Guest blog – Jessica Chick-Besock

photo (4)
At the American Gothic barn near Port Austin

Margo asked me to write this from my point of view  for a different perspective. I am her logistics manager- that’s my official title, but I’m really more of a partner.  Every day working with Margo on this paddle has been an adventure. Helping her get the boat in the water, sending her off and then I’m on my own until she’s done for the day. Once she’s off, the chaos begins. I head up to our next town or one close, try to find a spot to hang out for the next few hours and looking up paddle clubs, news, etc.  I take phone calls from the press and potential hosts while tracking her. I check in with her during the day to see how she’s doing.  Some days I spend just about all of it driving from place to place looking for a good ‘landing’ spot. Others I spend a lot of time on the phone working out details for our next stop.  No matter how much I get done it seems like there’s always more to do. I am tired a lot. I’m not out paddling 40 miles a day but I am beat mentally and typically cannot wait to crawl into bed each night.

We bounce from town to town; sleep in a different place just about every night. We wear the same clothes multiple times without washing them. I’m sure we smell great. This new temporary lifestyle has been quite the adjustment.   I try to live in the moment and appreciate the scenery around me.  I try and take some photos while I’m at it, attempting to document the experience one way or another.  I’m lucky to have been given this opportunity.

We’ve been lucky and have met some amazing people. I find myself homesick for places that I only spent a day there and I when I think back and I smile and just know I need to come back. These places & these people feel like home. Michigan was never a place I dreamed of visiting, but now that I’m here I love it. The people we’ve met have been welcoming and kind at every stop. They have fed us, washed our clothes and given us a place to lay our heads.  Words cannot express how much we appreciate these kind gestures.  Daily, Margo and I look at one another and agree, we’ve been very lucky.

One thing I have learned about Michigan is the people here love their water.   The people of Michigan are proud of their water.   No matter how rich they are or how poor they are- their concerns seem to be the same. They all want to keep the waterways clean.  When we tell them who we are and what we are doing – they brag to us about how clear the water is the same way a parent would brag their kid got straight A’s.  There are times when we are talking with some of the locals and listening to them talk about the issues affecting the water -whether it’s invasive species, the pipeline in the straits of Mackinac, or local pollutants in the water,  that’s when I realize, what I am a part of is so much bigger than I am. I have to admit, I’m a little bit in awe of it and I’m glad I chose to do this.


3 thoughts on “Guest blog – Jessica Chick-Besock

  1. Hi Jess, great job with the blog…We’ve been trying to keep up with the route. (yesterday must have been a bad water day?) When you adventure is over, you and Margo will have seen more of Michigan than most Michiganders.


  2. Thank you Jessica. It’s wonderful to read what it’s like from your perspective and awareness. I look forward to reading about this amazing journey and commitment each day.


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