So today Lindsy and I leave the Stepp family today. Julie and Joel had us for two nights and last night they made barbecue pizza and I made quinoa salad-June Barnard’s amazing recipe that has become one of my favorite “go to” recipes. June was the logistics manager for the West Coast paddle, which was-holy mackerel-now five years ago. Can it really have been so long ago? It’s so nice to have that recipe from that trip to share with others. In addition to the Stepp’s and Lindsy and me, Eric Slough, another paddler of the Great Lakes, came over with his two kids. If it weren’t for Eric’s words of caution I would have not known about, and likely been escorted out of, the “impact zone” of Camp Perry. Wow they really do need to place those warning markers a little closer together! Two miles apart ten miles off shore is a little too spaced out for paddlers, anyway!
Each paddle has it’s challenges, and this inland, upstream one is no different. The winds are always a challenge-even when they are with you. I had many “sit out” days especially on the PNW (Pacific North West) stretches of the Washington and Oregon coasts, even on days when the wind was going to be at my back. Here it’s been thunderstorms swirling around my head.
Hopefully I can make good time blasting across (as much as I “blast” anywhere-ask anyone I race with, I’m slow!!) the mouth of the Maumee River that flows out from Toledo. Then it’ll be sticking to the coastline, not too many points to shoot–until I get to–holy mackerel!! First Michigan stop!!!–Newport, Michigan!! So if I make that landing today, that will be the third Newport I’ve paddled through, following Newport, RI and Newport, OR. Now Michigan.
This adventure continues for our water, that’s for sure, and I’ll be pushing up against a lot of water tomorrow on the Detroit River. But for now I’m thinking I want to get by the mouth of that Maumee River. I’m sure with all the rain we’ve had that there is stuff cooking in these quickly warming waters that I’m not eager to soak in. A shower will certainly feel good after this paddle today-wherever it is we end up staying.
Lindsy, my amazing logistics manager, will be leaving on the 20/21 of June and her replacement, Jessica Besock, will be coming on. Lindsy has done so much-she’s been working like mad on outreach to groups and media, finding us hosts (still looking for tonight!), and making sure I’m staying on target (she thought I was gonna paddle straight to Detroit the other day since I was so far out going around the “impact zone”), making sure I’ve got food, and that we have a place for the canoe for the night-I’ll miss her. I do think that Jess will be able to ease right into this crazy gig-I did get a chance to meet her in person back at Syracuse when I paddled thru, so it’ll be a bit of a reunion after the passing of the baton off to her. We just need to figure exactly how we’ll work the swap!
So once again I’m getting ready to head out-and will adjust on the water accordingly to the weather. Of course it’s more of the same predictions- chances of thunderstorms all day. Oh yay! And WSW winds of varying strength.
Today I’ll be thinking of the muddy Maumee River; “Maumee ” kind of sounds like “mommy,” and I’ll be thinking of my cousins, Laurie, Andy and Dean, David and Jane and their amazing daughters Carrie and Emily, Stephen and Terri, Jen and Bruce and their kids, Caiden and Trevor, and Carl and May-Hung, and my aunt and uncles and their families. The Howard clan has lost another great one. I can only imagine and have faith that my aunt is now reunited with her parents and my father. I guess we have more angels up there or wherever looking after us.
Sometimes when I’m on these journeys it seems as if the souls of our loved ones are present-how else to explain the inexplicable pain of loss that rises up from nowhere, even years later, or what seems like their voices popping in my head at times. That energy has to go somewhere. So I have faith. I’ll be thinking of my heart wounded family. That pain of heartache and loss I’d not wish on anyone.