Thursday, November 09, 2006

Great Lakes Circumnavigation: Stage One

I've decided to start working on a book/video documentary/blog about my adventures as I make a journey around each of the Great Lakes. My intention is to encircle each of the five lakes on foot, mountain bike, kayak and pick-up truck starting with Lake Superior - the largest - moving east to Huron, Erie, Ontario and the back to Lake Michigan. I was originally considering doing the whole thing on foot, but it's not practical. The lakes are huge and their are time constraints.

What? Did I just write that? Yes, I most certainly did.

My plan so far includes taking a Mac Powerbook and video camera with the software to do sound and video editing and maintaining an internet link. I think a good insurance policy is also in order, as I always end up hurting myself no matter what I attempt.

Yes, I've thought about just riding a mountain bike around each of the big lakes, but my knees might not allow me to make the journey. I've been having a lot of trouble with my right knee lately, especially now that I'm taking yoga. My 'salutations to the sun' are frequently painful.

The goal of this is quite simple. It's a giant sociology experiment. I want to show the variety of people that exist in this region, and how they live and spend their days. I think it's worthy of a National Geographic special. Okay, it's obvious that the folks living in Thunder Bay, Ontario on the north side of Superior are altogether different than folks living in Toledo or South Bend. Shouldn't someone examine that? How can governments and communities make decisions regarding their relationship with the Lakes without examining the details of how others are dependent and interconnected with the Lakes. The whole damn place is almost too big to contemplate. How can we make informed decisions about pollution prevention, hazardous waste dumps, and most importantly water usage without knowing how our actions will affect those on the other side of the body of water we're dealing with?

Of course, one of the primary difficulties will be sponsorship. Who would support me while I do this? (Mom?) If anyone has any suggestions, or you know anyone who may have a barrel of money lying around, then please contact me through this site.

I have considered asking the Catholic Church for sponsorship. There were some French priests - I think they were Jesuits, not sure - who came up the St. Lawrence River and then crossed Ontario and Michigan on foot to arrive in the Grand Rapids area in the early 1700's. They were the first white men to come to West Michigan, and they settled near the Ottawa and Potowanamee tribes and traded with them. What if I dedicated a portion of my time to retracing the path of these early missionaries? There is a new bishop in Grand Rapids, not sure what he is like. I wonder if he would be open to considering funding a portion of my journey?

What do you think of my idea?

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