09-11-2008, 12:33 AM
Last summer we launched our Outback from the boat ramp in Highland Park, Illinois, and motored south along the Lake Michigan shoreline to Chicago's Navy Pier. Took about an hour. Tied up at the Chicago harbor and walked across the bridge to Navy Pier. Enjoyed dinner. Returned to the Outback, idled out of the harbor into the basin area to watch the fireworks show. There were a ton of boats, the water was rough, and visibility was poor. It was the period between sunset and rise of the moon. Very tough to navigate. We blew off sticking around for the show and headed north to safety. To avoid being swamped I had to keep the speed up. One wave tossed the boat completely into the air. The trip back to Highland Park was tense and took the better part of ninety minutes. My wife and sons will always remember that night. For those who don't know Lake Michigan, there are days when the water is glass smooth for miles in every direction. Then there are days when it churns up something fierce. I'll limit my future outings on Lake Michigan to daytime when the wind is out of the southwest and boat ramp is within sight. With little freeboard, the Outback is definitely a smooth water boat.