Traverse City to Grand Haven, MI


 It was great to spend time with Laura & Doren exploring Traverse City and the surrounding areas but we needed to keep moving.

Wow, good morning from Traverse City. No filter – nature at it’s best. 

From TC we made the quick 1 our run up to Sutton Bay and anchored for the night. We were able to see Mike & Mary (Forever Friday) and picked up some Old Fashion mix that Parker & Leslie (Scalywag) had ordered for all 3 of us. We found this mix when touring around St Augustine, FL but had recently run out of it. 

Best Old Fashion mix ever! 

I wish I had taken a picture that night as the only boats anchored in Sutton Bay were the 3 of us and we are all American Tugs. Oh well, hopefully there will be another time.

Our trip to Frankfort was less than ideal, we were up at first light to take advantage of what was going to be the best weather (read: light winds/calm seas, even through we are on a lake it can act like an ocean). For 77 miles (~8 hrs) we sloshed around, not incredibly uncomfortable but still rolly enough that all you could do was sit. Getting up to do anything required a lot of balance and always a hand firmly grasped to a part of the boat.

We spent 3 enjoyable nights tied up in Frankfort while the nasty winds (consistent 30 mph winds) passed over us for several days.

 Best to be tied up or anchored somewhere until this type of weather passes. (Borrowed pic from friends on Seabattical). 

We kept busy in the small town of Frankfort (population less than 2,000). Several docktails were planned by other Loopers in the early evenings with everyone swapping their stories on The Loop. We also needed to get back to Traverse City for a package that hadn’t been delivered after we left the marina there. We were looking at a 3+ hr round trip bus when Dave, a Gold Looper (A Gold Lopper is someone who as completed The Great Loop) who lives in Frankfort offered to drive us. He needed to do some errands in TC and could swing us by the marina there for our package. It worked out well since he also was interested in the water maker we have so he and Kent talked water maker specifics on the drive. 

After our trip to TC Dave gave us a driving tour of Frankfort, showed us his incredible log cabin home and told us about an auto collection in town. We had a much better (and informative) day with Dave getting our package than we ever could have by taking the bus. 

Lighthouse at the end of the Frankfort pier before the wind picked up. The following day there was spray from waves most of the way up the lighthouse. 

So true –  fall has arrived in Michigan and so is the need to dress in layers.

On our last day in Frankfort we went to see the auto collection Dave had mentioned. You would never know it driving by but 3 large barns house a private collection of 42 cars and extensive memorabilia. Larry and his wife Gennie are the owners of the collection as well as give the informal tours. Larry is in his early 90s and his wife is likely in her mid to late 80s. Lovely people who enjoy sharing their passion with others. (Glenn – you would have loved this place!)

One of 3 barns full of cars. All cars run, are licensed and had keys hanging in the ignition. 

1927 Model T, 1933 Ford Phaelon and several other classic cars. 

Hale Museum is not just a car collection, there were walls of model cars,  model airplanes, and other sorts of memorabilia.  

We left Frankfort and traveled 53 miles south (6 ish hrs) to Ludington (pop. ~8,000). Safe to say we are seeing a lot of towns on the eastern side of Lake Michigan as we make our way toward Chicago. 

Each small town we’ve been to shares some of the same characteristics – T-shirt shops, ice cream stores, waterfront parks, etc. but yet they have their own individual personalities. Charming is a good and consistent description – overflowing flower baskets, small businesses lining a Main Street, manicured parks, clean beaches and friendly people. A little slice of Americana really. 

No shortages of breweries on the west side of Michigan. Of course we spotted 4 Portland, OR brewery stickers in this collection.

Lighthouse at the entrance to Ludington. Although frankly a lot of these towns we’ve been to have similar looking lighthouses at their entrances. 

Fun bronze sculpture at the waterfront park in Ludington called “Follow the Leader”. 

We continued our pattern of leaving early to arrive at the next town with time to explore. Next stop for us was Pentwater. It was a short travel day (1 hr or so) from Ludington which was good as it was a bit rolly out and not ideal (as you can tell from Penny’s glare in this video) – 

In Pentwater we met up with friends from Portland, OR  – Todd & Stephanie. They were in Michigan visiting family and were kind enough to drive up to spend the afternoon with us. Last time we were all together was back in February in the Abacos, Bahamas. All of the places we visited together were just obliterated by hurricane Dorian. Our hearts go out to the good, hard working people of the Abaco and Grand Bahama area who have just lost so much. 

Ice cream makes Todd & Stephanie happy! 

We continued to marina hop from Pentwater to Muskegon (48 miles, 6 ish hrs). We have a mechanic lined up to look at our not so happy generator down in Grand Haven in a few days but this past week we have been opting to stay at marines rather than anchor out. The downside of course is that the cost of marinas adds up quickly (even at post Labor Day rates). The positive side is we are really seeing the towns we are stopping in as every municipal/city marina seems to be a quick walk into the heart of downtown. 

Entering Muskegon was interesting as there was a large regatta going on and the race course crossed through the channel. It was like playing the game Frogger to get to the other side successfully. 

The breweries were just so so in downtown Muskegon but Rad Dad’s taco stop was a winner. 


Rad Dad’s happens to be an eatery just off the street but also part of an ice rink. A classic Michigan small town move – let the kids play and the parents eat/drink. 

From Muskegon we made the quick 2 hr trip to Grand Haven where we will be for several days. Biggest goal here – get a mechanic who knows Northern Lights generators and can (hopefully) resolve our blue smoke/spitting oil issue. More to come on how that works out, fingers crossed it is not to painful of a fix.