Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Manitowoc to Racine, WI

Tuesday, August 26 - Checking the weather this morning we honed our plans for the day. There was a small craft warning out for the waters below Sheboygan so we decided to run only from Manitowoc to Sheboygan in winds of 5-10 knots and waves 1-3. Yeah, right.

Getting up early (due to the central time change) we had coffee and then I set out for the farmers market with the idea of coming back with something for breakfast, too. The air was crisp this morning, feeling a little fall-ish, actually. It was a nice walk to the market, though, and by the time I got there I was feeling very comfortable with the temperature. The marina is located next to a little beach and the local YMCA...

Most of the vendors were Asian at the farmers' market, which was different. The produce looked great and I came back with strawberries (yes, past the season, I know...but they smell delicious and are small...look like wild strawberries, actually), peppers, lettuce, cucumbers, yellow tomatoes and yellow cherry tomatoes. Since the market offered no breakfast choices I stopped at a nearby hotel cafe for a carry-out breakfast sandwich. While I waited on the order I talked with the hostess about the goings on in Chicago this time of year...

Back at the boat, we ate and set off for Sheboygan. Before we got out of the harbor we knew it was going to be a rough ride for a while. We were hoping it would mellow out when we got out a little way into deeper water. And it didn't. Then we had to decide whether to go forward or go back. Go forward, we decided, but at a faster pace so we could "get on top" of the waves. And so we did. I was thinking how nice it is to have the power to use when you need it in situations like this.

About 10 miles out of Sheboygan the starboard engine quit. Yep. Wouldn't start back up. OK...good thing, I'm thinking, that we have two engines and not just one! We rolled on into Sheboygan and the Harbor Centre Marina on one engine. To be prudent and safe, we called the Coast Guard station at Sheboygan and told then we were traveling on one engine and while we didn't expect any problems getting into Sheboygan we would appreciate their being aware of our location and course. They took down our coordinates and destination, then asked us to give them a call when we actually got into the Sheboygan Harbor.

We went slowly and just rode up and down a few 4-footers. It took us an hour to do what would have taken 15 or 20 minutes at our previous speed. Wayne did a great job harnessing the one engine to do our bidding! Once safely into the slip we called the Coast Guard and thanked them for their assistance.

So...what's wrong with the starboard engine??? Well, we needed to wait a while to let the engine room cool down so Wayne could go in and check on some obvious causes. Meanwhile, we took off for lunch.

As we walked on the waterfront we came across this almost derelict looking fishing boat...with a nice Furuno unit perched on top. I like that. Spend money on the important things.

There are several nice spots along the waterfront for dining in Sheboygan and we selected the Duke of Devon, an English pub type restaurant owned by the same group that has Trattoria Stefano, a local Italian restaurant that gets great reviews. (Stefano's is not open for lunch...so if we need to stay here a couple of days we'll try to make it over there for dinner one night.) The pub meal was just right. We split a plate with selections of Wisconsin cheeses and ham, served with curried greens, chutney, and a delicious locally made bread. The bread was so good we almost made a meal of that (with butter) and ordered more when the ham and cheese plate came. (I was telling David later how good the bread and butter were and he recalled a time when he was in Wisconsin for work and ordered a hamburger. They asked if he wanted butter on it, and he said yes. The hamburger was served with a slice of butter atop that looked like a slice of cheddar cheese in size. They don't call this the Dairy State for nothing!)

Wayne left after lunch to go back to the boat and see what he could tell about the engine issue and I struck off for the historic downtown area. The weather was perfect for walking around...low 70's, breezy and sunny. I found the Mead County Public Library and spent a little time there collecting some future reads from their book sale area, then visited the Boston Store downtown to browse the sales.

Back on the boat, Wayne had done his check on the engine and found nothing out of order...except that it wouldn't start. He had already scheduled a mechanic to come in tomorrow morning. We went to bed wondering what the next day would bring.

Wednesday, August, 27 - The mechanic was scheduled to come at 8:30AM, but Wayne predicted he'd be late. At 9:30 AM his boss called and said he'd be another hour getting there. Wayne was going to do some reading until he came...so I headed out to take a look at the local fine arts center.

The John Michael Kohler Arts Center (family name, Kohler, of bathroom fixture fame) was within easy walking distance of the harbor. Known for its contemporary art, touring the Center was a morning well spent.

And its claim to fame? Well...remember the Kohler heritage.

The bathrooms in this art center have been designed by artists! This is the first time I've ever taken a picture of a toilet bowl...and I'm not sure I want to know about the others of you out there who have done the same! I checked out two of the women's bathrooms while there. The toilet bowls (at least one in each bathroom) were decorated...and the walls were done up in an elaborate fashion, too.

The exhibits were very unique. The Art Center highlights contemporary pieces done by people who are considered on the outside of regular art circles. Things the "Rhinestone Cowboy" home crafted by Loy Allen Bowlin (http://www.galenfrysinger.com/sheboygan_museum_rhinestone_cowboy.htm)

I especially liked the exhibit that dealt with hand crafted items. One artist had constructed a quilt from "found" pieces of cloth (used clothing, fabric samples, etc.) and documented the origin of the various fabric pieces in a little bound journal. I'm all inspired to do a quilt from some of my "treasured" aprons, t-shirts, clothing....well, you get the picture. At last I'll have a way to display my original, hand painted t-shirt of Tammy Faye Bakker (makeup smeared all over the face) that reads, "I ran into Tammy Faye at the mall!" I bought it back in the 80's when we were living in Charlotte, NC. And those rock concert t-shirts!

So, anyway, after the museum stroll I headed back to the boat to see what the mechanic had found. Turns out the engine was running fine now, and they weren't sure why. He had bled some of the lines from the fuel tank to the engine...and the engine wouldn't start. Then he took the air filter off the engine, and the engine started. He examined the air filter and declared it "good." They put it back on and the engine started just fine. Maybe an air bubble in there somewhere? Could have been all the jostling around yesterday???

With the engine back in working order we were ready to continue our journey down the Wisconsin coast to Port Washington. The weather report looked like this was a pretty good day to go, and the conditions were improving as the day went on. So we left at around noon.

Well...it was still a bit bumpy getting into Port Washington, but we fared just fine. But all this bumpiness brings up the point of how one navigates around the boat when it's rocking and rolling. Now, I'm not talking about taking a stroll 'round the deck. More like heeding a call of nature...or getting food.

Here's my strategy. Hang on to something all the time. And if you find yourself needing to stand in one place for a while (like fixing a tuna salad sandwich in the galley), brace your feet in a position so that you are steadied against something. I think this is why galleys are narrow. I can place one foot against the stove baseboard and one against the opposite cabinet baseboard and ride pretty comfortably, rocking side to side as the boat rocks front to back, with no hands required.

Have something prepared ahead of time, if at all possible, so the trip downstairs is a quick one! Or...on especially bad rides, we have been known to bring up the snack boxes (peanut butter crackers, dried fruit, nuts, etc.) and skip a meal. But you know that's gotta hurt. :-)

Just a little insight here on what we're learning...

We were staying at the Port Washington Marina this Wednesday night and stopped at the fuel dock as we entered to refuel and get a pump out. Diesel was a glorious $3.79/gallon! Can you believe that's cause for celebration now?! Here's a view of the light at the entrance of the harbor and the city of Port Washington as we came into the marina.

Once all tucked into our slip we took Lucy for a walk around downtown Port Washington. It's a cute little place. We have plans to stay here for several days...maybe until Monday, Labor Day, so we can visit with family in Grafton, a little south of Port Washington.

Thursday, August 28 - Andrea's birthday. Happy Birthday, Andrea!!!

A day off the water! (Well, you know what I mean.) We're so excited! We struck out after checking emails and having coffee with the idea of getting some breakfast in town. As we walked we spotted Beanies Mexican Restaurant and decided to hold out a little longer until they opened for lunch and have some spicy food. It was a good decision...lunch there was great.

We needed some large items...motor oil, paper products, bottled water...and decided to check out the local transportation options. Turns out Port Washington has a shared taxi service that would pick us up at the marina and take us to the Walmart and grocery store location for $3.75/person. We jumped on that! We were the only people in the little van as we went over to Walmart. It's the kind of vehicle that can accommodate wheelchairs, so there were really only about 5 regular seats in it besides the driver's seat. We shopped Walmart, then I went over to the grocery store for those items we hadn't found already (it wasn't a Super Walmart...just a simple Walmart.) As Wayne was waiting with our Walmart loot, the little van drove by and offered to pick him up. I wasn't quite ready at the grocery store, though, so the van took one person home, Wayne along for the ride, then came back and picked me up.

OK. There's no way we could have gotten all that stuff in a regular taxi...maybe not even in a regular car! 15 gallons of oil (all they had on the shelf), bottled water, large packages of paper towels and toilet paper...well, you get the picture. I don't know what we would have done if we'd encountered a wheelchair client on the ride back...there was no room! The driver was so nice. He took his gypsy clients back to the marina and even helped us unload the stuff. What value!

That afternoon I got in touch with my Aunt Joann, wife of Mother's deceased brother, Tom, and arranged to go to a family gathering tomorrow night at the home of Betty, one of her daughters. Then I strolled into a hair salon and got a haircut. We were off to a good start in Port Washington!

Friday, August 29 - After a breakfast of waffles and bacon, I headed out for the local veterinarian to pick up some Lucy supplies. My cousin Betty called as I was going back to the boat and said that she'd love to bring the kids by to see the boat. We arranged for them to come over that afternoon.

I hadn't seen Betty or the kids in a couple of years and was surprised to see how much Adam and Abby have grown! Adam, 10, is starting football this year and Abby, 8, is very active in gymnastics. We had a great time showing them around and answering all the questions they had about life on a boat. How does Lucy get to the bathroom? How do you know where to stay each night?

Here are Betty, Adam, Abby and Abby's friend.

That evening Betty and her sister Chris picked us up and we went to Betty's house for supper. What a great time! We had appetizers, brats, salads....and cheesecake for dessert. It was so nice to catch up with the family and see Aunt Joann again. We ate out on the back deck and took advantage of the great weather. Here are Wayne, Joann, Fred, Chris, Betty, and Mike.

Here we are, posing for a family picture with Sonny, the dog....

And Adam with his new football jerseys...

I even caught a shot of the illusive Abby sampling the cheesecake....

Saturday, August 30 - Another day off the water. How nice. We had breakfast and coffee while watching the latest political news and checking emails. Then we checked the weather to see if we could get a feel for what Monday might bring. Lo and behold the weather for today, Saturday, looked great! Waves 1 ft. or under. It took us no time to decide we needed to travel today to Racine, WI, about 40 some miles down the coast.

We were out of Port Washington by 9 AM...our only regret that we didn't get to do brunch on Sunday at the Port Hotel. The water was all it was cracked up to be...for the first 3 hours, at least. Then the 3-4 ft. high waves came on, along with a wind, and we bounced on into Racine taking big waves on our bow. I took a few pictures to give you an idea of the water...we had water splashing up onto the bridge windows.
And as we came into the harbor you could see the choppy water and the flag flying!

We got into Reefpoint Marina and settled in for the evening. Glad to be off Lake Michigan, a-gin, and glad to be staying put until Sept. 10. We were out on the back deck enjoying the evening air when Bob and Carol Kunath of San Souci stopped by to say hello. Bob writes the section on Lake Michigan for the Waterways Guide and we had followed his suggestion to come down the east side of Lake Michigan for a while...then switch over to the Wisconsin side. They invited us to a dock party in the marina on Sunday evening.

Sunday, August 31 - Last day in August. Amazing! This year has flown by.

We set out for....breakfast, of course. Found one restaurant serving that morning--Blueberries, a natural foods restaurant. I had biscuits and gravy (whole wheat biscuits with organic pork sausage gravy) and Wayne had French toast stuffed with blueberry cream cheese. Mine was way too filling...and Wayne's wasn't filling enough.

That afternoon I gave Lucy a haircut. She's a little overdue. I didn't hack her up too badly. When I walked her this evening she still got "cute dog" comments. :-)

We had supper at Spinnakers, the marina restaurant, then went over to Bob Kanuth's area for the dock party. We met a great group of people who referred to us as, alternately, Loopy Loopers and "real boaters." It was a fun evening.

We're here, like I said, for a while. I'm going to fly back to Raleigh on Thursday to hang out with Alex while Heather and Dave celebrate their anniversary. I'll be back on the 8th and we'll re-provision on the 9th and leave here on the 10th. 'Til then, email us or call...

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