Join Date: May 2007
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In your more recent post you mentioned that you're able to devote a couple weeks to this trip. That would make a trip around the entire lake somewhere between impossible and miserable.
I had suggested doing the Eastern shore, and if two weeks is what you have, then you definitely want to pick a portion of the lake for exploration, and I would still recommend the Eastern shore. Particularly because you said this is to be a bit of a training cruise.
I won't say you can't get into trouble on the Eastern shore...there are far too many wrecks on the bottom for that to be true....but given the frequency of good ports, and the scarcity of hazards, I can't imagine a better place to start.
I would still suggest starting South and going North. Starting at Holland you'll run out of time before you run out of Eastern Shore. You'll go from Holland up to Grand Haven in your first leg. Take a look at Grand Haven in your chart book, and you'll see that you'll motor up the river a ways, and there's a nice town a very short stroll from your slip in the municipal marina.
If you make Muskegon your next stop, again, look at the chart, and you'll see that there's a large lake that you won't want to miss exploring. Only problem with Muskegon is that although the municipal marina is nice, it's not close to stores. Just a couple restaurants. There is, however, a trolley style bus that makes stops there, and I think it's free.
If you started in Holland and made it all the way to Mackinac, that would probably indicate that you didn't have enough fun on the way there. Let's not forget the weather. Lake Michigan is no mill pond. If you made it from Holland to Charlevoix, I'd say you'll have had one hell of a trip. No problem getting a car rental from Charlevoix to retrieve your trailer.
Truth be told, if all you did was come to Muskegon and used that as home base to go to Pentwater, Whitehall, and Grand Haven, you'd have no complaints. And as I think about it, that could be a very smart thing to do.
If you haven't sailed Lake Michigan yet, then you haven't had the experience of motoring through the channel of one of her ports, past the light house on the end of the pier, and into some nice 3 to 5 footers on a sunny, breezy day.
All that said, if you should decide to do a Muskegon based trip, I'd be glad to take you to the best launch area, and could likely get you a free place to park your vehicle and trailer.