A Ton of Improvements (and Only One Disaster)

This trip into Midland was our most fruitful yet.

First, we were able to retrieve our clothing, which we brought to my parents’ house to wash last weekend. Imagine our surprise when, whisle unpacking in Leland, we realized we had grabbed the wrong laundry basket, and only had two outfits each for the next four days! It’s nice not to be such extreme minimalists anymore!

Then, we stopped over at our house and picked up a new inner tube for the moped, which blew out its last tube on Bay City. Finally, we’ll have motorized transportation!

Midland might be a very wealthy community, but that doesn’t mean the shopping is expensive. They have a plethora of thrift stores and–be still my racing heart–a Kroger. Affordable groceries are non-existent up north, so we’ve been getting all of our provisions in Midland. This time I found a roast and some pork chops on “manager’s special.”. Two weeks of eating quite well cost us $96. I’ll have to do another post about Kroger later.

So, the thrift stores…We found a working Dirt Devil with an accessory pack at the Re-Store for $7. Finally, we can vacuum that carpet! Nearly two months of living aboard with no vacuum have taken their toll on the floor.

Then, it was time to go to Bay City to pick up a nice deck brush, with a collapsible handle (Moonraker will shine again!). And since we were there, we had to make a trip to Aldi. Aldi is important, because they sell bottles of a rather decent wine for $2.65 each. We bought a couple of cases.

Remember our frightening stove? We had replaced it with a camp stove from the house in Ossineke. The o-ring went bad on the camp stove, which led to spontaneous fires breaking up at the connection. We kept blowing them out, but eventually it just started dumping propane and wasn’t usable. We can’t keep the grill lit on windy days, so sometimes our culinary options were rather limited. Well, my dad happened to have the regulator that the new stove needs, so today I was able to make coffee without incident!

And now, for our crowning achievement. We have absolutely loved our Stow-a-Bike, but we’ve been sad that we only have one. We discussed looking for a used foldable on Craig’s List, but as we entered Frankfort, we saw this lovely beside the road, with a sign on it!

$60 later, we’ve got a new ride! It’s a Worksman, which is a good brand. It rides comfortably, like a cruiser, and is incredibly cute!

There are many more people at the marina, and anchored out, for the weekend. One lady we talked to happened to mention that the Chicago-to-Mackinaw race starts this weekend, and that she hoped the weather would be better this year. That reminded me of the Wingnut disaster, which happened the day before our own bad-but-not-as-bad-as-that disaster on Thunder Bay. Exactly a year and a day later, we had another disaster, that didn’t result in our boat almost sinking, and won’t lead to a super depressing blog post. But it did cause us to wonder, once again, if there is an evil spirit in our electrical system.

So, anyway, I was enjoying the new stove, making coffee this morning, when we smelled ozone. After a little sniffing, it became clear that it was coming from our very temperamental battery charger. A little history: we found this battery charger beside the road. Rob fixed it up, then brought it back to life when it quit. It quit again last summer, so we bought a replacement in Tawas on Labor Day weekend. The new one didn’t work nearly as well as this one, so Rob worked his magic once again.

We installed a second battery this summer, in the hopes of being able to run the fridge at night, as well as during the day (when we’re at anchor). When we left the boat in Leland, we found that the charger had quit while we were gone. We blamed the two-battery system and took one battery out of it. Then we had the mysterious electrical failure (and recovery) on the way to Manitou. The charger kept overheating at night, then today it got all smelly.

Rob pronounced it dead, and I continued with my mission. Then, out of the blue, we hear a whirring sound. Rob told me to cover my ears, and the charger started shooting up flames from the jumper cable that was attached to it. After some struggle, Rob was able to disconnect it, and thus eliminate the torch from our cabin.

After some research, we think the problem is not the charger, but Moonraker’s poor 12 volt system, which is the victim of 45 years of emergency cobble jobs. Rob is currently at the hardware store getting wire and other supplies to restore some sanity to it all. I’ll be happy when we can run the fridge again.

The flames are out, and it will charge again!

Rob will solve the mystery.

Well, Beanie is finally awake, and I have some cleaning to do. I’ll close with some pictures from last night. When we arrived, a jazz concert was just starting, and Beanie, who loves instrumental concerts, was thrilled. Old school jazz is her personal favorite, and she stole the show with her dance moves!

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