Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Our international cruise

Our international cruise

Now, we all know that a plain old “boat ride” should not necessitate documentation for a whole blog page. However - this one does! We have been attempting for the last several years to get my now ex State Farm Boss, Dana and his wonderful wife Chris to join us on a boat ride up the Detroit River and back. When you are a great agent like he is and a busy family man besides – that is a VERY difficult feat to accomplish, but it finally happened. And what a perfect day it turned out to be!

H slid the 20ft Citation into the beautiful aqua blue water of the Detroit River at Trenton, Michigan, just north of the bridge that goes out to west side of Grosse Isle, a long narrow island graced with many beautiful, grand old homes, some from the late 1800’s, and most of which have boathouses or at least boatlifts extending out into the river. Once past the lengthy Isle, H and Dana maneuvered the boat into Canadian waters on the right side of the river and we passed under the stately Ambassador Bridge which leads from downtown Detroit USA to Windsor, Ontario Canada on the south east side of this expansive curving river. (Imagine- going SOUTH out of the USA to arrive in Canada!) At the same time we passed a freighter headed to some distant port farther up the coast of Michigan or maybe even Minnesota or Wisconsin. We cruised up the river past the waterfront parks, homes and even the distillery where Hiram Walker is distilled. Up past Peche (Peach) Island, where H and I once anchored overnight in a protected little cove, and then out onto the sparkling Lake St Clair and NE to another favorite spot of ours – Belle River Ontario where we secured the boat in the great little marina and after reporting in to customs, walked 2 blocks to town for lunch. Edna’s CafĂ© is just a small family run restaurant with great food, good prices and an extremely good-natured owner who waits upon you personally! His wife Edna assists him but we don’t think she speaks much English!

The winds picked up on our way back across the corner of the lake and it’s a good thing we were traveling with the wind instead of against it! As the boat danced on the waves – H and D were getting bounced, while Chris and I had a much smoother ride from the back seats. Yep, she did get wet tho, whenever the wind caught the spray from the boat! As we returned downriver, H kept to the Michigan side and we were able to view downtown Detroit and its array of buildings, up close, especially the shiny glass cylinders of the GM Building. Once past the city and the steel mills on the south end, we made a gas stop before weaving back between the shallows of the many islands in that section of the river and re-entered Canadian waters to view Boblo Island. This island once held a popular amusement park and now is occupied by huge mansions and is accessible only by ferryboat from Amherstburg Ontario. Duffy’s Tavern is right across the channel from Boblo Island and is the main US-Canadian customs point for boaters on the south end of the river. A refreshment stop was called for which then needed a walk along the main street to view the nicely refurbished downtown area, complete with artfully arranged floral pots on the sidewalks and the gigantic overflowing hanging containers on most of the utility poles. Our stroll thru downtown was topped off by returning to the boat via the old Navy Fort area which very wisely was turned into a riverside garden, full of many multi colored blooms and a walkway which wound thru it and then alongside the channel of swift moving aqua water. Once back aboard we entered the very northern tip of Lake Erie- just to say we did and then D with chart in hand, guided H thru another set of shallow waters, back to the Michigan waters and the boat launch in Trenton. Traffic on I75 flowed easily as did more conversation from both the front and the back seats! Back home, we gave D & C a very quick tour of my garden and flowerbeds and off they rushed to their next exciting event – their son was playing in a tennis match and needed his best cheerleaders there!

Keep watching. In a few weeks the “mobile motel” and the boat will be back on the road again for our next adventure!