
Steve--Thanks for posting the pictures. This one shows the real size of those perched sand dunes. They rise about 300-feet out of the middle of Lake Michigan. You wonder where the heck all that sand came from and how many years it took to build up.
posted 07-11-2006 08:30 AM ET (US)
Looks as though the weather was quit nice that day. I am guessing the water temp is still quit cool as you are both running with the canvas up. In the last picture, with Gambler sitting with the port motor trimmmed up, there appears to be a shred of black cloth hanging from the trimmed motor. I wonder what that might be:)
posted 07-11-2006 09:37 AM ET (US)
great site for water temps: http://www.coastwatch.msu.edu/
posted 07-11-2006 01:50 PM ET (US)
Here's another nice tool for lake temps...
posted 07-11-2006 06:50 PM ET (US)
The water temp wasn't too bad - about 67 degrees F on the surface. A bit "refreshing" when wading at the beach.
The days alternated, but mostly were quite warm (80's) with a cool breeze. I was running the canvas, but no windshield because:
All that said, I was alternating between running with a fleece jacket on (with shorts and no shoes) and just a Tee shirt.
The sun was blazing on the day we went out to the Manitou Islands, and I kind of wish I had the canvas down that afternoon - especially when the flies found us at South Manitou - a little more wind action would have been nice to keep them off. (The shelter is indescriminate in exactly what creatures it offers shelter to!)
I have no explanation for that tattered bit of fabric hanging off of Castor, but he always was the more aggressive twin.
posted 07-11-2006 08:49 PM ET (US)
As an owner of both an 18 Outrage and a 22 Revenge WT WD, I was admiring the boat photos when I noticed on jimh's boat that the front navigation lights appear to be mounted on the front bow rail. Mine are mounted on the cuddy just above the area where the M is on jimh's boat. Again, it looks as though you all had a terrific weekend.
posted 07-11-2006 09:13 PM ET (US)
I finally got some of my photos uploaded.
Check them out at:
posted 07-13-2006 09:55 PM ET (US)
Just got in from a sunset mini rendezous. I've enlisted the help of an Outrage 18(Tony), an Outrage 22 and a newer Outrage 20 to be on watch in case Omena Bay gives up her dead ( JimH's Verado viser).
Stay tuned, Con
posted 07-21-2006 08:57 AM ET (US)
It is really something to see that clear water - at least to an east coaster. It really looks like Ocean to me, like some great spot in the keys . . . .
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