As we enter a 2nd summer on the Great Loop, Mainship Many Moons has passed three more milestones: 5,500 miles under way, 19th state, and longest one-day run ever.
Travel on a boat is sometimes measured by such milestones.
We are now 235 miles into our carefully-planned westward progress across troublesome Lake Erie – troublesome (for boaters) because of its weather challenges. If we went straight down the middle, we would be almost out of the lake by now since it is 241 miles long, measured east-to-west. But only fast or large boats, and maybe adventurous sailboats, go down the middle. In doing so, they miss the nice shoreline surprises that are part of The Great Loop. (We missed a lot of them, too, in our long runs west.)
We spent five nights in Erie, Pa. We didn’t intend that but moody Lake Erie had other plans for us. (See last post.) After the 4th night, we got under way to get our eyeballs on the lake rather than rely solely on electronic data. But the “buffalo were running”…referring to the fact that the horizon of a rough lake looks like a herd of stampeding buffalo. We ducked back into our anchorage for a 5th night and a nice evening with old-and-new friends, explained in photos below.
When we finally left Erie, we aimed for Cleveland — and made it there, 12.5 hours and 103 miles later. Somewhere in the day, we passed into Ohio. We also passed many nice towns and impressive seawalls. Why pass up nice towns? Weather windows. If you have good weather on Lake Erie, it’s best to move along because it could take weeks to cross otherwise. It’s the smallest of the Great Lakes, so why so rough? Mainly because of shoreline geography and relative shallowness. Because the prevailing weather comes from the west, it travels the length of the lake unobstructed and gathers energy as it goes. The farther east you are, the more likely it is that you’ll encounter rough water.
See photos and captions of our cruise into western Lake Erie, below.