Monday, July 18, 2011

To all my friends back home, from Alpena, MI, where everything is squishy today

We have received your kind shipment of hot and humid air ( Detroit 94/75, Minneapolis 97/80) and it has made us so homesick for Houston (93/78) that we are thinking about turning to the south where a/c is considered a necessity. Besides, we don’t want to miss the tropical storm season.

Taking its cue from the rising outside temps, our frig went on the fritz (50 is the best it gets right now) and tomorrow we will be getting a new circuit board.  Hopefully my watermelon will be cool enough to eat again before we get too far south (where people know watermelons are supposed to be icy cold).  We plan to hug the shore of Lake Michigan as close as we can for a few breezes before hitting the non-peninsula states to the south (Indianapolis (95/78). We might stop at a few places that advertise they are KOOL inside.

As you might gather from my jiggly bicycling movies in my photo albums Mr. Lincoln and I have logged a few bike miles this summer in Wisconsin, Michigan and Minnesota. They have glorious long bike paths here. But today, it was too muggy to bike. We ducked inside NOAA's shipwreck museum to watch movies about the Great Lakes storm of November 1913 when twelve ships disappeared to watery graves.  Made me shiver for a moment.

This weekend marked the 108th Chicago to Mackinac sailboat races. The 333-mile race from just off Navy Pier to Mackinac Island is the oldest annual freshwater distance race in the world. An estimated 3,500 crewmembers on 355 boats participated.  Last night a storm with 60 mph winds flipped one of the boats, and two crew members died.   To hear this on the news right after visiting the shipwreck museum brought an erie present day reality to history. Just the day before I had peered out into the water hoping to glimpse some of the boats.  It never occurred to me when I heard rain on the roof in the night that someone would die on the Lakes.

Looking at Huron today, who would ever think this pale blue wonder would wreak havoc?

Great Lakes weather is highly unpredictable.  Sailors leaving port in balmy seas can be confronted within hours by swells thirty feet high.  Unlike ocean swells of that size, these are not rolling but crashing swells, as in swamp and smash your boat. (It was a scary movie and even scarier present day reality; I am not going sailing out there, especially not on an off season November special).  

One more Great Lake amazing fact: did you know that if you spread the water of the Great Lakes over the whole US, we would be nine feet under water?  I'd like to do that this summer.  Pour some on the Southwest.  Pour some onTexas.  If we could just tip Superior on edge for about an hour.....

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