This is not going to be a walk in the park…

Today I planned to do 16 miles and see if I could maintain a 4mph pace.  Not so easy.  Winds out of the east/southeast 10 – 20 mph with occasional gusts of 30+ winds…  rain, air temp and water temp 52 degrees (according to my handy dandy meat thermometer that I carry in my PFD).  Waves probably 2 – 4 feet.

I left Juneway Terrace beach about 1:30PM and headed north to Wilmette Harbor…  I returned and went south to Pratt Pier…  then headed back up north to Juneway Terrace beach.  Pooped.   Moving average 3.9 mph.  Total miles:  11.0  Moving time 2:48 minutes.  My wife reminded me that conditioning means to build up gradually…  Guess I need to do that!  There were small craft advisory warnings for 4PM so I definitely needed to stop, but even without those warnings, I would have stopped…  I was cold and tired.  I did manage to stop on the way north at Dempster St. Beach to get my skeg unstuck and on the way back I stopped there again to use the men’s room and drink some hot tea.  (Got to have a thermos of hot tea if you are paddling a Brit boat in cold water/air).  I will be so glad when the temp starts rising (air and water).  The conditions today definitely underscored how much more difficult this paddling will be compared to the flat Ohio River

The boat.  I found that the skeg is very sensitive to minor adjustments and acts very differently with the wind at your back (needed a lot of skeg down) as opposed to going into the wind (needed a little skeg down).  Beam seas made this a difficult paddle and reminded me that having the wind behind you is sometimes quite unnerving.  The pace going north was definitely helped by the wind… I believe my moving average going north was about 4.5 mph…  coming back  I am sure I was not going over 3.5mph…  I am going to have start loading the boat more to see how it feels loaded… supposedly it tracks much better when loaded… 

I am still getting used to the boat…   I think the deck height is the same as the Dagger Meridean, but it doesn’t feel as high…  my knees are definitely not as bent…  much straighter…   I suspect the seat is higher than on my Dagger and it is cushioned as well…  I will try it without the padding to see if that gives me a little more room…  I am also going to take out the side padding to give me a little space next to the hips…  between a wet suit and the foam pads that come with the boat, I am a little too snug…  of course with any new boat you have to get your body and balance “used” to the demands of the boat…  stay tuned.  Tom Bamonte has given me some insights into training based on his experience getting ready for his trip up north a while back…  very helpful stuff.  

I talked to Dan Sandin about Fairport and the U.P. (Dan is a Chicagoan with a summer place in Fairport where I will stay after the Rock to UP crossing).   He gave me some good ideas about camping in the U.P.  Also talked to Patty Pape (and ACA instructor from Michigan who I know from an IDW/ICE class with NWP) about the U.P and the Mackinac area.  She had some insights as to places to camp and also provided me some links to Michigan DNR that spell out the state’s policy for “dispersed” camping —    meaning camping outside of designated areas…   Exactly what I needed.  Patty also warned me about people jumping off the Mackinac Bridge…   what a bummer if I were to get killed by someone jumping off the bridge.  But not to worry, Sigrid is sure I will die from the unexploded ordnance by Fort Sheridan before I ever get to Mackinac.  I touched base with Krys Schneider (my neighbor) and she confirmed that she will paddle part of the U.P. with me.  We will probably meet in Fairport…  She will be talking to John Schubert about helping her with a shuttle since he and Leslie will be camping in the area that week and providing support as needed.  John may be doing some paddling with me as well.  I have also heard from Erik Matrejek who has invited me to camp at his father-in-law’s place near Bailey’s Harbor.  Erik and his wife Lisa may paddle some of Door County or do the Rock to UP crossing with me.   

I am now turning my attention to the tip of the mitt area of the lower peninsula and am in communication with Bentley who lives in Harbor Springs.  I need to touch base with Denny Thorley as well (his parents have a summer place south of Bentley’s).    Further down the state I have finalized plans to stay near Glen Haven as well as near New Buffalo…  both friends who have places near the water. 

Even further south, Erik Sprenne is using some of his local connections to see if I could camp at the Whiting Marina…  My plan would then be to camp at the Indiana one night , then at Whiting and then back to the LPBC.  Erik is thinking that this would give folks the opportunity to paddle the last stretch of the trip with me and not have it be too long of a trip. 

As my planning time is starting to run out, please do not hesitate to give me ideas of where to camp… especially in the lower part of Michigan…   thanks for all the great suggestions and offers to help….

Tom Heineman

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