The 1,000-Mile Great Lakes Adventures

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Grand Island Exploration

Grand Island is located in the bay near the city of Munising, MI. The Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore is to the east.

(L>R) Julian, Alison, & Me

I had time to explore this island by bike and hiking with my niece and nephew after we kayaked the Apostle Islands.

My nephew, Julian, and niece, Alison 

Thunder cove!

Grand Island has the same sandstone base as the nearby Pictured Rocks, so there are caves and carvings done by the waves of Lake superior on its edges.

On my bike

There is much to explore here: old growth trees, caves (both coastal and interior), historic sites, waterfalls, and much more.
Camping is permitted in the national forest portion of the island with permit.

On the edge of Grand Island

This island is one of many that I am exploring for my upcoming book,
A 1000-Mile Great Lakes ISLAND Adventure
which will be released next year (2015).

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Apostle Islands

A few more photos from my 
Apostle Islands exploration:

Action shot

The brown sandstone of the Apostle Islands

Me, Alison, & Julian (my niece and nephew)

Apostle Island sunset

Paddling with Julian

Exploring some sea caves

The swells pick up a bit

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Another Great Indie Bookstore

On my way to kayak the Apostle Islands in Lake Superior, I stopped in at the indie bookstore in Bayfield, WI.

Indie bookstore in Bayfield, WI

The Apostle Islands Booksellers is in the middle of scenic Bayfield and has a great selection of regional books in addition to general good reads.
Stop in if you get up that way, 
and tell them I sent you!

Sunset in the Apostle Islands

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Living Adventure Kayaking in the Apostle Islands

Living Adventure is a kayaking outfitter in Red Cliff, Wisconsin, just north of Bayfield (the gateway to the Apostle Islands).

Since Lake Superior is the deepest, coldest, and most vast of the Great Lakes, I contacted 
Living Adventure, Inc,
to coordinate my exploration of the islands on one of their three-day tours.

Our guides, Nicole (L) and Paige (R) [yes, that's how he spells his name] go over our itinerary for the trip

Lake Superior is the "boss" of every trip, the guides explained. 

Dry fitting of the boats before the "wet exit" drill Alison and Julian (my niece and nephew) get situated in their kayaks

We were instructed on the usage of the kayaks, paddle strokes, and safety gear (including wet suit, spray skirt, and PFD) and then went through a "wet exit*" drill before heading out to the islands.
[*I'll explain this in frigid detail in my book about this adventure]. 

Warm bread, baked brie, and roasted garlic anyone?

One of the nicest things about going with Living Adventure is the excellent food!

Whitefish with lemon, stir fry veggies, and rice

View from the kayak

Julian paddles through a tight spot

We had an amazing time with Living Adventure!
Promotional consideration given.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

West Michigan Book Tour

My book tour took me to Holland, Michigan in July. There, I spoke to a professional group, HASP (Hope Academy of Senior Professionals). This group had over 300 of their members there to hear me speak.

Some HASP business before my lecture

Quite the group!

Afterward, I signed books at Holland's own indie bookstore, Reader's World

Holland's indie bookstore at 194 River Ave

I always love to visit and support independent bookstores and encourage you to do the same.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Great Lakes Book & Supply: Presentation of carved walking stick

In June I had an event at 
Great Lakes Book & Supply in Big Rapids, Michigan.
It was there that master woodcarver, 
Bette Hartig
presented me with a walking stick 
that she created for me.

Accepting the walking stick from Bette Hartig (right)

A map of my first adventure around Lake Michigan

This is more than a walking stick, though, it is a work of art that chronicles my adventures. 

The state flag 

My second adventure

It even has a compass embedded in the top so I never lose my way.

Compass above the Mackinac Bridge

Bette in her workshop

After the event, Bette invited me to see where she created the walking stick. She has an amazing workshop where she teaches others the art of carving wood.

Bette with her table saw

I was deeply moved by this gift and grateful that Bette shares my love of the Great Lakes.

A bit of carving advice from Bette:

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Les Cheneaux Historical Museum

When you visit the Les Cheneaux Islands, be sure to drop in at the Historical Museum.

This area is famous for their annual Antique Wooden Boat Show

Historic map of the Les Cheneaux Islands

Information about the Native Americans who lived here

Workers Peggy and Mary stand in front of quilt

Many wonderful exhibits

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Life is WILD in the Les Cheneaux Islands

Many of the Les Cheneaux islands have land set aside for nature. Some entire islands are national forest or designated nature preserves.

Wildlife abounds here:

Bald Eagle on top of tree

Pink forget-me-nots

White forget-me-nots

Sandhill crane in flight

Shed exoskeleton...a dragonfly emerged 

Sandhill Crane

Plenty of deer on these islands

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Great Lakes Boat Building School, Cedarville, MI

As I explored the Les Cheneaux Islands, I came across the Great Lakes Boat Building School in Cedarville, MI.

Where you can learn to build wooden boats!

The mission statement for the school is:

The Great Lakes Boat Building School teaches and inspires students in the art and craft of traditional and contemporary wooden boat building, which prepares them for productive and rewarding careers in the marine trades.  We strive to contribute to the growth of each student as a person and as a craftsman to impart an appreciation of the maritime heritage of the Great Lakes and North America.
School administrator, John Mills, gave me a tour of the workshop.

John Mills shows me a boat under construction

Close-up of this year's boat

The first year of classes teaches traditional boat building techniques. The second year expands into composite boats, newer techniques, and yacht joinery.

Two finished projects

This year the school graduated eight from their first year program and four from the second year.

Tools, clamps, compressor

They also offer summer programs in the school in Cedarville, and also in Charlevoix and Traverse City. These workshops "...suit all ages and abilities."

GLBBS classroom

For more information, go to their link here: 
Great Lakes Boat Building School