Thursday, August 30, 2012

More Stories on Our Story and Those Related... Stories

Dubbed "the dugout girls" here's an article interview from

Interview with Kevin Miyazaki who's working on the Perimeter Project.

Second part story with The Beacher.

Our hometown paper, The News Dispatch.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Crossing Over

Upon arriving in Naubinway, we spotted a few sunfish sailboats in the bay!  Finally a few boats to sail with!  We took Makeba over to them and asked where the post office was since our next supply pick up was in town.  The man we pulled aside, Larry, said we only had 15min to get to the post since it was 12:45 and they closed at 1pm!  So we quickly followed Larry into the harbor and jumped in his truck to catch a ride there.  We picked up our package at 12:58pm.  Thank. You. Larry!  So after taking us back to the boat, Larry soon invited us over for lunch and to wash up if we wished.  We accepted since we needed to pack up our newly aquired  supplies and were in desperate need of a shower.  Long story short, we all got to talking and decided to stay in Naubinway to wait out the storms headed our way rather waiting them out across the bay in our tent.

So Larry offered to have us trailer the boat so that we could do some repairs.  Here's a photo of his customized truck with our handmade boat.  -What a pair!
Getting to work patching the sail and stripping the damage from Makeba.
The boat's been leaking lately and we'd been searching for the source.  Perhaps this rotting knot in the bottom of the boat is the culprit!  Let's clean that out.
So with no time to waste, Larry set out to help us in every way possible.  We filled the knot hole with epoxy-  that thing soaked up nearly 2 cups of resin... not sure where it was going!

Amy and Larry insisted on putting a quarter in the knot hole and after a while Mary agreed.  Here it is!  No one checked the date before putting it in but it's probably not the right year for Makeba's dated finish.  Mary's going to have to let this feature grow on her!  -Shipbuilders plant quarters in the mast heads of boat's with their appropriate year of completion.  This makes it easier to date shipwrecks in many cases.

Looking better already!

Mary and Larry patching Makeba in Larry's garage.
This certainly is a customized piece of transport, Larry!  Here's his fuel cap.
After spending two nights in the Wyse residence, we got back on the water to continue on our trip.  The morning was exciting, to say the least.  We left with 15-20mph NW winds.  The cold front was moving in making it look and feel very much like a south end october surf day!  We sailed close to shore, hoping to use the land for shelter, eventually resorting to paddling to stay safe.  We were moving at 2mph just sitting for a water break!  That's our average paddle speed! We used our bodies as sails while we paddled because it was getting a little too exciting with our actual sail up. We landed on a strip of beach by Epoufette.

Windy and cool, so we decided to make a driftwood fire. Pasta for dinner tonight! Hot Cocoa for dessert :)

The next morning we set off in choppy waters. And the waves only grew - we were able to sail, but about 15 miles in we had to pull over because it was getting to be too much for our little boat.

We beached Makeba and we talked to the first couple we saw walking down the beach - Terry and Rick let us know that we had landed at the Hiawatha State Forest Campground. Impeccable navigation skills without even knowing it! It was a lovely beach and a very nice campground. After chatting with our new friends and drinking some delicious coffee we decided to set up the tent and nap.  We woke up to a white van pulled into our campsite... what?
Mary went to investigate...
What?! Crazy New Yorkers had pulled into our site, avoiding the parking spots right next to our spot. They were literally 20 feet away from our tent. Really guys?! Waking us from our afternoon naps. They retreated quickly to their van after Mary told them that they were on our site. Just adding a little adventure to the day!
Adding more peanut butter and nutella to a pancake dinner? Never a bad idea.
Later we chatted with a friendly family from Manitoba. They later brought us some smoked salmon and dark chocolate - staples in general stores and gas stations up here in the UP!
We were able to see our first sunset over water since the first days of the trip. We've been watching the sunrise over the water in the morning, but there's nothing like a good sunset over Lake Michigan to remind you of home!

The next morning we set off with the Mackinac Bridge in mind... We had to get around a couple of points and bays before seeing it, but then we finally saw it! Gorgeous! It seemed like it took forever to actually reach it, but we were eventually able to sail under the bridge! We decided to stop on the other side of the bridge for the evening at Straits State Park and make the actual crossing in the morning. 
At the campsite we attempted to make dinner over a grate-less campfire pit. Burned fingers galore as we tried to balance our pots on rocks. And it took forever to cook. And when it was done it was absolutely awful. Pizza it is!
Oh, pizza, how we love you :)
We woke up at sunrise to try to make an early crossing before winds picked up too much. We paddled out, got under the bridge, and then looked at how fast we were going. We weren't even moving after a few minutes of paddling. Whitecaps were starting, the current was running, and the winds were directly in our faces. This was not going to work. We turned back around, assuming we would camp another night and try again in the morning. Once we checked the weather we soon realized that the next week was not looking favorable for crossing such an unpredictable stretch of open water. Oh jeez, not another week of weather days, please! We decided to think it over and trek to the McDonalds that we had seen. This was no easy trek, we tried to take some trails through the park, then had to take the road and walk along the interstate to get here...I'm not even sure if it was worth it, but we sure were glad to have some warm greasy food after a disappointing morning.
Our friend Andrew, a ranger at the park, gave us the 2 minute car ride from McDonalds back to our campsite. Well that sure was easier than the walk there! After deliberating, we called our friend Larry from Naubinway. He offered to trailer Makeba across the bridge. We took him up on the offer after looking at the weather forecasts once again. It wasn't how we expected to get across the straits, but by golly we made it.
Makeba was just flying!
Once we got across, we were able to stay at our friend Jim's  - he has a camper on the beach and let us stay in it. What luxury camping!
Beautiful view! 
Loving these sunsets over the lake once again!
I guess it's pretty here.

Going to have to watercolor this one! 
Setting off at sunrise. Cold morning at the beginning of a long day around Wilderness State Park and Waugoshance Point. It was one of the roughest days yet - paddling against the wind on both sides of the point. We were so happy to arrive at Cross Village in the evening. Can't we get a break, Wind? Looks like these next few days are going to be windy as well - can't someone tell the winds to just stop for awhile? Or at least blow in our favor? So much for going downwind on the way home. But we will get home! Just may be a few weeks :) See ya'll at Thanksgiving!

Hello Upper Michigan!

To the UP! We were finally able to leave Rock Island and island hop up to Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Gearing up after seeing that it was going to be one of our toughest days yet.

The day we left there were of course north winds blowing directly against us on our way to the first island of St. Martin. It literally took us 4 hours to paddle the 4 miles to this island - and we couldn't help but think that this was only the first island. Traveling at 1mph would make those last 10-15 miles up to the UP a longgg one. Fortunately, when we turned the corner of St. Martin the winds calmed a bit. Looking at our gps we saw that the next island was about 7 miles away - remembering that we were traveling approximately 1mph made us think it would be wise to hug closer to Poverty Island, Big Summer, and Little Summer islands in case night fall came before we reached the tip of the Garden Peninsula. After paddling through some rain we saw a boat coming close to us - it was the first boat we had seen out on the water, so we assumed it was our friend Dan coming to meet us. Our first UP friend of the trip! 
He snapped this shot of us sailing towards him - the wind had died enough to give us some relief from paddling. It was so light that we were moving at a snails pace, but it was better than paddling more after the day we had. Dan showed us the way past Little Summer. It is very rocky and shallow around the islands so even where it looks like you can make a passage you sometimes can't. We were so happy to make it to Fairport, MI! We were even greeted with waving flags from Dan and Mary's friends Dorothy and Jim - what an arrival!
We had lots of fun hanging out with Mary and Dan for a few days while the strong north winds blew - huge waves all over Lake Michigan! Mary raises Monarchs; here is a teeny tiny caterpillar that had just hatched a few days ago.
Looking out of Dan's spotting scope - this is where he first saw our tiny blue sail between the islands and headed out on his boat to meet us. We later enjoyed looking out at the swans, pelicans, and cormorants that hang out on the rocky shoals. 

Can you see them?
Mary and Dan's lovely home!
We went to the only diner in Fairport, Sherry's Port, for breakfast. Yoopers, that's what they call them. And they sure are a fun and friendly bunch!
Dan and Mary took us to Fayette Historic State Park where charcoal pig iron was manufactured during the late 1800's. It was once a bustling industrial town, but new steel manufacturing processes took over at the turn of the century, leading to the town's demise.

Aren't these old charcoal kilns great though? 
As we waited for winds to die, we went to Kitch-iti-kipi, a beautiful natural spring, with our new friend Susan. I hung out with her crazy dog Canon on the ride there - this is her tired out after jumping around in the back seat. 

We took the cable raft out into the middle of the spring fed pool for a closer look. The color of the spring was a gorgeous turquoise. You could see the water bubbling up from the sandy bottom about 40 feet down. There are also huge trout in the spring!
The next morning we went to the small town farmer's market in Fairport. That day there were only 4 picnic tables full, but still some pretty neat stuff available!

In Manistique we tried to go see Batman - it was a fail because the movie theatre had just switched movies that day. So instead we went to pick up some warmer clothes at a local outdoor store. It's getting cold up here! Mary wanted to get these hats, but I wouldn't let her because I already crotched us red stocking caps.
At dinner with our great new UP friends!
The next day we were finally able to leave Fairport and head up the peninsula. The winds looked favorable so we decided that we would just go as far as we could this day. Dan had helped us organize some gps coordinates for possible stopping points for the day depending on how far we were able to make it. We just decided to go for gold - 43 miles were paddled, sailed, then paddled, then sailed, then paddled on Day 43. How fitting! It was our longest day yet, so we were so thankful to have these cozy beds at Ellen and Pete's home past Manistique. 

I felt like I was in a storybook! Everything was perfect.
One of Ellen and Pete's adorable dogs. In her chair of course.
Pete is a great artist - he does beautiful chip carving woodwork.
This is the piece he is working on right now. It's a long process, but the end result is completely worth it!
An amazing home with amazing people in it!
Getting ready to leave Ellen and Pete's. 
We got a few miles away and saw this ring rainbow around the sun - it was crazy! I have seen faint ones before, but this photo doesn't do this one justice. Nerd Alert - this is known as a 22° halo. It's caused by tiny ice crystals contained in high cirrostratus clouds. The sunlight (or moonlight) refracts through the ice at a 22 degree angle, making a visible ring around the sun. 

Amy saying, "Where are we?" It's a common theme on this trip so far. I guess the navigator should know where we usually are, but I don't always.
Calm glassy waters on our way to Seul Choix lighthouse. We hadn't seen the water this calm in weeks it seemed!
A replica of the Seul Choix lighthouse, hand built by someone using thousands of tiny wood blocks. Sounds time consuming! (says the girl who built a dugout canoe, and the girls who are going around Lake Michigan in it)
A view from the top! Beaver Island and Hog Island in the distance.
The gift shop at the lighthouse had some hilarious literature selections. This is the Great Lakes Romance Series.
We headed across the bay from the lighthouse and set up camp next to Port Inland Limestone Operations. It was cold and looked like it was going to be stormy, so Amy wasted no time at all getting into the tent and into her sleeping bag!
Inland Steel, in Gary, Indiana, developed this port in 1930 to provide the calcium oxide used as flux to remove impurities in the steel making process. We watched freighters come in all night and wait to pull in to load up with limestone. They are huge!
In the middle of the night we could only see their lights, but in the morning there were still two waiting in line to get into the harbor we had to cross.
Pretty waters after we crossed the harbor and made our way to Big Knob Campground.
Always navigating - "I know we are within 2 miles of the campsite."
We pulled up and then we checked the gps again - "46 seconds away from Big Knob Campground." Right on target and we didn't even know it!
It was a mucky beach to roll Makeba up on though. 
Looks like the storms a'comin! Better set up camp quick tonight.
We luckily met some fellow campers, Doug and Karen, who invited us over for some hot coffee and some good company under their tarp to keep out of the rain. Here we are getting ready to leave in the morning - foggy, calm, and shallow!