Wisconsin: The Land of Cheese, The Packers, and Good Company

Today marks three weeks since I left Chicago. Life on Liv is very simple. In fact-I often think, “Man, I have a lot of crap in an apartment in the city-and I don’t even need all that stuff”.

I feel like I’ve misplaced my diary and I have a million stories to write and I can’t write fast enough to get them all down.

I made my way around most of Wisconsin these last two weeks.  I stopped in a small town called Algoma-and met Kevin Naze, a writer who wanted to capture the Row4ROW story and was enthusiastic about covering my trip from the first press release. He, Brenda and Rebecca had been in touch for some time so I was excited to meet him.  I was lucky enough to meet his wife Tammy (who is a musician that gave me some beautiful harp music to listen to while rowing), his two daughters and son. I was even lucky enough to meet up with them after a press conference in Sturgeon Bay to go fishing before they gave me a ride back to Liv for the night.

 

It made me think of my family and fishing with my dad-especially since I usually spend the 4th of July holiday with them. It really made me miss Michigan and want to fast forward to the last half of this trip so I could hug them and be on my way back to Chicago.

Green Bay was a great stop-Mark met up with me to work on the GPS and my friend Ashley came to visit with her family as well.  I had two land meals in one day. It was a good day. The local newspaper wrote about Row4ROW and we also got on the Green Bay CBS station. I met an amazing cancer survivor- Bridget Foley, and she got me in for a backstage private tour or Lambeau Field.  I got to do a handstand in the weight room, walk on the field and try on their quarterback’s helmet in the locker room!

Today I left Green Bay before sunrise and crawled my way north. Winds and the current (yes, Lake Michigan has a current!) kept Liv and I from making much progress at all.  Around 2 pm I made the decision to throw the anchor.  I had been rowing for 10 hours and only made it 10 miles.  I was beat from fighting the wind all day and sweating in 90+ degree weather. I had enough.  I wrote an email to the ROW team because they were on my mind. Their only “home” race is this weekend, the Chicago Sprints hosted at the Lincoln Park lagoon.  I wished them good luck and shared my frustration with the day’s mere ten miles.  One of the ROW members wrote back to me instantaneously, “Thank you for those ten miles. They all count and we are grateful.”  I burst into tears.

I never realized this experience would be such an emotional roller coaster. I cry at least once every day.  Sometimes I feel like I’m becoming a toddler all over again.  I get fussy because I’m tired or hungry. Everything unknown is dramatic and upsetting. I want to cry all the time.  I’m not writing this because I am upset about it- or crying because I’m sad all the time. I think it’s just part of the process of asking so much of yourself-and yes, sometimes I hate it.  Sometimes I get so happy I’m going to burst.  Other times I scream at the sky and expect the wind to change or just one thing to go my way that day.

More random things to share:

A few people have asked about the two necklaces I wear every day.

One is from my Grandpa Sherm-it was his from the time he was in the Navy.  It reminds me of him and his adventurous youth. He passed away when I was in college but I know he would be so proud of me for having this kind of adventure.  The other necklace is a compass.  Etched on the back it reads “There are no shortcuts to anywhere worth going, “ which my brother and sister in law gave me a few Christmas’s ago. They both mean a lot to me-enough to still wear them in the hot sun and have them occasionally burn my neck.

I can’t tell you how overwhelming it is to have people say that they are thinking about me every day.  I really can’t explain how grateful I am for your thoughts, prayers, positive energy and love.  Somehow it’s making it’s way to me-so please keep it coming!

In other exciting news- my toothpaste has exploded all over my other toiletries three times because of the heat. I’ve lost three toes nails.  And…I’m starting to name the spiders on my boat.

Thank you for your continued support of ROW and this trip. Please consider sponsoring a mile of this adventure for $100 or making a donation online.

GO ROW!!

-Jenn

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