Just What I Needed

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There are two ways you can look at everything in life. You can dwell on the negative. You can let it consume you, until it slowly destroys all the hope and good that could come from the things you do.

Or…

You can look at the positive. You can find the good in every situation and see how what you could view as a setback, may just result in putting you right where you belong.

That was what I learned these past few days on my Big Adventure. I ended up right where I belonged.

Ever since that bit of advice I recieved in Manistee, I have been more focused then ever on my goal of completing The Loop. So when I pulled into Saugatuck, MI and discovered my gear ruined, it could have easily pulled me back in the other direction. I could have let it crush my spirits and the hope I had for completing my trip, but there is one big reason that didn’t happen…again, that common word that swoops in so often on these blog updates is….family!

As I sat there at the refuge Harbor in Saugatuck, I thought over my options. I knew I couldn’t go back out on the Big Lake without a means to charge my phone or Marine Radio. In the event of a big emergency, I would never want to leave myself in a situation paddling alone where I couldn’t call for help. With the couple bars of battery I had left, I put in a call to my Aunt Linda.

I had planned to meet up with them later this week, but instantly as soon as they knew I needed help, they jumped into action. My cousin Mike and his wife Jan started up the car and trailer and came to meet me 4 miles south from where I was. Saturday night plans for them? Didn’t matter and they dropped everything to come and pick me up.

I had already been excited to see everyone this week, as I haven’t seen my Dad’s side of the family since my Grandma’s funeral 13 years ago…so after the long Saturday, they could never know how much they heped lift my spirits. I soon would come to think after this weekend…13 years…why the heck has it been so long!!!

Mike, his wife Jan and I went out to dinner after they loaded up my yak, the Kaboose and gear. Getting to chat and catch up instantly took my mind off of the problems of the day and reminded me how the simple kindness of others, could really save someone else’s day. To them, it might not have been a big deal to come get me and take me for a great meal, but to me it meant the world.

After dinner they dropped me off to stay with my Aunt Linda and her husband Neil. It seemed liked they hadn’t changed a bit and it was like a blast from the past, especially when Neil kicked out a calender from my senior year of high school football. I was so glad he reminded me of the days I used to have hair!

That night was filled with sharing stories, talking about the trip and just enjoying the rest of the evening before bed with The Olympics. It made a great end to a day that could have ended a lot differently. I was just so happy to have them there for me, and that would only be the beginning.

Sunday, I woke up from that comfy guest bed like I hadn’t slept in ages. My Aunt was already to jump into gear and whip up sausage, waffles and a fresh pot of coffee. Sure beat waking up with a pop tart or oatmeal from a tent! Then it was time for the tour of St. Joseph.

They were afraid I would miss the water being away from it for over 6 hours, so they took me down towards the harbor and showed me the city. As a kid, I couldn’t remember seeing much more than a Cracker Barrel and her house, so it was the perfect tour of the town. I have enjoyed getting to see all of the little cities along my adventure and I had the 2 best tour guides for this exploration.

They got done driving Ms. Daisy around town just in time to get back home for all of my cousins to come over for a afternoon barbacue. Neil took over the grilling duties and whipped up some of the finest tasting burgers, dogs and brats. Getting to sit around and talking with my cousins Kimberly, David and Mike for the afternoon was a blast. The day was filled with a lot of laughs, old memories and great times with a family that it had been way too long since I had seen.

With still needing to figure out the best way to restock and resupply new gear to get me back on the water, I decided it would be best the next day to get a rental car and head home to Ohio for a few days, as I try to pull together resources to replace my electronics and get me back on the water. My Aunt took me to pick up the rental. With them storing my yak and gear till I could get back, it was time to say goodbye for now and figure out my plan of attack. I would head back home, come up with my new battle plan and hopefully be back out on the water continuing my journey sooner than later.

One thing is for sure though, I can’t thank my Aunt Linda, Neil, Mike, Jan, David and Kimberly enough for all they did! They made my weekend special. Getting to catch up at a time I needed it most kept me in the perfect frame of mind to continue looking at the positive. The reason I can’t wait to get back out on the water is a huge credit to them. It also means I will get to see them again when I head back towards Lake Michigan, and that’s much better than waiting another 13 years. They showed the true meaning of family and being there for me when I needed it. Knowing I have that type of support made any problems this weekend seem like nothing at all!

To top it off, I also had people like Sam Bales, Mr. Page, friends from High school and college, my mom, dad, brothers and sister and new friends Ive met from along this trip messaging and offering everything from help to words of encouragement and support. The reason I am able to keep going is all of you. Without you all I am nothing. You guys keep driving me and pushing me to be my best…I won’t let you all down and we will be back out on this adventure together soon!

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