Last Day write-up by Tom Bamonte CASKA president…

July 31st, 2006

my son suggested I post this….


Dad you should put this write up on your blog, if you havent already.


—— Forwarded Message

From: Thomas Bamonte

Date: Sat, 29 Jul 2006 15:58:56 -0700 (PDT)


Subject: Tom H. Has Returned

Tom Heineman has successfully completed his Lake

Michigan circumnavigation.

He and a small group put in this morning about 8:15

a.m. in Whiting. They were joined at about noon by

folks who had launched from 12th Street Beach and the

Lincoln Park Boat Club. The group stopped back at

12th Street Beach to fortify themselves for the rocky

ride around Navy Pier.

Tom looked great and it was apparent that he

considered the trip to be a great personal success.

Some of us had been worried upon reading in his blog a

diatribe against RV parks and technology that Tom

might have either gotten too much sun or was going to

follow in the wake of Kayak Bill, the noted West Coast

kayaking recluse. Not to worry. The man is sane–at

least to the extent that someone who paddles 850 miles

in a tiny boat on big water can be considered sane!

We successfully navigated through the powerboat hell

that is Navy Pier on a summer day and picked up more

paddlers. By the time Tom entered Diversey Harbor

there were at least 20 kayaks in the flotilla, which

must be some kind of a local record.

Tom landed at the LPBC to a round of applause, boat

thumping and horns. After everyone landed the

launching area at the LPBC was packed with colorful

kayaks and sweaty kayakers in dripping gear. Tom’s

family kindly fed and watered us. Thanks to the LPBC

for hosting.

When I left Tom had just finished looking at maps. He

shook my hand, accepted my congratulations, got that

faraway look in his eyes and said “there are four more

Great Lakes left.”

Sounds like a man with a plan.

The End

Sunday July 30th Update - Home - I feel like I just left…

July 30th, 2006

Just made a pot of coffee by pouring water into a coffee maker that actually grinds the beans and a miracle occurs and a pot of coffee appears.  I get to choose what cup I prefer and it doesn’t have sand in it and is actually a full-size cup.  I am wearing clean clothes and just slept in a real bed with air conditioning (it is going to be 97 in Chicago today).  I am resisting the urge to charge my marine radio and cell phone. 

I dreamt about maps and routes and who I was supposed to meet where. 

Wednesday and Thursday were vacation days in the Chesterton, Indiana Dunes area.  On Thursday, Peggy and I went to the Porter County Fair after our stop at the library in Valparaiso and ate lots of unhealthy food and watched the slice of Americana that unfolded before us.  Quite an experience:  livestock, horse riding demonstrations, a hypnotist that did a group hypnosis of about 20 people and thunder storms that produced an enormous amount of rain. 

Friday, Erik Sprenne met us at Porter beach.  Peggy did a car shuttle with Erik to Whiting, Indiana and we took off about 10:00 am or so.  We did a 22.5 mile moving avg 4.1 mph paddle to Whiting along coastline that was the most industrial of the trip.  Erik let me know that this was the first time he had been in his sea kayak since we met before the trip to scout out the Whiting area for camping possibilities.  You would never know it…   He is a very strong paddler and we did the trip without coming to shore at all.    We passed the Port of Indiana where we witnessed two large freighters going into the harbor and then  passed more of the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore including West Beach.  Water quality was poor in some areas with some sort of sparkling specs on the surface of the water in some areas.  Erik surmised that this might have been washed from the air with the recent rain.   We were probably a mile off shore at this point.  We also could see Marquette Beach near Gary, Indiana

We then went around the large industrial peninsula of Indiana Harbor and then proceeded to the Whiting Robinsdale Marina.  The paddling was extremely hot with air temps on the water in the low 80s and water temps in the high 70s.  Eric thought that dipping into the water cooled him off.  It felt like bath water to me and didn’t seem to cool me off at all.  I guess after 800 plus miles of water in the 50s and 60s my body had adjusted to dealing with cold but not heat.  It was a new experience. We landed at the boat ramp and moved our gear into a fenced in secure area and checked out the facilities.  This was not a “fancy” marina, but it seemed luxurious compared to some of the parking lot campgrounds that I had stayed at!  Erik had managed to secure permission to camp and use the facilities with the commodore and local authorities.  He had a key to the facilities.  What a great place to establish a local sea kayaking and sailing club.  The beach just south of the marina was part of the BP refinery but is a favorite spot for surfers.  

Erik and Lisa Matrejek arrived around 6pm or so.  They were a welcome site –  I had last paddled with them in Door County for the 40 plus miles from Jacksonport to Rock Island.  We all headed into Whiting for the annual Pierogi-fest.  We ate pierogis of all kinds, blintzes, cabbage and pasta, stuffed cabbage and other polish delicacies.  Erik actually knew the polish names for everything.  Lisa (Amato) Matrejek was looking for the Cannoli, but other than Italian Beef, she was out of luck.   :-)  We watched the 100 mile long Pierogi parade that included lots of women (and men) wearing babushkas and pierogi pirates, pierogi dogs and pierogi everything.  Check out:  Hometown Fest with Old World Entertainment 

The event had a certain similarity to the Porter County Fair sans livestock and with much more interesting food and a much more ethnic feel including folks with strong Polish accents.  I was starting to feel like I was coming home to Chicago… port of entry to immigrants from all over the world.  It was a good feeling.   We returned to our campsites that were on a small peninusla by the water…  I didn’t use my rain fly for the first time since it was so hot and there was no forecasts of rain.  Through my tent windows I could see the fire at the top of smokestacks as fumes were being burned off…  the industrial area that looked so ominous during the day was actually quite a light show by night.    We were a short distance from a railroad crossing and all night we could hear the train whistles of fright trains going to and from the mills and refineries and power plants to our south and east.  We were also treated to sky rockets at about 1:30AM…  The night actually cooled off and at about 5AM I actually got into my sleeping bag.  :-)  

On Saturday morning Peggy Cipolla and Rich arrived at about 6:30am since we were shooting for an early morning launch to avoid some of the heat of the day and to do a leisurely paddle to the LPBC.  Erik Sprenne drove to the local Dunkin Donuts and picked up coffee and egg sandwiches for all of us so we didn’t have to cook anything.  Erik was quite the host for our stay in Whiting.  We should definitely think about having a CASKA event each year so we can paddle and then go eat pierogis.

We were on the water by about 7:15am as Peg’s friend Rich took photos of our launch. We headed for the opening in the break wall at Calumet Harbor, avoided some barge traffic and headed for 63rd St. Beach. 

At 63rd St. Beach/Jackson Harbor Paul Doughty came out to greet us with his young daughter in the rear hatch of his Prijon Kodiak.  It was great seeing Paul again since he had paddled out of Montrose Harbor at the first day of the trip to offer his encouragement for my trip.  Now he offered his congratulations! 

He let us know that a BCU 3 star class was being conducted by Bonnie Perry in Jackson Harbor and that Wendy (from New Zealand) was there as well.  I had run into Wendy on my first day of the trip at Wilmette Harbor so I thought it appropriate to stop by the class and say “hello”…  Andrea K. from Northwest Passage was also with the group. 

We followed Paul to shore at 63rd St. Beach which was closed due to e.coli counts…  we had a snack and a short break and continued on to 12th Street Beach (which was also closed to swimming due to bacteria levels).  At about 42nd Street a flotilla of kayaks came out to meet us including Tom Bamonte, Rick Issacson, Russ Johnson (Wisconsin Russ), Bill Burton, Pierre Kornak, Pat Lutsch, Emily Rutkoski, all of whom I believe paddled from the Lincoln Park Boat Club to meet us.  We were probably a mile offshore at that point and could see McCormick Place and Soldier’s Field as well at the planetarium and Millennium Park in the distance…   

We all landed at 12th Street Beach for a break and to make sure we didn’t get to LPBC before 2PM since more kayakers were supposed to be launching from there to meet us.       We launched from 12th street and headed through the busy harbor and lock area east of the loop and south of Navy Pier.  We tried to keep the group together to deal with the very busy boat traffic in that area.  We passed within a few yards of the tip of Navy Pier and then worked our way towards the break water opening that was to be our route to Diversey Harbor and the Lincoln Park Boat Club. 

Again, we tried to stay our of the way of the large boats and paddled towards the North Avenue Beach pier.  Eric (my son), Tim and Humberto (my friends and neighbors), John Schubert and Leslie in their tandem as well as John Latecki (6500(!) miles into a “Fighting M.S. Across America… One Canoe Trip at a Time” ) paddled out to meet us. I am sure I missed some folks in the flotilla of kayaks coming into Diversey Harbor (I think there were 22 kayaks in total).  Cheers from the LPBC dock came from my wife, Helga Woodford, House manager Steve Quinn and wife Lisa Schumacher and others who’s names I don’t know.  My friends John and Marie Corcoran as well as Kathryn Carr also showed up later on.  Peggy, my wife, ordered dozens of subs from Potbelly’s so there was plenty of food for all and we had a party at the LPBC…  Steve Mullin’s “Welcome Home Tom H” sign made a re-appearance as well as signs welcoming home Kermit that my son made…  I had a conversation with John Latecki about his 6500 multi-year canoe trek…  he was paddling a Kruger designed canoe that he could actually sleep in…  He was going to spend the evening at the boat club and then head North to Green Bay where he was going to take the Fox River to Lake Winnebago and then get on the Wisconsin River and go back to the Mississippi in his cross country journey to raise funds for M.S.  I shared waypoints with him with some potential camping opportunities along the lake up to Green BayWisconsin paddlers check out his site.  He was doing a very different trip than mine… long days of paddling and using his canoe as a kitchen, tent and mode of transportation.  Made my trek seem like a walk in the park.    

Well as I sit at my laptop in my living room  I just watched the lake change from calm to whitecaps with lightning and thunder and then a downpour all before noon.   In my 49 days of paddling that never happened to me.  I was always off the water for really bad weather (except for the high winds doing the Grand Traverse) and there was amazingly few days where it rained and stormed in the morning.  

I told John Latecki to call when he was close to my place so I could hand off some leftover food (he was amazed at the whole concept of leftover food).  Speaking of food, I got on the scale and realized I had lost 10 pounds.  Amazing.  Given all the food people had given me or cooked for me and all the ice cream and pierogis and you name it, I am amazed that I didn’t gain 10 pounds. Let’s see if I can manage to change my diet back so I don’t gain 20 pounds in the next week!  :-)  

The trip took 49 days…  including three “vacation” days so I could be sure to finish on a Saturday and three weather/rest days…  865 mile total for about 20 miles per day average when I was actually paddling full days.  This trip started out very challenging and got easier as I got into the rhythm of the paddle and figured out how much and what types of fuel my body needed.  I was very lucky with the weather and the friends, family and strangers who supported me along the way was nothing short of remarkable.   I plan to write an article for Sea Kayaker magazine and will collect my thoughts over the next couple of weeks.  It has been a great adventure and I have learned a lot…  I plan to share the experience with all of you who have shared so much with me.  I will probably continue to post to the blog a few more times as I gather my thoughts regarding my trip.  

Tom Heineman

P.S. apologies to those of you who have sent me e-mails…  I will start checking them once again…   don’t think I have looked at my e-mail for the last 30 days…   



The End

Photos Krys had posted…

July 27th, 2006

Check out the photo gallery ( for photos from Krys and Eric and Lisa… 

thanks Krys…

The End

Thursday July 27th Update

July 27th, 2006

Stayed at Sarah Leonard’s place in Beverly Shores on Tuesday evening after a quick uneventful paddle from the Mullin’s residence.  Peggy met me there and the next day Peggy and I paddled 5.6 miles to Porter Beach (this is where Tom Bamonte, Dave Kaknes, Mike Agostinelli landed when we bailed out on the lake crossing a couple summers ago…).  

I will meet Erik Sprenne there tomorrow morning to paddle to the Whiting Robinsdale Marina where we are all set to camp.  Erik tells me that this is Perogi-fest weekend in Whiting so I may be fueled by Perogis for my last day of paddling Saturday.  

We plan to launch around 9AM from Porter Beach and I expect we will arrive at Whiting in the early afternoon…  will depend on wind and weather.  I will have a downsized cargo since I will just bring the minimum needed for 2 days of paddling and one night of camping.  

On Saturday I plan to launch about 9AM and then stop by 63rd St Beach for lunch…  I understand that there has been some CASKA e-mails about how to join the last day of paddling.  

I am actually sad about the expedition ending.  I am ready to do another 500 miles…  hmmm…  sounds like a Lake Superior distance…. .  

Peggy and I are playing tourists and I am now at the Valparaiso Library.   We had lunch in Chesterton and visited a couple art galleries there including a very cool gallery for an artist named Holly Jackson…   I plan to visit that gallery again to buy some art one of these days…  (or maybe this afternoon…  ). 

We saw Superman Returns last night (that was actually the least offensive of the offerings at the cinema near Michigan City…  not exactly an art house theater…  :-).  The popcorn was good.  Don’t waste your money. 

We camped at a walk-in site at the Dunewood Campground that is part of the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore last night and will be there tonight as well…   RVs can’t get to the walk-in sites and the regular sites don’t have electricity so it is relatively peaceful.  I have learned that the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore covers almost the entire coast of Indiana that isn’t industry.  The residential communities and the Indiana Dunes State Park are islands within the National Lakeshore.   Good that this area is being preserved…   a nice switch from the southern Michigan over-development I witnessed earlier.  

John Schubert, I did get your phone message and am fine with your plans.  I expect we will finish the Saturday segment between 2 and 5 PM depending on weather and who joins the paddle on Saturday.  I had to go to a pay phone to check my voice mail since my phone does not seem to work in Indiana at all…  Hopefully it will work in Whiting. 

Looking forward to seeing some familiar faces!  Thanks for all your support. 





The End

Day 44 Monday July 24 Update from New Buffalo, MI library

July 24th, 2006

Thursday July 20th turned out to be a good day to take a weather day in Holland, MI.  Winds were strong out of the SW and an early morning thunderstorm would have prevented an early launch.  Downtown Holland was interesting…   every other Thursday they had street musicians in the evening. I addition to the entertainment, I was able to eat a Chicago style hot dog at a place owned by one of the sons of the original Vienna Beef Hot Dog founders…   Also got to a Ben and Jerry’s where I was able to try their new apple pie based ice cream…  always a treat to eat “real” food…   Holland seems like a really nice city and has a working windmill which I viewed from a distance.

On Friday, July 21st,  I paddled from Holland to Glenn Shores.  GPS miles 21.2 averaging 4.3 mph with building, following seas…   I was heading for Mike Glasser’s place near Glen Michigan which I had been to several times…  My GPS way point was right on the money but unfortunately I didn’t believe it because the beach access road to Mike’e place didn’t look familiar since a property owner had built a sea wall since the last time I was there….   I continued paddling to the next access road which looked even less familiar (about 1/4 mile further).   I beached there after managing to land on a submerged boulder about 20 yards off shore and having to back paddle off in the surf.    A woman named Marsha vacationing from St. Louis offered to give me a ride in search of Mike’s home  (which was about 1/2 mile from the lake on the Blue Star Highway).   We found it immediately since my waypoint was exact.  She brought me back to my boat and I paddled back to the Glenn Shores private access road and walked the road back to Mike’s where I was greeted by Darren and Paul doing work on Mike’s property and Laurie who was also at Mike’s (Laurie has been remodeling Mike’s place for the last few years and has really turned it into a show place.  She also is a fabulous cook.)  Peggy, my wife, soon arrived and helped me portage my boat and gear to Mike’s which was going to be my base camp for the next two days of paddling.  

Saturday, July 22nd,  I paddled from Glenn Shores to Rocky Gap beach just north of Benton Harbor.  This was my fastest day of paddling the whole trip.  There were 10-20 mph winds from the north and a small craft advisory so I was getting a great push and had an almost empty boat since I was able to leave my camping gear at Mike’s.  The first 21.5 miles to Hagar Park I did nonstop and averaged 5 mph.  The one challenging part of this trip was traverse around South Haven’s harbor…   the pier was getting hammered by the 3 - 5 foot waves and so I decided to go about 1/4 mile out past the harbor entrance to avoid the reflecting waves from the long pier and the idea of capsizing any where near the pier was a bit scarey.  However as soon as you are that far from the entrance you need to keep a close eye on the horizon for incoming large boats that are traveling very fast and outgoing vessles from the harbor.  Luckily the coast was clear and I made it around the harbor entrance without a problem.  I then finished the trip at Rocky Gap beach for a total mileage of 28.3 miles with an average speed of 4.9 mph and a total moving time of only 5 hrs and 43 minutes.  Maximum speed was 10.3 mph!  Some great offshore surfing and lots of practice bracing as offshore breakers managed to find me periodically…  A fun paddle.  The Nordkapp seems to love surf landings and even when it broaches it somehow manages to “unbroach” and straighten out…  Peggy met me for lunch at Hargar beach and then picked me up at Rocky Gap and delivered me back to Mike Glasser’s for another awesome Laurie feast. 

Sunday, my son Eric joined me in my Dagger Meridian kayak to do the stretch from Rocky Gap to Steve Mulin’s beachfront home near Harbert, Michigan.  When he joined me for the stretch from Betsie Bay to Orahcrd Beach State Park (with Krys Schneider) he had used my Current Designs Expedition.   He enjoyed the Dagger much more and I believe is now a convert to British style boats since he has strong steering skills from all his canoeing in Quetico.  We did 20.8 miles stopping near Grand Meere State park and then at the Warren dunes before arriving at Steve Mullins’ summer place near Harbert, MI.  The water quality is starting to deteriorate again as I am nearing large populations of vacationers and lots of marinas.  Warren Dunes was a shocker since there were more people on the beach there than I had seen since leaving Chicago June 11th.  In our short stop at the Warren Dunes we saw a ranger helping an injured boy off the beach (sprained knee or something), another ranger rushing off to find a supposed heart attack victim and finally an injured, bleeding sea gull that was a few feet from the water and surrounded by sun bathers who didn’t seem to notice.  Eric reported the injured bird to the authorities so they could deal with it.  Welcome back to civilization.

We arrived at Mullins to a neon orange sign that Steve had mounted to his volleyball net on the beach… “Welcome Tom H.”…   Steve and Carol Mullins were about to head back to Evanston and told us we could stay at there beautiful summer home for a couple nights of we wanted to…  Didn’t have to twist my arm.  Since I am now two or three days from Whiting and trying to finish my trip on next Saturday and since Peggy will be able to support me for a few days I decided to stay another night and take the day off.  This week will be a “vacation” week.  I am thinking I will paddle to Beverly Shores Tuesday and then possibly paddling to the next camping spot (Dunes National Lakeshore) and staying there a couple nights with Peggy.  Peggy may join me for the paddle from Beverly Shores to the Dunes campground on Wednesday.  I am planning on paddling to Whiting with Erik Sprenne on Friday and then doing the last segment on Saturday.  I will talk to Erik Spreene today and hopefully he can post directions to this blog for anyone who wants to camp at Whiting on Friday night or paddle to the LPBC on Saturday. 

Well I am about to get kicked off the computer at the library. 

Eric, my son, tells me that Krys posted some photos to the blog from when she and Eric joined me at Betsie Bay.  Thanks Krys…  Also thanks Krys and Eric for making the long trek north to paddle with me from Betsie Bay to Orchard Beach and helping make it possible to get the new seat installed…

I am now kicked off the computer!




The End

July 20th Thursday Day 40 Update - Holland, MI

July 20th, 2006

Tom here.   Thunderstorms rolled in this morning followed by SW winds…   decided to stay here an extra day and wait for the 10-20 Northeasterly tomorrow to help with the push to Mike Glasser’s place in Glen.  Thanks Frits for the post about the 38 mile free ride to Grand Haven from Stony Lake…   It was great staying at the Kwant’s and having a rest day.   

Grand Haven campground was literally a parking lot with some patches of sand for $32 and glad to have it.   The coastline is wooded dunes around here, but very built up… the only opportunity to camp is at the State Parks which are oriented to RVs.  The portages have been interesting thru and over sand dunes…  Glad I borrowed Krys’ lasso lock so I don’t have to drag my kayak too far.  The portages are a big part of my mornings and then my evenings…  

Wednesday I paddled from Grand Haven to Holland State Park and am now at a nice campsite in a wooded area on the Lake Macatawa (?) about a 1.5  mile paddle from the harbor entrance…  I paddled 21.7 miles into a 5-10 mph sw wind and averaged about 3.6 mph.  I discovered a new technique to use when the winds are on and off…   yesterday there were breezes (maybe 10-12 mph and then nothing or 5-10 mph…) To keep up my progress I would paddle fast whenever the wind died and then slow my pace when the wind gusted in my face…  so I would do 4-4.5 mph with light winds and 3.3 - 3.6 when the wind was in my face… kind of like changing gears on a bike… same effort, different speed… no sense killing yourself when going into the wind…  Wednesday did seem harder than my 38.5 miles the day before with the 5-10 mph north wind push.   

Frits, I stopped at Rosy Mounds dunes nature preserve…  really beautiful with lots of info on dunes and dune vegetation and formation cycles…  

I heard that there was a search for a kayaker a couple days ago near the Ludington harbor entrance supposedly a woman called the coast guard about a kayaker who appeared to be in trouble and they did their “grid” search.  I wonder if it was the kayaker I passed at Manistee National Forest who was heading from Traverse City to New Orleans.  Hopefully he is stealth camping somewhere and not missing at sea. 

Peggy is meeting me at Glasser’s in Glen tomorrow which I think I will use as a base camp until I get to Mullin’s near New Buffalo…  there are no conveniently spaced state parks so I will try to have Peggy meet me 1/2 way between Glen and New Buffalo on Saturday and then continue to Mullins on Sunday if the weather cooperates.  If not, I will be there on Monday. 

I am not going to kill myself paddling into the wind if more of these 20 mph SW winds pop up…  I will try to time things so that I can do my last segment from Whiting to LPBC on Saturday 7/29…    

I miss the serenity of the UP and the “tip of the mitt”…  I can almost feel the frenetic Chicago pace influencing the people vacationing up here…  most are from the Grand Rapids area but definitely a faster pace happening…  lots of jet skis zipping by and water skiers and other boaters…  I am starting to resent the fumes and noise after all the pristine air and quiet further north.  Water quality is still way better on the Michigan side than the Wisconsin side and the sea gull problems in Wisconsin cities don’t seem to be here.  

Holland is a lovely city…  I rented a bike and rode the 6 miles or so to the library and downtown area…  bikes sure go faster than sea kayaks…  :-)       

I am starting to plug in waypoints from the Wisconsin side of the lake to see what is west of me… right now, it is Racine.  I am going to pay close attention as I get further south to see what is across the lake from my Rogers Park residence…  if it is a house I will have to stop in and let them know that they live across the lake from me…  :-)  

My body is holding up with the help of Ibuprofen…  hands are stiff but OK with most of the cuts and blisters healed now that I have been using the hand cream I bought in Northport courtesy of my ride from Nancy Thornton…  My feet are also holding up although a couple of my toes are numb from the pressure on the foot pegs… need to keep a light pressure on the pegs just like the loose grip on the paddle… easier said than done…  slight soreness in the elbows and shoulders, but nothing serious….  

It has been a great adventure so far…    

Hope to see lots of you for that Whiting/LPBC segment!  



The End

Tom’s in Grand Haven, Michigan

July 19th, 2006

Tuesday, July 18 Tom arrived in Grand Haven after a 38 mile paddle day. The weather and water conditions were great so he made up some lost time.  Wednesday night he hopes to be at Holland State Park. Looks like some weather might be moving in then. Peggy, his wife, and Eric, his son hope to meet up with him when he arrives at Mike Glasser’s home Friday.

The End

Longest Day

July 18th, 2006

Tom called tonight from Grand Haven State Park and asked me (Frits Kwant) to post this update. Tom had a good rest day yesterday and in addition to a couple of media interviews went into Whitehall/Montague to do some grocery/gear shopping. After buying a new a new pair of pants at a paddle shop he cut up his old ones to use for sandy campsite tablecloths.
I took him back to the Stony Lake put-in (where I had picked him up Sunday night)around 7:30 AM and after driving back to my place I paddled north from our beach until I ran into him heading south. We paddled together to the White Lake channel where I headed back and he continued on.

He made 38.5 miles today (from Stony Lake to Grand Haven) with a gentle north wind giving him a helpful push. He was very happy with his average speed of 4.2 mph. It’s the longest mileage day he’s had and helps make up for the weather/rest day he took. He expects to get to Holland State Park by Wednesday night after which he may take another weather day if the forecast of 15-25 mph winds hold for Thursday as forecasted.
Tom still expects to get to Glassers at Glenn by Friday night.

He felt strong today and though he is camped in a “parking lot” campsite he’s happy to be there.

Frits Kwant

The End

Day 37 July 17th *** Rest/Weather Day

July 17th, 2006

Tom here. Staying at Frits and Clarice Kwant’s lovely house steps from the Lake and in a wooded sand dune area near Montague. Took out yesterday at Stony Lake after battling 10 - 20 mph winds all day… Managed to go 18.6 miles averaging 2.4 mph and paddling 7.5 hours… when it was clear that I wasn’t going top complete the 25 miles to reach the Kwant residence, I called Frits Kwant from a land line belonging to a Bobby Glasser who was kind enough to let me use the house phone in his home many steps up a long stairway to the top of a bluff… no way to take out there, but 2.5 miles further was a ramp at Stoney Lake creek… Frits picked me up there.

Given more of the same weather today (only worse (25 mph SW winds), I decided to give myself a badly needed rest day especially since Frits offered another day of accomdations at his place.

Tomorrow I will go back to Stoney Lake to put-in. My itinerary is now a little off. The Michigan State Parks are heaven for RVs for the rest of the way south, but are not for sea kayakers with long portages to mostly paved campgrounds with RVs on top of one another. There are exceptions, but I am now thinking I will paddle each day about 20 miles and then beg a place to camp from homeowners along the lake or if a state or county park is in the area I will camp there.

Peggy, my wife, may be meeting up with me more frequently now that she is back to Chicago, so I may have her shuttle me to campgrounds as well.

For planning purposes, I do plan to be at Mike Glasser’s place (Glen) on Saturday July 22 and to Steve Mullin’s (New Buffalo) place on July 25 and to Sara Leonard’s (Beverly Shores) on July 26 and possibly camp there an extra day and then make the 27 mile crossing to Whiting on Friday July 28th with Erik Sprenne if that works with his schedule and the winds are favorable for a long crossing. (Erik we need to talk when we see the forecast). Erik is working on permission for others to camp at the Whiting Boat Club and park cars there so paddlers can join me on the last segment to the LPBC hopefully on Saturday July 29th.

This revised schedule will give me some flexibility since I will now be tackling typical SW winds in July which will make 20 mile plus days tough.

Erik Sprenne, Mike Glasser, and Sarah Leonard please let me know if these revised dates will work….

The last week has been awesome with some beautiful dune shorelines. The Manistee National Forest (where I camped legally, by the way) was beautiful. Sleeping Bear Dunes campsite and campground was awesome thanks to Kym’s help.

The new seat was installed in Arcadia with the help of my Gerber knife to trim the plastic to fit in my boat… so far it has been holding up well…

Peggy or Eric if you meet up with me please bring my Lendal Archipelago paddle back… the 7-2 fits on the deck nicely, but is not a good alternative to the Kinetic Touring blade…

Paddling with Krys Schneider and Eric Heineman was a welcome change and we got to eat lots of ice cream… we started a new approach to eating… ice cream before dinner on both days I paddled with them and at Orchard Beach State Park, we had ice cream both before and after dinner! What a wonderful diet.

Thanks again to Dave Dickerson, Michael Grey, and Nancy Thornton for jumping through some hoops to get the new seat to me.

Today I was interviewed by Spike Odell at 8:20AM for the wgn news radio and got to wish my wife Happy Birthday “live” on the radio… I was also interviewed by a reporter from the White Lake Beacon…

I also got a chance to play in an empty Nordkapp in some pretty large surf which resulted in a capsize and a roll… some pretty big waves and high winds today…

Thanks to Laura Qyackenbush from Leland who managed to get my boat shoes delivered to me at Betsie Bay lighthouse (it’s a long story).

The End

Spike O’Dell to Interview Tom

July 15th, 2006

Hi All,

Spoke with Tom H. tonight, he’s doing great, feasting on capellini and sausage.  Last night he was at Manistee State Forest surrounded by sand dunes, this evening he’s camping at Mears State Park, surrounded by RVs. He’s had some long paddling days into the wind so will be taking a rest day this coming Monday.

Word of Tom’s trip is spreading and has made it to the ears of WGN’s Spike O’Dell.  He will be interviewing Tom this coming Monday (7/17) at 8:20am.  Tune in!!


The End