Day 8 – Huron
I woke up early, made a coffee, removed the door slats and was struck face first with a beautiful, sunny day and an enormous SQUEEEEEEEEK!!
“Wake up kids, we are out of here!” I ordered.
Our destination was Huron, Ohio, just 15 miles or so away so I asked Ana to pilot the boat today. Ana truly loves everything about sailing...except the sailing parts. I shouldn’t say she doesn’t love it, it’s probably more accurate to say she just hasn’t done a lot of it as I’m almost always the one at the helm, navigating on the chart plotter (this is the device that shows you the map of the lake, depths, marinas, wind speed, boat speed, boat heading, water temperature and is your main navigational aid), trimming the sails, watching the wind, reading the water and looking out for boats. I guess you could say I happily hog the boat. But the last couple days I`ve been showing her how the chart plotter works and have been trying to get her piloting the boat more, just in case I fall off the boat one day with the autopilot activated and the rest of the fam finds themselves an hour further into their journey with no father figure on board. So this morning she agrees to take control, and does an excellent job from start to finish like I knew she would. To make it fair, I tried to replicate her standard passenger duties, so I first had a nice long shower, using up all the water on board, shaving my legs, washing and conditioning my hair, then dried off using six towels and applied grapefruit pre-moisturizer, plum moisturizer and just a dab of melon post-moisturizer. I then put on her pink moo moo, wrapped a fresh towel around my head, then went through the standard routine of plucking my eyebrows, picking zits, applying make-up, de-hairifying my upper lip (which didn`t take long), trying on a few different sets of clothes and finally selecting an outfit, then doing my hair up nice and pretty. After that was all done, I was ready for duty and presented myself in the cockpit. But wait, I forgot the nails. I grabbed two bags of nail accessories from the cabin below and cleaned all the herbies from betwixt my toes, scraped off the cuticles, dug out all the dirt from beneath the nails, then removed all traces of nail polish and reapplied new stuff, laying down a beautiful French manicure style jobbie on all ten fingers and toes. Every time we hit a big wave I smudged the job, so had to start from the beginning about eight times. With fresh nails, hair, and body, I was finally ready and fit for duty, so I grabbed one of Ana’s saucy novels, laid down on the sunny side of the cockpit, told the captain to watch the bloody spray and caught up on my reading.
In the end I decided that whole complicated, never-ending routine was infinitely more painful and exhausting than simply driving the boat, so as we approached Huron, we changed places and I was much happier. But I did look and smell a whole lot better than usual and man, you should see my nails.
The recent storm had obviously caused a lot of damage as there was junk floating in the water which must have come down the Huron River and was now causing a real menace. Much of it was twigs, bark and leaves, but there were also many full logs and trees bobbing around. Slow moving sailboats and their big keels can usually just push the flotsam out of the way of the propeller, but a big, fast moving powerboat on plane can easily have its props ripped off by hitting a log. We manoeuvred through the junk and up the river and soon arrived at the Huron Boat Basin, which is the municipal marina. We were assigned one of the last two slips and docked into a completely packed marina. We were immediately welcomed by one of the boaters there who informed us this was the River Fest weekend, the biggest boating event of the year in Huron and were extremely fortunate to get a slip. The marina was very cool, as it was shaped as a huge semi-circle, bordered by a wide, concrete walking path, and directly behind it was an amphitheatre where bands played every weekend. The kids eyes lit up as they noticed the carnival rides which were being set up in the park beside the marina, but after dropping a small fortune on the Cedar Point tickets, I gave them the stink eye and said, ”Don`t even think about it. ”
We went for a walk around town and didn`t find much of interest, besides the Harbor North marina which was a big Hunter sailboat dealer with lots of nice big sailboats for sale. We had the manager show us 38` and 41` Hunters which were very nice, especially the 41`, but considering how much more money we would need to put into it, we decide we are much better off saving our cash for a future catamaran purchase.
There was a huge line of food vendors setting up beside the carnival so we walked down the strip, scoping out the food we`d be sampling later. As we were walking, Magnus said, “Daddy, what`s Wisconsin cheese crud?“
”I have no idea, where on earth did you see that?”
”It`s on a sign over there,” he said pointing. I looked over to see a vendor with a sign in front saying Wisconsin Cheese Curd.
”It`s actually called cheese curd,” I replied, ”but I like it better your way.”
We wandered around for a while, then I finally relented and bought the kids some tickets to go on the super duper pirate ship bouncy castle, which they loved, until the tattooed carnie dude reached in and started yanking kids out at random telling them their time was up. I didn’t get mad at him, if he’s working the carnival circuit at 40 he’s had enough shit in his life.
The people started to pile in and by evening it was jammed and the Alien Blues Band was rocking the amphitheatre with jacked up, rocking blues tunes. All the boaters were on their boats and docks getting pleasantly, albeit slowly pissed on all the Bud Light and Coors Light they were drinking. We went back up to the food vendors and ordered up some philly cheese steak sandwiches, whatever the hell that is, and gobbled them down. We listened to the band for a while - the guitarist/lead vocalist was an absolute shredder, which made me wonder why I’d never heard of him. He was probably wondering the same thing about me, so I guess that made us even.
We returned to the boat for a drink and waited for the fireworks, which started shortly after 10pm and were shot off a short distance away across the river. I must say, they were amazing! They went on for a very long time and were explosively loud, bright, varied and very colorful.We went to bed shortly after that, thinking about how you never really know what to expect on boat vacation.