Leaving Ohio we were in our first area of the country where we had not been before by boat. Steve and I had done boat deliveries from Florida through the Erie Canal through the Welland Canal to Port Clinton, Ohio. We have also done deliveries to Lake Champlain from Port Clinton and from Florida to Kemah, Texas. Additionally, we have been as far up the Tenn-Tom Waterway as Chattanooga, Tennessee. Heading into Michigan would be entirely new to us.
Michigan has more registered boats than any other state. People love to boat here whether it be on the Great Lakes or all of the numerous inland lakes and waterways. We are now experiencing fresh water and it is really nice even though I love the smell of salt air. The boat is cleaner which is great. However, we have come to know many of the little spiders that now want to make their home on Gypsies Palace. What a little black mess they make on the deck! We now are stocked up on spider spray.
We passed under the Ambassador Bridge by downtown Detroit and proceeded into Lake St. Clair. The weather was good and did not encounter many freighters. When we hit the St. Clair River it was so blue that I knew that I was getting close to home. Growing up in Port Huron is synonymous with Blue Water, including the Blue Water Bridge to Canada. I was so excited as we passed Algonac, St. Clair, Marysville and we finally got to the Black River, the entrance to downtown Port Huron.
Growing up there I was probably like most people that do not fully appreciate their hometown. It was a great place to grow up that was safe, friendly and had great access to beautiful water and beaches on Lake Huron. I finally got to experience Port Huron as other boaters would. A bonus is that we were arriving during Rack Week. This is the big sailboat race from Port Huron to Mackinac. Another race takes place from Chicago to Mackinac. There were over 200 boats registered for the event of all sizes and classes.
As we entered the Black River the sailboats lined both sides of the river and were rafted together. As we pasted the Port Huron Yacht Club a group of my friends let out a huge cheer to mark our arrival. I was “home” and filled with awe of the river had been improved and made very boater friendly. At first I thought I was going to cry, but then the excitement of seeing all of my friends overtook the tears.
For several days it was Party Central downtown with all of the race fans and crew. We were docked up the river and used our dinghy to go to restaurants and the stores. Saturday morning was the start of the sailboat races. We were fortunate enough to get an invitation on the Coast Guard boat that was monitoring the race start. Boy, did Steve enjoy that as a former “Coastie”. We were given a tour and had the prime spot for watching all of the sailboats. They even had a cook out for us! Who would have thought that we would have this opportunity? This year’s race turned out to be one of the fastest in history from Port Huron. They encountered storms and high winds from start to finish.
We spent a little over a week in town. I got to catch up with many friends. We played golf, checked out some new places downtown, including a new movie theater where a department store had been. We even connected with 2 Loopers and the Harbor Hosts of St. Clair.
As we departed Steve got to experience the swift current of the St. Clair River. We left passing under the Blue Water Bridge with fond memories. We were on our way back to Canada along Lake Huron.
“Years grow shorter, not longer, the more you’ve been on your own.
Feelin’s for movin’ grow stronger’ so you wonder why you ever go home”………Jimmy Buffett