Three Milestones for Many Moons


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.

On our 5th night in Erie, Pa., we were joined at anchor by the crew of Redemption. How fun to reconnect with old friends who we met in Michigan long before starting the Loop (including Tom, who made the Gulf crossing with Jeff after I left the boat.) … and also make some new ones. This boat is crewed by two couples who planned the Loop together and got this boat for the purpose. How cool.
Redemption dwarfs Many Moons when she is “bumpered up” next to us. πŸ˜„ She separated from us for the night, setting anchor some distance away.
The next morning, we followed Redemption out into the lake for the long run to Cleveland. I noticed the boat named Finnlander as we passed Geneva. (Hey, that’s what I am! Well, Finnish-American, anyway.)
Passing Perry Nuclear Power Plant in Ohio. Most of the coastline in this stretch is somewhat boring or industrial – but I have learned about the many jewels tucked just out of sight, with nice beaches and fun waterfronts.
Passing Fairport Harbor on the Lake Erie coastline. I include some gray or sorta-dull photos to show that it’s not always fabulous scenery … or sunny weather.
In the 100+ miles to Cleveland, we saw miles and miles (and hours and hours) of this. Auto-pilot and Sirius-XM radio helped.
More industrial waterfront, about 30 miles east of Cleveland. We came closer to the shoreline as winds picked up and turned southerly, because the land blocked us from their impact.
Cleveland’s cityscape comes into view, reminding us of our approach to Chicago last September.
Entering Cleveland’s protected entrance, we see Rachel Ann already tied to the downtown wall. (Redemption went into a yacht club.) Cleveland’s seawall entrance is 5 miles long!
Getting closer to Cleveland as we cruise inside the seawall. Who knew that approaching Cleveland could be exciting? On my many car trips from Virginia to Michigan, I’ve always flown past the exits marked “Cleveland.”
Tied to a wall in downtown Cleveland on the Cuyahoga River
Cities have their own beauty…
A long-awaited technical success! At an oyster bar on the Cleveland waterfront, which did not offer paper menus, I successfully used a menu QR code for the first time. First, the patient young waitress offered to help, obviously judging me as an aging customer who needed it. πŸ˜„ “Oops,” she says, “your phone won’t read it.” (I tried to tell her that.) “Maybe it’s your settings?” After somebody fished out a paper menu from somewhere, I fiddled with my settings. Nadda. Ah, I thought, maybe i need an app! The right app has solved many under-way problems. So I downloaded this one, and…bingo! I was soon reading the on-line menu aloud to my equally QR-code-challenged table mates. Small successes…! πŸ™‚
Nigh time at the Cleveland wall.
The view from the other side. Trains, parties, and occasional shouts prevented a restful night. A boat tied up behind us at 11 p.m. and I dashed outside to hold us off the wall so the wake didn’t do damage. Nope, not a restful night… but a cheap one! (Free.)
The next morning, Norfolk-Southern Railroad Bridge had to open for us before we could head back out into Lake Erie to aim for a small town called Huron, almost 50 miles farther west. After Cleveland, we were ready for a smaller town…
Our 1st leg in Lake Erie, from Buffalo N.Y. to Erie, Pa., was 83 miles but so hot that it felt like 100. Our 2nd leg – from Erie, Pa. to Cleveland, Oh. – really was 100 miles (actually almost 104) but felt less because of the pleasant breeze and calm seas. Our 3rd leg, from Cleveland to Huron, was 48 miles. We chose Huron because (1) a local there, who hopes to do the Loop one day, reached out and invited us, and (2) Camp Many Moons sits on Huron Bay, not far from the Huron River, in far-north Michigan. Another place named Huron must be good!
Many Moons is visible in center-right here, at Huron Municipal Boat Basin on the Huron River in Huron, Ohio. It’s a clean and well-run facility.
The War of 1812 figures big on this end of Lake Erie, and historical signs abound.
Probable future Loopers Steve and Kelly joined us for docktails, along with Loopers from Rachel Ann and Moxie. Steve sent me a note weeks ago when he realized we would be traveling Lake Erie, inviting us to his home marina. Thanks, Steve!
John and Rachel of Rachel Ann took us out to breakfast for my birthday. My first-ever breakfast in a bowling alley! Such quirkiness is…please excuse this…right up my alley. πŸ™‚
Jeff took this pic as I was arranging our next marina, at Middle Bass Island in western Lake Erie. I’m wearing a water-soaked bandana to stave off the effects of continuing oppressive heat. I’ll jump in the water first chance I get!

5 thoughts on “Three Milestones for Many Moons

  1. Appreciate you continuing to share your journey that one day I hope to make. Some of which I have traveled and 97% I have yet to have the privilege.

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