Sunday, June 21, 2015

The Adventure Continues...1/5 done.

You've been waiting for us to tell you the next adventure for awhile now...Well the time has finally come to spill the idea for at least one of our next big dreams. We have recently applied for a $10,000 grant that could help us make this dream a success. Now we need your votes everyday until July 21st! Please VOTE HERE!
My best friend, Amy Lukas, and I dream of finishing what we started 3 years ago: we wish to circle the entirety of the Great Lakes. In 2012, we circumnavigated Lake Michigan in my handmade dugout sailing canoe in 93 days. We didn’t know it then, but this was the beginning of something bigger. We started asking ourselves, “What if we kept going?” We plan to complete this incredible journey in our usual fashion: using creativity, ingenuity, and humor to succeed on our own terms in unconventional ways. On our nonstop multi-modal journey, we’ll adapt to the vast array of conditions we encounter by paddling the dugout, kayaking, SUPing, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, rowing, and sailing with the seasons. We would travel through 8 states, 2 Canadian provinces, and pass over 35,000 islands. There is a proposed plan to make this route into the longest continuous marked trail in the world. Consisting of more than 9,500mi of shoreline, the Great Lakes Trail would be 5 times longer than the AT and 4 times longer than the PCT. Traveling such a distance of freshwater coastline could amount to 350-400 days in an ever-evolving environment. This all started because I couldn’t afford to buy a boat and things snowballed from there. We’re 1/5 of the way to our dream, but we know we can’t finish on pennies and scraps. With your support, we know we can do this. Otherwise, this turns back into a whispered dream and we’ll always wonder, “What if…”
Sunrise. Day 52 of 93 going 1200mi around Lake Michigan in our 300lb handmade dugout sailing canoe. The final four Great Lakes await us.

Help us out by voting everyday HERE!

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Walnut Ink First Friday Event and Music/Documentary Screening Extraordinaire on June 12th!

We are super excited to be joining Walnut Ink Projects for a film screening event next Friday, June 12th! Walnut Ink Projects is an innovative and creative gallery and working space in the downtown arts district of Michigan City, Indiana. It's one of our favorite local galleries to venture into from time to time and we are ecstatic to collaborate on an event with them.

We were able to promote the upcoming event by putting Makeba on display outside the gallery for Michigan City's First Fridays event last night.
Many people stopped by to check out our unique craft and talk to us about next week's music and film event.
We are happy to say that Naomi Marie will be coming down to play music next Friday before the film is shown. Musician Naomi Marie, who we met on our Lake Michigan trip when we stopped in Racine, Wisconsin, allowed us to use her songs as the backdrop for our documentary. Her vibe and words meshed perfectly with our footage, plus we love that we met her on our actual adventure!

A little bit about our lovely musician for the documentary and for this special evening:

Fueled by honest wonder and countless cups of coffee, singer/songwriter Naomi Marie writes of love, loss and life’s oscillating adventures. Performing thoughtful, acoustic-folk-pop songs in cafes, intimate theaters and local venues, she is an active musical contributor all along the 3rd Coast of Lake Michigan.

See a video of Naomi performing here!

Our documentary will be screened in full following some tunes from Naomi Marie. Amy and Mary will be around for all of your questions and Makeba will also be in attendance for the evening:

Trailer of Lake Michigan in a Dugout: The Documentary

You can expect to hear some fantastic music, watch a pretty great documentary, drink some drinks, mingle with an eclectic group of people, and have a whole lot of fun. Come on out to Walnut Ink at 5:30pm on June 12th!

PechaKucha and our scouting Kank-speed-ition

Back on May 14th, we participated in a PechaKucha Night hosted by PechaKucha St. Joseph/Benton Harbor. PechaKucha Nights are informal and fun gatherings where creative people get together and share their ideas, works, thoughts, holiday snaps -- just about anything, really. The platform originated in Tokyo and you can now find PechaKucha events in over 700 cities around the world. We are excited to see such an awesome concept take place close to home! 
The event was held at The Livery, a local microbrewery that used to be a livery stable for horses. The location was fun and the crowd was lively! There were 9 presenters throughout the evening, each presenting in true PechaKucha fashion - a simple presentation format where you show 20 images, each for 20 seconds. The images advance automatically and you talk along to the images. This took a lot of pre-planning for the presenters to get their talks to run smoothly in the miniscule amount of allotted time...
20 slides each projected on the screen for only 20 seconds!
It was harder that expected to tell our whole story in 6 minutes and 40 seconds. We kept the audience on the edge of their seats!
All of the evenings presenters. Each talk will eventually be found online at!
Mary does awkward showcase pointing part-time if you're looking to hire. Thank you for organizing such a unique and community oriented event!
What could Amy possibly be doing? Looking for morels of course! We took some adventure hikes throughout northwest Indiana to see if we could find any of these elusive, delicious, springtime mushrooms.
Found one!
Found two! Found three!
Another recent adventure day took us south of Lake Michigan to the Kankakee River. No Makeba this time, just an old beat up Coleman canoe! We had been planning a paddling expedition for the entire length of the river - 133 miles - over the span of a few days. The Kankakee River National Water Trail is in the works, creating a designated national water trail from the headwaters near South Bend, Indiana, to where the Kankakee joins the Des Plaines River in Illinois. Plans fell through for the week we were planning on, but we still had one free day in our schedules so we decided to take one long paddling day to see how far we could make it.
This day turned into our scouting day for the possible full length river expedition someday. Our aim was to put in at the English Lake access point by the Yellow River and take out at the State Line bridge on the Indiana/Illinois border. This route would take us over 47 miles - we had to keep a pretty steady pace throughout the entire day to finish this kind of mileage!
We called this expedition day the Kank-speed-ition. We're pretty good at coming up with names if I do say so myself.
Look what Amy found - a completely intact deer skull with antlers on the bank of the river.
And look what else we found...can you see them?
Just passed Dunn's bridge we saw a Great Blue Heron fly high up into a tree. As we looked and listened closer we realized what we were looking at...about 14 Blue Heron nests with at least 1-2 Blue Herons sitting on each nest!
The area was loud with chirping baby Blue Herons! I wonder how many were truly up there.
One more baby bird for the day. As we stopped paddling for lunch, we soon found ourselves drifting in the current past a struggling baby bird. This little guy must have fallen out of his nest that was precariously made on a branch above the river - we quickly paddled over and Amy gently scooped him up on her paddle.
Little guy was completely tuckered out.
We named him Young Bean, before placing him in a safe spot to rest and dry off on the side of the river.
Hmm, now where are we...27 miles by lunch, only 20 more to go!
Just a quick awkward nap and a quick awkward stretch...
We made it - 47 mile Kand-speed-ition day completed in about 10 hours on the water :)

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Film Premieres!

Lake Michigan in a Dugout: The Documentary has premiered!

We were able to share the 45min version at Canoecopia a few weeks ago. Many familiar faces from far and wide were in the audience which brought a tear to my eye - it was amazing to see so many of our friends in attendance. This was the first screening of the film for us, so we sat anxiously awaiting initial responses and reactions. Luckily, the end of the film came with a warm applause and many smiling faces!

Yesterday, we premiered the 75min full length version at the Porter County Museum of History, the same location that hosted the exhibit of our adventure last year. It was great to come back to a place that knows our story so well and to be able to share our newest project with them.

Here is a shot during the opening credits. The tiny room quickly filled up and became standing room only, so we hope that everyone was able to see and hear the film alright!
Our long distance trail angel, Jim Hopper (we stayed in his trailer in Trails End Bay during our trip), came from over 4 hours away with his 2 kids for the film showing. We love trying to inspire the little ones!
This other group of youngsters came with a mini-Makeba in tow - - - After seeing our museum exhibit last year, their grandpa had done a project with his grandchildren where he helped them all craft their own tiny dugout sailing canoes. This was such a fun surprise to hear that our story had led to the creation of all of these fun boats and a bonding moment for some unknown admirers! They even had us sign the boat. How adorable is that?

If you missed these screenings, don't worry! We are setting up more local screenings and the DVD will be available here soon.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Canoecopia 2015

Hey everybody! Come on out to Madison, Wisconsin, for Canoecopia 2015! We will be hosting the first official screening of Lake Michigan in a Dugout: The Documentary on Sunday, March 15th at 12:30. You can read more about it here. Please join us if you're in the area!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Liebster Award Nomination

Amy and I have been nominated for the "Liebster Award" by the lovely Katie & Jessie. This summer they completed their 2 year journey doing The Great Loop aboard their boat, Louise. Pretty awesome, right? We can't wait to swap stories and share a brew or two!

This award is passed on from blogger to blogger as a way to share stories and connect others. Once nominated, you have to answer the questions given. Then you continue the chain by nominating your blogger friends with your own questions.

Questions from Katie and Jessie to Amy and Mary:

If you weren't on this adventure, what would you be doing?
Sadly, we're not on the adventure anymore, so we are doing what we would be doing except sometimes we wish we were doing something else like another adventure.
We talk about going on a new adventure just about every day, but we kinda promised we'd finish writing our book and editing our documentary about our trip around the lake. So until that day comes, we keep busy working on our mini projects and going on mini adventures.
What question do you hate answering the most?
Probably the bathroom question.
What question do you wish more people thought to ask?
"How do I get started on my own 'crazy' idea for an adventure?"
What was the dirtiest job you have been faced with?
Dirtiest activity on the trip: Since our canoe didn't have a lot of room to spare, we packed as minimally as possible. This meant limiting a lot of things, including clothing. So we had one paddling outfit each. Each of us had a pair of quick-drying pants, rain pants, a rain coat, gloves and a long sleeve UV shirt. But to add some variety to our days, we traded the UV shirts every single paddle day. Washed or not. Usually not washed. A little queazy to think about now, but we didn't mind much at the time.
Dirtiest paid job: Mary used to have to regularly do pump outs as a gas dock attendant in college.
What did you bring on your trip that you later realized was ridiculous?
We packed a stainless steel diving knife and a handmade fishing spear. We know those weren't necessary... But they were completely necessary.
Describe a moment when you wanted to quit.
The first day was definitely the hardest. After that, we learned to take it one day at a time.
Whose boat do you secretly wish you could hop on to travel with and why?
Steve Zissou's Belafonte for obvious reasons. 

We nominate the following bloggers for a Liebster Award:

Loreen Niewenhuis, the Great Lakes Queen. She has successfully walked 1,000mi around Lake Michigan, and then another 1,000mi around portions of all 5 Great Lakes, and then she explored 1,000mi of Islands on the Great Lakes. We dare you to ask her any question about the Great Lakes.

Tim Gallaway, the Greenland Kayaking Prince. Kayaker, slack-liner, craftsman, and our friend. We first connected with Tim during our expedition as he was just finishing up a trip of his own that took him kayaking from Sault Ste. Marie to the sea.

Amy and Dave Freeman, America's coolest couple. Fellow MTI Adventurewear supporters and National Geographic Adventurers of 2014, Amy and Dave started an amazing organization called Wilderness Classroom. This nonprofit connects thousands of students with live expeditions throughout the world. We followed along for their North American Odyssey (11,700 mile canoe/kayak/dogsled expedition) and their most recent Paddle to DC adventure.  

And the questions our fellow adventurers must answer:

* If you could have brought one celebrity on part of one of your adventures, who would that have been?
* What surprised you most about choosing this lifestyle?
* What's the stickiest situation you've found yourself in on one of your adventures?
* If your journey had a soundtrack, what would it's signature track be?
* What's your dream trip?
* What's the most valuable lesson you've taken away from your travels?
* What pet would you bring on your next trip?

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Book and Film Progress

We just created a new tab on this here blog - BOOK & FILM! We are so excited to be nearing the finish line...we initially thought we crossed that finish line way back on October 1, 2012, when we finished our circumnavigation, but we quickly realized that following these creative outlets to tell our story was also in the cards for us. We have been working for over 2 years to complete these projects and the end is in sight.

On any given day, the process of working on these endeavors has been exciting, daunting, exhilarating, terrifying, inspiring, petrifying, grand, overwhelming, weird, hair-raising, beautiful, unyielding, laborious, and deeply gratifying. Simultaneously writing a book and editing a documentary sometimes causes us to switch between these emotions in a matter of days, or hours, or minutes. Sometimes these feelings seem to impossibly happen all at once (How is that possible?!), but mostly this experience has proven to be endlessly rewarding. To be able to share our story with so many more people than we originally envisioned is a real dream come true.

Be on the lookout for how to get your hands on the book and documentary! To hold you over, learn the answers to all your FAQ's here.