Presque Isle Michigan – Aug 23,24,25 (Port #129) – Gettin’ Looped Crosses Her Wake !

Hey Blog followers,

This is a long post, but an interesting one.
Please wait until you have time to read it, this one is not a quick read.

It is with a great sense of pride & accomplishment, and also some sadness – that Jonell & I announce that  we have officially “Crossed our Wake”.

This means that we have returned to a port from where we started The Loop last year, and thus we have essentially Completed The Great Loop Adventure !

We anticipate to arrive back home, at Miller Marina in St Clair Shores, on Wednesday or Thursday – August 29th or 30th.

Here are some pics showing the entire route of our 1 year trip, and also a close up showing the connection points of the BEGINNING (July 15, 2017) & the END (August 23, 2018) of America’s Great Loop, at the Presque Isle Michigan State Harbor.20180824_11100520180824_110919

Since we have already been, and made postings in Presque Isle Michigan, and several other upcoming towns along Lake Huron where we began the trip – Our next few blog posts will not discuss information about the cities/ports, but will cover ;

> Our Trip from Drummond Island to Presque Isle – the final leg of The Loop.
> The Raising of our Gold Burgee Looper Flag.
> The Emotions of Crossing Our Wake.
> Some Quick Looper Stats ; Days, Miles, Costs
> Our attempts to define the very difficult Top-10 places we visited & why.
> A look back on what I believe will be the new record for # of Visitors while Looping.
> A look back at our relatively minor Boat Issues while Looping, and the maintenance required while Looping.
> For you future Loopers – A discussion about The Hardest things about Looping.

In this post, we will cover-
> Our Trip from Drummond Island to Presque Isle – the final leg of The Loop.
> The Raising of our Gold Burgee Looper Flag.
> The Emotions of Crossing Our Wake.
> Some Quick Looper Stats ; Days, Miles, Costs
> Meeting family members in Presque Isle / Alpena

Our Trip from Drummond Island to Presque Isle – the final leg of The Loop.
We arrived in Presque Isle Michigan at the State Harbor about noon on Thursday morning.

We left Drummond Island about 7:30am and had an eventful Loop Completing Ride !

Our Wind/Wave Apps were predicting
2 foot waves for the 60 mile trip across Lake Huron.

We did have 2 foot waves in the Drummond Island Harbor & near the Michigan mainland , but there were NOT 2 foot waves in the middle of Lake Huron.

About 10 miles off shore from Drummond, the waves increased to an average of 4-6 footers, with a couple of 6-8 footers.

On our desired course of SE, we initially were crossing the waves almost parallel to the waves, but at a slight angle.
This is not perfect but if you steer properly, you can essentially ride up the wave with the bow & let the stern fall over the wave.
This kind of worked for a while, but for some reason I turned on the autopilot for only about 5 minutes. The next sequence of events confirmed that the autopilot decision was not a good one.

With autopilot on, we hit one 4-6 ft wave which turned the boat sideways, exactly parallel to the waves – the next 6-8 ft wave rolled the boat pretty good.

The photos below will describe the end result – 4 broken dishes, 3 broken glasses, 1 broken cup, books & cards tossed about the cabin.
Our elastic band cupboard door guards had worked well for the entire loop, but the elastic had become worn, and todays wave toss proved too much, the cupboard doors opened and the dishes went flying.

The Cupboard Holder Elastic Bands have become quite worn over 1 years time.

After the dish tossing ceremony, we altered course to head into the waves on a 45 degree angle, which took us due west towards Rogers City. Then we followed the shoreline south to Presque Isle. This strategy worked much better, but did add about 10 miles to the trip.

The Raising of our Gold Burgee Looper Flag.
So after the attention grabbing ride across Lake Huron, we arrived at Presque Isle about noon.
We chose Presque Isle Michigan as our “Wake Crossing Harbor” because we wanted someone else to help us celebrate.

I’m not sure if you remember, but my aunt Angie, cousin Kathy Serre, and her husband Dan all live just outside of Alpena, very close to Presque Isle where we docked last July.

So we knew that they would come & celebrate with us, but we were also treated to the extra guests of Brent Serre (son of Kathy), and our Miller Marina/Power Squadron pals Mahi Mahi (Jerry & Deena Luck).

Jerry & Deena Luck have just started their loop, and waited for us to cross over, to help us celebrate.

So here you go, photos of ;
> The White Burgee – this is the flag you display while actively doing The Loop
> The Gold Burgee – this is our new flag, that we will now display, signaling completion of The Loop.20180823_145142 (2)

There is also a Platinum Burgee, for folks who complete The Loop more than once – we will not achieve that.
Our experience is that every time you try to re-live anything really cool, it never seems to be quite the same the second time around.

We also have many other travel related plans, both involving boating & not.

With the Gold Burgee raising ceremony behind us, here are a few final points summarizing our Great Loop Experience.

Some Quick Looper Stats
> # of Days we were on The Loop = 405 days (Jul 15, 2017 to Aug 23, 2018)
> Our Loop Miles = 5658 Miles
> # of Ports = 129
> # Nights at a Marina = 391
> # Anchorages = only 14 (South Benjamin Island being the best for us)
> # Locks = 105 (The Big Chute being the coolest)
> Marina Costs = $38,368
> Food & Entertainment Costs = $26,892
> Fuel Costs = $21,124
– note #1, we still need to burn a little fuel to get back to Lake St Clair
– note #2 , fuel bill essentially paid by leasing our home to the doctor from Pittsburgh.

The Emotions of Completing The Great Loop
From the 1st day of the Bon-Voyage party, it has been 1 year of excitement almost every day.
From the early discovery of all the cool boating cities on the west side of Michigan, to the coolness of driving thru downtown Chicago, the rapid current & all the barges on the Mississippi, the unknowns of crossing 170 miles in the Gulf of Mexico at night, the warmness of spending all winter in Florida, the historic east coast towns dating back to the 1600’s, the beauty of the upper Hudson Valley, Erie Canal, and Trent Severn Small Towns, the heart palpitating lift locks & the Big Chute, the majestic beauty of Georgian Bay & the North Channel – There has been excitement, history, and beauty throughout the voyage.
And most importantly – The People.
> Family & Friends visiting us on The Loop
> Our fellow boater Looper Pals, some of whom will be new life-long friends
> All of the impromptu, meetings of chance, of some really cool people – in almost every port

Satisfaction / Accomplishment
We feel a great sense of satisfaction in completing our dream journey.
Many folks have dreams, but sometimes life gets in the way, sometimes you just procrastinate until it’s too late.
But like Clark Griswald says at the end of Christmas Vacation – We Did It !
Boating for a year seems like an easy thing to do on the surface, but was actually a bit challenging, especially being new to “Big Boating”.

But right behind the feeling of Accomplishment & Satisfaction, come the feelings of Sadness knowing that THIS ADVENTURE is over.
We will miss the daily adrenaline rush as we cast the lines off heading towards a new port every 2-3 days, we will miss meeting new people every day in every port, we will miss the weekly/monthly interactions with all of our Looper Pals, and we will miss spending every day with our baby, the ss Gettin’ Looped, who got us thru 13-1/2 months of Looping without a major event (some of our friends with newer boats cannot say the same).

We will be attempting to sell the Gettin’ Looped in the spring of 2019.
We view the sale of our Great Loop Home similarly to when we put our beloved dog Chelsea down after 13 years (heartbreaking).
We love this boat, like we loved that dog !

The last year of our lives may have been the most exciting time of our lives.
We had excitement in the past, like living in Paris for 9 months in 1984.
And we have many more, fun travel related plans in the future.
But this one is going to be hard to beat !

Oh, but wait !
We have crossed our wake, but the trip is not over.
We also had some more very fun socialization here in Presque Isle.
As I mentioned above, when we arrived at the Presque Isle State Harbor, we were greeted by our Detroit Power Squadron pals Jerry & Deena, who have just begun their Loop. We were also greeted by my cousin Kathy Serre & son Brent.

The afternoon & evening turned out to be a blast.
Kathy invited me, Jonell, Jerry, and Deena over to her house for a BBQ, Brent cooked the burgers.
Tim & Diane, friends of Kathy & Dan, also joined us at the BBQ.

After the BBQ at Dan & Kathy’s home, we all went to a really cool place – The Maplewood Bar.
On the outside, the Maplewood looks like any old house based northern Michigan bar.
Its origin goes back to 1924, and is the oldest bar in Alpena Michigan.

Once inside, the history & special nature of this bar came to life.
The bar has 129 vintage guitars hanging from the rafters over the dance floor.
There are also a large collection of Old Cameras, and a glass case of over 100 different Cigarette Lighters.
Our Power Squadron pal Jerry Luck is a musician, and owns a music store in Detroit – he said that some of the guitars are worth $10,000-$15,000.

But the most significant thing about this bar is that it has been home to Clarise Grzenkowicz for about 78 years !

Clarise Grzenkowicz has been tending bar since 1940.
Clarise became the Guinness Book of World Records’ holder for longest career as a bartender in 2011 and still holds that record today.

During a news interview in 2011, Clarise was asked by the reporter “seeing how you’ve been here for 74 years, how much longer do you plan on bartending?”
To which Clarise responded “Probably until I’m six foot under, I’m only 95”.
Clarise is currently 102 years old, and still working the bar.

Unfortunately, Clarise was not working today, a Thursday evening, but she will be back on duty tomorrow night. Supposedly, if you are not here by 7pm on the weekends, you ain’t getting in.

Here are some pics of Clarise & her record-setting banners in the bar.

The late afternoon & early evening at The Maplewood was completed by Jerry Luck playing the accordion for about an hour, while the gang participated with song.

Mike & Jerry Luck
Left to Right = Friend Diane & cousin Kathy


Left to Right = Mike, Dan, and Brent
The Maplewood Gang – Left to Right = Dan, Tim, Diane, Henry, Kathy, Mike, Jonell, Deena Luck, Jerry Luck, & Bubba !

It was an awesome day, and an awesome way –  to complete The Loop !


Next Posting
Our Top-10 Ports & Why !

12 thoughts on “Presque Isle Michigan – Aug 23,24,25 (Port #129) – Gettin’ Looped Crosses Her Wake !

  1. Yayyyy!!! So happy for you both! Thank you for taking us along on your great adventure through your blogs! Continued safe travels home 😀


  2. Yahoo – Look at you ! An adventure like never before and I can not thank you enough for sharing with us!!! It was a great ride and did not cost me anything.. Probably owe you a dinner or two to get some nuggets from the trip.. I think you should present at Boat Show in Chicago in January 2019.. I am sure you have more than enough to fill a hour or two… Congratulations on your feat.. Not so many get to do what you have done.. Brian


  3. Congratulations to both of you on over a year of Looping. John and I have truly enjoyed all of your travels. We are happy you arrived humbled at home, healthy. We are going to miss you posts. What are you two going to do for an encore after that great adventure? I guess we need to stay posted…. Welcome home. John and Kathleen


  4. Awesome Mike and Jonell what a great accomplishment on completing the Loop. Thanks for documenting your adventure. Kenny L


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