Going Nomad: The Good, Bad & Ugly
Two weeks into our nomadic life— our house in Calgary listed for sale; our camper packed with our cat, dog, and almost everything we own; our mission: to retrieve our boat, a Nordhavn 40, from winter storage and cruise the world— and it’s already been a roller coaster ride.
The Good: Knock on wood, the boat appears mostly functional, saving us from repeating our nightmare of last year when we stored our vessel outdoors in Bayfield, Wisconsin, where she basically froze to death and required serious resuscitation. This past winter, we opted for indoor heated storage, and while it was pricey, it was, presumptively, worth it. In other good news, it’s beautiful here on Drummond Island, where we’re surrounded by Lake Huron. We’re enjoying paddle boarding… yada yada… Sunshine… yada yada…The great outdoors… Etc. Etc.
The Bad: 1. Don’t think we’re immune to boat problems. Turns out, our muffler is broken, meaning we can’t start our engine, meaning we can’t yet go in the water, meaning the boat is “on-the-hard” while we live in our PACKED camper full of bins of almost EVERYTHING WE OWN. 2. We’ve already had one visit to an emergency veterinary hospital because Cadence, our yellow lab, broke a nail. You may balk, but breaking a nail is apparently a serious medical condition for our canine friends, not simply an excuse one can use to avoid grouting tiles or hanging drywall (did I mention we spent the winter renovating our house in anticipation of trying to sell it in Calgary’s depressed economy?).
The Ugly: Onion, our Persian cat, is STRESSED OUT! Luckily, when cats are stressed out they let you know by peeing all over the place! Yep. It’s a wonderful life, really it is. Onion’s normally a resilient traveler. She’s lived in three cities, flown with me from Calgary to Texas on the busiest airport day of the year, and basically has never complained. Until last summer. That’s when we discovered she was excreting bloody urine all over our boat’s interior. The vet said it was stress, and gave us Feliway spray to calm her. Well, Onion’s stressed again which is really pleasant: living in a PACKED RV that smells like cat pee and pheromones. Lovely.
Our Voyage Log
While the Raptors were winning the Stanley Cup (haha), and as liberal democracy and our Earth slowly die, this is what we’ve been up to:
Leg One: On route from Calgary, we took a pitstop in Thunder Bay, my hometown! Yay, mom’s cooking! Sauna! One Island Lake! We then drove to Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, where we stayed the night in a Walmart Parking Lot. Let me tell you, living in Walmart parking lot is the height of luxury. I mean, McDonald’s breakfast at your doorstop is the new room service at a five-star hotel, am I right? (Or am I deranged?)
Leg Two: Our next stop was Thessalon, Ontario, where we stayed at Thessalon Lakeside Park Campground. There’s basically three types of campgrounds: 1) parking lots, 2) parking lots disguised as RV campgrounds, and 3) hardcore woodsy campgrounds where mosquitoes will devour you whole. Thessalon Lakeside Park fell into Category #2, though, but for seasonal RVs (definition: people who keep their mobile homes immobile, choosing to park in one place all season), it wasn’t very busy. We had a lot of space to ourselves, including an unobstructed view of Lake Huron.
Leg Three: We crossed the border into the good ol’ U.S. of A. We traveled to Traverse City for provisioning (definition: fancy boating word for grocery shopping), where we camped at Traverse City State Park Campground, which is a popular, forested spot in the middle of a city! There’s a lovely beach on Lake Michigan across the highway, though it is NOT dog-friendly. Dogs are forbidden, even on a leash! Boo! So, we took Cadence to a beach at Bayside Park in Acme Township, a five-minute drive away, where other canine lovers sunned with their best fur friends.
Leg Four: Finally, we made it to Drummond Island where our boat is stored. We stayed our first week at Township Park, which is a woodsy campground on Lake Huron where we were all alone but for another digital nomad couple working out of their motor-bus, and one million mosquitoes. There’s electricity at the park, but no water or sewage, so eventually our poop tank filled and we moved to Wa-Wen Resort to take advantage of the amenities. As a bonus, Wa-Wen Resort is tucked in a bay so it’s not as windy and cold here as it was at Township Park. I even swam in Lake Huron for my first-time! Well, technically, I fell off my paddle board. I’ve dunked in Superior and Huron now, with three more Great Lakes to go!
Next Steps: We’re contemplating heading down Lake Michigan to Chicago! Our original plan was to finish the Great Loop by snaking down the rivers of middle America to the Gulf of Mexico. BUT, we’re thinking about taking the Erie Canal to the East Coast instead for a few reasons, including, I’m not all that jazzed about spending time in America’s Gilead states like Alabama. (Though I’m practising my “Blessed be the fruit, may the Lord open,” just in case.)
That’s all for now! Time to walk the dog!