Friday, August 24, 2012

St. Joseph, Day 2

Days on cruise:  154

Distance traveled:  1.1 miles

Travel time:  30 minutes

Total trip odometer:  3,172 statute miles

When we bought “Next To Me” in January, one of the components that didn’t work, and which we didn’t get repaired, was the oil changer, a pump device that sucks oil out of, or pumps new oil into, the engines and generator. We were pretty sure we wouldn’t be doing our own oil changes anyway, so were content to let the boat yards that did that work bring along their own portable oil changer. We’ve changed our minds.

As we traveled to St Joseph yesterday, Bob called ahead to see if he could find a marina that could get us in for some maintenance work.  Pier 33 Marina in St Joseph said they could install the new oil transfer pump we bought in Grand Haven,  do an oil change and a few other items, so we went straight there to stay overnight.


After filling up on cheap diesel (compared to Canada or Illinois) at $3.69/gallon, we settled into a slip, and an hour later Dwight showed up to begin work on the boat. First he removed the old oil transfer pump and installed a new one.  Because Bob does all of our daily fluid checks, adds oil and waters up the batteries when needed, cleans the filters and strainers, and problem-solves any maintenance issues we’ve faced, Cathryn decided it was her turn to start contributing something on the maintenance front. She asked Dwight to teach her how to do an oil change. He was very willing and took her through all the steps in great detail while she watched and took notes.


This morning he returned to complete the last steps of the oil changes, finished hooking up a new aft bilge pump (the ancient one that was there finally gave up the ghost),  checked the engine zincs, and added one strap on the canvas on the flybridge where one was missing.

Now everything on “Next To Me” is back in perfect running order, and we’re good to go!  We have to say that Dwight and Pier 33 Marina seem to have been the best boat technician and boat yard we’ve dealt with yet, and we highly recommend them. So we left and moved into the Municipal Marina, hence our short journey for the day.


There’s a free town wall we could have stayed on here in St Joe, but between its’ being a bit bouncy in the waves, and the fact the temperature was above 90, we decided to stay at the Municipal Marina where we could run the air conditioner without also having to run the generator. While beyond walking distance to town, this marina is a great place to do a layover. It has free laundry and wi-fi, free bikes although it’s a long trip to anywhere, and because the best grocery store is a distance away, they’ll take you there and bring you back in their van at no charge! Given that rare opportunity, we stocked up on heavy and bulky grocery items that are hard to get when we’re shopping on foot or bicycle. 

When Mike  drove us to the grocery store, he also took us on a driving tour of this pretty town on the way back to the marina. It’s bigger than some of the Michigan towns (10,000 residents) and is attractive with good parks, shops and restaurants, as well as a solid economy with businesses headquartered here including Whirlpool. We plan  to move along to New Buffalo tomorrow if the weather cooperates.

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