Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The Pinery, Lake Huron, July 23

This will probably be a sparse summer for posts, I have developed an allergy to lake water. Although it is controllable by strong medication, I will probably only go to the lake when there is extra motivation. Since my lake swim buddies seem otherwise occupied this summer that motivation may not occur often.

But today I am by Lake Huron in southern Ontario. The Pinery is a provincial park which is very similar to the Indiana Dunes State Park. Only the dunes are not quite as high. But the beach was 6 miles long. On the plus side there is a nice bicycle path. The weather looked like it might cloud over so I had a short swim first, then biked for about an hour. By then it was actually nicer so I had a longer swim. The water was 21 degrees, or 70 in US degrees. The waves were about 1 foot. For the first swim they were very gentle, the second time they had a good breeze behind them and were rather tough swimming, especially as one swam parallel to them.

Generally Mike and I end our day at the dunes having ribs at Wagner's, we have never quite decided whether the ribs and beer were actually better at Wagner's or just that ribs and beer taste awfully good after a day hiking and swimming. So as a test I found a place called Mojo's BQ in Grand Bend, Ontario just up from the Pinery. This looks more like someones deck with a grill, and at 6PM on a Monday I was the only customer [added later - apparently a serial killer was loose in the area]. The deck did have a nice view of Lake Huron, and the ribs and Labatt's Blue did taste good. But the ribs were not as good as Wagner's, so I guess that settles that question.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Loyola Beach, July 4

Generally 4th of July is the official start to the swim season and an obligatory lake swim, preferably at Ohio street. But possible storms were forcast for this morning. Ken and I had an elaborate plan with options A,B,C depending on the weather, with both having the option to bug out. But this morning dawned beautiful with the last storm moving out of the area about 5AM so I was wanted in. Apparently Ken did not. So I decided rather than the hassle of Ohio Street, I would go to Loyola Beach, otherwise known as Touhy avenue beach or Leone Beach. This is a good beach for solo swimming as you swim parallel to the sandy beach and can get out at any point, also there are always a fair number of people walking dogs etc. if you need to get someone's attention in an emergency, and usually other swimmers. There is also a nice parking lot right by the beach so you can leave your stuff locked up. The problem is that if you come too early, and on Sunday and holidays anytime is too early, the locals use all the parking. By 8:30 the guards are out so you have to leave the water and are only able to wade waist deep directly in front of them. Today I was lucky, there were two spaces available in the lot at 7AM.

I had a nice swim, down to Pratt pier and back. The water was flat with a few ripples and a very comfortable 67, even though that was also the air temperature. The water was still cloudy and after some sun, so was the sky. All things considered, not a bad 4th of July swim.