On Not Stopping

Detroit skyline

Detroit skyline

Detroit’s a pretty interesting city. They’re trying so many ways to pull themselves out of a rust-belt identity—we personally know at least one artist who has moved here to take advantage of cheap, soaring spaces—and there’s some fascinating American history. Our family is unlikely to visit here on any future vacation—this is our chance. There’s also a marina right downtown, so we’d have an unusual perspective.

But we didn’t stop.

Pilot boats waiting at the Ambassador Bridge between Detroit and Windsor. Our friend Randy is a Great Lakes pilot; this is the southern edge of his territory.

Pilot boats waiting at the Ambassador Bridge between Detroit and Windsor. Our friend Randy is a Great Lakes pilot; this is the southern edge of his territory.

Even though we’re doing some seriously slow travel, we can’t stop at every place we come across. We’re not married to too many specific dates—we try to keep our schedule loose, to have some flexibility with the weather—but there are a couple of places we need to be coming up, and we’d like to get out of Lake Erie; so we’re pushing through. We only have so much time and so much (or little) money to spend, and I’m afraid Detroit didn’t make the cut. We plan to spend more time and money in New York City and Washington, DC. Also: scenic Buffalo.

Industry on the St. Claire river

Industry on the St. Claire river

Swimming off the stern in Lake St. Claire

Swimming off the stern in Lake St. Claire

Why Buffalo over Detroit? Well…we really need to stop and do some work. Buffalo will be the gateway to the Erie Canal for us, so we need to take down our mast down. We’re also concerned about a leak in the transmission, and think we have a gasket that needs to be replaced. Buffalo will be a good spot to do that kind of thing. We’ve been traveling for a LONG time with a plastic bag over the lower unit of our outboard—the seals let go on that puppy, too, and it’s been surprisingly difficult to find replacement parts. We’ve been doing a lot of rowing, which is fine, but if we’re going to schlep around this big inflatable Avon and outboard motor, we might as well have it work. We’ll have the parts shipped to the marina in Buffalo.

Notice how we're not tied to anything? That's because we're aground.

Notice how we’re not tied to anything? That’s because we’re aground.

As we push through Lake Erie, we’re all looking forward to taking a break. We’ve had some long travel days, with lots of motoring, and it wears us all down. I’m not sure what it is—we don’t do much, mostly read and eat, but by then end of a 50-mile day, we’re all wiped out. The sun sucks the life out of us; the noise of the wind or the motor grates on our nerves; the bugs hassle us until we’re all grumpy and snapping at each other. Ah, the glamorous yachting life!!

Testament to Commodore Perry's manhood; Put-In-Bay, OH

Testament to Commodore Perry’s manhood; Put-In-Bay, OH

We might end up taking a break before Buffalo—the winds are expected to fill in strong from the East, and after our experience motoring from Club Island to Tobermory against ten-foot waves and gale-force winds, we don’t want to throw ourselves into a battle against nature. Let’s just say…everything was wet. Wet and covered in coffee. The laundry was immense.

Lake Erie's revenge on humanity for years of pollution: these little gnats have been covering our whole boat

Lake Erie’s revenge on humanity for years of pollution: these little gnats have been covering our whole boat

"It's the tourist look, mom!"

“It’s the tourist look, mom!”

We’ve had some requests lately: for interior pictures of the boat, for a detailed map of where we’ve been. Good ideas! And we’re trying to incorporate those things. What we need is a great deal of high-speed internet. Rest assured, we’re working on it.

4 Comments on “On Not Stopping

  1. Hey there ! Well the elder uncles think of you often and other than the gnats we picture ourselves right there with you. Please note that we are headed to the Padron (Cuban side of the family) reunion in Miami by way of Key West. Leaving at 2 am tomorrow. Hugs to our fellow travelers of the earth, sea, sky. Uncle B and Uncle R.

  2. Deb, I just started receiving your posts. Absolutely love them, a drenching rain for my patched vagabond heart. You are a lovely writer, I now have something more exciting than special offers and requests for money to look for in my email.

    • Thanks, Greta! Gmail finds our updates very spammy–glad they’re coming through…

  3. Oh, internet! It’s already becoming a common theme for us, and we haven’t even moved aboard yet. We’re moved to the RV, which will be our summer home while we’re commuter – cruising for a few years, but the internet service here is not what we hoped it would be! First-world problems! 😉

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