I'd like to send a huge Thanks out to everyone that supported, followed or looked in during our semi epic journey across and around Michigan these past few weeks. We had a great time during our travels and we hope you all were able to glean at least a small inkling of the joy we found in our wilderness travels. .
I always consider myself fortunate to have the skill, ability and family support be able to take excursions like this one and having folks like y'all interested in it makes it even that much more special. So many of you have expressed your excitement in our journey and we are grateful for all of your positive thoughts, prayers and wishes.
. Mike and I are both working on trip reports that we will have complete and posted in the next few weeks, please check back for “the rest of the story”.
This photo shows a good view of the brick patio that surrounds Verlen's statue. You can still purchase an engraved brick to be placed in this patio as we are still looking to raise a few thousand dollars to pay off a few outstanding bills for the VKM. Brick Form - click here
. If you are inspired by our journey and would like to get more involved in future Kruger Adventures please don't be shy. Get in touch with us and find out how you too can get out and have your own epic journey in this beautiful place we call home!
. The Best to Everyone, the Best to All !!! - ManitouCruiser
Mike arrived at Thompson Field at 9:15 pm amongst the cheering from family & friends. The beers were flowing and and the stories flying as the trip was discussed. Wow, what an accomplishment... 15 days and 490 miles!
6 PM: Mike just left my house (just above Weber Dam) and is going strong. He's pumped at being so close to the end of his journey. He says thanks to Gary for the seat cushion, it's working like a charm. Lets cheer him to the end!
Mark was very worn out at the finish, said he really struggled to lift his Seawind at the last portage at the Portland Dam. The water is quit low and made for some slow goings. He is elated to be done and celebrated with a couple beers. He said the bed in the van was calling his name, wanted to get a nap and was anxious to get home to Michelle. He'll get back with us on the stats of the trip after he's rested a bit. Mike is rested and paddling much lighter with the surprise visit from his cousin in Lowell last night. His plans are to press on and finish this evening...he's guessing around 11 pm. Way to go!!! The end is in sight!
Mark called as he was leaving Ionia and said he should arrive around 2 am at Thompson Field in Portland. If there's any night owls out there that would like to join me in welcoming him back...I'll have some cold beer there.
Mike made to Lowell tonight. He said his tailbone is very sore and is stopping every few hours to walk a bit and rest it. It's slowing him down, but still plans on getting in Sunday afternoon.
Mark called in and said he failed miserably at paddling through the night...it just got too cold. He was back on the water at 7 am just below Ada. He says it's a very foggy morning. Sounds like Jack Murgittroyd will be joining him today in the journey up the Grand.
Dan Smith sent some pictures from Thursday morning meeting up with Mike & Mark in Grand Haven. Steve Willard was with Dan and they picked up a few things from the guys and to see them off on their last leg of their journey. Dan wrote: They'll be finishing their journey at the canoe landing where the Verlen Kruger monument is. He will be looking over them when they come up that river, and I might add would be very proud!!!
Mike checked in at 9:30 am, he just cleared the portages and huddles in Grand Rapids. He said it's a huge relief getting those behind him. He plans to camp in Saranac tonight. He's really enjoying the sunny weather, he said the weather gods has blessed him on this trip!
Mark checked in at 8:30 pm, figures he's about 6 mi. ahead of Mike. Beings it such a beautiful night and he feels strong, he plans on paddling through the night and hopefully pull into Portland tomorrow evening. He wants to finish well ahead of the big kick-off Saturday :-).
Don't forget to keep checking the pictures as more are added daily. Mark & Mike made it to Grand Haven around supper time last night, and they're enjoying the fine weather. They're both feeling strong and expect to be in Portland sometime Sunday afternoon. Jack Murgittroyd called last night to let me know he'd completed the Shore 2 Shore Challenge the night before at 7:15 pm. Awesome job Jack!!! Jack said he was proud to carry the Cesar tribute across the state to the finish. He's feeling very proud of the finish...as I'm sure we all are!! He said the whole experience was amazing, and especially enjoyed the time he paddled with the 'Motley Crew'. He commented that Brian's cooking was a highlight. He loved the comradely of paddling with the group, but when it became clear that they wouldn't be finishing he decided it was time to push on alone..which he is no stranger to. Jack is hoping to find some additional time off work paddle with Mark & Mike coming up the Grand River to the finish in Portland. Next time you see Jack, pat him on the back and compliment him on his accomplishment!
AM: Mark & Mike says they're enjoying the easy paddling, they haven't seen the predicted winds they'd hoped for, but are making very good time. They got a good nights sleep last night and are refreshed and plan to make it to Grand Haven this evening. They are hoping to get up into the Grand River before stopping for the night. Mike's phone battery is dead and hasn't been able to update his contacts, said he'll call when he can. I haven't heard anything from the MC6 group in a couple days, but heard through the grapevine they've dropped out and didn't finish. Mark says they're a bunch of lame losers! Bob got the time for the other pro team that paddled to Kruger 100: Don Brooks & Nat Winkler finished in 15 hours and 56 minutes. PM: Damage control...Mark called the guys lame losers in a joking manor, and didn't mean to hurt any ones feelings! Mark has apologized to the guys, and wants everyone to know he's proud of their dedication to get out there and endure trials and tribulations of making a long trek as this one. One thing it did do was initiate a flurry of updates from the group. Dan Smith wrote: We had to cut our trip short because of time. Left the river at the old 131 campgrounds. Todd & Brian had to be back to work and with the pace slower than we had expected and a few other details, time had run out. It however was a very good trip paddling with all the guys and being at Jerry Cesars induction to the paddlers memorial was very nice. Thanks for your interest and support, Dan. Dan also sent this link for an article in today's Crawford County News: http://www.crawfordcountyavalanche.com/articles/2010/10/06/news/doc4cac8e3811b9a359181053.txt Too bad they forgot to even mention Jack Murgittroyd, the only paddler to finish the whole Shore 2 Shore Challenge!
8:40 am : Mark and Mike getting a late start...staying warm at the fire on this frosty morning 11:30 am : Gary finished the Kruger 100 at 11 am, he said Dan and the guys didn't catch up with him 3:15 pm : Mark & Mike have arrived in Manistee and are stopping for a bite to eat, going to the grocery store, then on to the big Lake to take advantage on a good west wind. They plan to continue southward as long as the wind holds. 8:00 pm : Bob Bradford called and said he & Janet, Mike Bradford, Ray Quick and George Stockman all finished the Kruger 100 at 1:52 am together.
Mike & Mark portaged Tippy dam around 6 pm, Mike wants to send a thank you to the new anonymous friend that let him use their car charger to quick charge his phone...every little bit helps! They've camped a bit down stream from the dam...took a ways to paddle through the many salmon fisherman, said they saw many salmon getting caught. I talked to them at 9 pm, they had a fire going (make sure you check out the drop box pictures as there are many new ones added daily), and Mike said there was frost on the tent already and they're expecting it to get down to 20 deg. tonight...brrrrr! They plan on making it to Lake Michigan tomorrow and are looking foreward to the better weather forecasted. It'll be sails up!! MC6 reported in at 7:40 pm: Dan broke a rudder cable again today. Slowed us up by an hour and a half. Also Todd got caught up in some logs and got flipped out of his boat. So we set up camp early to get him dried out. Jack left early this morning and haven't seen him since. We're camped just a mile down from 131.
2 pm Sunday - update from Gary, he's at the 131 bridge and is waiting for Dan and guys to catch up and paddle with them. Mike has met back with Mark just before the Tippy Dam Pond and they'll be continuing on together.
Latest update from Jason says Gary & Carl are at M66, but Carl isn't going to continue. The Bradfords, George, Ray and Mike are almost to US131. According to Andy's spot he's almost to the Sharon Road bridge. Jack, Dan, Todd, Jake, and Brian said they took it easy today and are camped just below the Sharon Road bridge. I know weather conditions have been far from pleasant....windy, rainy and cold, my hat off to those braving the elements! I see that Mark is just above Tippy Dam, but I haven't heard from him today. Mike S. just tried calling and all I got from him was low battery. Not sure what's up, he' had what appears to be a rough day and didn't cover very much ground this afternoon. Wish I got his message! I hope everyone stays warm & dry tonight!
MC6 made it to the portage this evening. By the look of the pictures they sent, they appear to be happy to be on the 'down hill' half of their trek. They have camped for the night and will be off again in the morning! Mark & Mike did the portage this morning, looks like Mark was having fun with the road sign posts along the route. It appears they started on the Manistee at 1 pm. As of 11 pm they were still paddling.... the push is on!
. Heads up for those in the area; the Kruger 100 starts this weekend to coincide with the Shore 2 Shore and the Tad more. Click here . Bob and Janet Bradford have sent us their SPOT information; Kruger 100 tracks - Click here Bob will be the official starter of the event; expect all era of Kruger Boats from Cruisers, Monarchs, Sea Winds - I'm sure there will be a couple of Loons there too, (crazies peeps). Word on the river is a hand full of pro-boaters will be participating tearing it up. . I half expect Toby (Whitecaps) to show up; spoke with him earlier this week as he was headed to Alabama (don't ask); he was itching to meet up with the Shore 2 Shore Boys - but something about driving white panel van back from Mexico wish precious cargo. Or maybe he said he's going to Fargo - the southern drawl had me stumped. . This is where the Capt'n signs off; turning the reigns over to Kathy L. who will do the blogging. Off to Belize for some R&R - R&D and some yummy goodness. . Paddle fast, live slow. - The Capt'n