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Old 07-31-2016, 02:34 AM   #41
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Thanks for a couple good posts Semi-plaining. I did not see your posts as judgmental of LBGT folks at all.

Knowing a certain place has a certain "vibe" is great knowledge as it empowers us to choose where we spend our free time. Just like knowing for example that a certain place might have a jazz, or rock and roll, or hippie "vibe" or "feel". If we like that kind of place we might like it there. If we don't, it might be best to choose another place to go to. This is especially important if the community in general promotes a certain atrtribute of their community.

I can guarantee that there are places where LBGT folks are not openly welcomed. I'm glad that you pointed out a place that is the opposite. Perhaps other places can learn from Sagatuck, Wisconson and the world will be a happier, less judgemental place.
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Old 07-31-2016, 04:52 AM   #42
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Trust me, unless you're a Packer fan, there's nothing to see in Green Bay and it's a boring trip to get down there and back. Same for Wisconsin side of Lake Michigan south of Sturgeon Bay....with possible exception of the art museum in Milwaukee and Maritime museum in Manitowoc. Same for anything south of Leland on the Michigan side. I'd do Mack Island, Harbor Sprngs/Petoski, maybe Charlevoix..then Beaver Island, West side of Wisconsin's Door County. Pop back onto Lake Michigan at Sturgeon Bay. Then Manitowoc, Milwaukee, Chicago. The only thing you'll miss on the Michigan shore of Lake Michigan is Saugatuck...if cute, expensive, little shops and the LGBT lifestyle is your thing. The rest are towns that have become commercialized summer shtick....mediocre restaurants staffed by summer only kids, trinket shops, fudge, hats/t-shirts and crowds from Chicago, Detroit, the other large cities at the south end of the Lake, and loopers. If you like Niagra Falls or the Jersey Shore, you'll enjoy what's happened to most of Lake Michigan shore towns and that includes those of Door County...which is virtually owned by wealthy Chicagoans (FIBs to the few remaining locals who serve them in the summer months).
Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. We had a summer condo in Manistee and have found many little Michigan harbor towns along Lake Michigan we always enjoyed visiting and would do so if we were looping. Elk Rapids is a gem. Likewise for Pentwater and Northport. Although not much of a town, Onekama and Portage Lake are a beautiful rural location. I would not want to miss Frankfort and Ludington nor Whitehall. Let's cut to the chase here. ALL of northwest Michigan is dependent on summer visitors from the bigger cities down south. A large percent of the homes are summer homes and cabins.

On the Wisconsin side, Manitowoc is the big fish but I liked Kewaunee also. I agree, Green Bay should be avoided.

The recreational boating season on Lake Michigan is very short. You can get some real nasty weather in September but you can also get some real glassy cruising weather. It would be difficult if not impossible for a looper to hit all the places I would want to visit on one season. You really should be close to Chicago by mid September. The conventional looper wisdom is to be off Lake Michigan by Labor Day.
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Old 07-31-2016, 08:21 AM   #43
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I'm not making any comparisons but, now bear with me, I traveled Europe for 3 months when I was younger and the paper back "lets go" books sounded like WifeyB which is not bad but I would have rather had a semi-'s version to save some time looking at some nondescript wall in some podunk village. Time after all is the most valuable commodity and there are plenty of things to see.
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Old 07-31-2016, 12:09 PM   #44
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I'm not making any comparisons but, now bear with me, I traveled Europe for 3 months when I was younger and the paper back "lets go" books sounded like WifeyB which is not bad but I would have rather had a semi-'s version to save some time looking at some nondescript wall in some podunk village. Time after all is the most valuable commodity and there are plenty of things to see.
Wifey B: Our list is the reduced list of simply those attractions we want to see first, all carefully researched. Now, we're not saying ours would appeal to all. We love art galleries and many don't. We love museums and many don't. Hubby can never pass a lighthouse up. We make sure to see anything maritime related that we can. And we're sports fans. Plus music fans. Guess we like a lot of different things, some which would be of zero interest to others. We do a lot of research on a town before we get there and so far, with many thousands of miles and hundreds of stops, we've not yet been disappointed. From Apalachicola to NYC, we love them all.

We don't go by any book as we know our interests are different. As much as we're enjoying following dhays trip, it's not how we would make the trip to appeal most to us. There's room for different views. I don't like to come down hard on a city though because I believe they all have some redeeming values and if I didn't see them, I probably just missed them.
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Old 07-31-2016, 12:48 PM   #45
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The recreational boating season on Lake Michigan is very short. You can get some real nasty weather in September but you can also get some real glassy cruising weather. It would be difficult if not impossible for a looper to hit all the places I would want to visit on one season. You really should be close to Chicago by mid September. The conventional looper wisdom is to be off Lake Michigan by Labor Day.
Our plan is to reach Chicago on August 31. Then we'll take a break and return there on September 19. We'll cruise from the 21st to Oct 7, then spend a week in Chicago before heading south on Oct 15.

The likely weather conditions. Last half of September, typical year is highs in low 70's. Long term forecast for this year is 80 to mid 60's for highs. Last year was upper 80's to mid 60's. First half of October, typical year is highs in
mid to upper 60's. This year long term forecast is 60's dropping to upper 50's around mid month. Last year was low 60's to 80. We understand the lake conditions might not be great some of that time. We're prepared for the conditions and look forward to late summer and early fall there. Still warmer than some of the days we encountered on the Erie and Oswego at the start of this loop.

Any October cruising will be very close to Chicago, Macatawa and south. Then 8 days in Chicago, just enjoying the city.

We will arrive on Kentucky Lake around the 25th of October. Pickwick on the 29th.

We realize we're leaving Chicago later than most, but the great majority of our Lake Michigan cruising is completed in August.

As to Green Bay, it's only 2 hours beyond Sturgeon Bay. Our plans are to cross from Charlevoix to Green Bay, a 6 to 8 hour trip, then from there to Sturgeon Bay to Manitowoc to Milwaukee to Racine to Kenosha to Chicago. After Green Bay our trips are all two to three hour trips.
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Old 07-31-2016, 01:18 PM   #46
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I'm not making any comparisons but, now bear with me, I traveled Europe for 3 months when I was younger and the paper back "lets go" books sounded like WifeyB which is not bad but I would have rather had a semi-'s version to save some time looking at some nondescript wall in some podunk village. Time after all is the most valuable commodity and there are plenty of things to see.
The trick is to go beyond any book which is much easier today. You can go to the websites of anything you're considering seeing and you can find dozens of reviews. We've seen those that the reviews are "waste of time," or "there's nothing there to see" or "boring" One example of a site, since Green Bay suddenly became a hot topic. The National Railway Museum. If you have no interest in trains, not a place to go. However, of 247 reviews only 5 are negative. On that basis, we'll take our chances. The Neville Museum, 76 reviews and only 1 negative.

We pay attention to reviews, although if a lighthouse gets a bad review, I'm still going. We value feedback here, but one or two voices will never make our decisions for us, nor should our recommendations ever be what one makes a decision based on. There are many more resources available. We read several cruising guides for Lake Michigan as we have all areas we've planned trips to. They were all useful, but all are based on one reviewers likes and dislikes. I would call many of them quite knowledgeable, but hesitate to use the word "expert." They know the places, they know what they enjoy, but they can't be expert in terms of what everyone would like.

Each person has to sort through and try to weigh against their style of cruising and what they enjoy. Don't ask us about anchorages as we know nothing about them other than what is on Active Captain. We ignore them in guidebooks even. We know marinas. Even there though our concentration and needs may differ from someone else's. We can't tell you if the showers or restrooms are clean, just the general facilities. If we were publishing a guide, we would check the showers and restrooms. Marina reviews are only meaningful in the way they apply to you. Again, looking at any review source and looking at marinas on AC, I get more value often from the comments than the number of stars.

On any cruise and especially on the loop, for everything you're able to see there are dozens you are not. But then that gives you a reason to come back. Next loop if 5-7 years maybe.
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Old 07-31-2016, 01:55 PM   #47
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Just recently finished the Great Loop. The down side we had with cruising the Michigan side of Lake Michigan was the weather conditions. We spent two to three days in multiple ports waiting for weather windows. The Michigan ports and municipal marinas are great. Many have been upgraded recently. The plus to the Wisconsin side is the waves donít build and hold you in port as much due to winds across the lake. Having said that we enjoyed Michigan and next time we will see Wisconsin.
So much for the budget discussion
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Old 07-31-2016, 02:07 PM   #48
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BandB, How does one factor in the background and experience of the people making the reviews on the websites of whatever attraction you're considering?

Did you stop at the Ford in Detroit? Greenfield village? The Detroit Institute of Art?


fryedaze, I single hand the boat across the Lake from Wisconsin to Michigan in May and back across in September. The weather is a crap shoot both times, but you are correct that it's always better on the Wisconsin side (except for fog).
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Old 07-31-2016, 02:32 PM   #49
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Thanks for a couple good posts Semi-plaining. I did not see your posts as judgmental of LBGT folks at all.

Knowing a certain place has a certain "vibe" is great knowledge as it empowers us to choose where we spend our free time. Just like knowing for example that a certain place might have a jazz, or rock and roll, or hippie "vibe" or "feel". If we like that kind of place we might like it there. If we don't, it might be best to choose another place to go to. This is especially important if the community in general promotes a certain atrtribute of their community.

I can guarantee that there are places where LBGT folks are not openly welcomed. I'm glad that you pointed out a place that is the opposite. Perhaps other places can learn from Sagatuck, Wisconson and the world will be a happier, less judgemental place.
+1! Maybe if it was my second or third loop, we'd want to visit some of the lesser rated stops, but at least for us, your info was helpful the way it was expressed, even for our LBGT neighbor who was intrigued by your comments and is checking the place out on-line. Greater scrutiny would be forthcoming if we decided to make it a two or three year loop or maybe even repeat the whole thing. No doubt, more diverse evaluations like BB's or Ted & Sara Pongracz (27 loops) would come in handy. Hitting the high spots on the Chesepeake alone would take a few weeks. In depth, dang, I dunno, maybe a couple of years.
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Old 07-31-2016, 03:27 PM   #50
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Larry, we met a couple in Georgian Bay who where three years into the loop. They started in Maryland and where seeing every noke and cranny, then haul out where ever they ended up when cold weather set in or they had enough fun. The other end of the spectrum, two Sea Rays with plans to do the entire loop in three months. One can only imagine the term " wake makers no not their Fathers " uttered by those near their route.
We took our time enjoying the trip, eight months March 26 to 4 November, from Florida to Tennessee via Erie and Trent Severn canals. We then finished the loop years later. About 4000 SM, 104 Locks, and anchored 111 days out of a total of 223 days. 50 marina days and 62 canal/free docks on the first part. We choose the Michigan side because of the safety of plentiful harbor accesses to exit the lake if things got rough.
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Old 07-31-2016, 04:14 PM   #51
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BandB, How does one factor in the background and experience of the people making the reviews on the websites of whatever attraction you're considering?

Did you stop at the Ford in Detroit? Greenfield village? The Detroit Institute of Art?
.
We don't factor in their background or experience. We do read what they say and factor in if it applies to us. We ignore reviews like "it was too cold that day" or "they were too expensive" (the prices were published and are what they are). Even on AC we don't factor in experience but we're very careful to look at the details of what people say. In reading cruising guides we try to factor in their type of boat and cruising. Capt John would be the best example. He has loads of experience. He is a great place to start and gives a very good overview of the loop and some highlights. I recommend anyone thinking about the loop read his site. However, his guide leans toward going slow and spending as little as possible. It's great for picking up some inexpensive and free sites along the way and many are great. However, if you're going on a little greater budget or faster boat then you have to adjust. And his boat selection has now evolved I believe to a sailboat without sails so none of us have the right boat according to him.

In Detroit, we loved the Institute of Art. We saw three collections and still enough there for the next three trips through. Of course by the time we're back through there will be new collections. The highlight of Detroit to us was the Motown Museum. The Ford Museum was staggering. We enjoyed the Beatles Exhibition (although there is a review out there calling it all junk). We got to only about a third of the exhibits. The Greenfield, we only went to one of their shows. Then to the Henry Ford and Edison sections. There were many other exhibits that would interest us. We passed on the Rouge plant tour but instead visited the Ford Piquette Avenue Plant. I know how today's factories work. I wanted to see old. We almost stayed another day to see more but decided to save for next time. What that means to us is that we know when we return we can still be excited to see Detroit. Detroit did nothing for me until we started researching this trip.

My only previous trip to Detroit had been in August, 2003, on a business trip. That of course put me there for the blackout. In a hotel with no power or water but a lot of hamburgers and hot dogs and an outside grill so we were the lucky ones. Fortunately plenty of gas in the rental car. So Friday morning headed to Chicago. Reaching the airlines was impossible and our office wasn't yet opened but were lucky enough to get flights from there home. Oh, and never been so happy to see a Denny's. As we headed out there was no power so no restaurants and the first lights we saw was a Denny's quite a few miles away from Detroit. I felt so sad though for those who lived there and had to deal with it. They were the last ones to get power restored. Unlike when your power goes out at home, they were without water too as the pumps and system couldn't operate. I don't know when they got it going again.

It was nice to see some of the best of Detroit. Certainly not what we're use to seeing on television. We actually docked in Grosse Pointe. I admit to not being a huge geography buff either although learning a lot from cruising. It never hit me before we got into coastal and long distance boating that Detroit was a waterfront city. We did see what has been done to the Riverfront and the photos of how it was before.

Maybe we go through life with rose colored glasses, but we look for and so far have found the best of the places we've been. Some are very simple with a museum in an old house and a lighthouse nearby and that's pretty much it, but still we walk around enough to get a feel for things. Some are big cities that you can never see all they offer.

This trip is designed to at least see a little of a lot of places. We will see 67 towns from the time we left NYC until we reach Pickwick Lake. Next time, whenever that is, we will see a select number again and see some different towns. We will pass by many we see this time.

These areas are all new to us and we stay excited about the next stop. We know none of these cities or towns are without their flaws, but they all have nice people who live there and some things of interest.
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Old 07-31-2016, 04:24 PM   #52
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Larry, we met a couple in Georgian Bay who where three years into the loop. They started in Maryland and where seeing every noke and cranny, then haul out where ever they ended up when cold weather set in or they had enough fun. The other end of the spectrum, two Sea Rays with plans to do the entire loop in three months. One can only imagine the term " wake makers no not their Fathers " uttered by those near their route.
We took our time enjoying the trip, eight months March 26 to 4 November, from Florida to Tennessee via Erie and Trent Severn canals. We then finished the loop years later. About 4000 SM, 104 Locks, and anchored 111 days out of a total of 223 days. 50 marina days and 62 canal/free docks on the first part. We choose the Michigan side because of the safety of plentiful harbor accesses to exit the lake if things got rough.
Technically to complete the loop will take us years as once we reach the TN River we're going to keep the boat there a couple more years to cruise inland rivers. However, our pattern is similar to yours. We have cruised the east coast and the gulf coast so we pretty much did a delivery run to NYC, flew home and then back. We left NYC on May 2. We'll get to Pickwick around October 30. We went the Oswego and Welland and not the Trent Severn. Obviously you can't see it all in one or two or even three trips. We started with each place we wanted to see on each lake. Then we just started eliminating and it was a difficult process.

Did you go to Lake Superior? I think most don't, but we're running it quickly. I don't get the point in the three month long loop but if it makes them happy, then fine.
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Old 07-31-2016, 07:19 PM   #53
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[QUOTE=BandB;465224]Our plan is to reach Chicago on August 31. Then we'll take a break and return there on September 19. We'll cruise from the 21st to Oct 7, then spend a week in Chicago before heading south on Oct 15.

Check the airdraft requirements on the Chicago River system. I think it is 17 feet. If you can take the downtown rivers as opposed to 95th street, weather in October will not be much of a factor. Otherwise you can have days where the 12 miles south to 95th street are unpleasant.

The marinas will be half empty or more by October 7. Burnham or DuSable marinas would be best for touring.
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Old 07-31-2016, 10:26 PM   #54
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Our plan is to reach Chicago on August 31. Then we'll take a break and return there on September 19. We'll cruise from the 21st to Oct 7, then spend a week in Chicago before heading south on Oct 15.

Check the airdraft requirements on the Chicago River system. I think it is 17 feet. If you can take the downtown rivers as opposed to 95th street, weather in October will not be much of a factor. Otherwise you can have days where the 12 miles south to 95th street are unpleasant.

The marinas will be half empty or more by October 7. Burnham or DuSable marinas would be best for touring.
We require the 19' so can't go the shorter route. We have to lower the mast for 19' but we've rigged it so we can hydraulically do so. Got experience with it on the Erie.
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Old 07-31-2016, 10:31 PM   #55
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We were talking to a recently retired couple today and they live in the perfect location for a 15 month loop. They are in Cheboygan, MI. So start in May and they have 3-4 months before clearing through Chicago. Then they have until the following May or June to get to NY and enter the canals. Then the entire summer to get home.
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Old 08-01-2016, 12:55 AM   #56
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While commenting on a post by Semi planing:"I can guarantee that there are places where LBGT folks are not openly welcomed. I'm glad that you pointed out a place that is the opposite....
If TF gave an annual award for casuistry, that would win. Not within a bull`s roar of what Semi planing meant.
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Old 08-10-2016, 09:26 PM   #57
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Very helpful thread. Thanks everyone for all the excellent information!
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