Day 4 - Friday, July 5th

In the morning, I realized a dream:

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Backstory: Kara Lee and I used to work together, and her dog Edie would often come in to the office. Edie and I are pals. One day Kara Lee showed us photos of her and Edie stand up paddle boarding together. I had been dying to try it ever since. See, I’d already always wanted to try stand up paddle boarding. But, as a dog lover, I also have a real weakness for cute modes of transport with dogs (dog in a sidecar, for instance), so this was working big time on me. I know, I know, I’m basic. Doesn’t brave little Edie out on the bow with her tiny lifejacket just melt your heart though?

Kara Lee and Tim on kayaks:

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About a minute after we took these pics, and with Edie safely in Kara Lee’s kayak, I decided to show off on on my paddle board. I jumped, did a 180, landed it perfectly, and… my brand new iphone (in a ziploc bag) fell out of my back pocket and into the lake. Thus began the first grand misadventure of my trip…

Kara Lee’s sister-in-law saw it happen and hollered to me. I looked to the water and spotted the phone slowly sinking. Fortunately, the lake was only about shoulder deep here, and there was enough sunlight to see bottom. But, there was also a breeze pushing me east and away from the phone. I had to act fast. I jumped in and immediately disturbed the muck on the the bottom of the lake creating a dirt cloud that made it impossible to see anything. When it cleared, I had lost track of my phone. And, with the wind relentlessly pushing east, it became hard to determine where exactly I had dropped it. What followed was an hour-long search and rescue mission that involved me on the paddle board, Tim and Kara Lee on kayaks, her brother on the pontoon boat, her nieces on inner tubes and floaties, and her sister-in-law with snorkeling gear. We used Tim’s phone to call my fiancée Kate and my parents to see if their phone tracking apps we’d set up before my trip would help. They weren’t working. Maybe the cell/gps signal couldn’t escape the water? Maybe the Find Friends app was down? I started to panic. I bought the phone less than a week ago. What kind of idiot throws a thousand dollars away in a lake?! Calm down. I told myself it was just money. Sure, I’d lose some trip photos, but I had texted the best ones to friends and family. There are worse things that could happen on a journey like this. Still, the day would be ruined, the rest of it comprised of finding a place to buy a new phone, setting it up, constantly trying to forgive myself… then, something caught my eye: my phone, waving gently to me in its plastic bag from the lake bottom! I struggled against the wind to keep it in sight until Kara Lee’s sister-in-law could snorkel down and grab it. She did. The phone was… totally fine and completely dry! Which left me to ponder the greater human achievement: iphone or ziploc bag?

With dropping my phone in a lake now an amusing anecdote and not a horror story, I was free to enjoy the rest of the day. We visited Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore (my second national park of the trip), which was super cool:

Looking inland, toward Glen Lake.

Looking inland, toward Glen Lake.

Massive sand dunes drop steeply into Lake Michigan. Signs warn that it will take 15 minutes to get down, but could take 90 to get back up.

Massive sand dunes drop steeply into Lake Michigan. Signs warn that it will take 15 minutes to get down, but could take 90 to get back up.

An epic hill climb. Glen Lake behind me.

An epic hill climb. Glen Lake behind me.

With Edie, nearing sunset, looking out over Lake Michigan.

With Edie, nearing sunset, looking out over Lake Michigan.

I also went to Cherry Republic (local chain that sells cherry paraphernalia; this is a big cherry growing region), searched for Petoskey Stones (smooth shore rocks with fossilized coral in them), and had dinner at The Little Traverse Inn (good atmosphere but fish and chips were a little salty). Tim, a fellow motorcyclist, treated me to dinner and helped me lube the bike’s chain when we got home (Thanks, Tim!).

The evening ended with fireworks over the little lake by Kara Lee’s family’s cabin:

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That night, I wrote my first travelogue post (about Day 1 - July 2nd). In doing so, I realized that blogging was too much work and decided to not write another post for the rest of the trip. Instead, I’d just take photos and jot notes in a journal.

As I went to bed, I felt very fortunate (and tired). Because my phone story had a happy ending. But also because I got to see the special things a friend loves about where she grew up. I knew Kara Lee a little better now.