We officially got back on Sweet Day Friday, September 3rd around noon. Two hours later after unpacking and returning the rental car, we were back on the water and made it to Port Huron just before sunset. Grabbed $2 dark and stormies at Port Huron Yacht Club (where we broke down the first time) to toast getting back on the loop.
We're now at the tip of Michigan, having cruised 300+ miles over the last 7 days. Our goal is to get to Chicago as soon as we can. It feels so good to be "home" and back on the loop, but we can't help but notice things feel a little different.
Sweet Day starts like a Tesla.
Most importantly, and what we're most pumped about, is Sweet Day starts. Thanks to rebuilt injectors and a high pressure fuel pump, Sweet Day’s engine sounds different while underway. The engine seems to be running smoother and more efficiently and she no longer shakes while running at certain RPMs. This overall is awesome, but we now have to relearn her new sounds and (hopefully less) quirks.
Summer is over.
The air is crisper, winds a little stronger, and sun sets a little earlier. Shops and marinas are starting to change to fall hours (some are even closing for the season) and less boats are in the water. As families prepare to send kids back to school, it feels like a different mindset than when we were here last in the middle of summer. Our looper friends are far off the lakes and starting the river systems south of Chicago.There are still some boats out (and a few loopers making their way to Chicago) but it’s clear the boating season in Michigan is winding down. It is refreshing to sleep in cool, crisp air, and enjoy towns with less crowds. But, we can't help but find ourselves mourning summer a bit...
Mother Nature chooses when we travel.
The weather and wind start to really pick up on the Great Lakes starting in the fall. It’s generally accepted that boats should be off the lakes by October as the days where it’s safe to travel become increasingly scarce. Before, we would still plan when we stopped based on weather, but if we liked a town we may stay for an extra day even if it was calm enough to cruise. But now, we are constantly monitoring the weather and moving any chance we get. That has meant leaving at 3:30 am in some cases, and others thinking we were staying put but the winds calm down and we end up getting a few more miles under our belt. While sleep schedules may be altered, the views are incredible.
Trusting our decision making skills is even more important.
Before, we would often consult with other loopers on the weather and if they were going to travel that day or not. With less loopers out, we have found ourselves having to rely more on our own judgement and readings of weather forecasts. This sometimes is positive, as we messaged a looper traveling on a day we were staying put and they told us they wish they never left port the conditions were so terrible. Another time we risked rougher waters than other loopers so we wouldn’t get stuck in a port for a week and overall glad we made that decision. While we are always ultimately responsible for our decisions, we're finding we are more so than before absorbing as much information as we can from locals and online weather resources and communicating with each other on our comfort levels and risk tolerances. And as always, we continue to stick with the common looper rule “It takes 2 yeses to go” meaning both partners have to say yes to travel--not 2 maybes or one yes and one no.