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Old 17-01-2014, 09:35   #16
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Re: Family cruising the Great Lakes

Some other things to consider:

I would not buy a boat that you will not be happy with for a few years. You may find it difficult to get rid of, unless you get a boat with some cult following.

What ever you buy, if you can find a decent Marine Surveyor, they can save you a lot of headaches by identifying problem areas BEFORE YOU BUY - it is well worth the investment and I would not buy a boat without a survey!

If you are going to be on the hook a lot, away from marina's, then you need to have a decent holding capacity for the head.

I will also echo previous comments: it takes time to get to know a boat, even a small one: its systems: engine; water, fuel; waste tankage; safety gear; electrical; etc. Let alone rigging, sails, deck layout; etc.

You will also need to make sure you have appropriate safety gear on board for yourself and your family! You will need a dinghy on the Great Lakes and either row or have a small gas engine (Honda 2HP or other) to get around and explore.

Sounds like fun though, just take your time - I have seen way to many dreams of sailing go wrong by being in too big of a hurry; just like your child, there is time for baby steps - maybe consider getting the boat this spring and spend this year getting to know and setup properly. Do some local cruising to get your feet wet and discover/resolve any issues. Then do some extended cruising next year.

There are a lot of internet sites online with boats for sale by owner!

There are also lots of owners groups online, when you do find what you are looking for; for example the TrailerSailors.org and Yahoo groups. (I belong to the Flicka20 owners group for example)

Daryl()
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Old 17-01-2014, 10:36   #17
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Re: Family cruising the Great Lakes

We did nearly this exact adventure in 2010 aboard an Irwin 28 with our then 5 and 8 year old daughters, four of us total. We spent from the first week of June through early September cruising from Grand Haven on Lake Michigan to as far as Killarney in Lake Huron's North Channel. Best sailing and adventure of my life!

1. Any recommendations on best boat to fit the job?
Lots of boats would work, but you might start by searching for a Catalina 27/30 or a Pearson 30. Common, affordable and relatively roomy.

2. Any spots we shouldn't miss out on?
Take your time! Don't miss Mackinac, Charlevoix, Leland, S. Manitou Island, Les Cheneaux Islands, Harbor Island, anywhere in the North Channel.

3. Any thoughts on selling the boat at the end of the season?
Start early (like place an ad to sell before you're done with the trip)!

4. Any suggestions for cheap ways to explore land without high slip/moorage fees?
Yup, purchase a good anchor and rode and use it often! We rarely stayed at marinas unless we needed to restock the galley.

5. Any tips on cruising with young kiddos? (will be our first time out with her!)
Here are our tips for cruising with kiddos.

If you want more detail about our trip, check:
1)Our logs from the trip
2)
3) Or just send us a PM or email!
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Old 17-01-2014, 10:46   #18
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Re: Family cruising the Great Lakes

A few thoughts:
- Especially if you are looking at a sub-30' boat, plan on staying in marinas some of the time. Far easier to get the kids and dog off the boat. On the positive side, the State of Michigan has harbors of refuge set up and by east coast standards they are darn cheap ($1-1.50/ft/night or sometimes cheaper if you plan to stay for a week).
- I wouldn't bother with beaching but get a dingy. Shallow draft is nice so you can anchor out in shallow swiming areas but not a lot of beaching.
- $10k is unlikely to provide a turnkey boat and it takes time to sell one. If you get into the sub-30' range, do you possibly have a truck capable of towing it? That way you could buy and outfit it now and if it doesn't sell you can haul it home rather than trying to maintain and sell it long distance.
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Old 17-01-2014, 11:54   #19
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Re: Family cruising the Great Lakes

Considering your budget and time frame, might it be more practical to charter a fully equipped boat? To rent a boat for a full season, a charter company might offer you a nice deal. A hired captain could return the boat to the owner. I am outfitting my boat (Hunter 37 cutter) to cruise the Lakes and I am finding almost every project or task leads to another. I have no set schedule, so time is not as important. Just a thought.

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Old 17-01-2014, 12:02   #20
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Re: Family cruising the Great Lakes

Care with surveying and selecting the boat before purchase could save you working on the boat for the better share of your summer off.
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Old 17-01-2014, 18:36   #21
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Re: Family cruising the Great Lakes

We have sailed Lakes Superior, Huron and Erie with kids. Lake Superior and Mike O'Reilly know the lakes much better.

I think a Macgregor or similar lightly built boat might be a little terrifying for your family during the thunderstorms you are bound to encounter in the Great Lakes during the summer. I tried Lake Superior's south shore on a lightly built Starwind 22... but with other madmen in board... not my kids.

I would look for a cheap old tank (with a heater) and forget about trailering it. It will give you and your family comfort in the rough stuff. You need a waterproof GPS or a chartplotter because on the Great Lakes you are always cloae to a lee shore. You need to know where you are.

The good news is there seems to be old tanks available for sale in the Great Lakes in pretty good condition at great prices. $20K might be a better number. The market is depressed. The bad news they are hard to sell unless you sail the boat to the east coast.

We had a friend who bought a $5k Albin Vega in Minnesota, spent another $2-3k fixing it then sailed it from Duluth to New York over the summer where he sold it and bought a cheap east coast car to drive back. He had a fantastic and cheap adventure. We met others along the way buying cheap freshwater boats in the Great Lakes and taking the east.You might consider that plan.


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Old 19-01-2014, 07:37   #22
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Re: Family cruising the Great Lakes

Have a look at this posting from "Search" on this site, then type in Grampian


http://toronto.en.craigslist.ca/tor/boa/4287507381.html
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Old 19-01-2014, 08:42   #23
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Re: Family cruising the Great Lakes

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dale Hedtke View Post
Your plans are exciting, but I find your timeline aggressive. It takes a looooooong time to sort out an unknown boat. Try to purchase the boat as soon as you find the right one.
Your sailing area has a lot of opportunites to anchor out, hang on a mooring, or be in marinas. Look into joining a yacht club that offers reciprocity to its members at other YCs around the Lakes. Often a night or 2 is free or low cost.
Be careful beaching your boat. You may not be able to get it off the beach if even a single wave pushes it up too far.
Don't forget the North Channel; there's enough cruising there for a lifetime and many areas are well protected. Consider trailering to that area. I'd avoid Georgian Bay in favor of the NC.
Another boat brand (perhaps more expensive) I'd consider is the S2 line.
Really good nuggets here. NORTH CHANNEL; START EARLY (now).

You can easily spend the entire summer in the North Channel. The place is voted to the top ten cruising destinations on earth. There are people who live aboard from ice out to November. Costs are bare minimum since you can live on the hook entirely. Food & fuel is easy and the people are kind. Note that you can dock all day in Little Current at no charge, do laundry, shop, charge batteries, top water tanks, bathe. You need to be away from the dock by some time in the evening or pay for overnight. You will want to be in the North Channel July & August so make plans accordingly. You could lease a boat from one of several charters but this will exceed your budget. You must have at least a good handheld GPS loaded with Great Lakes charts. You also need Canadian upgrades. NOAA charts do not show detail in Canadian water. You will need a proper head for operation in a zero discharge zone. We have both, holding tank with traditional head, and an AIR HEAD composting toilet. The Air Head makes you independent of pump-out facilities. Use a shovel and bury the stuff every two to three weeks - well back in the forest. You can re-charge using dry leaves. We did the NC with our ketch with 6'-8" draft. This is about as deep as you should consider. Your will have more access with less than 5 feet draft and if your choice is a shoal draft or CB type boat you will be able to cautiously enter parts of the NC that are "not yet charted"

On your way to the NC from the west, pass Mackinaw and spend time in St Martin Bay and the Lecheneaux islands. Government Bay is a popular stop. If you choose to head North to Superior, the locks are free. Be careful on Superior. There are not a lot of places to hide. I prefer check-in to Canada (PASSPORTS !!!!) at Meldrum Bay. There are hundreds of photos on Google Earth and there are Youtube videos posted for the NC. Get one of the many cruising tour guides for this area.

In Michigan, if you have an easily demounted mast, consider Indian River at Cheboygan. There are many miles of scenic river.

FIND A BOAT: There are multitudes of good vessels available at marinas and yacht club trade boards. Do some homework and take a car trip/marina crawl. We are on the hard at Torreseons in Muskegon. There are many boats for sale and a large number of boats have not been launched for several years (recession etc.) I stuck some pictures from the used lot below. If you are in the trailer size market the same advice holds. There are owners all around the lake that store their trailer launch boats in marina yards. Great Lakes boats have advantage for you; the boat is already here, the boat has never seen salt and short seasons here mean low use.

One of our yard mates DID find a boat on Craig's List. A 30 foot Icantremember that had a sound solid glass hull, running diesel and good sails. Its an older style with narrow stern and traditional overhangs, full keel, shoal draft. For the $2000.00 he paid, this is a great value. Shipping, however, cost a lot more than the boat. Craig's is possible but remember the other costs.
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Old 20-01-2014, 08:41   #24
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Re: Family cruising the Great Lakes

Hey Nicholas 58!
You know me, it's Andy, Cliff's friend. I didn't know you guys did a North Channel trip? Sounds like you had a good time. Did you guys move the boat from Harbour Towne? I don't rememeber seeing you the tail end of last year.
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Old 20-01-2014, 09:47   #25
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Re: Family cruising the Great Lakes

As to the OP about places to cruise, from my experience here on Lake Michgian there is lots to see.

Some of my favorites in no particular order.

Muskegeon: Nice area to anchor on the NW side of the lake by the State Park dunes. Several other good areas to anchor. Also 2 mooring fields, 1 at the Muskegon Yacht Club, the other at Heartshorne Marina. Heartshore is better protected but further down the lake, and not as nice as MYC.

Grand Haven: Tie up on the wall is free, also slips at the Municipal are reasonable but best to get a reservation. Plenty of good eats and bars. Musical fountains at night on the hill across from the boardwalk. Nice boardwalk all the way to the beach and nice beaches with facilities. Must get a Pronto Pup or 5 while there!

Port Sheldon: not much but enough room to anchor and secluded, you can take a nice dinghy ride up there river/creek. Not many amenities I think there is a resturaunt and maybe a gas station in walking distance.

Holland: Some nice resturaunts and a few good breweries in downtown. Nice beachs. Several marinas to choose from. The nicest and priciest is Aldeens, Parkside being the most affordable and a friendly bunch of folks. They have floating metal docks so easy to get on and off, but can be a little noisy if wavey and slippery if you find a spot without nonskid.

White Lake: This is our favorite weekend spot. Nice area to anchor on the SW side of the lake by the White Lake Yacht Club. The WLYC has nice docks and clubhouse. The "marina" next door is a little run down but has a servicable fuel dock and store for ice ect. Not sure but they used to have a little resturaunt, burgers and dogs kinda place. They had live music several times. Take a walk or dinghy ride over to the historic stone lighthouse/museum. A reasonable fee gets you in and lots of history there.
Further down the lake is the downtown not much some restaurants and groceries a mile or two walk east.

Pentwater: I consider a must stop. Great downtown water front with lots of live bands and eats. An affordable boat parts store on the main drag downtown. Nice boardwalk to beach. Stop by the Candy store itís amazing. Plenty of marinas and plenty of well sheltered area to anchor. There is a dinghy dock right to the North of the municipal marina.

Ludington: A good anchorage in Ludington Lake but a longish dinghy ride to down town, or tie up the dinghy at the nearby fishing dock and a short 1/2mi walk to the main down town. The municipal marina is very affordable clean and well run. Nice showers and even has outside dishwashing sinks! (Much nicer than trying to do dishes on board) The Badger (the only coal fired passenger ship still operating on Great Lakes) docks here and departs twice a day for Wisconsin. The Ludington state park is to the north if you wanted to camp away from the boat, you should stop at the House of Flavors good food and ice cream. A nice brewery here too.

Manistee and Portage Lakes: I've never been too yet...

Frankfort: Nice Municipal Marina, lots of fisherman, I've traded for fish here! Room to anchor, downtown is close a few things to do.

South Manitou: Uninhabited and absolutely a must stop. There is a good harbor with anchoring close to shore. It is well protected except when the wind is out of the E or SE. Hike the Islands look at the free Museum in the old houses. Lots of old abandoned houses on the island. A cool freighter shipwreck of the south coast of the island (can see on google earth). The lighthouse is open daily for climbing to the top. Lots of shipwrecks in the bay. They can be seen with mask and snorkel of the water is clear!

North Manitou: Good for hiking but no protected anchorage. If it's flat you can anchor along the south side but don't go too far if the wind picks up!

Leeland: A short 1 night here will get you the full experience. Marina is pricey (paying for constant dredging) but fishtown is worth the visit. Grab a sandwich from the sandwich shop and lots of good and high end eating. Blue Bird for breakfast is great.

Northport: Northport is your first stop in Grand Traverse Bay or your last. Itís a good place to wait for a weather window. Stop on the weekend and get a cinnamon roll from Barbs Bakery! THE BEST CINNAMIN ROLL EVERY! Grocery store right down town with dock carts to use! Municipal Marina is great, very clean and newly built bath house as of 2 years ago, and reasonably priced. You can anchor out in Northport bay as well. Just be careful and look at your charts to know where the shallow rocks are! A couple of good restaurants and a cute downtown make it a nice quiet stop. There is a transit line that runs from Northport to Traverse and other bay area towns. For a few dollars you can ride all day. Itís nice because Suttons bay can get crowded and the Marina there is pricey. But for a short bus ride you get to enjoy it while safely anchored or slipped in Northport.

Suttons Bay: Plenty of shops and restaurants. If you like wine sign up for a winery tour of the area or make it a point visit a few, Black Star Farms and Chateau Chantel are GREAT and have neat informative tours ect. These are well worth it, but could be arranged from any of the ports in Grand Traverse bay.

Bowers Harbor. If you can find a place to anchor a very cool spot. Try the restaurant and brewery right there. They are both very good. Bowers Harbour Yacht Club is there with docks.

Traverse City: Plenty to do lots of things to see North Peak Brewery is there and good (Can you tell I like Micro Brews?). Too much to list, but again you can access from Northport if you wanted to save yourself the day long sail down the bay.

Beaver Island/ St James Harbor: A crown jewel of Lake Michigan when it comes to weird quirky wonderful people living on the Island. An absolute must stop. Apparently it's where old Geo Trackers go to live out the end of their life. You can rent them from the private marina to tour the island and highly recommend it! Some good restaurants and you should check out the Shamrock bar, it's the only one, but they have shuffle board! Lots of history and really good place kind of high end to eat on the North coast of the island. Walk the harbor there are too many interesting little shops to name. A guy makes canoes out of wood from the Island! Check out the Mariners/ Fishermanís Museum, a cool old fishing boat is under the shed next to it that you can climb through. Last we were here the water was too low for the fuel dock in the harbor to be usable. We had to borrow Jerry cans and lug them back to the boat in a dock cart... So go fueled up, however the water level has risen 1-2 or more feet since that year.

Garden Island: If the wind is out of the North to the East is pretty cool. Uninhabited. Be careful getting into the bay on the west side or the south side of the island. There are rocks around just follow your charts.

... That's all I have from personal experience enjoy!
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Old 20-01-2014, 16:03   #26
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Re: Family cruising the Great Lakes

Quote:
Originally Posted by svHannabel View Post
We did nearly this exact adventure in 2010 aboard an Irwin 28 with our then 5 and 8 year old daughters, four of us total. We spent from the first week of June through early September cruising from Grand Haven on Lake Michigan to as far as Killarney in Lake Huron's North Channel. Best sailing and adventure of my life!

1. Any recommendations on best boat to fit the job?
Lots of boats would work, but you might start by searching for a Catalina 27/30 or a Pearson 30. Common, affordable and relatively roomy.

2. Any spots we shouldn't miss out on?
Take your time! Don't miss Mackinac, Charlevoix, Leland, S. Manitou Island, Les Cheneaux Islands, Harbor Island, anywhere in the North Channel.

3. Any thoughts on selling the boat at the end of the season?
Start early (like place an ad to sell before you're done with the trip)!

4. Any suggestions for cheap ways to explore land without high slip/moorage fees?
Yup, purchase a good anchor and rode and use it often! We rarely stayed at marinas unless we needed to restock the galley.

5. Any tips on cruising with young kiddos? (will be our first time out with her!)
Here are our tips for cruising with kiddos.

If you want more detail about our trip, check:
1)Our logs from the trip
2)
3) Or just send us a PM or email!
Really nice posting. It kinda says it all. I looked for the places we had also been. Did you collect crayfish at the Kagawong falls for Etoufe'?
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Old 20-01-2014, 16:05   #27
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Re: Family cruising the Great Lakes

Quote:
Originally Posted by appick View Post
As to the OP about places to cruise, from my experience here on Lake Michgian there is lots to see.

Some of my favorites in no particular order.

Muskegeon: Nice area to anchor on the NW side of the lake by the State Park dunes. Several other good areas to anchor. Also 2 mooring fields, 1 at the Muskegon Yacht Club, the other at Heartshorne Marina. Heartshore is better protected but further down the lake, and not as nice as MYC.

Grand Haven: Tie up on the wall is free, also slips at the Municipal are reasonable but best to get a reservation. Plenty of good eats and bars. Musical fountains at night on the hill across from the boardwalk. Nice boardwalk all the way to the beach and nice beaches with facilities. Must get a Pronto Pup or 5 while there!

Port Sheldon: not much but enough room to anchor and secluded, you can take a nice dinghy ride up there river/creek. Not many amenities I think there is a resturaunt and maybe a gas station in walking distance.

Holland: Some nice resturaunts and a few good breweries in downtown. Nice beachs. Several marinas to choose from. The nicest and priciest is Aldeens, Parkside being the most affordable and a friendly bunch of folks. They have floating metal docks so easy to get on and off, but can be a little noisy if wavey and slippery if you find a spot without nonskid.

White Lake: This is our favorite weekend spot. Nice area to anchor on the SW side of the lake by the White Lake Yacht Club. The WLYC has nice docks and clubhouse. The "marina" next door is a little run down but has a servicable fuel dock and store for ice ect. Not sure but they used to have a little resturaunt, burgers and dogs kinda place. They had live music several times. Take a walk or dinghy ride over to the historic stone lighthouse/museum. A reasonable fee gets you in and lots of history there.
Further down the lake is the downtown not much some restaurants and groceries a mile or two walk east.

Pentwater: I consider a must stop. Great downtown water front with lots of live bands and eats. An affordable boat parts store on the main drag downtown. Nice boardwalk to beach. Stop by the Candy store itís amazing. Plenty of marinas and plenty of well sheltered area to anchor. There is a dinghy dock right to the North of the municipal marina.

Ludington: A good anchorage in Ludington Lake but a longish dinghy ride to down town, or tie up the dinghy at the nearby fishing dock and a short 1/2mi walk to the main down town. The municipal marina is very affordable clean and well run. Nice showers and even has outside dishwashing sinks! (Much nicer than trying to do dishes on board) The Badger (the only coal fired passenger ship still operating on Great Lakes) docks here and departs twice a day for Wisconsin. The Ludington state park is to the north if you wanted to camp away from the boat, you should stop at the House of Flavors good food and ice cream. A nice brewery here too.

Manistee and Portage Lakes: I've never been too yet...

Frankfort: Nice Municipal Marina, lots of fisherman, I've traded for fish here! Room to anchor, downtown is close a few things to do.

South Manitou: Uninhabited and absolutely a must stop. There is a good harbor with anchoring close to shore. It is well protected except when the wind is out of the E or SE. Hike the Islands look at the free Museum in the old houses. Lots of old abandoned houses on the island. A cool freighter shipwreck of the south coast of the island (can see on google earth). The lighthouse is open daily for climbing to the top. Lots of shipwrecks in the bay. They can be seen with mask and snorkel of the water is clear!

North Manitou: Good for hiking but no protected anchorage. If it's flat you can anchor along the south side but don't go too far if the wind picks up!

Leeland: A short 1 night here will get you the full experience. Marina is pricey (paying for constant dredging) but fishtown is worth the visit. Grab a sandwich from the sandwich shop and lots of good and high end eating. Blue Bird for breakfast is great.

Northport: Northport is your first stop in Grand Traverse Bay or your last. Itís a good place to wait for a weather window. Stop on the weekend and get a cinnamon roll from Barbs Bakery! THE BEST CINNAMIN ROLL EVERY! Grocery store right down town with dock carts to use! Municipal Marina is great, very clean and newly built bath house as of 2 years ago, and reasonably priced. You can anchor out in Northport bay as well. Just be careful and look at your charts to know where the shallow rocks are! A couple of good restaurants and a cute downtown make it a nice quiet stop. There is a transit line that runs from Northport to Traverse and other bay area towns. For a few dollars you can ride all day. Itís nice because Suttons bay can get crowded and the Marina there is pricey. But for a short bus ride you get to enjoy it while safely anchored or slipped in Northport.

Suttons Bay: Plenty of shops and restaurants. If you like wine sign up for a winery tour of the area or make it a point visit a few, Black Star Farms and Chateau Chantel are GREAT and have neat informative tours ect. These are well worth it, but could be arranged from any of the ports in Grand Traverse bay.

Bowers Harbor. If you can find a place to anchor a very cool spot. Try the restaurant and brewery right there. They are both very good. Bowers Harbour Yacht Club is there with docks.

Traverse City: Plenty to do lots of things to see North Peak Brewery is there and good (Can you tell I like Micro Brews?). Too much to list, but again you can access from Northport if you wanted to save yourself the day long sail down the bay.

Beaver Island/ St James Harbor: A crown jewel of Lake Michigan when it comes to weird quirky wonderful people living on the Island. An absolute must stop. Apparently it's where old Geo Trackers go to live out the end of their life. You can rent them from the private marina to tour the island and highly recommend it! Some good restaurants and you should check out the Shamrock bar, it's the only one, but they have shuffle board! Lots of history and really good place kind of high end to eat on the North coast of the island. Walk the harbor there are too many interesting little shops to name. A guy makes canoes out of wood from the Island! Check out the Mariners/ Fishermanís Museum, a cool old fishing boat is under the shed next to it that you can climb through. Last we were here the water was too low for the fuel dock in the harbor to be usable. We had to borrow Jerry cans and lug them back to the boat in a dock cart... So go fueled up, however the water level has risen 1-2 or more feet since that year.

Garden Island: If the wind is out of the North to the East is pretty cool. Uninhabited. Be careful getting into the bay on the west side or the south side of the island. There are rocks around just follow your charts.

... That's all I have from personal experience enjoy!

This is a great synopses. Be very careful, however, on the water depths. Many run aground at Pentwater. We found it well less than charted depth.
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Old 20-01-2014, 16:10   #28
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Re: Family cruising the Great Lakes

Quote:
Originally Posted by appick View Post
Hey Nicholas 58!
You know me, it's Andy, Cliff's friend. I didn't know you guys did a North Channel trip? Sounds like you had a good time. Did you guys move the boat from Harbour Towne? I don't rememeber seeing you the tail end of last year.
We are still at Harbortown. Its tough to leave free live entertainment including the parade of incompetent boaters and pretty girls headed for Dockers. We are at Torresens behind the small red metal building. Stop buy for a beer or scotch if you see the truck. New code zero for next year. Maize & Blue with helmet graphic.
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Old 20-01-2014, 20:06   #29
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Re: Family cruising the Great Lakes

I'd be more excited if it was green and white. Heck maybe even a Rose color!!!
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Old 21-01-2014, 10:12   #30
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Re: Family cruising the Great Lakes

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Originally Posted by Nicholson58 View Post
Really nice posting. It kinda says it all. I looked for the places we had also been. Did you collect crayfish at the Kagawong falls for Etoufe'?
Thanks. Nope, didn't get any crayfish but wish we would have since we love Etoufe! Had lots of poutine in Little Current, though.
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