“My hope is to leave the world a little better for having been there. ~Jim Henson”
Since I was little, I have always been fascinated by dreamers. It started with a little frog voiced by the incredible Jim Henson, singing a simple song about dreaming beyond what others just call illusions. Hearing songs from John Lennon asking people to Imagine a world where people lived for today and to live as one. Or just simply listening to an adventerous uncle, tell stories of Alaska, bears and everything in between all while giving the shirt off his back or guitar from his closet, just to make sure your dreams could grow. Those dreamers inspired me to scheme up my own delusions of grandeur.
These past couple days, the adventure has really reminded me of why I have always looked beyond the rainbow for something more. It’s not because I was ever unhappy in a job, ungrateful for some of the best friends in the world, or the fact I had the greatest family a guy could ask for. To me, to settle into just those jobs, friends or family would be to stop dreaming, and looking for that which inspires me. I’ve always dreamed big, and why not chase those dreams.
I left Harrisville on Saturday, and for some reason my mind told me right away, ” Let’s make this a big day.” I was a ways a way from the opposite side of Thunder Bay, but that instantly became my target. If successful, it would be the longest and furthest day of paddling so far on the trip, even bigger than my Charity Island day. Why not go big right?
For what seemed like the 1st time on my trip, the winds were in my favor coming out of the Southeast and I was really in a groove. I debated camping on an island near Black River, but I soon realized it was were all the birds from a certain Alfred Hitchcock movie went to retire. So, after doing a little math on the hours before sun down and how far I had left to go, the answer was easy…Go for it
After starting my day at 6am after a great stay in Harrisville (thanks to Tiffany and Harbor Master Jim), I finally arrived across Thunder Bay on the east side of Alpena, right before sundown at 8:45pm. The perfect little camp spot was right there across the bay waiting for me all day. Nailing yet another huge open water crossing, made my dreams of wanting to complete this whole trip an even bigger reality.
Sunday was Father’s Day. Probably the 1st one in a while, where rather than taking my old man golfing, I was chatting with him from one of the most beautiful beaches I’ve stopped at yet. I gave my Gramps a big write up about what he meant to me, and unfortunately Dads get overlooked sometimes for all they do…but my pops has been there for me every step of the way. No matter if it was yelling at refs and umpires at every sports game I ever played from the time I was 5, until my last game in college, living the Bachelor life with me for a year in high school (with only 1 hole being put into the wall) or his effort to try and jump a tennis net a little past his prime. He may have fell on his face that time in front of me and a few others on the court that day, but his message rang loud and clear…always celebrate life’s little victories.
His victory was being allowed to win at a game of tennis…mine was a 35+ mile paddle. So how do you celebrate a victory like that? A day off?
Nope…by paddling around the backside of the bay and floating around in Pure Michigan on a Sunday afternoon without a care in the world.
I lost cell reception, but found the greatest few days of happiness I could’ve asked for. Disconnecting from everything, everyone and everywhere was such a thrill. From Sunday until Tuesday afternoon, I wouldn’t see one single person. The interactions I came to look forward to…gone. Houses…gone. Texts from my mother asking where I was…waiting somewhere on hold in phone limbo. Nothing mattered…and that’s all that mattered.
Paddling from the Bay to Presque Isle has made me completely realize one huge thing about this trip….ENJOY IT. This is my dream trip. A once in a lifetime opportunity to see the U.S. from a way not many others have…so I won’t worry about where I am, how far to the next town or which way the wind blows. I’ll just keep dreaming big and realizing that with each day, my dreams becomes a little more of reality.
“Someday we’ll find it
The rainbow connection
The lovers, the dreamers and me”