Sean Rowley and Derek Specht, hosts of the very popular Paddling Adventures Radio podcast, sure love their road trips. I’ve experienced one with them a couple years back to Michigan’s Quiet Water Adventure Show. Sean plays a lot of hard metal music and unique comedy routines. Derick says little; he either reads or sleeps. They're a hoot to hang out with on the road.
Their latest trip is legendary. They paddled on all five of the Great Lakes—in one day!
They headed out from their Toronto suburbia homes the day before National Canoe Day, arriving at the first launch—Lake Ontario’s Harbourfront Canoe and Kayak Centre—just a few minutes after midnight. Adorning bright headlamps, they drifted out into the harbour. The water was calm, and the sky was lit up from all the city lights. Toronto’s CN Tower made for a perfect backdrop. At 1:25 a.m. they paddled back to the docks and headed for lake Erie.
Port Stanley Lighthouse was their second launching site. They arrived at 4:10 a.m., with a distance travelled of 263 kilometres. A paddling buddy, Grant Bower, greeted them with a warm breakfast of Mexican wraps, cookies and coffee. Lake Erie had a slight chop, but the sunrise was incredible.
Next was Point Edward Range Lighthouse on Lake Huron. At 7:45 a.m. (391 kilometres travelled) they were dodging fishing boats and tanker ships at the mouth of the St. Clair River. After a few minutes of gawking at the Blue Water Bridge that links Canada and the USA, and pushing through the aqua coloured water along Canatra Beach, they loaded up and crossed over to the United States. Gas was converted to $4.769 per gallon. Yikes!
Lake Michigan’s Sleeping Bear Dunes was the longest haul (821 kilometres). Water conditions were the roughest as well. Four-foot swells met them, and they pushed through the shoreline waves at 2:12 p.m. Beach bathers watched on, and even applauded their ability to ride the troughs and then slam back onto the beach.
The driving continued, along the east side of Lake Michigan, and then across the eight-kilometre long Mackinac Bridge, connecting the upper and lower peninsulas of Lake Michigan. At 7:35 p.m. (1,115 kilometres distance) Sean and Derick completed their final launch: Port Iroquois Lighthouse on the shore of Lake Superior. The sky was cloudy but the lake—the largest—was oddly calm. Hosts of the famed Paddling Adventures Radio finished yet another epic road trip.
Check out my Whisky Fireside Chat with them on my KCHappyCamper YouTube channel. And check out their podcast on the big event.