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Kansas City MO 64131





Cindy Maddera

We're back! I thought by adding an exclamation mark on the end of that sentence that it would give me some enthusiasm for getting back to the regular routine. I've spent my morning sorting emails and gathering protocols for clearing tissue samples for imaging and listlessly staring out the window. I'm not really ready to be back. I'm not ready for the things that are coming up on the calendar like a wedding and an unexpected trip to Boston for work and packing up my desk to move into the new space. I'm not ready to be up-to-date on current events. We came home to a police barricade because the man suspected of killing three police officers in Baton Rouge lives or lived in a house one street over. They arrested the man's brother who is now out on bail. Our neighborhood is a crime scene. I haven't had time to get facts or to form coherent thoughts on any of this. All I can say is that the deaths that have occurred in the last few days are horrible and that sounds trite. 

Can I have just three more days of vacation, please? 

Michael and I learned a whole lot of stuff in the last five days. Lake Superior is called Lake Superior for a reason and that reason is because that lake is HUGE. I mean, I knew it was big because in geography, our teacher told us it is the largest lake (by surface area) in the world, but being told this does not prepare you for actually seeing it. We were thinking that we were going to see a bunch of little islands but what we actually saw was maybe four of the islands from way off in the distance surrounded by an ocean. For about fifty bucks a person, you can do a boat ride that takes you around five of the twenty one islands without stops. A hundred dollars will get you to two of the islands with stops and tours. Getting to the islands is not easy. We watched a tour guide pack up a tandem kayak for a couple he was taking out to an island for camping. He told them it would take about three hours to get to their campsite. So, yeah, we didn't make it to any of the islands on this trip but we did kayak around the sea caves and from our kayak, we could see Eagle Island and Sand Island. We also spotted a bald eagle. 

We learned that summer temperatures in Northern Wisconsin are somewhere in the mid to low seventies and that the biggest threat while kayaking is if you fall out of your boat. It takes about ten minutes of being in the water for hypothermia to set in even on a nice warm, sunny day. I wore wool socks while kayaking and should have packed at least one more heavy blanket. We learned that our air mattress leaks air and I'd wake up in the middle of the night with a rock jabbing into my hip. We learned under these circumstances that I didn't mind Michael's snoring or how he took up most of the mattress because I was only warm when he was present in the bed. We learned that we could joke and laugh about all of these things. We learned that even though we could handle a tandem kayak without too much arguing, we both want our own kayak. We learned that we'd rather spend the four thousand dollars we were going to spend on purchasing central air on things like kayaks and trailers. 

The biggest lesson we learned was that it doesn't take a whole lot of effort to get away. Our camp gear was already well packed and organized with only a few minor things that needed replacing. Of course, we have to replace the air mattress now since we left the old leaky one in a bear proof dumpster in our campsite. But for the most part we're good. We did discover that we over pack on food. The amount of food we packed would have worked if we had been completely isolated, but we were not. We ended up in a camp ground just outside of Bayfield WI and had access to local foods like trout and white fish, pulled from Lake Superior the very day we bought them. We decided that we should take advantage of local foods and produce. We learned that this trip was like adding kerosene to a camp fire. We've done nothing but discuss how we are going to cart scooters and kayaks and camp gear. When we're not trying to figure out how transport these things, we're looking at maps, trying to figure out our next destination.  

I think we should put a map on the wall and just throw a dart at it and wherever it hits, that's where we'll go.