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Archive for March, 2010

Joy and Matt at the Launch in the Locks!

This blog is about the friends who helped me get to where I’m going.  Behind one dude in a kayak  are a pyramid of people supporting the trip from so many angles.  For the last many months, my friends have come to learn about MedShare and my expedition and have stepped up to help with so many big and and little details from moving to folding paper towels at TP.  And this is a THANK YOU for them!  For sure, I’ve been lucky with friends willing to donate and friends who helped at work or kayaking or with advice about this expedition, and I’ve done my best to acknowledge them on the website under ‘Sponsors’. I’m going to start where I should start, with Kim and Tom, who brainstormed ideas during numerous conversations and who helped inspire this trip.  Tom even called from London as I walked the kayak to the beach in Seattle!  And Kim deserves her own blog which will come.  She has made this expedition fundraiser a success and still continues because she shares my vision to see it succeed!  (Need pic for of us for this)

After moving out of my seaside apartment with Tom (yep, miss it a bit after 5 good years), I moved in with Andrea and Toby for a week and then with Ryan and Mike for a month.  Thank you so much for enduring my late nights, your hospitality, and for your support and good jokes.  You helped me make this otherwise peculiar transition and encouraged it to be the exciting expedition that it is!  Ryan and Mike, when I get back, I look forward to having a beer with you both to remember the times carpooling, packing food and sorting out folding TP…with Rudy and Rudy!   Ryan, your kindness was overwhelming and without words to express it properly, I thank you.

Ryan and Mike hosted me in the Castillo Redondo.
Thank you to Ian who drove me all the way from San Fransisco to Seattle and helped me with all my last minute errands around Seattle and was involved with this stage of my life, just as he has been for every other…he is my brother and I love him like one. Here is a distant photo of this handsome fellow in front of Mt Shasta during our record breaking drive north.Then there’s the Seattle crew, Joy, Matt, Rachel, Ian, Amanda, and Coby! 
Thank you all for your support and assistance with car matters, launch logisitics, and most of all, being great friends when I needed help.  It was great to see Michigan people and reminisce.  And thank you Amanda and Antonella for the tour of Anacortes and Skaggit Bay!Joy and Matt at the Launch! Thank you so much for coming!

The real launch from the locks in Seattle.

Amanda and I overlooking Anacortes

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First strokes in Seattle

 The official start north will be tomorrow, Monday 3/15 because of some last minute gear and logistics.  This morning Ian and I took the ferry out to Bainbridge Island to pick up the last of the gear, and then had a nice lunch overlooking Seattle from Pike’s Market before he flew home to Atlanta. 

He has been with me the last few days as we drove up to Seattle, finished modifying my boat, and took care of countless errands.  Thank you Ian!

And then my friends Matt and Rachel joined me at the Sculpture Garden for my first strokes and a few rolls in the Puget Sound.  It was a beautiful day and a great start to this trip.  I’ve been lucky to have great friends in Seattle to help with the last few days of packing and planning and to have some fun in this awesome town!  I love Seattle!  There are campsites within the city (www.wwta.org) that help thos who enjoy paddle sports to fit in some over night camping.  So that will be my next few places to stay this week on my way up to the San Juan Islands.  Yeah!

The Smith Building in the background...once the tallest building west of the Mississippi Matt and me, hanging out for the first time since Sweden in 2003.

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In the past week I’ve come a long way with test packing my boat, an Aquanaut HV from Valley Kayaks.  After picking it up from GGSKS, where I got to paddle it for the first time, Kim and I drove it home to LA and have been packing it in various ways to know what will fit where.  Getting to know the crevices and nooks where I can put fuel bottles, tent poles, the various dry bags, bear cans, and gear gear gear is really critical so I know what I can and cant take on this trip.  Thankfully this kayak is really roomy and everything fits below deck.  truly, I’m impressed.

Yesterday I spent setting up my Marmot Thor 2P tent, sponsored by The Gear Revival in Atlanta. I outfit it with guylines so that even on day 1 I’ll be ready for windy conditions.  It is a beautiful tent and although I’ve been concerned about the time needed to put up the 6 pole tent, I think it will be “bomb-proof” in the miserable conditions that I am going to encounter.

Much of my gear came in the last two weeks and I am overwhelmed with the generosity of sponsors and their excitement about MedShare, too.  I’ve been very fortunate to be able to work with such great people in the industry and have their helpful advice.  In so many ways, I am grateful and trying to stay aware of the many blessings that people are sharing with me so that I can complete this trip and meet my fundraising goal.    And at the same time, I’m trying to record each interaction in my memory so that I can remind myself of the kindnesses during the hard days on the trip.  I’m going with the best gear and have had so much help with my gear selection, training, planning, and arrangements for the trip.  Now I’m looking forward to a week from now when I’m actually on my way.

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