Once we finally left Holland, we shorted our stay on the Eastern side of Lake Michigan. We traveled from Holland to St. Joseph, spent the night and headed out a the crack of dawn for Chicago!
I had a friend ask me in Canada what I was looking forward to in Lake Michigan. I said something like "surviving it, in one piece without sinking!" A low bar, I know!I had been reading a fabulous book, The Living Great Lakes, which had tale after tale of ships sinking, big storms popping up and communicated very effectively that the lake would as soon kill you as give you safe passage. Now, I'm being a bit dramatic (but not too much.) It really is a fantastic book about the history and ecology of the Great Lakes.
Rounding the Southern end of Lake Michigan was thrilling. We were in 3 states in one day (Michigan, Indiana and Illinois). We added an hour to our trip from St. Joseph to Chicago by dipping down toward Indiana to avoid any potential wind/waves crossing the Lake. Seeing the southern end of the Lake, just before the Chicago skyline came in to view, I was struck that we did it. We survived Lake Michigan and even thrived in it. What a fantastic sense of accomplishment. WE DID IT!!
Another boater helped us get a slip at Chicago Yacht Club. What a wonderful location to use as home base to see the city. The facilities were of course lovely and we had several looper boats there with us - good friends we'd traveled with and new friends to meet. We enjoyed visiting with Cam and Heather (Sea Clef), Canada looper friends, as well as Ron and Nancy (Flying Colors) and Patty and Bill (Let Time Go Lightly.) We were finally able to meet in person Kathy and Richard (See Life) - but I didn't get a pic of them!
(Dinner at Shaw's with Cam and Heather, Coffee with Patty, Bill, Nancy and Ron, Cam and Heather coming for a visit in the dingy, Federico, Kirsten and us at the Bean!)
Our friends from Texas, Federico and Kirsten came from their home in Ohio for a night. We had planned to take our boat down the River through town but were counseled against it because we wouldn't be able to enjoy the ride as we navigated around pleasure craft and tour boats. We took an architectural boat tour together instead, walked the city, saw the light show, ate Chicago Mix popcorn and went to bed exhausted! It was the right call and was fantastic!!
It was a great few days of gathering. I cooked and cooked and loved every minute of the time spent with friends and exploring the city. We even had six people at one time for coffee and dinner! Of course there isn't time to see everything - I'd love to go back and spend more time in Chicago. Now, we head into the Inland Rivers! Our last big segment on the trip - Illinois River, Mississippi River, Ohio River, Cumberland River and at last, the Tennessee River.