Fayette, July 18
Fayette is on the western side of the Garden Peninsula, which projects south into Lake Michigan. The entrance to the harbor for Fayette was marked by a large red buoy with a bell. Without that, it would be easy to cruise right by! To me, it didn’t look like much of an entrance, certainly not like there was a harbor there big enough for a few boats. But, it’s a nice little harbor, marked on the north entrance by high white cliffs – beautiful. There are only about a dozen slips, about half that would accommodate our boat. There is nothing in Fayette except for an abandoned town, which the state has made into a state park. It was interesting to walk around the existing buildings and read about the history of the place. There was a lovely walking trail that takes you around the point where we entered and back to the marina. I use the term “marina” very lightly – no offices, no facilities at all. Well, that’s not true – there were pit toilets nearby. We were told the showers and toilets are in the campground, a faiarly short distance away. We are pretty self contained, so we had no need to look for them.
Escanaba, July 20 through August 4, 2021
Our last stop on the Upper Peninsula is Escanaba, a very old town with an interesting history. The plan was to spend a couple of days in Escanaba, then leave the boat there while we traveled home for a two week visit. Our truck was in Cheboygan, about a 3-1/2 hour drive from Escanaba. No rental cars were available. The solution was a one way rental of a 10 foot UHaul truck from Escanaba to Cheboygan! From Cheboygan, we simply drove our truck home, about a six hour drive. I was trying to figure out how we were to return to the boat. We didn’t want to drive one of our vehicles to Escanaba, because we have no plans to return there. Turns out, Escanaba has a commercial airport, with flights from Detroit! Problem solved.
The marina in Escanaba was very nice, located right in the middle of a large park on the waterfront. The marina had about a dozen bikes that were free for use. We found one restaurant for breakfast, the Swedish Pantry, which had delicious Swedish pancakes served with lingonberry sauce, imported from Sweden. The other favorite feature of the town was a wonderful grocery store, Elmer’s, which is being run by the third generation of the family.
On one bike trip to Elmer’s I decided to stop to take a picture of a beautiful church. On the opposite side of the street was another building which was labeled the Art Center. There were several interesting sculptures outside, and the outside of the building had interesting decorations. The front had a marquis for a theatre entrance. Inside, there was a very nice photo exhibit from local folks entitled “The New Normal”. The photographers captured images that, for them, represented some of what they had experienced or learned during this past year and a half of the pandemic. This building had been built from the same stone as the church, and had been the gymnasium and theatre for the church school which no longer exists. It is run by a non profit, and is free for visitors. The theatre is active, with plays by a local group. Charming place!
On our last morning in Escanaba, I had a conversation with a couple who appeared to be about our age. They had a boat similar in size to the Kittiwake. I related to them our cruising plans, that we are on “The Great Loop”. They were unfamiliar with the Loop. The man asked me, “So, you just left the Detroit area and cruised up here?” He seemed incredulous. I explained that, actually, we bought the boat in Virginia and brought it up here! His response was something like “So, you just bought the boat and thoughtlessly took her on the water?” He asked me 2 or 3 times if anything bad had happened to us. I stated and reiterated that, no, nothing bad has happened! He said, “Well, with those 2 big diesel engines, you could get some bad fuel…but, I guess you probably have some good filters.”
Dan and I don’t really think that what we have undertaken on this adventure is foolhardy or really even very daring. But, people like that gentleman feel just the opposite. He and his wife have probably never left their ‘home waters’ where they are comfortable and knowledgeable of everything in that environment. Hurray for me and Dan – we are having the time of our lives!