To New Buffalo (Day 32-34)


So close and yet so far. We are 45 miles across from Chicago, which is a day trip in calm seas.

New Buffalo shoreline

Seas are not calm.

So we’re spending a 3rd night in New Buffalo, some five miles from the Indiana border, along with seven other Looper boats. It’s not a bad place to get stuck.

We also spent three nights in St. Joe’s, also not a bad place to get stuck. The famed Lake Michigan winds are kicking up more often, and the movement windows are narrowing. So it goes.

The trip here from St. Joe’s was a bit rocky to start but eased up as we went…a pretty simple 25 miles. We are past 700 miles now and finally preparing to leave Michigan. Jeff celebrated these milestones with his 60th birthday (August 31). He set out from Pequaming on July 30 to live out his dream. To “just do it.” And so he is. Doing it. The Great Loop. Good for him.

We’ve enjoyed getting to know our fellow Loopers during this “enforced hiatus.” We’ve had time to compare notes on everything from anchors to weather apps, and to discuss what’s coming on the rivers after Chicago — a new navigation system, barges and locks, and lots of boats. On the boat-tracking app, I’ve seen at least 100 other Loopers on Lake Michigan, all making their way southward to Chicago. It’s good to have company, but we wonder how crowded it’s bound to get!

I’m trying not to be concerned about Chicago as we approach it during the busiest boating weekend of the year without a marina or mooring reservation. And all those bridges! I remind myself that I’ve traveled alone in foreign countries, where English wasn’t spoken. And that we’ve managed the “unknowns” of this trip pretty well up until now. And that many other first-time Loopers have the same concerns, even if they don’t express them. What’s the worst that can happen?

A tornado, perhaps. Hmm. Maybe it’s better not to follow this train of thought. 😉 Forward!

Whenever the winds let up, that is.

Photos and captions below.

Leaving St. Joe’s harbor.
We were greeted at New Buffalo by duck weed, apparently caused by effluence from farmers’ fields. (I didn’t take my paddle board out here.)
Many Moons looks like she’s sitting in grass here. I dropped my reading glasses into this water while securing the bow line. I tried to find them with the fish net. Yuck. Nope.
Our Looper friends helped us to celebrate Jeff’s 60th with a potluck dinner at the marina.
Um. Finns should get extra credit then! 😉
See Lake Michigan in the distance, at the end of the hill? Pretty rough out there.
That’s Many Moons, 2nd from the right. With these high winds, we’re glad to be in a protected marina. (Some of our past marina berths have been pretty rough in high winds.)
Gracie is doing The Loop too. She’s an explorer, and an escape artist. She’s escaped her boat at least four times. (One escape lasted a month!) She’s been fished out of the water, found on another boat, and narrowly escaped being crushed by a lock bollard. And yet she continues. 99 lives!
This is the Beer Church. Yes, really. A former church converted to a brewery. I got the “Pontius Pilate” and Jeff got the “Crooked Cross.” We wonder if local church-goers were offended but if so, we didn’t hear about it.
We aren’t always on the water. Today’s bike ride took me past corn fields.
The ducks feast on this green stuff. I suppose that’s why it’s called duck weed. (You can see Many Moons at 10 o’clock, with the flag flying above the dinghy.)

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