A Kiwi couple's cruising adventures on America's Great Loop and around the coast of New Zealand

Friday, 24 August 2012

You've gotta go to Grand Haven

That's what everyone was telling us, so thought we had better! Before departing Muskegon, I took back the rental car and rode the new bike back the 2 miles from the agent. I later rode it even further to Miejers for a last shop, carrying the purchases in by backpack. A much more sturdy ride than the other bikes...but take a look at the seat in the pic in the last post. It is a seat from hell. After ten minutes of riding your Coccyx (tailbone) feels like it has had someone kicking your backside for days.

Also before departing Carolyn took this pic of a bit of sculpture on the pole next to us at the marina
So off we went to Grandhaven and tied up at the Municipal marina right beside an area with a stage and a whole lot of seating. Obviously a concert venue so, great, more free music. Being a sunday, though, there was very heavy boat traffic through the river and, despite it being a no-wake zone, a few (usually smaller) boats ignored this and we were subject to considerable traffic roll for most of the afternoon. Grand Haven is also known as "Coast Guard City", though and a cutter was kept busy issuing citations to the more disruptive transgressors. I took a walk to the "concert" area and found we were fortunate enough (being a sunday) to be alongside the weekly WOW (worship on the waterfront) show, from 7.30 to 8.45. However, they began practicing around 4.30 and despite their good intentions, some of the singing was quite bad - especially after hearing it the 4th or 5th time. About this time I was beginning to think that "you've gotta go to Grand Haven" was someone's idea of a good joke to play on unsuspecting visitors. The show was quite well patronised and we noticed a large number of people stayed on afterwards. This turned out to be because at 9.30 there was a musical fountain that started up on the other side of the river. Now THAT show was simply stunning, although I missed part of it getting my video camera out to film it. As with most of these things the video doesn't do it justice and it is too long to put on the blog, so you'll just have to go to Grand Haven and see it for yourself. In fact we stayed another night just to see it again and were delighted that it was a different show from the night before.

The second day was much quieter and more pleasant with much less boat traffic, being a monday. We had numerous passers-by stop and talk to us about New Zealand and looping, some who we had met before in other ports, and some who offered us transportation for shopping etc. But by now I was determined we would find our own way about on the new bike and I took yet another 4 mile ride to yet another Meijers and paid the price on return with bruised buttocks. One of the later visitors that turned up was John Niemann, the broker who sold us the boat, travelling down from the ferry at Muskegon to Saugatuck where he was skippering a boat for a client. He had just decided to drop in and see who was there, and there we were.

The following day we took a birthday parcel for our son, Adam, to the post office to send. After much rearranging to get it under the 4lb maximum, I sealed it up only to find that the tape I used added 1/10th of an ounce to the weight and they couldn't ship it until I removed the tape and used lighter box tape (which they provided). 1/10th of an ounce!!!! but the computerised scales just won't let them do it. The wonders of modern technology. Back at the boat I called our CBP Officer to let him know that we had left Muskegon, had arrived in Grand haven over the weekend and were leaving for South Haven. He wasn't there so I left a message with a colleague.

It was a nice trip, the 3 hours or so to South Haven and we tied up at the Municipal marina amongst a group of Loopers, including JET STREAM and NEXT TO ME, who we had encountered before. On other looper was KAREN ANN who were on the last day of their 3 year Loop and would cross their wake in Michigan City the next day. We had cocktails together at the marina meeting room and later walked around the township looking for some place to eat that could take a party of 10, finally coming back to the pub nearest the marina afetr being turned away by several others - including the one FURTHEST from the marina.

I did call my CBP officer in the afternoon and he seemed quite pleased to tell me that I was now out of his jurisdiction in Grand Rapids and in future I need to report to Chicago CBP. That should be fun.

This marina has loan bikes and we took a ride on them the first day we arrived. The are fitted with "Cloud 9" seats and I found that I could ride for hours without the excrutiating pain inflicted by our foldup bike. As an experiment I "borrowed" one of the seats and exchanged it for ours and found it made the bike eminently rideable. So the next day I (painfully) rode it to Walmart, 2 miles away, and tried a number of seats before selecting a Schwinn comfort seat for $21.99 which took me back to the boat painlessly. I since found out that the local bike shop has the Cloud 9 seats for $34.99, but this one is a reasonable substitute. Carolyn also found the full size bike far more user friendly and we will get her one at some stage and learn to cope with the storage issue.

We decided to stay another day and while strolling around town I stopped at an Auto shop for a browse. While I was there I asked if they sold crimping tools that would do #8 wire, which is what I need to finish the mods to the DC system. The only pair he had were his own, which he had just bought,  and he offered to lend them to me. Not knowing when I might be able to do it, I figured I would need to buy them. Turns out they cost $25.43 to replace so he sold me his and ordered a replacement for himself. I took another look at what needs to be done on Stan and have figure that if I take off the exhaust pipe, I should be able to reach the starter motor and disconnect the wire, then pull it through from the front of the engine to reach the charging isolators. Since this proceedure will imobilise the boat until completed, I need to be sure that it can be done before I start and that help is handy if anything goes wrong - so I will leave it until we are somewhere a little more populated.

So here's we we are at the moment, and today we will head down to St Joseph where we understand there is cheap(er) fuel
Bye for now

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