Lake Erie

Back to my early morning departures, I was underway at 6:05 AM. Already 73 degreesF, still very muggy and hazy.

Just a couple miles down the Detroit River, right at the entrance to Lake Erie I passed this lake freighter. This is a typical lake self-unloader. I expected to pass many of these, but this was the only one I saw. Another example of the decline of Detroit Industry?
My first stop in Lake Erie was at Put-in-Bay. This is a small tourist town on South Bass Island. It has been a major tourist town for years- there used to be steamships from Detroit, Cleveland and Buffalo to Put-in-bay.

On Middle Bass Island is Lonz Winery. I wanted to walk around here, but the only dock is a State Park and they wanted $10 for a tie up, even if only for a short walk. I skipped it.

I happened to be here on the weekend of the Mills Race- this is a long, overnight sailrace that ends off Put-in-bay. Its a tune-up race for the big Mackinaw Race on Lake Huron in July. I raced Mills a few times, about 1962-5

As a result of the race the town landing was full, although a lot of boats were leaving. I tied up at the far end of town at a State Park dock, and got nipped the $10. At least this was for the whole day.

I rented a golf cart and drove around the island to see what I remembered. Not much, since I was last here in 1966.

A monumnet to Perrys Victory over the British in the war of 1812, and Peace on the lakes, is at the center of the island.

I walked around, rested, had dinner and a shower. The town dock has a very nice shower building.

Monday I was underway at 5:40 AM, again very warm, hazy, but the lake was very calm. My course was just about due East for about 80 miles. By mid-morning I was getting a stiff SW wind, making a lumpy and rolly ride. As I converged on the shore of the Lake, near Fairport, the ride got really bad- It took great attention to steering to keep from rolling up the side of the waves. I had hoped to get another 30 Miles to Ashtabula, but I headed in to Fairport.

Another serious indistrial port- this loader was pushing around about the biggest crushed stone pile Ive ever seen.

I stopped at the Grand River Marina hoping to get fuel, but they did not have diesel, even though the Richardsons Chart book list it. This was a rather dumpy marina, in an industrail area, with a few defunct restaurants and other businesses around. The marina wouldn't give me a key to the showers unless I left a $25 cash deposit, and since I planned to be out early there was no way to get my money back. They didn't seem willing to be helpful. I put Grand River Marina on my list of places I hope to never see again.

I had a very agitated afternoon. It was blowing and gusty, so I didnt want to be on the lake, but I sure didn't want to be there either. I was as close to ready to abanddon the trip as Ive been.

Tueday, I was up at 3:50AM, and on the lake by 4:10. Still very dark, this was the first time in years I have been on the water in the dark. There was just a light swell and a pleasant enough ride. The sun was up enough to see a horizon about 5:00 AM.

I got to Erie, PA about 10:30, a 74 mile run. I went in for fuel, and found diesel at the Perrys Landing Marina, but no washrooms- they are for memebrs only. They took my money for fuel, but no restroom. Another place on my 'never again' list.

I had about 75 miles to Buffalo, and I really wanted to get there today, since the forecast is for a cold front and some stiff NW winds tomorrow. I kept in along the shore, with the option of stopping at Dunkirk NY, but about 2:00PM I realized I could make it so I altered course a bit and headed straight to Buffalo.

This photo shows the crooked wake of my autopilot. Im convinced it should do better than this.

I reached Buffalo Harbor entrance channel at 5:45 PM, just as a fleet of sailboats was headed out for a race. It was still hazy, but seemed a bit cooler.

I got more fuel, and an overnight dock at the Erie Basin Marina. My most expensive yet, at $40.50, but nice showers and Wireless Internet at the docks

After several days that I would have been happy to skip, I am now just a few miles from the entrance to the Erie Canal. I knew when I planned the trip that the long runs down both Lake Huron and Lake Erie would be tedious, but the hot hazy weather just made it worse. I am sure happy to have this part behind me, and ready for some canal cruising.

Today I ran over 150 miles in 14 hours. I pushed the speed up to 2700 RPM and kept over 12 mph most of the day- with some surging off waves at over 14. I paid in fuel, the last 7 hours took 31.9 gallons, about 4.5 gal per hour.

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