Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Lake Superior Circle Tour

Last Tuesday, July 1, a couple from Ashland, WI left Bayfield for a planned circumnavigation of Lake Superior via sea kayak. They are paddling counter clockwise and you can follow their progress here. On Friday the VoiceOfReason and I will be leaving St Anthony and circumnavigating Lake Superior clockwise via Volkswagon with the occasional paddle interlude thrown in. There is no real plan other than Grand Marais events on both ends of the trip. The VOR's family has their annual family campout in Grand Marais, MN this weekend which coincides with the Grand Marais Art Festival. If you recall, at last years art festival I was able to get a picture of the art festival from a stool in the Gunflint Tavern. I hope to spend a similar amount of time at this years event and am looking forward to partying with TheGraciousPartier, MayorOfTurtleRiver, Nipper, TheLegend, and the entire cast of characters, some of whom I've not seen since this winters -16F(-27C) fun at the Mora Vasaloppet. GalwayGuy, GuitarMatt, and AnselAlec will be heading up early tomorrow to nab the choice lakeside campsites.

The plan is to drift around the Canadian north shore of the lake, like the eagle feather in the photo, with stops in some of our favorite spots like Thunder Bay and Rossport. I'm also looking forward to a night or two in Wawa with the folks at Naturally Superior Adventures. The whole area from Terrace Bay to Sault Ste. Marie is new territory for me. I remember doing the Soo Locks boat tour at about age 10 on a family vacation. Those were the good old days of sitting in the way back of the '59 Ford Country Squire wagon, sans seat belts of course, tormenting my two younger sisters as the old man smoked Camel straights and issued threats like, "If I have to pull this car over you'll all have red asses". Fortunately all three of us survived these careless automotive practices and the practically criminal (these days anyhow) disregard for the effects of second hand smoke. On this trip I have no plans to smoke Camels or leave the seat belts unbuckled.

On the back end of the trip is the 24th Annual Great Lakes Sea Kayak Symposium in Grand Marais, MI. Apparently grand marais means 'great marsh' or 'big swamp' in French. My guess is that of the many big swamps in the area, that these two in Minnesota and Michigan were notable enough to acquire the moniker. I attended this event once a couple years ago and had a great time. The small village has both an excellent diner and an even finer brewpub. I just hope that we are signed up for the damn thing. There was no multiple option on the online credit card sign up so DaveO paid twice and there is no record of the VOR. I called and also emailed to make sure things were straight but no response has been received at this time. The silver lining of having two DaveO's would be that I would have my name in the prize drawing twice. The downside would likely be when a person named DaveO attempted to sign up for the Women on the Water class; my guess is that things might get ugly. Many years ago some buddies of mine attempted to run the Bonnie Bell 10k road race, an all womens run, while dressed (poorly) in drag. They were removed by race marshals and their was a bit of ugliness.

There may be a post or two along the way or their may not. May paddle a lot, maybe not so much. Like the feather we hope to drift around the lake in a true vacation mode, picking up on the interesting opportunities that present themselves. Mentally I'm already about to Duluth and its only Wednesday. Hope I can hang on for two more days!

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