Tuesday, July 13, 1999 N 41 39.08 W 83 31.87

TOLEDO, OHIO

It has been a while since we have had the opportunity to really
sit and catch up so here goes. We had a great trip out the Niagara River to
Lake Erie. As we passed Buffalo we call our friend Bruce who was on the
37th floor of his office building and said good bye to the US of A for a
while. Heading northwest along the Canadian coast we ultimately came to Port
Maitland, Ontario. Entering the harbor (river) we sought out a place to
stay and a phone to call customs. We found an abandoned dock and walked
along the water and found a bait shop where we called customs and cleared
OK. We hung our Canadian courtesy flag on our starboard yardarm and
celebrated with ice cream and chips. Early the next morning, with storm
warnings looming, we headed westward once again toward Turkey Point and
family. The crossing was uneventful, we beat the storm in, and we arrived
to find the channel had just enough water to float Vera II. We tied
starboard side to the wall, next to the bar and took our bikes and went in
search of Laverne. (Carol's cousin) With no success we were so depressed
that we had to visit the bar right next to Vera, we knew that sooner or
later we would meet up with Laverne, and sure enough within a few minutes he
was snooping around the boat looking for us. We visited for four days, and
had a wonderful, wonderful time filled with laughter, stories and sausage.
We did have one memorable event. The first night of our stay, around three
in the morning there was an awful crashing noise and as we looked out from
Vera's salon windows we could see a pair of headlights shining right back
in. Apparently some guys got very drunk and ran their Camero (It's always a
Camero) at us at about 100 mph and ended up against a telephone pole. After
almost two hours they were extracted from the car and shipped off to a
hospital. Talking with the authorities the next day we were relieved that
no one was killed. It was very close to the boat. The day before we left we
did a huge grocery shopping as we returned to the boat to stow everything we
discovered that our refrigeration no longer worked! It's always something.
So we are now using ice and coolers to keep everything cold. The ice budget
has grown.

The crossing from Turkey Point, Ontario to Erie, PA was an awful crossing
and Carol and I both feel that had we known that the seas (lake) would be so
bad we never would have started out that day. We left in a small chop but
two hours later when we rounded Long Point the waves grew to five to seven
feet and right on our beam. We rolled from one side to the other for a very
long three more hours. It got too rough to even leave the flying bridge,
the upper helm where we were steering. We were taking spray over the fly
bridge, 15 feet above the waterline. We got soaked and cold, but it was a
relief from the heat we had in Canada. Finally we entered the harbor of
Erie and a state park at Presque Isle. Waiting at anchor for us was La Ti
Da, a friendly face in such adversity. It was a safe harbor to wait out the
storm. We waited two days and enjoyed each other's company. Robin and
Cindy have become good traveling companions as Cindy helps me with the
mechanical things and Robin is an excellent cook who always surprises us
with something spectacular.

Our plan was to make it to Sandusky, Ohio for the weekend, as Ann and Gordon
were going to drive up from NYC to visit with us and other friends there.
However weather kept us traveling slowly. Ashtabula, Ohio was a great town
which had the best chicken wings and we had visions of Carol's father
wandering the streets. He was a sailor on the ore boats which take coal
from Ashtabula to Duluth, Minnesota and return with iron ore. We hope that
he enjoyed this town as much as we did. From Ashtabula we made it to
Fairport and from Fairport to Cleveland, where we stayed for two nights at
the Forest City Yacht Club. We meet wonderful people all along the was but
sometimes you meet people that defy explanation. A woman at the Forest City
Yacht Club loaned us her Ford Explorer (Eddie Bauer Edition) for the
weekend! She never even asked our names, they were going cruising for the
weekend and since we were cruisers she just handed over the keys but not
until after she gave us a driving tour of the city. We love Cleveland. We
visited the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the William Mather, an ore boat
Museum. We drove to the Flats (a must see in all the guidebooks) and kept
going, (very commercial) and did a good provisioning for the boats. And then
a storm blew through that was spectacular. High winds and sideways rain
slammed through the area and sirens could be heard all over. We later
learned that there were several tornadoes and a lot of wind damage in the
area. It was good to be at the dock and out of harms way.

Saturday morning Ann and Gordon arrived and it was very good to see them.
They drove us to Cedar Point where their friends keep their boat and we
partied all after noon and even got a trip into a marine store and a
hardware store top get a few things for Vera II. Ann and Gordon spent the
night aboard and we all went our for breakfast before saying our good byes
once again. Life is good when you have good friends. Ann and Gordon cast
off our lines and we headed for Vermilion Ohio, which we dubbed the Florida
of the Midwest as half of the town seems to be on the banks of canals just
like we have seen along the ICW in Florida. It was a very charming and
scenic town bursting with boat traffic and many, many classic boats. After
fueling in Vermilion we headed for an island in the Erie Islands above
Sandusky named Put-In-Bay, which we had been told, was a great harbor. Again
the computer generated voice on the marine weather channel lied to us saying
the weather would be great. We had several hours of a rolly uncomfortable
sea and the harbor rolled most of the night. We did enjoy the town visiting
"Mr. Ed's Bar" and the International Peace Memorial as well as finding more
ice. I know that this is the favored cruising destination in the area but we
found it garish and noisy and elected to stay onboard for the evening.

We left Put-In-Bay this morning for an easy ride to Toledo. Toledo has a
long channel leading for ten miles through very shallow water. We also had a
couple of bridges to get open, but once we got downtown we found free
dockage...with electricity! I have an appointment tomorrow with a
refrigerator guy to get our fridge fixed and then it will be off to Detroit.
Yet another state. So for now, we hope that you all are well and happy and
we will be in touch again soon.

Bridges Passed Under/Through 285

Locks 43

Miles Traveled 1191

Average speed 6.8 mph

6 States

2 Countries

"If you have never been scared on a small boat then you haven't traveled
very far in one."
Eugene V. Connett 3rd