Motoring upriver past downtown Detroit, a flood of emotion washed over me as I reflected on another superlative season.
First and foremost, I felt gratitude – to Jocelyn, to John, to Jesse and Jon, Ron and Phil, and John Renna – for sharing some time aboard the Windleblo and helping get her all the way up the St. Lawrence River.
Then, I felt wonder – at all the amazing experiences – Anne of Green Gables, the Tall Ships, Gaspesie, the Saguenay, Quebec City and Montreal, the Thousand Islands, the Welland Canal, even the many miles climbing upstream on the St. Lawrence.
I particularly enjoyed the Canadians. I think I can speak for Jocelyn when I say we both really like Canada. Not just the clean air and pristine beauty of land and seascape, but the people, the atmosphere, the society. Considering the confusion in the U.S. these days, it is more than refreshing to enjoy a people and a culture that feel compassionate, supportive, positive. That’s what you find in Canada. As another American said, “Once you cross the border into Canada, you feel a weight lifting off your shoulders.” How true.
The places where we leave the boat for the winter are the places we get to know the best. We rent a car, find an Air BNB, and spend a couple of weeks putting her to bed there in the fall and waking her up in the spring. This time, we chose Harrison Charter Township, a yachting center on the northwest fringe of the Detroit metropolitan area. I searched around, spoke to several sources, and settled on Sailors Cove Marina and Rick Vincent as the place and host to keep Windleblo through her hibernation.
While two weeks may sound like a long time, you need only look back at past blog entries where I’ve documented the decommissioning process to know the heavy lifting needed to get her ready. We’ve found it’s best to allow ample time so as not to let a time crunch needlessly stress us out. Fortunately, this year there were no complications, and we are now at the point where I think I can say we have a fair handle on what we are doing. So all went fairly smoothly, and Jocelyn and I even had time for some play. We took in a Tigers game, we toured the Henry Ford museum, and we went out to eat in Ferndale, the hipster part of Detroit. (Don’t worry Seattle, Detroit can’t hold a candle.)
Once all was complete, we handed the companionway keys to Rick and drove to the airport, our cruising life again relegated to “pinch me, was that real?” status for another winter.