As you are aware, Hilton Head Island was hit by the eye of Hurricane Matthew approximately 4:00 AM today.
I planned to blog about our trip this evening but I just do not have the heart to do so. This will be done later.
Here is what we know. Our property in GA where we keep Salt Lick is OK. Hank’s runabout skiff is still up on the rack/left. Friends Jeanne and Russ and many others who live there are fine. No power, so no one has returned home yet.
What we know at HHI. No power, no one allowed back onto the Island, low lying flooding, many many trees are down blocking the roads. #278 – the one and only main road onto the Island is blocked in several places, all docks at Blue Heron point are destroyed, docks at Palmetto Bay Marina are destroyed with boats all askew, and rumor the same for Harbor Town marina.
What we DO NOT know — status of our condo and office/warehouse property.
Your head tells you this — you have insurance, it is only “STUFF”, and you are alive. But inside your body, your head races around a gazillion scenarios and puts one’s emotions on this very large high roller coaster. I don’t like roller coasters.
SO — Hank and I are physically here in the mid-West sitting on the Illinois River gearing up to cruise further South very early tomorrow AM. But my heart is back on my Island!!
I thank all who have expressed concerns, sent notes, made phone calls, etc. to inquire as to whether or not we were safe and what was going on. That means so much. Thank you.
We are off on the Rivers now. Departed the Chicago Yacht Club , made a turn to port ( left), and directly entered the Chicago Harbor Lock. This lock is only a 2 foot drop, but was built primarily to reverse the flow and course of the Chicago River. In doing so, the Sanitary Canal was also built and as you might guess…..this was used to carry all of the waste and trash back down to the Illinois River and from there into the Mississippi River. It prevented and still does prevent this flow into Lake Michigan.
Cruising down the Chicago River directly thru the middle of Chicago was a thrill for both of us. Hank especially liked it. The lovely old and new buildings, the many bridges, the hustle and bustle of the city, the noises, smells, were all right there before our very eyes, noses and ears!!
Our buddy boat, Moondance, was too “tall” to go this route, so they took a more Southern Route where we planned on meeting up at the point where the Cal-Sag connected with the Sanitary Canal. Due to lock delays for them AND for us, we ended up meeting at the dockage wall in Joliet, Il at the end of the long day.
As Hank and I were cruising down the Chicago River, we get a phone call from Doug Holler. He is one of Mr. Jim Holler’s sons who happens to live in the Chicago area. He had just missed us at our marina, as he was coming to SURPRISE us with a visit. Y’all remember the Holler’s?? They practically adopted me while we were docked in North Tonawanda, NY at the end of the Erie Canal. We enjoyed a good phone chat and I was able to catch up on the Holler family news.
When we finally pulled up to the wall to dock in Joliet, these two men came up to the boat to help assist with the lines. One guy gets the bow line, and the other grabs our stern line. A great help and as we are saying thank you and introducing ourselves, this guy at the stern says “hi, I’m Doug Holler”!!! HOLY MOLY —–SURPRISE!!!!
OH MY GOSH — how exciting was this and truly what a great surprise. Doug missed us at the marina, went to a second marina, thinking we might have been there, and then found his way to Harlem Street bridge, saw our boat, took some photos and THEN,,,,,, knowing we were going to dock in Joliet……hopped into his car and headed to Joliet to spring the surprise visit on us. What fun and delight it was to meet him. We called “Dad Holler”, (Jim), and talked with him too. Doug stayed and joined Mike and Debbie and us for pizza. A fun evening!!
It is humbling to experience this meeting and event. Doug had to have driven about 150 + miles JUST to make that surprise tie up at the wall happen. WELL — he will admit that he made a quick stop across the water to Harrah’s for about an hour before we arrived!!!!!!!! But even so…..thru his Dad and brothers to hear about us and Salt Lick and to make the effort to hunt us down to say hello face to face is very special. WOW!!!! this Holler gang is something to behold!!!
NOW BACK TO THE TITLE OF THE BLOG FOR TODAY
The Federal Corp of engineer locks take all commercial barges and tows before any pleasure craft. As a result there is often a wait. Yesterday while waiting for a group of dignitaries to get off a Corps of Engineers barge/tow, we were tied up along a wall. I DID tell you this was the Sanitary Canal, right? Floating off our stern was this grossly bloated dead deer amongst the plastic bottles, weeds, and other debris. GAG……
I’m getting there…… once we get into the lock, we are with this tow with one barge, and two other pleasure boats. I couldn’t get up along the wall, current and the stern thruster not functioning properly. A d0-si-do was done, 360 degree turnaround ,in the middle of the lock. NOT a pretty sight.
And then for today —– Moondance and Salt Lick went round and round in a great big circle at least 3 times,, while waiting for a lock to open. This, mind you, after they had given us a time to get there. So around in circles we go — sometimes intentional, and sometimes NOT!!
WHITE PELICANS —- LARGE FLOCK OF THEM HANGING OUT ALONG THE SIDE OF THE DES PLAINES RIVER.
Today is Wed., OCTOBER 5, 2016 We are docked in Seneca, Illinois at the Spring Brook Marina.
We made the 60.1 mile crossing of Lake Michigan yesterday. It was a full foul wether gear day — drizzle rain, wind, clouds, cold — with waves sloppy at 3 feet. We were mighty happy to have the Chicago sky line come into view!!
THANK YOU SYLVIA AND TOM COLLINS for the invite to stay at the yacht club. Colin, the harbormaster, greeted us and got us settled at the dock. What a great spot to be docked. So close to so many of the sights.
The Wandells, Charlotte and Jeff, were in town so we met them for dinner at a wonderful French Bistro. YUMMMM Rabbit!!! Thank you both for a fun evening.
We cruised thru Lake Erie, Lake Huron and lastly Lake Michigan. Lake Michigan is the largest of the three. I think due to the bad weather we had during most of the time on the Lake, this last one was not one of our favorites! These Lakes have a life of their own and it is no wonder they are considered Inland Seas. Lake Michigan was by far the deepest lake too. The Eastern shoreline of the lake is pretty with the many sand dunes and lovely lake towns, each having their own personalities. By the way — forget about that musical, light and water show video I was going too post. STILL can’t make that happen!! 😦
Tomorrow if the weather is favorable, we think we will depart and begin the RIVERS portion of this Great Loop. Next exciting destination will be the Mississippi River!!!
Well, not yet, but we are getting closer. Today, after 5 days of waiting out Mother Nature, we departed Holland, MI. Out onto Lake Michigan we went, along with Moondance, another trawler who is also doing the Great Loop. Mike and Debbie Sage buddy boated with us today and will do so again tomorrow as we cross the Lake to Chicago. Tonight we are docked in St. Joe, MI at the West Basin Marina. We enjoyed our first “pot-luck” dinner on the Great Loop with the Moondance crew. They are originally from Ohio, Butler County, where Mike was a judge and Debbie taught school. We enjoyed their company along with old dog Lilly who sleeps a lot, is very hard of hearing and also has cataracts. This Spaniel reminds me a lot of some of our friends.!!!!
This past Thursday evening Hank and I went to the Macatawa Bay Yacht club where we enjoyed music by Rick , a drink at the bar and a light supper. Several of the members stopped to just say hello, and this one couple who had been sitting across the bar from us, come by and after chatting a bit, invited us to their home for dinner Friday evening. “We will pick you up at 5:30”, they said. OK — that is a plan. We wondered if they would remember the invitation they had extended.
Sure enough, last evening, Chuck and Kay Danby took us to their restored lake cottage that was built in 1902. It is up on the dunes overlooking Lake Michigan. There are 3 floors with most of the walls contructed with the old pine bead boarding, not only on the walls, but in some rooms also on the ceilings. This couple is a hoot. He is retired Navy and had his own business. Presently he works with one of their sons restoring old homes in Chicago. Kay is a retired teacher and with her artistic theatrical bent, just a ton of fun. She got her Masters at IU, but she and Chuck met while attending University of Michigan. We feel honored to have been invited into their world and to glimpse a bit of old cottage life along Lake Michigan.
The author of the Wizard of Oz, L. Frank Baum, had a summer cottage in this same neighborhood and it is believed that he wrote the Wizard of Oz at his place there along the lake. There was a factory in Holland that made yellow bricks…….uuummmmm the “yellow brick road”! The fireplace in the Danby’s cottage is constructed of yellow bricks. One sees this on the upper level bed room area. The bricks in the living room have been painted white. Chuck and Kay shared with us that the original owner of their cottage was a publisher. Not proven yet, but perhaps the publisher might have published Mr. Baum’s book!!! If nothing else, this makes for a fabulous story and one that we are all “sticking to”!!!!! Thank you both for a delightful evening.