Saturday 6/24 Update from Tom

June 24th, 2006

Hi all,

Tom wanted to let everyone know that he’s in Rock Island right now.  The crossing into the U.P. on his schedule for tomorrow, Sunday, is not going to happen until MONDAY.  His cell phone is also not working at the moment.  ~~Krys

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Tom’s Trip

June 24th, 2006

Tom’s on schedule - will be at Rock Island on Saturday!  LB

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Day 11 - Now at Flentye’s 9 miles north of Algoma

June 21st, 2006

Peggy met up with me last night in Kewaunee and joined Robin and Chuck Nelson from Kewaunee for a salmon/pasta dinner at the campsite.  Today’s paddle was easy…   light winds form the southwest gave a little push…   my boat was mostly empty since Peggy was meeting me at Flentye’s so she hauled most of my supplies and gear.  What a difference a light boat makes.  I paddled the last 9 miles with no skeg and experimented with shifting my weight and legs to aid in keeping the boat on track… this worked really well with the light winds and light load.

There may be several people paddling from Jacksonport to meet me tomorrow…   Chuck and Robin from Kewaunee, Eric and Lisa Matrejek from Chicago  and maybe Rick Isaacson from Milwaukee…   Should be fun.

I will have my VHF marine radio on and monitoring channel 69.  

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haven’t been able to get into my e-mail

June 20th, 2006

if I haven’t answered your e-mail it is because I haven’t een able to get into my e-mail…  call mycell if you need to reach me 

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Days 8/9/10 Now in Kewaunee

June 20th, 2006

Day 8  Sheboygan to Mainitowoc - GPS miles 26.6 miles moving time 6 hr and 54 minutes, moving avaergae 3.9 mph.

Paddled with Steve Bannow from Sheyboygan to Manitowoc…  Winds out of the SW lending a gentle push; waves under a foot.  Light rain most of the day.  Paddled offshore quite a ways and came closer to shore to have a look at the famous Whispering Staits “links” golf course.  I suspect I would shoot about 200 on that course!  Unbelievable terrain.  At one point we pulled to shore becausee the sun came out and it seemed like we should take advantage of that and take a rest.  Howvere within minutes the skies darkened and we heard thunder.  It rained a bit and then all passed to the south.  There were periods of dense fog… very pretty paddling day.  As we oulled into the harbor at Manitowoc we were greated by Horst Abel and Phil Rohrer who had paddled out to greet us and take some photos.  Next, I went to Hort’s place to shower and change so we oculd go out and get some pizza at Tony’s Bar and Pizza.  Very good pizza.  I had coffee with my pizza so I would have enough energy to eat it… :-)   I said my goodbyes to Steve and Diane Bannow and we went back to Horst’s place.  Horst has a 1920’s vintage home on HW42.  An amazing house that he has restored since moving from Milwaukee.  the houe has lots of cool architectural details still intact (tile floors, stained glass windows, great woodwork, plaster moldings and the like).  Horst thought I needed to stretch my legs so we walked thru the local park and zoo near his home. 

Day 9 Manitowoc to Point BEach State Park GPS miles 11.3  Moving Avergae 4.0 mph

The next morning I was treated to his wife Barbara’s homemade granola with unpasteurized/unprocessed milk… really excelent.   Barbara also sent me off with a tube of natural peanut butter and some sort of German rye crisps.  I guess I am going to show the world that you can paddle 800 plus miles thru all kinds fo wind and wave conditions, exert tremendous amounts of effort and still manage to gain weight!

Horst then paddled with me from Maintowoc to Two Rivers with some pretty wild SW winds which allowed us to surf on and off for several miles.  We stopped at a really nce beach in TWo Rivers where the Lakeshore Sea Kayakers frequently launch.  I rested a bit more than usual since this was supposed to be a “kind of” rest day.  I then paddled the rest of the way to Point Beach State Park.  Phil Rohrer had arranged with the ranger for me to camp on the beach just north of the working light house at Rawley Point.  I set up camp and then Phil picked me up to make sure that I would not lose any weight.  It was ”Deva Night” for the Monday night paddle of the Lakeshore Sea Kayakers…  Quite a showing of kayakers…  must have been 20+ boats. They met at Paddler’s Park on one of the two rivers.  Living up to their reputation there was a ton of food: brats, ribs, fried cheese and other appetizers, baked beans, salads and desserts.  I ahd a chance to chat with Dave Schuette about long distance paddling.  He has done Green Bay to Milwaukee.  We tlaked at length about food, cold and energy challenges.   I am getting lots of advice and learnign a lot.  As ”chatty Patty” told me…  ”listen to your body!”  “Drink lots fo water with the ibuprophren.”  Dave said the only food that seemed to work while paddling was high protein foods like cheese and sausage.  Carbs don’t seem to do it.  Dave also recomeded frequent short stops rather than infrequent long stops. 

Phil has done agreat job promoting sea kayaking in Two Rivers.  There are now 7 kayak planters scattered around Two Rivers.  With the two beautiful rivers and the beutifl lakefront, I can see the seeds Phil has planted in the area some day make Two Rivers a kayak destination like Door County.   

Day 10 Point Beach State Park to Kewaunee - GPS 18.7  miles, moving time 4 hr 40 min moving avg 4.0

Got an 8AM start after breaking down camp and cooking breakfast.  After about 8 miles, Chuck Nelson hooked up with me to paddle the next 10 miles.  Chuck and his wife Robin were at the Monday night paddling event and live and work in Kewaunee as chiropractors.  Chuck was a wealth of knoweldge about nutrition and made that 10 miles of paddling go by quickly.  We had a slight push from the southwest.  Quartering seas are very challenging in the Norkapp when it is fully loaded…  The skeg has to be “just right” and you really have to do a lot of correcting strokes.  I need to figure out how to pack it so the weight is definitely further back in the boat.  In mild conditions I think I would prefer my Current Designs Expedition.  In rough water, the Norkapp seems to come into it’s owm element.  Dave was paddling a Dagger Meridian customized to hvae the seat moved back 2″ for better tracking.  Seemed to work.

Well, got to run.  I have dinner guests at my campsite at the marina.  Robin and Chick are coming over to help me eat some of this food that I have been carrying!  I think it will be salmon with pasta and sun-dried tomatoes with olive oil.  Tomorrow Peggy is coming up to meet me at Flentye’s property north of Algoma where we are camping. 

Overall Note:   I am getting stronger every day and learnign the idiosyncracies fo the Nordkapp and packing and camping, etc.  The biggest issue now is trying to stabilize my diet so I get the right foods and water in my body at the right times and in the right amounts.  At the end of the day I can tell my blood sugar is really down… somehow I have to prevent that. 


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DAY 7 - Port Washington to Sheboygan 26.5 miles

June 17th, 2006

Following seas made for a fast paddle with Steven Bannow acccompanying me.  GPS miles 26.5 mi; moving time 6 hr 25 min; moving average 4.1 mph.   In the afternoon there was a small craft advisory with winds out of the Southeast at 15 - 20… We stopped several times including Harrington Beach and Terry Andrea State Park… both parks were really nice with dunes and woods and really nice beaches… also stopped at a couple interesting homes along this stretch including a “windmill” home and a “lego” home that was multi-colored and looked like something straight out of  northern Europe…

Everytime we landed we had a surfing adventure.  Steve always launches backwards…  I tried it…  it works great and solved the sticking skeg problem… at least with a partially loaded boat.  It also means you don’t have to turn your loaded boat around after landing and then relaunching…    

Steve and Diane Bannow cooked a filet mignon dinner that was excellent.  After a week of losing weight I think I gained it all back  in two days of eating in Sheboygan which is a very cool little berg.

Tomorrow we go to Manitowoc and will  be meeting up with some paddlers who are planning to meet us.  Then I stay at Horst Abel’s place and the plan is to go out for pizza with some of the local paddlers…  

This trip is becoming a Taste of Wisconsin….

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days 4, 5 and 6

June 16th, 2006

day 4 Kenosha to Cliffside  gps 15.1 miles moving time 4:24 avg speed 3.4 mph.  Easy day of paddling - no wind, little waves…  made  one stop and then looked for cliffside camping…  my GPS was off a little and I later discovered that the campground was on top of a very high bluff with no easy trail… basically a clay-covered ravine… but in my searching I found a place that looked like a local gathering spot for parties/fires and decided to make camp there on the beach.   There was a path up to a county park above and after talking to some locals, it became apparent that the spot I had chosen was fine.  My sister Mary was in Racine for a business meeting and stopped by in her business clothes…  made for an interesting photo.  Peggy also showed up and I shed some of the extra gear I’d been carrying.  I definitely needed to downsize and I still want to downside some more. 

Day 5  Cliffside to Schlitz Audubon Nature Center GPS mileage 26.9 miles  moving time 7 hrs 15 mins  moving avg 3.7 miles.  I got up early 4:45AM, made breakfast, broke camp and packed my boat by monnlight and then by the rising sun.  I started the day on really calm seas and was doing about 4 MPH and finished an 8 miles crossing in 2 hours and then kept forgin ahead towards the McKinley Marina to meet up with Kristen and Jeremy who were going to row out to meet me…   At about mile 15 I met up with them rowinf their Irsih fisherman Curach boat…   very cool 1000 yr old design…  some sort  of cloth covered wood frame boat with a very cool hull design and something like Inuit style oars…   they were able to go 5mph or more…  We went on to the marina and I had some lunch and they resented me a gift of some energy bars and peanuts…  Thye then paddled another 5 miles or so with me…  Kristen will be contacting the Lincol Park Boat Club about doing a demo there and seeing if they could get interest in a Chicago Currach paddling club/team…  most of their competition is out east.  Jeremy and Kristen are both very good rowers and have lots of wins in Curach competition.  It was great having someone to paddle with…  the rest of the 27 mile paddle was uneventful and I arrived at the Audubon Center about 4:15 PM.  I checked in there after a long hike to the Nature Center and found out where I was supposed to camp.  I was pretty exhausted…   I camped in prairie grass surrounded by millions of flowers…  Rick Isaccson showed up to greet me and took me to Heinemann’s restaurant in Brown Deer just off of 43.  It was good to see Rick and eat some “real” food.    

Day 6 Audubon Nature Center to Port Washington  GPS stats are worthless because Steve Bannow picked me up in Port Washington and drove me to his home in Sheboygan…  I gorgot to turn the GPS off… when I looked at the mileage it said 43 miles and high spped of 70mph…  oops.  I would guess I paddled about 16 miles and averaged about 4 mph…  there were following seas with 1 - 2 foot waves.  Keeping the Nordkapp on track with following seas is a challenge….  I have tried various skeg depths, leans and mdified strokes…  Steve suggests that perhaps I need to experiment with the way I have the weight distributed in the boat…  Tomorrow I will  have a lighter boat since I am leaving gear at Steve’s sionce I will be staying hear tomorrow night as well…  Steve and I will do the 25 miles from Port Washington to Sheboygan.  Steven had a Brat party and invired locak paddlers and also a couple sail surfers who were from the Chicago area….  the following paddlers were at the Party hosted by Steve and Diane Bannow:  from Sheboygan:  Dennis Ketterman, Doug P., Nick Conger, Rob Ecker, from Sheyboygan Falls: Nancy and Tom Koeppen, Tom Fredericks, from Manitowoc: Tom Fredericks.  It was a fun get together.  Brats were awesome as was the dessert made by Nancy. 

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Today’s Stop - Audobon Center North of Milwaukee

June 15th, 2006

Hi all,

Tom paddled 25 miles today, making it to today’s stop on schedule, the Audobon Center north of Milwaukee.  He had some company from the Irish rowing group.

 Tomorrow he’s off to Port Washington.  Stay tuned!  Krys

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Day 2 - Big Wind/Big Waves / Day 3 - a walk in the park

June 13th, 2006

Day 2 -Highland Park  to Illinois Beach State Park

After having a gourmet breakfast at the Shear’s, Mary Jo drove me to Highland Park’s Park Avenue Beach.  Bill Burton was waiting for us.  He was planning on doing part of the trip to Illinois Beach State Park, but the forecast for 5 - 10 mph winds wasn’t happening.   The lake looked a lot like it did the day before…  In the interest of safety and given Bill’s experience it didn’t seem prudent for him to paddle back solo.  I appreciated having him there for the send off.   Mary Jo gave me lots of good advice:  take breaks, eat often, put on dry clothing…   don’t be afraid to stop and rest.

As it turned out that advice was exactly what I needed that day.  I launched at about 7:40AM into howling wind and confused seas off the pier at Highland Park.  I could see the “stacks” in the distance that were in Waukegan and the later stacks just before Illinois Beach.  If I took a bearing exactly to tose stacks I would be a couple of miles offshore which didn’t seem like a great idea givne the conditions.   The water temp was OK… low 60s, but the wind and waves were challenging.  There was a constant reminder of the 15 - 20 mph unrelenting wind in the whistling in my ears that didn’t stop.  The waves, after 2 days of a a Norteasterly blowing had become quite large…  4 - 6 feet…    very similar to conditions we faced on the CASKA Lake Michigan crossing attempt.  There wasn’t a small craft advisory, but there should have been.  The Nordkapp was fully loaded which actually was a blessing.  It was very stable and tracked and handled really well.  I paddled for 2 hours and looked at my GPS and realized I had only gone 5 miles…  I decided to take Mary Jo’s advice and put in at Lake Forest’s beach.  I warmed up, drank coffee and ate part of the sandwich Mary Jo had made… what a treat.  Exactly what I needed. 

I was in serious doubt about whether I was going to make it to Illinois Beach State Park.  The smokestacks looked really far away and I couldn’t imagine how I could continue fighting the wind and waves for another 13 miles.  I was really discouraged.  I passed Great Lakes Naval Base and thought about Russ who works there and how he let me try out his Nordkapp in the harbor there in a blinding sleet storm.  I considered paying him a visit but decided I needed to forge ahead.  I forged for another 4 hours to a beach at mile 13 of this segment.   It was right before the second set of smokestacks…  it was semi-portected and the winds were starting to die down.  I took about an hour break… warmed up, dried my gear and rested.  The wind died down to probably 5 - 10mph, still whistling in my ears, but maybe 2 - 3 foot waves not 4 - 6ft waves.  It appeared I was going to be able to make it.  Peggy, my wife, had said she would meet me at the take out and help me set up camp and haul gear.  She was a welcome sight!  the portage was probably 500 yards to the nearest campsite shich was behind the beach bath house immediately north of the main parking lot for the main beach.  This place begs for a water trail site thta is close to the water.  Right behind the beach house would be great. 

I am thinking about what gear to get rid of.  Do I really need a spare spray skirt?  Do I need those large metal bowls for eating or would small ones do?  What is the minimum amount of food I need to carry given the many places along the way where I can re-supply.  Do I need a clothes line/tarp line and a tow rope?  Do i have the right clothes and enough?

Day 3  Illinois Beach State Park to Sean Madden’s condo north of Kenosha. 

Sean is a cousin of Keith Heger of Northwest Passage fame.  Keith was originally thinking of paddling this segment with me, but with Stacey expecting any second now, he dicided he needed to be accessible.  His cousin, Sean, was kind enough to house me even with no Keith.  I am using his computer right now.  Sean could be Keith’s brother -  I felt like I already knew him.  Sean was still at work when I arrived, but his neighbor, Jeanne O’Brien, took pitty on the tired sailor and gave me dinner…  what a treat! 

Funny how talking about the end of the day came first…  I like the end a lot.  :-)

When I launched from Illinois Beach, after the long protage, I realized that I didn’t have my hat and gloves on.  I was so late in getting my act together and launching that I decided to keep going.  The wind was still whistling, but not incessantly and the waves were small… 2 - 3 feet tops.  I pulle into a beach just north of Winthrop Harbor and fixed my skeg (it was stuck).  I think this ios going to be a real problem with the Nordkapp.  If you do a seal launch, the skeg will be stuck.  Paddling solo does have it’s challenges.  I can’t have someone pull it down if there is no someone with me!  The winds died gradually all day and eventually were out of the east and the lake had 1 foot waves.  I stopped at Lake Front Park and rested, ate, dried off, bathed in the sun…  without the fierce winds Icould actulaly sit on the beach wthout being cold.  Lake Frint Park had an abandined bath house…  no facilities of any kind…  not even a water fountain.   Kenosha should be embarassed.  I then had a quiet, practically windless and waveless 5 miles to Sean.  Tomorrow (Wedensday) is almost a ”rest” day.   Only 13 miles to Cliffside Park north of Racine.  Peggy will meet me there again with supplies and help.      

Thuesday I have a long paddle, but the forecast is for winds out of the East/Southeast, so the 25 mile paddle past Milwaukee should be doable if the wind gods remain freindly.  I am looking forward to meeting up with the Irish Paddling Club who are going to join me for a stretch.  Also looking forward to staying at the Schlitz Audubon Nature Center.

To bed.  I am beat. 


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Day 2 - Made it to Illinois Beach State Park

June 12th, 2006

Tom is on schedule, having made it to Illinois Beach State Park today under seriously grueling conditions.  He’ll post an update with more details tomorrow.



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