7/20/17: We have arrived at Buffalo, NY. Since our change of plans, this now marks the official end of our Lake Erie crossing. Over the next few days, we will partially decommissioning the boat and getting her ready for transiting the Erie Canal. Next week we will be heading home for a short visit. If all goes well, we will be back here in early to middle August to head into the unknown.
The trip from Port Colborne to here was only 18 miles, so it only took 3 hours. We left early in the morning, and thankfully we did, because as we were tying Shanti to her new, temporary home, we had 3 rounds of severe thunderstorms roll through (the kind where the US Coast Guard put out marine warnings on the VHF to seek shelter).
We had a fanfare welcome from the US of A as arrived. About 1/2 mile from the harbor a (what we believe to be) border patrol helicopter came shooting towards us, circled twice, went to shore, and came back to circle us again. When we arrived at the marina, we pulled to the fuel dock where there was a US Customs video telephone installed that we had to use to clear customs and re-enter the US. Even before we picked up the phone and pressed “call”, three more border patrol agents came up and told us they had been looking for us since we docked. They waited for us to finish “checking in”, and then they also looked over all of our documentation to insure we were legit. All that just for two poor white Americans to try to come back home. We felt special. (To be quite honest it was a little bit intimidating and felt as if we had done something wrong. Canada welcomed us with open arms and told us to have a good stay and enjoy our trip while the US felt the need to put up a “show of force” for us to come back home. Quite sad for us as a nation when even our own people don’t feel welcome coming home, especially when those people, including their parents and grandparents, were all born here.)
Over the past 60 days we have travelled 1,068 nautical miles (1,228 “regular” miles). We have stopped in 23 different towns, met a lot of great people along the way, and have seen some spectacular scenery. It’s been both challenging and relaxing, stressful and peaceful, and a lot more work than either of us thought it would be (not just physically, but mentally as well). But we have no regrets about anything we’ve done, and are really excited to see where the wind (and motor) takes us next.