Frankfort to Ludington, MI - Weather Hold!

A damp and rolling ride to Frankfort (35NM) with 3-foot swells quite close together. As we clear the channel and enter the turning basin in Betsie Bay we begin to see fish jumping from the water. Actually, not just jumping but literally breeching and slamming themselves onto the waters’ surface. After we tie-up I ask the dock managers what kind of fish they are. Kim and Corey (Frankfort Municipal Marina) tell us they are salmon. Most likely females on their way up to the Betsie River to spawn. These females are laden with eggs and they body-slam themselves against the water to loosen the eggs in preparation to lay them. If this is factual or not, I am not sure but it was an amazing sight to see these huge fish popping out of the water as we came into port. I later read that this county has a very modern fish rearing facility ‘The Michigan Platte River Fish Hatchery’ which produces Coho, Chinook and Steelhead. Frankfort became a township in 1859 and the early economy was based on the lumber industry, commercial fishing and fruit farming. Fruit farming (cherries) remains an industry but primarily, tourism now provides the main economy in Frankfort. We walk out to the beach and around town and of course have to sample the local ales at the Stormcloud Brewing Company.

So our trip to Ludington (56NM) was quite intense. The winds were up and the waves were reported to be 4 feet. We were trying to decide if we should stay or go when we hear that the following day is reported to be even worse, so we decide to make a run for it. It turns out to be a bit more hairy then what was reported. The waves were at least 7 feet, one coming after another crashing over the bow…for five hours. Larry did a great job grinding away without a break until right before we enter the harbor. He would vary the throttle speed to keep the boat from crashing down off the peaks of the bigger waves, however he had to do this visually impaired as the windshield wiper in front of the captain’s helm station quit less than an hour into the trip. So, needless to say, we were all very happy to see the multi-colored waters of Ludington Harbor. The tannin-filled river water mixes with beach sand and blue lake water and looks quite strange as you approach. The Pere Marquette Lake is blissfully smooth with only a light breeze. We fill up on diesel, as Owen has done his research of this area and found fuel here is 10 cents less than any other marina. That makes a bit of difference when you are purchasing 1,000 gallons. Finally, we are safely in our slip where it looks like we will be for an additional day (or two) until the winds and water calm.

Entering the channel to Frankfort and Betsie Bay

Entering the channel to Frankfort and Betsie Bay

The First Congregational Church built in 1868. The message board reads ‘Souler Powered By The Son’

The First Congregational Church built in 1868. The message board reads ‘Souler Powered By The Son’

There are some very sweet homes in Frankfort

There are some very sweet homes in Frankfort

Older brick buildings stand alongside their newer neighbors

Older brick buildings stand alongside their newer neighbors

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Not necessarily a beach day, but still very pretty at the breakwater

Not necessarily a beach day, but still very pretty at the breakwater

Too bad the old Hotel Frontenac burned down…what an amazing building it must have been

Too bad the old Hotel Frontenac burned down…what an amazing building it must have been

This home sits right on the beach and every window had a sailboat model. The copper downspout is fabulous

This home sits right on the beach and every window had a sailboat model. The copper downspout is fabulous

These copper ship motif gates are perfect too

These copper ship motif gates are perfect too

The Stormcloud brewery sits right next to the movie theatre

The Stormcloud brewery sits right next to the movie theatre

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I recommend the ‘Rainmaker’ Ale

I recommend the ‘Rainmaker’ Ale

Heading into a big weather day, departing Frankfort

Heading into a big weather day, departing Frankfort

Five hours of this…

Five hours of this…

The pretty mixed-up waters are a sight to see as you enter Ludington Harbor

The pretty mixed-up waters are a sight to see as you enter Ludington Harbor

The tanin from the river, the kicked-up bottom sand and the blue lake water make quite a mix

The tanin from the river, the kicked-up bottom sand and the blue lake water make quite a mix

The Ludington North Breakwater Lighthouse. Great Lakes lighthouses were evidently built during a short period of time in the mid to late 1800’s. Of the 247 lighthouses originally built about 124 remain. They are mostly constructed with brick or stone to withstand the brutal winter storms. The lighthouses are generally similar in construction and tend to be square shaped and functional in design.

The Ludington North Breakwater Lighthouse. Great Lakes lighthouses were evidently built during a short period of time in the mid to late 1800’s. Of the 247 lighthouses originally built about 124 remain. They are mostly constructed with brick or stone to withstand the brutal winter storms. The lighthouses are generally similar in construction and tend to be square shaped and functional in design.

The SS Badger Lake Michigan Car Ferry is the last coal-fired passaenger vessel operating on the Great Lakes. It has been in use since 1953 and runs the 62 miles between Ludington, Michigan and Manitowoc, Wisconsin. It is 410 feet long, draws 24 feet and carries 620 passengers & 180 vehicles of all kinds. She may still burn coal, as the Steam Ship (SS) has been given historical status, but the coal ash is now off-loaded on shore (instead of dumped into the lake) and used to make cement.

The SS Badger Lake Michigan Car Ferry is the last coal-fired passaenger vessel operating on the Great Lakes. It has been in use since 1953 and runs the 62 miles between Ludington, Michigan and Manitowoc, Wisconsin. It is 410 feet long, draws 24 feet and carries 620 passengers & 180 vehicles of all kinds. She may still burn coal, as the Steam Ship (SS) has been given historical status, but the coal ash is now off-loaded on shore (instead of dumped into the lake) and used to make cement.

Charming ‘Maude’s Garage’ in Ludington…I bought a few things in this sweet vintage shop

Charming ‘Maude’s Garage’ in Ludington…I bought a few things in this sweet vintage shop

The Mason County Courthouse in Ludington was built in 1893

The Mason County Courthouse in Ludington was built in 1893

The Courthouse was designed by Grand Rapids architect Sidney J. Osgood and built in the ‘Richardsonian Romanesque’ style (said the info plaque). The rock is Jacobsville sandstone from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan

The Courthouse was designed by Grand Rapids architect Sidney J. Osgood and built in the ‘Richardsonian Romanesque’ style (said the info plaque). The rock is Jacobsville sandstone from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan

The Sand Bar is the locals bar owned and run by Dawn. She is awesome and a huge music lover who has brought big name rockers to Ludington.

The Sand Bar is the locals bar owned and run by Dawn. She is awesome and a huge music lover who has brought big name rockers to Ludington.

Happy hour at The Sand Bar…two dollar - twenty ounce draft PBR’s

Happy hour at The Sand Bar…two dollar - twenty ounce draft PBR’s

Dawn’s Rock-n-Roll Hall of Fame at The Sand Bar…James Hetfield (lead singer of Metallica), Lynch Mob and many other notables have played in this little bar

Dawn’s Rock-n-Roll Hall of Fame at The Sand Bar…James Hetfield (lead singer of Metallica), Lynch Mob and many other notables have played in this little bar

We shake things up a little & order a flight at the Jamesport Brewing Company. The IPA won the taste test

We shake things up a little & order a flight at the Jamesport Brewing Company. The IPA won the taste test

Having had a jeep we understand the statement

Having had a jeep we understand the statement

A jog North on MI 116 brings you out to Lakeview Cemetery. This is the Civil War monument belonging to the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR). ‘Membership was limited to veterans of the American Civil War who served as soldiers, sailors or marines during the period 1861 to 1865’ (info from ‘Ludington Michigan’ website.

A jog North on MI 116 brings you out to Lakeview Cemetery. This is the Civil War monument belonging to the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR). ‘Membership was limited to veterans of the American Civil War who served as soldiers, sailors or marines during the period 1861 to 1865’ (info from ‘Ludington Michigan’ website.

Below the GAR memorial are the markers from soldiers that fought in the First World War and the Second World War.

Below the GAR memorial are the markers from soldiers that fought in the First World War and the Second World War.

Back on MI 116 heading South…

Back on MI 116 heading South…

This Coast Guard Station at the entrance of the Ludington Harbor was built in 2003 when the 1932 Life-Saving Station became obsolete

This Coast Guard Station at the entrance of the Ludington Harbor was built in 2003 when the 1932 Life-Saving Station became obsolete

Always time for 18 holes!

Always time for 18 holes!

SS Badger sails into the sunset (photo courtesy of Maggie Doherty)

SS Badger sails into the sunset (photo courtesy of Maggie Doherty)