Day 21 – Ashtabula to Fairport Harbor

photo-16I knew going into this paddle that not only would I be paddling upstream, but that I’d be paddling against prevailing westerly and north westerly winds. Up until now tho, it really hasn’t been too unmanageable. The constant threat of thunderstorms combined with that, tho, do make getting from point to point a challenge. But if it were easy, it wouldn’t be the adventure it is, would it?

I’m finding Lake Erie to be a combination of adventures; West Coast-like in that if stuff really kicks up out there, take out options are limited, and East Coast like because of the all out slog against wind. At least from Miami to NYC that was mostly what was involved with that-I remember being so grateful that the weather mostly shifted on the long paddle days.

Last night I was a tad late off the water-well, actually a lot later than I wanted to be-close to 7. This kinda shrunk our dinner options. Which actually turned out to be a good thing-we asked around and found Local Tavern-Fish Bar, in Painsville, OH, to be AMAZING!  Thank goodness “I’m paddling” is all I can say because I left there painfully stuffed on Lake Erie fried perch, sweet potato waffle fries, and fried cheddar cheese biscuits. Wow. Look what I just wrote. And I ate all that!!!

We arrived way late at the home of our lovely host, Wendy Savot. She basically stepped right up when her friend, Mike, who works at the Marina where I kept my canoe, called and asked her if she had room for two travelers. We arrived to find not just wonderful accommodations for the night, but a dozen beautiful cupcakes for the road! OMG. The additional challenge is eating like a normal person after these paddles. Because holy mackerel, you can and you NEED to put away enormous amounts of food to sustain the energy to keep going. So Cora Cupcakes will more than fit the bill-extremely tasty calories here!

So now I’m well on my way in Ohio. Today I’ll more than likely end up about ten miles shy of my destination, which would have been Whiskey Island. The wind is supposed to shift and it will REALLY blow, as if it hasn’t been already. Am sitting here listening to the trains, which is a constant background noise and has been all up the Hudson and along the canal. Amazing how you can hear them rumble by even on Lake Erie.

And oh Ohio-I wish I had stopped to take photos of the dirty brown water by the power plant and all the new construction West of that plant on my way to Fairport. Ohio, have you learned nothing from the mistakes of NJ and the Barnegat Bay and the poor, suffering Chesapeake? So sad to see the wild coasts of Lake Erie mowed down and tamed with fertilizer intensive lawns and homes right on the cliffs. Expect more algae blooms here! And I was wondering about the murky water..until I saw the new construction. There are not even rudimentary plans to keep the sediment from the construction from going into the water. As usual it’s develop, develop, develop and then cry later when the resource is ruined. Not very cost effective, really. I’m not anti development, I’m anti-stupidity.

There are so many better ways to build. As always, Steinhatchee Landing where Joy Towels Ezell had arranged for me to stay in the Gulf Coast of Florida that I turn to as an awesome example of a developer”getting it right.” Native plants were left intact and the homes actually blend in and accentuate the natural beauty of the area.  Water conservation is built into the development there. And it’s gorgeous! We need more of that, not the same old same old we KNOW is so damaging to our diminishing freshwater resources.

So needless to say, it was a little depressing to paddle into this stretch of Ohio-until we got to the Marina and met the wonderful folks here. The Grand River and Local Tavern are truly destinations. The Fish Bar had the best food and the best beer selection! And then Cora Cupcakes!!! OMG!! Thank goodness I’m paddling!

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