Special Thanks!

Without the support I have received from so many wonderful people, and the support I hope to continue to receive from those I haven’t met yet…I cannot thank you enough. By acknowledging you here, I only hope to show half of how much I truly appreciate your support, kindness and friendship. I will update this page as the trip moves along and just hope to be able to make proud all of you, named and unnamed on this website. From the bottom of my heart thank you!

1st and foremost, my family and friends:

Mom and Dad: Thanks for putting up with your adventurous son. I know it isn’t easy to allow your children to follow the paths and plans that they make for themselves all of the time…especially when that means paddling around the U.S. for 2 years. I appreciate all you have done and continue to do for me. I couldn’t write how much your love and support through the years has meant to me, and just know that I truly appreciate everything…and don’t worry mom…Ill try not to get eaten by an Alligator or Shark.

Mark, Jason, Michael: Thanks for always supporting every crazy idea I have, and always continuing to have my back as much as I have yours. Putting up with your older brother all the time is  no easy task, I know…but I love you guys and appreciate all three of you for always still being there. Anything you guys ever need…you know I am there for ya!

Jennifer, Lee, Lucy Joseph, Mary and my newest nephew/niece on the way: Thank you all for being the family I can call my own, vs having to deal with a wife and children of my own. Having you always there means I have the greatest kids in the world to turn to when I need a camping adventure under the blankets in a living room, a fishing trip with my girl Lucy and Joe, having the best brother in law a guy could ask for, or knowing you got a great big sister to always pick on and continue to annoy no matter how old we get. You guys are the greatest and truly appreciate having you in my corner.

Extended family: Thanks goes to all of my extended family especially my Grandma. Everything she and my Grandfather have done for me, is truly beyond measure.  I also have to thank “Uncle” who got it all started with the purchase of his first kayak. Without stealing your yak and finding out what I had been missing out on, this trip may never have happened.  The Boswell Family, especially when I am near Buffalo and looking for a shower I appreciate your continued support and acceptance of my crazy adventures. Danielle Craig…anytime you want to quit your job, put school on hold and join in on the paddle with your board, you know who to call. To all of my other Aunts, Uncles or cousins, thank you all who continue to support my adventures and for helping shape my life in more ways than anyone could imagine.

Friends: Sam Bales:To the greatest friend in the world. your friendship continues to be one of the main reasons I continue to seek adventure and live my life to the fullest. From teaching this city boy how to fish, to trying to hike the AT with no food  or just the numerous adventures and days we have been on…here is hoping for a million more!! Also to your wife, Amy Bales for continuing to let us do the stupid stuff we do, even when it means she is taking care of 4 youngsters at home. Matthew Page: The early years of our childhood friendship continues to this day and cant express how much growing up with you behind our backyard meant to me growing up, and how much staying in touch and remaining great friends has meant to me now. You and your family are few are truly one of the greatest families I have had the pleasure to know and appreciate your continued friendship and support. John Staten: Not many can share the pleasure I have enjoyed coaching with you at both the high school and college levels. Finding one of the best friends a guy could ask for after college, has truly meant so much to me. Both you Jen, continue to be there for me and when this trip is done…you better still be on board to start our surf shop in the Caribbean. Stephanie Beavers: I told ya I would mention ya and I am a man of my word. Not only do I appreciate your friendship through college and being my ride from the river when its late at night and someone needs to pick Sam and I up slopping wet in with our blow up boats. Having the pleasure to work for you and annoy you every day was always truly a pleasure, and hopefully when I am broke and tired after this trip…I know who I might be able to turn to…especially when you need to figure out how to mail documents to the embassy in Alaska! Sorry, had to.

Dale Carlson: The greatest head football coach I have had the pleasure to play for and know. I know I wasn’t always the easiest athlete to coach, but my time spent playing for you has been one of the most rewarding relationship I have had the opportunity to make. Anyone that plays the game of football, knows that it teaches you way more than just about how to play. Nothing could be more true for me, and to have such a great leader, coach and friend to have guided me through those years, and to still continue being there for me in the years after is more than any coach has to do. You truly represent what it means to be a great coach and example, and for myself and all the others you have yelled Holy Hannah at, we all thank you! Most importantly though, I truly appreciate it and thank you for everything.

Trip Supporters, Trail Angels and friends along the Paddle:

 

Shawn Whitney: Owner of the Kayak Kaboose. I truly appreciate your support and partnership for the Big Man, Big Adventure paddle. Your efforts and contributions to this paddle are truly way beyond anything I could have ever hoped for in partnering with a sponsor. Thank you Shawn for all that you have done and I am so fortunate to have your support on this trip.

Kimberly Russo: Director of America’s Great Loop Cruisers’ Association. Thank you for reaching and, supporting and including mean among the amazing Great Loopers community. I truly appreciate your generosity and work to recognize those who not only want to live the Great Loop adventure by cruiser or sailboat, but also the few of us crazy enough to try and paddle any portion of the amazing loop!

Rich Gran: Owner of GC Adventure Gear, and also proud supporter and distributor of the Kayak Kaboose. Rich’s help, support, guidance and information and been so tremendously helpful in preparing for this adventure. His company seeks to help those like myself preparing to get outdoors, and I couldn’t have found someone better to have as a resource, contact and supporter for this adventure. His help has been so beneficial in more way than one. Contributing not only to the Kayak Kaboose sponsorship, but also partnering with me through GC Adventure Gear, Rich has been more then gracious and I truly appreciate all of your help and support!

Jake Stachovak: Few could be the resource that Jake has been for me…why because he has completed this journey himself by way of Kayak. His amazing website,  www.portagetoportage.com has been a key resource in planning my own trip. In addition, Jake has graciously exchange his own personal knowledge and been a sounding board for me, providing me with tips, info and experiences with his own trip in order to make the most out of mine. I hope to follow in his footsteps, or paddle strokes I guess I should say.  He has paved the wave for us who follow, and laid the ground work through his blog to make our journey, jut a bit easier. Hopefully I can live up to the high bar he has already set for paddlers of The Loop.

Drake: For letting a guy pull up on his beach and being kind enough to lend his RV and queen sized bed to me for the night! I’ll be looking for your son to be playing D1 ball soon!

Ed: A simple wave from a house in Harbor Beach started what hopefully is a long friendship. I can’t thank him enough for his kindness and generosity. Hope to see you and Carol sometime soon!

Denise: The campground manager at Stafford County Park in Port Hope. A huge thanks to her for her support and for welcoming me into Port Hope. This was my 1st campground park I have stayed at along my trip, and Denise did everything she could to make me feel right at home!

Annie: Owner of “The Store” in Port Hope, for providing with my 1st home cooked breakfast, lunch and dinner. Next time you are driving 25 North, make sure to schedule a stop to see her awesome shop!

Sue and Brian: Campground managers at Lighthouse County Park. After what was one of the hardest paddles of the early stages of my trip, the bigger light at Lighthouse County Park came from the happiness, kindness and friendship I received from Sue and Brian. They went far above what they should have for me, making me feel welcome, appreciated and like the luckiest guy in the world! I couldn’t thank them a hundred times over, as I still would need a few more to show my full appreciation, so I’ll just promise to Sue that if I don’t see Arkansas on this trip, it will be the 1st Adventure I have after this one! Thank you both ever so much!!

Peggy Gogola: One of the many amazing E-Z Rider Bicycle Club members. She went above and beyond to not only organize trying to get out to paddle with me, but taking me to dinner, making arrangements to stay on the beach, getting permission for me to camp out on Charity Island if need be and talking to boat captains to make sure I had someone to call in case I got in trouble crossing the bay. I can’t thank you enough! Also a huge shout out to Mark, Mike and Kathleen who all helped load my gear for the night and treat me to an amazing night of food and conversation with the greatest new friends!

Lynnea: Huge thanks for lending me her guest cottage on the beach. It made for a great launching point for Charity Island, but more importantly, let me meet one amazing woman! Also a big hello to her sister in law Ruth and Andre. I had a blast swapping stories!

John: A boater from Oscoda in search of his umbrella, turned out to be a great afternoon conversation and a real friend. Thanks for the support John!

Darryl: I enjoyed sharing the lunch with you in Oscoda. Thank you 1st and foremost for your service, but secondly for sharing your stories, and the kindness you showed to me. It is truly appreciated.

Fr. Charlie, soon to be Fr. Al: The kindness you showed to a stranger showing up on a paddleboard, was far more than what I deserved. Asking only for a place to stay, to be shown the support and hospitality you blessed me with, it truly was such an honor to have made my home on your beach for 2 days! Also thank you to all of those at the luncheon. Your kindness was so humbling. I really appreciate all of you for welcoming me to Oscoda!

Tiffany and Harbormaster Jim: A huge thank you for letting me visit, stay and act like a big time sailor for the night in Harrisville Harbor. My 1st stay at a Harbor will definitely be one to remember…maybe next time I’ll be back on a sailboat!

Harbormaster Terry: A big thank you for your help and support when I arrived at Presque Isle Harbor. It truly is appreciated!

Harbormaster Wayne and Jena: Two of the greatest people in one little amazing town. Thanks for immediately welcoming me into Rogers City and not only allowing me to stay, but spreading my cause on the Roger City Marina Facebook page. It was truly an honor to meet both of you and I am humbled by your kindness…and don’t worry Wayne…when I die, I’ll make sure it’s legendary and caught on film! Thank you both and all the great people of Rogers City for an amazing visit.

Jerry and Ruth: Thank you for lending me your beach, opening up your home and sharing a birthday with a complete stranger. It is definitely the best cook out and fire cooked burger I have ever had! Go Wings!

Fred and Bruce: A huge thanks for my stay in Hammond Bay Harbor. Bruce you are a true inspiration with your half marathon win at 75 and Fred…it’s always great meetinga fellow kayak enthusiast!

The Boswell Family: I know I already have you mentioned in the family section above, but to take time on your vacation to stop and meet up with your crazy paddleboarding nephew and cousin truly means a lot. I really appreciate you guys and truly glad to have had the chance to hang out with you all! Always great to see you…thanks for everything!!!

Bob and Barbara: Without you two, my trip may very well be done. Thank you for all of your understanding and helping get me back on the water!!! I can’t thank you enough!!!

Bill: Thank you again for bringing me aboard in Petoskey and giving me a place to not only sleep for the night, but for my 1st big boat experience that I will have for a lifetime!

Steve: It’s the people that have made my trip special, and getting to spend a bit of tge evening talking snd getting to know you was a real pleasure after a long days paddle. Thanks for inviting me home and letting me bash your cheese and crackers!!! Your kindness was much appreciated.

Tim Allen: Thanks for not blowing off a smelly, weary looking paddler and making his dream come true by taking a picture and letting me shake hands with one of the greats! You are are truly a class act!

Harbormaster Mark and Jeff Mallory: Two of the best Harbormasters in the business. Frankfort is lucky to have two amazing guys running the marina. Mark welcomed me in after a long battle without my fin. Then on my return, I was fortunate to meet my Uncle’s old boss Mr. Mallory. It was an honor and pleasure to meet both of you! Thanks for your help and kindness!!

Ken, Anne and Kristine: Always humbled yo meet such amazing people in every town I’ve come too. So cool to meet fellow Quad City natives from my days back in Davenport, and a huge thank you for the amazing homemade Cheerio Peanut Butter Rice Crispy Treats. Made for the best breakfast in Arcadia!!!

Mike Enright: Always one of the greatest friends and coworkers I’ve ever had. Taking time from his own vacation to shuttle my buddy and I and then offering his beach house in Manistee as a stopping point! Truly one of the best there is…I owe ya big time buddy!!!

Sam Bales: Thanks for driving me back out. Thanks for joining in for a week and most of all, thanks for everything you are to me! Words can’t express your friendship to me! Also to Amy for letting your her husband still join in on my dumb adventures and being the greatest the perfect wife for my buddy. Glad he has you!!

Susan and Lee: Thank you for dinner and a wonderful time in Pentwater. It was amazing meet you both. I really enjoyed talking and getting yo know you both! Keep in touch and hope to see you again!

Jodi: Thank you for letting me crash at your place. I wish we could have met, but hopefully on a different adventure sometime! Thanks again!!

King and Sharon Cole: Words can’t even describe how much I appreciate you both. The generosity of putting me up on your boat, to presenting me with your looper flag to the amazing breakfast King whipped up. I’m so happy to call you guys friends. One of the greatest couples of all time!

Scott, Cindy, Claire and Sam: For the kindness you showed with a special trip back to Kouw Park just to make a guys day with the best Breakfast Burritos ever!

Mike and Jan: For picking up your long lost cousin on a moments notice and treating me to dinner and a great night and weekend of memories! You guys saved my day!

Aunt Linda and Neil: For welcoming me, making me forget my troubles and giving the perfect weekend just when I needed it. To you guys and the rest of the crew, I love you guys and appreciate it!!! Can’t wait to see you guys again soon!

Joe and Tom: Two of the amazing owners at the Anchor Pad Marina. Nothing starts the Ohio River paddle off like getting to meet these two gentleman. So thankful for both of you!

Jason Key: Thanks for helping me with a little WIFI and especially for your service to our country. It was an honor meeting you!

Jack: The Ripley Boat Club has one of Ohio’s finest with Jack. From making sure I got a bite to eat, to a comfy RV…you went above and beyond, and it was a pleasure getting to know you!

Bev and Whitney: The Fat Boy’s Dream Resturant ladies couldn’t have been more kind to a smelly, wet, late night traveler. Thank you for the food, and kindness! Whitney was even nice enough to offer me breakfast!! If you want a place to stop on the water…check out Fat Boy’s! Thanks ladies!!!

 

I will update this list as often as I can throughout the trip.

Until then, for all those that support me and follow the journey…

I truly appreciate your being apart of this once in a lifetime adventure!

Matthew

 

 

 

 

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