Saturday, October 17, 2015

Ultra -Mitt (I give you, ManitouCruiser)

Manitou Cruiser Sporting Everglades Challenge Shark Teeth

I really want to thank everyone for following along on my trip these past few weeks. Thanks for all the prayers, well wishes and positive vibes. I could definitely feel the Love and without it I doubt I would have had the awesome adventure I did.
My original plan was to paddle and sail the entire Lower Peninsula of Michigan starting in Toledo and finishing in Michigan City, a trip of over 700 miles. I had never paddled the entire Lake Huron coast line before so I decided to start on that side and do a counter clockwise trip with The Mackinaw Bridge being roughly the halfway point. I knew that a trip of this size, at this time of year was going to be a challenge, but little did I know how much of a challenge!!!
The total miles I travelled by paddle, sail and portage was around 522, give or take a few. A few times while I was on the road my GPS batteries died and I would not catch it for a while so my numbers are not exact. Out of that 522 I had about 85 road miles which is about 85 more than I was expecting!! I definitely feel ready for the 40 mile portage in the upcoming WaterTribe Ultimate Florida Challenge!! I was only able to catch the wind on a few different days, one being the 30 hour 90 mile run I had jumping both the Saginaw Bay and Thunder Bay. I still had to paddle most of this time as the wind was only moving me at about 1.5 MPH. The other time I had the wind in my favor was heading down Lake Charlevoix to East Jordan. This run had me up around 6 MPH with my fastest recorded time of the trip of 11.4 MPH!! This was a bitter sweet ride though because it was taking me inland away from Lake Michigan and away from my intended route.

At this point in the trip I knew the big weather and waves had won out and with the limited time I had I would have to return in the future to again experience the coast of Lake Michigan. I have paddled the Lake Michigan coastline a few times before so on a positive note this weather was giving me the opportunity to experience a chain of lakes I had never been to!!

Again, I want to Thank everyone that helped me along the way with everything from simple kind words of encouragement to places to sleep to free meals and even offers for "rides to wherever it is your going". In all the road miles I traveled  and all of the thousands and thousands of cars, trucks and sometimes huge farm combines  that passed by me I never once felt threatened or in danger. Most drivers would give me plenty of space and if they couldn't do that because of oncoming traffic they would slow way down for me. This trip has again given me a good feeling about the kindness and love that strangers can and do show to folks like me out on the adventure of a lifetime.

Last but not least I want to "Thank the Team" I had behind me the entire time. Brian Weber for keeping my information(and mis-information) rolling on the blog and the constant encouragement. Mark and Lauren for technical advise and information at any time of day or night on my constant route modifications and the ever worsening weather. A huge "Thank You" to Amanda, Laila and the rest of my family for understanding my passion for paddling and my need for the peace that the wilderness brings me.  
Thank You- Thank You -Thank You!!!!     


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