“Life’s challenges are not supposed to paralyze you, they’re supposed to help you discover who you are.”
– Bernice Johnson Reagon
What began as an impulsive road trip and solo bike ride has now become a “project”. Almost 20 years ago, just a few years after taking up cycling somewhat seriously, I found myself with a couple of weeks of vacation and an urge to just get away. Looking at the map for possible destinations, I spotted Lake Ontario, did some quick research, and hit the road. From the moment I finished that ride, I began thinking about the other lakes. Although Lake Superior was the primary focus of my obsession, the idea of circling each of the Great Lakes became more and more reasonable and this project was born.
In addition, the idea of committing to a long-term project such as this was interesting. Inspired by folks, both young and old, who accomplish such feats as cycling around the world (Mark Beaumont), summiting the highest peak on every continent (Jordan Romero), summiting all the 8000 meter mountains without oxygen (Ed Viesturs), or sailing solo around the world (Jessica Watson), I began to realize the appeal of such a project. The planning, preparation, and time management required to accomplish such a task while still maintaining any amount of balance within ones life is quite a challenge. And although 8000 meter summits may not be within my reach, we can all find something to challenge us and stretch our potential. Circling the Great Lakes has become my personal challenge.
3095 miles down, 1200 miles to go…
This is the trip that started it all. I wish I had kept a journal and took more photos but at least I was able to dig up a handful of old pictures. Now if I can just figure out where they were taken. I do remember that I did a bit more camping on this trip-probably 3 out 4 nights were in campgrounds. It’s also interesting to remember that this was clearly the pre-technology era of cycle touring. No Garmin GPS, no digital camera, no cellphone, certainly no laptop or tablet, and no worrying about recharging a half-dozen devices every night. Oh how the times have changed.