Lexington, storms and loopers
We left Harbor Beach at about 6 am, but only have about 38 miles to go today. That should be relaxing and a piece of cake compared to our 80 mile day. We know we have some weather coming in for the next couple of days, so we want to get there as early as possible to avoid any weather that might be earlier than expected.
We were a little anxious about Lexington marina since we have heard stories from other boaters about how narrow their fairways in the marina are and with a full keel and no bow thruster we are not as nimble in tight spaces as other boats. They do have some nice accessible slips on the outside, however when I made reservations none of these slips were available and we had to select a slip on the inside in the tight fairways.
We had a beautiful sail all the way to Lexington with no motor for a change. As we made our way closer to Lexington the winds were slowly increasing all day. We were a bit concerned coming in with increasing winds and tight fairways. So, once we got into the marina we decided to stop at the fuel dock to fill up the diesel tank and pump out first. This is a good way to make a successful landing to check out the lay of the land before we have to move to a slip.
The marina staff were very welcoming and helpful. Before we even had a chance to ask, they took note of the increasing winds, took a look at our heavy boat and asked in we would like to use one of the slips on the outside. YES! Thank you! We were grateful they were so accommodating to allow us to move to slip that would be much easier to maneuver to. With the help of the marina staff we were able to land successfully in the nice wide open slip.
The winds continued to increase and we watched as multiple boats were all pulling into the marina after us for the next few hours. It was the kind of day that everyone available on the dock was at hand to help people land their boats in gusty conditions. When the weather is like this it doesn’t matter how pretty your landing, just that you land without hitting anything.
We got in early enough that we walked up the hill to town just a few blocks away and found a great little burger place for lunch. Wimpy’s Burgers, yes, just like Popeye. It had a small town diner feel to the place with a counter and open kitchen with a soda fountain. Delicious!
We made our way back to the boat and the increasing winds were indeed signaling a change in weather and was a warning to the approaching storm front that was coming our way. The storm hit with full force about 4 pm complete with 40 – 45 mph winds, small hail, heavy rain, etc. So glad we left early and were safely at the dock!
The next day the winds were still howling out of the north due to the storm front, so we are staying put for another day. So, the day was spent catching up on boat projects, writing blog posts, cleaning and relaxing.
When traveling by water, we are blessed to meet other like minded people who are also traveling places by water. If you are not familiar with what is called America’s Great Loop, let me introduce you.
America’s Great Loop is a route that boaters up the east coast, west through the great lakes, south through the Mississippi river and then east across the Gulf of Mexico. There are multiple people who take this route and typically take about a year to complete the full loop. These boats are referred to as “loopers”. Generally, one would go north on the east coast in the Spring, west through the great lakes in the summer months, south on the river in the fall and east across the Gulf of Mexico in the winter.
Although we are generally following this route, we are going in a clockwise fashion, heading east through the Great Lakes and south on the east coast. This is the opposite direction of what many loopers are heading. We will not complete the entire loop and our purpose is to get to the Bahamas!
Lexington is one of the first stops that we are starting to encounter some “loopers” who are headed in the opposite direction of us. We met Tom and Theresa, Loren and Lisa and Mike and Ginny. Conversations led to happy hour on the dock which then led to dinner at a near by restaurant called Windjammer. It was a really fun night and it was great to be able to exchange stories and information about our route ahead of us since they were coming from that direction and we were able to share with them what was ahead for them.
The next segment of our journey will be a little different than the big lake sailing that we have done so far. The next segment will involve narrow rivers, the St Clair River and Detroit River and an inland lake, Lake St Clair. We have concerns about rivers and current, where to stay and shallow water in Lake St Clair. It’s always so helpful to get first hand information about places we are going from someone who has been there recently.