The day started off with a bang. One thunder clap after another. I opted to stay in my sleeping bag just a little bit longer today. The radar showed the storm moving throught and it was to lighten up around noon. I got up, showered, and made breakfast. The goal was to get beyond Grand Rapids, MN. The heavy winds were going to make today a tought one. I took off from Sandy and Jeff’s place around noon. The rain was light and the air temp was quite cool. I kept the rain jacket on for protection and warmth. I added a boclova to cover me pretty much up. I was moving along playing connect the dots with the rain drops. The day was quiet and allowed for a lot of introspective thinking time. Some friends once sent me a photograph of a motorcyclist out on a random road. It said, “Sometimes you find yourself in the middle of nowhere and sometimes in the middle of nowhere, you find yourself”. That held true for my motorcycle adventures. Today, I was grounded and simply enjoying the beauty of the life I was experiencing. The rain felt fresh. The current meandered along as the wind whipped it around. I was doing ok with a tail and rear cross wind but the river did not always want to go my way. It would turn back on itself quite a bit pinning me head on against an unrelenting wind. I was blown off course and had to turn around to get back on the main channel. The headwind was fighting me with each stroke forward. It required 4 to 5 times as much energy to make any headway. As I moved back down the main channel, I would hit these open bodies of water. The wind would pick the water up and send hard choppy waves my way. I constantly had to counter and fight against them as the wind was wanting to push me into the grass jungle. I made it into the last lake before heading into the channel to the dams.
This lake was scattered with tall underwater grass fields. It would catch my rudder and slow me down. If I lifted the rudder, the wind would push me sideways in the choppy water. I realized I was in the middle of this lake when the wind got to be its worst. The wind picked up the water creating breaking white caps behind me. I was not in a good place and I needed to get out of there quickly. The swells kept gaining in size as I struggled going with the waves and crossing the lake to get closer to shore. The waves began to break over my boat as I was fighting forward. I was tired and hungry, but did not have a choice as I did not want to flip. My adrenaline was fighting my tiredness and the wind was fighting them both. It was one of the least comfortable positions I have been in on this trip. I wanted to relax but that would lead to big problems. I had to fight my way out of this one. I made it close to shore, but the waves kept coming. I turned a corner and then they were gone. I looked for the marked channel as the underwater grass fields rained havock on my steering. I found the last channel before the dams and snaked my way through the grasslands, the thick straw like materials, and the thinning channels.
I made it to the dam where I called the Army Corp of Engineers. The offered a service to pick up the boats and portage them around the power dam and the paper mill dam. I waited a few before a trailer arrived. Once loaded, I asked the driver to swing by Dairy Queen. I was craving something cold and sweet. We grabbed a ice cream and then it was back to the river. With about 2 hout s of sunlight left, I decided to press on.
The beauty of the river as it goes through towns is amazing. I photographed along the way catching some of that beauty. I managed to see two bald eagles feeding on something, but could not get the shot. I decided to put the camera away and simply enjoy what was in front of me. My hunt was on for a camp location. I strolled down the river looking for quality options. I saw this house on the river that had a huge backyard that sloped down into the river. The lawn was clean and I figured I would give it a go. I landed and went up to be greeted by Amy and her daughter. They offered me fresh water and a place to set up. I am about 10′ off the river and the night would offer a new treat for me.
The temperature kept dropping. It was a chilly 43 degrees when was ready to turn in. I approached my tent after talking with Amy for a bit and looked out to the river. The near full moon was up to my right and the river was covered with a fog. If Mother Nature had a way of flirting with ones heart, this was it. The fog just hovered over the water gently moving along with it. I had the desire to capture it, but the desire for sleep and staying warm won over this evening. If it happens again, I will capture it. That is the thing about adventures. Some things happen multiple times, other happen once. Either way, my eyes soamed in the co sight and my heart melted. Some memories are just etched in you.
While this day was long and had its fair share of challenges, I was always happy. The beauty of the great outdoors never ceases to amaze me. I am looking forward to a the days to come.