This is Murphy, an 80-lb. lab who lives on Slo Pace, a 40-foot Mainship. (Same kind of boat as ours, but longer.) We met him at the grocery store, along with his owners who were stocking up their boat. Just like us. On bikes. At the only grocery store in town.
We also met the couple from War Eagle, also a boat like ours. (I didn’t pay much attention to boat types until lately!) They carried their groceries back to their boat in a cart attached to their bike. Boaters find creative ways to make do without cars!
Both Slo Pace and War Eagle are Loopers — meaning, traveling The Great Loop, just like us. We’ve met at least four other Looper boats here. It happens almost as soon as we step onto the pier. Loopers recognize the burgee that flies from the bow, or know each other from the Nebo app that most of us use. We immediately start sharing tips and plans. (And, sometimes, mishaps.) Most Loopers carry “business cards” with them. We’ve collected a half-dozen already. We don’t have cards. They seem a bit too, um, formal for me … since I’m not yet personally committed to the entire Loop. It’s still “see how it goes” for me. Jeff is all-in, though. It could still happen to me too. The camaraderie reminds me of my Navy days. And I love travel, of course. But sharing a small space can be tough on introverts. I miss my private times and places. I’m learning to find or create those where I can.
We’re two weeks in and still in the Upper Peninsula! We didn’t expect this but it’s ok. You know that phrase, “expect the unexpected?” It applies especially to boating. The wind is keeping us in St. Ignace for a 3rd night. It rattles the stays of the nearby sailboats at night and interrupts my sleep. I realize I’m acutely attuned to sounds. Even a slight change in the engine sound can raise my eyebrow. (That one could be a good thing, actually.)
This unscheduled long pause gives me time to “read my mood” without the continual logistical distractions of living on a boat. Those distractions slow but don’t stop when you’re in port. Today’s excursion includes a stop at the Farmer’s Market, where we load up on fresh produce. We also hit the hardware store for a few essentials. And, of course, the ice cream shop which occupies a British double-decker bus (look-alike).
Today’s also the day to finally try the air fryer that Jeff brought along. Lake trout. Yum! I was doubtful about bringing this clunky thing, but it might pay off. I saute the asparagus on the propane-fueled burner which is my go-to. Convenience matters, but it can get dull. We also have an Insta-Pot and grill on board. And the boat’s stove, with oven. Many options! I prefer baking to cooking, but we can do without those calories while under way.
The moody skies finally give way to a glorious evening. I enjoy a full hour on the waterfront to read the paper and play on-line Scrabble with my favorite partner. Our game is fast, as usual. I beat him, again. But I know his turn will come. I like a challenge. Why else would I be on this trip??
On to Lake Michigan tomorrow. (Weather allowing, of course.)