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Author Topic:   Lake Michigan Crossing - Summer 2013
K Albus posted 01-22-2013 02:15 PM ET (US)   Profile for K Albus   Send Email to K Albus  
Who's interested in making a Lake Michigan crossing this summer? I'd like to tentatively plan a crossing for sometime in mid to late June. I've done Grand Haven to Milwaukee and Frankfort to Sturgeon Bay. Both of those trips were great, and I'm willing to repeat either one. I'm also open to suggestions for any other starting points and destinations. I would plan to leave Michigan early on Saturday morning, spend the night somewhere in Wisconsin, and return to Michigan in the early afternoon on Sunday. Wisconsin guys - please feel free to chime in with your availability and any suggested destinations.
Jeff posted 01-22-2013 11:09 PM ET (US)     Profile for Jeff  Send Email to Jeff     

With my son being 5 years old and very willing to travel and "rough it" I think this is likely doable for me this season. Depending on the location of departure I could take either the 23 Walkaround or the Grady-White.

That said, I thought it was the Wisconsin's crew turn to come across. If that is the case and they wish to come into Frankfort, I would be glad to host the entire group. Our family house is just two block from the Marina and launch ramp. We have plenty of beds, a bathroom and space for people in our house if staying on the boat is not an option. Also we have a BBQ and open fire pit for evening gatherings.

David Pendleton posted 01-22-2013 11:50 PM ET (US)     Profile for David Pendleton  Send Email to David Pendleton     
I might be interested in this. I've always wanted to see the Sleeping Bear Dunes NL. That is, if it is indeed the turn of the "Wisconsin Crew" to come across.
K Albus posted 01-23-2013 08:49 AM ET (US)     Profile for K Albus  Send Email to K Albus     
Jeff - A weekend in and around Frankfort sounds like a great idea. However, the Wisconsin guys who have participated in the past all had smaller boats, and I'm not sure any of them would be willing to cross the lake. (All of the Minnesota guys I know have larger cabin boats.) If some of the Wisconsin and Minnesota guys want to make the crossing, I'm all for a Frankfort get-together. Maybe we can do two weekends - one in Frankfort and one in Wisconsin.
prj posted 01-23-2013 10:37 AM ET (US)     Profile for prj  Send Email to prj     
In general, the Wisconsin Crew has neither the cohesion or average boat size required to plan and execute the Lake Michigan crossing. I'm not certain anyone other than myself has expressed interest in the adventure.

If Minnesotans such as Pendleton, Thickens (Plotman), Raby or others care to join, I expect we may have a better chance. I also believe Illinois resident Whalerdude has expressed some interest in making the crossing in his Outrage-19.

I'm game for either receiving or crossing, dependent upon my availability for the scheduled weekend and my confidence in the boat's power. Middle June usually finds the Outrage and I in Lake Superior's Apostle Islands. We haven't yet finalized the schedule for that adventure yet.

Due to the weather and time constraints, we obviously barely scratched the surface of boating in Door Co. in '09 or '10 when the Michiganders crossed from Frankfort. Similarly, I'm sure the waters around Frankfort, including the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, offer spectacular boating.

6992WHALER posted 01-23-2013 01:26 PM ET (US)     Profile for 6992WHALER  Send Email to 6992WHALER     
What about doing it July 4-7.

Holly and I have been talking about going to the Sturgeon Bay/Green Bay area over the fourth.

Leave MPLS after work on the 3rd mess around on the 4,5,6 head home on the afternoon of the 7th.

We had not planned to cross over to the MI side.

I don't think we would drive over just for a 2 day weekend


Jeff posted 01-23-2013 03:33 PM ET (US)     Profile for Jeff  Send Email to Jeff     
The only thing I would say about that time frame is, at least on the Michigan side, the week of the forth of July is when all the available slips may already be taken. It's a very busy time for Frankfort and at best there is usually only open spots to anchor in the bay which means you would have to have a dinghy to get ashore. If you can get a spot though, Frankfort has one of the best Fireworks displays on the eastern Lake Shore.

Also, at least if we want to use our house, the first two weeks of July it's over run with family and not available for other activities.

L H G posted 01-23-2013 04:12 PM ET (US)     Profile for L H G    
As a person having spent most of my boating life on the West shore (IL and WI side) of Lake Michigan, I can say with certainty it is much easier to plan crossing trips from the MI side to WI, rather than from the IL/WI side.
It's so difficult to do that I have never done it, even with the 25 Outrage. And I know plenty of people that have done it, and gotten stuck in MI for many days, unable to get back, even in 50' boats.

The prevailing weather on the Lake most often has a westerly component, all three of those wind directions can make for brutal conditions on the Lake if it's more than 15 knots. Which means that leaving from the West is relatively easy and more predictable in picking good weather, but getting back in a few days can be the problem. Now you will be heading into it and oncoming thunderstorms, fronts, etc, which can simply mean waiting out the days. So you need to have plenty of reserve time. Of course you can get lucky (like this previous trip mentioned), but not very often on the weekend you happen to pick.

Coming over from MI is easier, since you can pick the good day to begin and head west, and then head back ahead of any oncoming bad weather, outrunning it.

For three years, I have been waiting to do a crossing from Bailey's Harbor on the Door Peninsula to Frankfort or Leland, with another 25' Whaler owner, and we simply have not been able to hit it right yet, and have basically given up on the idea!

Back in 1995, I hit a prediction of flat water on Lake MI for the 4 day 4th of July weekend, and did a cruise out of Death's Door channel out to South Fox Island (42 miles), then up to Beaver Island for the night, then back along the deserted North shore of the Lake to Fayette in the U.P. On the last leg back, we ran into a brutal head wind on Green Bay heading back down to Door.

So I would say plan that trip out of the MI side once again.

jay18 posted 01-23-2013 06:25 PM ET (US)     Profile for jay18  Send Email to jay18     
If you guys are planning on coming to WI, visit Fish Creek in Door County and stay @ the Alibi Marina. see I often put together small group outings such as golf and theatre shows for cruising groups and would be happy to see a group visit Fish Creek (see THe Fourth of July is the busiest time of the year anywhere up here so if that is your timeframe, you will need to make and confirm reservations on the marina's website. Any other time of the season is a lot hectic and not so many yahoos on the water for you consideration.


David Pendleton posted 01-23-2013 06:33 PM ET (US)     Profile for David Pendleton  Send Email to David Pendleton     
I was planning on cruising the Apostles over the 4th of July holiday. I would consider a Door County trip over the same weekend, but only if you guys get out of Sturgeon Bay.

You really haven't experienced Door County until you get north of Fish Creek.

Our favorite spot is Sister Bay.

6992WHALER posted 01-23-2013 07:12 PM ET (US)     Profile for 6992WHALER  Send Email to 6992WHALER     
You know us, we don't need to spend any nights in a marina on a three night trip. So as long as we can find good and interesting anchorages we will be happy. If there is an interesting reason to stay in a marina then we will do that too.

Dave, the July 4th trip is just an idea right now I have not thought about details at this time.


jimh posted 01-25-2013 08:44 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
A trip over and back across northern Lake Michigan in a period of three days is really symmetrical for either starting in Wisconsin or starting in Michigan. In both cases you have to go East to West at some point, and there is the possibility of having strong prevailing Westerly winds. Such winds either delay your outbound trip or delay your return trip. In both cases, you are delayed. If you have only a three day window, you need three days with calm conditions in either case.

For a start on the Michigan side, strong Westerlies for several days would just scrub the trip by delaying the start too long. For a start on the Wisconsin side, strong westerlies for several days would also scrub the trip by preventing its completion in the allowed time. For either situation, what is really needed is just one day with light winds and calms seas to make the run East to West. The run West to East can be made with perhaps a little higher winds and wave, as long as they are a following sea.

The trip made a few years ago in which Lake Michigan was glassy calm was really a rare event.

In general I do not like to plan trips where a crucial element of the trip is to cross 50 to 60 miles of open water on a certain day. In any Great Lakes open water passage of 50 to 60 miles, you need the conditions to be suitable for small boats on the particular day you want to make the passage. To go upwind for 60 miles requires unusually calm conditions for the passage to be pleasant. To go downwind for 60 miles can be done in a wider range of conditions, but to be really pleasant, you still need winds and wave to be very modest.

The success of a trip as proposed here is highly dependent on the weather that blows in during the three day window.

Jeff also makes a good point about harbor accommodations on the Fourth of July weekend. However, with the low water levels expected this Summer, there are likely to be slips in many marinas that will have insufficient water for the typical cruising boat, but have enough water for a Boston Whaler.

Hoosier posted 01-25-2013 11:18 AM ET (US)     Profile for Hoosier  Send Email to Hoosier     
As a comparison, Lions Head to Killbear is about 57 miles, Frankfort to Sturgeon Bay is about 58 miles. In Georgian Bay we crossed West to East in ideal conditions. In the previous Lake Michigan crossing from Frankfort to Sturgeon Bay the westbound run was in damp, but not rough, conditions. The eastbound run the next day was in rougher conditions but nothing like the first day of last year's North Channel trip. In that adventure we all learned that Whalers, the boats not the occupants, can deal with substantial following seas. So, where does all that leave us? We roll the dice...

How's this look?

Day 1: Frankfort to a marina (TBD) on the Door Peninsula via the Sturgeon Bay canal.

Day 2: Explore the Door Peninsula and Green Bay. I'd like to see the shipyards at Marinette.

Day 3: Return to Frankfort going around the north end of the Door Peninsula, cross to the Manitou Islands, and then on to Frankfort.

That's about 225 miles.

PeteB88 posted 01-27-2013 12:15 PM ET (US)     Profile for PeteB88  Send Email to PeteB88     
I'm IN pending work priorities. Way to go Kevin!
PeteB88 posted 01-27-2013 12:22 PM ET (US)     Profile for PeteB88  Send Email to PeteB88     
Shoot - when Mirassou was here, we had meeting in Fond du Lac w Mercury and the Lake Express ferry was down for maintenance. It was choppy as hell off Grand Haven and he was ready to get in my Outrage 17 and go to Milwaukee and was freaking serious! When they did the Only in America tour 25 years ago they pointed his Montauk at Chicago from Grand Haven and put the throttle down and just went - as I recall...balls the size of grapefruits.
home Aside posted 01-27-2013 12:35 PM ET (US)     Profile for home Aside  Send Email to home Aside     
I'm in too, pending work scheduling....
jimh posted 02-06-2013 01:41 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Pete--Has Jessie Ventura done a show on this crossing trip? I need his opinion before I can commit.
K Albus posted 02-06-2013 09:19 AM ET (US)     Profile for K Albus  Send Email to K Albus     
I haven't heard anything from Jessie, but I do want to make it clear that the invitation is open to everybody, including Nick Saban.
whalerdude posted 02-07-2013 09:48 PM ET (US)     Profile for whalerdude    
I would like to do the crossing. Count me in. I often think about doing the round trip crossing solo. I could leave when conditions are perfect and not have to wait for anyone else. I will have my RPIRB, extra fuel, parts, GPS, AIS.

I just need more GUTS. In reality I think I would be a little spooked being alone at the halfway point.

I think about crossing all the time. I have only crossed ONCE on the Lake Express ferry. That was a great experience.

jimh posted 02-07-2013 10:01 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
I am okay with Nick Saban, as long as he is in a Boston Whaler.
Hoosier posted 02-08-2013 11:40 PM ET (US)     Profile for Hoosier  Send Email to Hoosier     
OK, are we doing this or not? So far we have, this one, the Ottawa River/Rideau Canal, and Isle Royale. We're OK with any/all of them, just when are we doing all this?
K Albus posted 02-08-2013 11:46 PM ET (US)     Profile for K Albus  Send Email to K Albus     
This one is definitely happening (weather permitting, of course) sometime in June. As of the present, I am leaning toward a Grand Haven to Milwaukee trip.
Hoosier posted 02-09-2013 09:41 AM ET (US)     Profile for Hoosier  Send Email to Hoosier     
Been there, done that, though we'd do it again. How about Harbor Springs to Green Bay (the city)? We could circumnavigate the Door Peninsula.
K Albus posted 02-09-2013 11:05 AM ET (US)     Profile for K Albus  Send Email to K Albus     
Is there anything to see or do in Racine?
PeteB88 posted 02-10-2013 03:16 PM ET (US)     Profile for PeteB88  Send Email to PeteB88     
Jesse wants to ride in your boat, Jim. I hear he's infiltrating Nestle in Evart.

Grand Haven would be great- I was just in Milwaukee last week, hadn't been there for years and what a cool city. I know there's an annual salmon fishing tournament in Racine but not sure about water front.

We could go New Buffalo to Chicago - it's only 33 miles. - - - just pullin yer starter rope.

K Albus posted 02-10-2013 06:49 PM ET (US)     Profile for K Albus  Send Email to K Albus     
I'm considering Holland, Michigan to Racine, Wisconsin, just to try something new.
David Pendleton posted 02-11-2013 01:22 AM ET (US)     Profile for David Pendleton  Send Email to David Pendleton     
If the Holland-Racine run included a trip to Chicago, I might consider this.

I don't want to drive all the way to Racine just to hang out in a marina.

prj posted 02-11-2013 09:31 AM ET (US)     Profile for prj  Send Email to prj     
I can't vouch for the Racine waterfront, activity or points of interest. I believe we do have a member from Racine, owns an Eastport 20 or Conquest 20, if I recall. Perhaps he'll chime in. That said, I'm quite skeptical of Racine as a worthwhile destination for a trip of that length.

Hoosier posted 02-11-2013 11:34 AM ET (US)     Profile for Hoosier  Send Email to Hoosier     
Since this is an open discussion, how about Harbor Springs to Fish Creek? We could circumnavigate the Door Peninsula. This isn't as far as going to Green Bay. I think we had dinner at Fish Creek the last time and it was a nice place.
K Albus posted 02-11-2013 12:17 PM ET (US)     Profile for K Albus  Send Email to K Albus     
Hoosier (and others) - My objective in planning this particular trip is a short weekend trip - two days - Saturday and Sunday - without having to take any time off of work - without having to load my boat up with groceries and clothing for an extended trip. I just want to cruise across the lake, meet up with some of the Wisconsin guys, get lunch, do a little boating, get dinner, and return to Michigan the next morning. All I'm packing is my toothbrush and a cooler full of beer.

Circumnavigating Door County is a great idea, but not something I want to do over the course of a two-day weekend. The same goes for a Holland to Racine to Chicago trip - while it sounds like a fun trip, I don't think it would be reasonable to leave Holland on a Saturday morning, stop in Racine, move on to Chicago, and get back to Holland at a decent hour on Sunday. If you guys want to plan a trip like that, I'll definitely consider joining your trip. But I'll still most likely be making my weekend crossing to Wisconsin in June.

The July 4th weekend looks to be a good long boating weekend this year. But I don't want to spend it fighting the crowds in Door County, not to mention fighting the holiday weekend traffic getting to and from Frankfort. I'll either be boating locally, or looking for somewhere away from the tourist crowds to do my boating on that weekend.

PeteB88 posted 02-11-2013 03:33 PM ET (US)     Profile for PeteB88  Send Email to PeteB88     
Ellen perked up at the idea of going on this trip. However this goes down I'd be a rider, not sure I should take the Outrage 17 across but would chip in for fuel if I can bum a ride, I mean crew a boat. That said, if the wise captains on this thread think I should fuel up and take my boat I'd probably go for it. Lockeman's gave my 115 a clean bill of health last Aug. I have 34 gallons inboard tank.
David Pendleton posted 02-11-2013 08:40 PM ET (US)     Profile for David Pendleton  Send Email to David Pendleton     
Kevin, you could always head over to the Apostles for 4th of July.

We're not likely to make this trip for just two days.

L H G posted 02-11-2013 10:18 PM ET (US)     Profile for L H G    
Kevin - Head for Kenosha, not Racine. Racine has an old marina, floating docks not in great shape, with long walks to facilities. The place is half empty from it's glory days of 20 years ago. Many boaters have relocated south to Kenosha.

The Kenosha Marina, on the other hand, is mostly brand new, really well done with nice modern docks and great facilities. Lots of evening boating parties going on at the docks on weekend evenings. Some nice restaurants are walking distance, and there is a great steetcar ride around town for 25 cents. The whole surrounding area is clean, safe and well maintained. The Irish Pub next to the Marina is not to be missed for great food & drink. Once there, you can easily take the 16 mile run up to Racine if you want to see it, or 7 miles down to Northpointe Marina at the Illinois border.

Now, the chances you'll get "crossable" weather for the long trip from Holland on any given weekend you pick is about 25% or less. I have never even given one minute's serious thought about doing the run the other way, to Holland. Be sure you have at least one other capable boat traveleing with you.

Hoosier posted 02-12-2013 09:42 AM ET (US)     Profile for Hoosier  Send Email to Hoosier     
Larry, define "capable boat"...
L H G posted 02-12-2013 06:36 PM ET (US)     Profile for L H G    
Dave - A boat like your twin engine 23 Walkaround or my Outrage 25.

I have made the run (back in 1988) from downtown Chicago 46 miles across to New Buffalo MI on a calm "light and variable" day in my twin engine Outrage 18 (with no companion boat), but that is only like "clipping a corner" off the Lake. For what Kevin is talking about, of all my Whalers, I would only do it with the Outrage 25. I would never go it alone with a single engine in any size boat. Yes, I know people do it, but not me. The Southern half of Lake Michigan is much bigger water than the Northern half.

Hoosier posted 02-12-2013 07:20 PM ET (US)     Profile for Hoosier  Send Email to Hoosier     
Understood, Larry. I did Lake Micigan crossings twice in my 1978 Outrage V20 with its puny Suzuki DF-115. I also did the North Channel, solo, in the same boat. On that excursion I got concerned because I was the only boat on the water, it was the week after Labor Day. I feel that with modern engines the risk is low but I wouldn't cross Lake Michigan alone. Another thing to keep in mind is there's a portion of the route that is out of VHF range, having a buddy boat who can leave and get in range is important.
PeteB88 posted 02-12-2013 08:19 PM ET (US)     Profile for PeteB88  Send Email to PeteB88     
Kevin did it in a 16 foot boat with one engine or maybe it was a bit longer. He rode 'er like a bronco. I saw the whole thing. Yee haaaa!!
PeteB88 posted 02-16-2013 11:39 AM ET (US)     Profile for PeteB88  Send Email to PeteB88     
HOOSIER -It's weird to me that after Labor Day so many boat owners around here (Lake Mich shoreline communities) start putting their boats in storage, I mean it's really unbelievable.
Hoosier posted 02-18-2013 10:41 PM ET (US)     Profile for Hoosier  Send Email to Hoosier     
The only time I consider my boat/s put away for the winter is when I can't get the barn door open due to to much snow....
PeteB88 posted 03-04-2013 02:43 PM ET (US)     Profile for PeteB88  Send Email to PeteB88     
Any more info on this possible voyage? Tom from GR very interested to go this summer with his 220 Outrage.
K Albus posted 03-05-2013 07:46 AM ET (US)     Profile for K Albus  Send Email to K Albus     
Pete - I'm still planning on making the crossing sometime in June, most likely from Grand Haven to Milwaukee. Although there have been many responses to this thread, nobody has really stated a strong preference for any particular date or destination. I'll try to get the date firmed up within the next week or two.
PeteB88 posted 03-06-2013 01:30 PM ET (US)     Profile for PeteB88  Send Email to PeteB88     
Thanks Kevin - and for the email. Who's in??
thammer posted 03-06-2013 02:39 PM ET (US)     Profile for thammer  Send Email to thammer     
We are thinking that we would like to cross in the Grand Haven or Holland area, go to Chicago then North up the Wisconsin coast to Door County across to one the the Manitou's or Beaver Island then back to our home port in Leland.
K Albus posted 03-25-2013 07:52 AM ET (US)     Profile for K Albus  Send Email to K Albus     
I have selected the weekend of June 22 and June 23 for the Lake Michigan crossing event. The plan is to leave from Grand Haven at approximately 8:30-9:00 a.m. on Saturday, June 22; proceed due west across Lake Michigan with a rest stop or two along the way; arrive in Milwaukee approximately 3 hours later (which will be approximately 11:00 a.m. local time); spend the day boating in the Milwaukee area; spend the night at McKinley Marina; depart Milwaukee on Sunday morning at approximately 9:00 a.m. local time; arrive back in Grand Haven at approximately 1:00 p.m. Michigan time.

The crossing will only be made if weather conditions are favorable.

The last time I did this trip I was able to store my vehicle and trailer at Barrett Boat Works in Grand Haven, where I also launched my boat. I will plan on doing the same this year. I will contact Barrett Boat Works in the next couple of days to confirm that they still offer overnight parking. Barrett Boat Works website:

I will also contact McKinley Marina within the next couple of weeks to make a reservation. McKinley Marina website:

I will be spending Saturday night on my boat. If you do not have the ability to spend the night on your boat, there are a number of hotels within easy walking distance of McKinley Marina. I stayed at the Comfort Inn the last time. The Comfort Inn currently has rooms available for as little as $119 if you pay in advance. It appears that there are cheaper rooms available in the area at other hotels or inns.

After reaching Milwaukee on Saturday afternoon, we'll take a tour of the Milwaukee River by boat, and stop somewhere on the river for lunch. Hopefully some of the Milwaukee guys can give us some help regarding things to see and places to eat.

prj posted 03-25-2013 11:02 AM ET (US)     Profile for prj  Send Email to prj     
Excellent Kevin.

I'm excited to receive you guys over here on the West Coast of Lake Michigan. While I expect that we'll keep the schedule and stops somewhat flexible, I throw out a few suggestions for places to stop for lunch, dinner or simple beverages.

Despite the relative economic doldrums since your last trip over, there are several new establishments along the rivers that may merit a stop at some point in the day.

Last trip, I believe that we ran nearly the length of the navigable lower and middle sections of the Milwaukee River. We also ran up the Menomonee River and canal system to the Harley-Davidson Museum, I believe. That section of waterway has several branches/ canals that I've never been on, and the navigable section of the Kinnickinnic River merits a quick trip as well. Those three rivers; the Milwaukee, Menomonee and Kinnickinnic Rivers ostensibly gave Milwaukee its name, as coined by natives, gathering place by the waters.

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