It being Saturday, and getting ready to cross Lake Pepin, I knew I'd be in for a lot of recreational boat traffic. I made myself some Kukicha twig tea as a calming element to combat the rising tension I felt even as I tried to re-pack my boat and had 13 motor boats zoom past, their wakes knocking huge waves into my boat, spilling water into my cockpit. There's a saying:
People who move with paddles are paddlers,
People who move with sails are sailors,
People who move with motors are maniacs.
I understand how fun it is to go fast on the water, but boating courtesy rules say that boats without motors have the right of way, and that motorists need to pass such boats with no wake. Less than 1% of all motorists actually know or follow this rule. In addition to wakes causing erosion damage, when I'm in my boat, wakes that swamp my boat endanger my very life! I wore my full spray skirt today for that reason. Every time a motor boat zooms past, leaving a tall wake behind it, I have to alter my course, in order to go perpendicularly over the waves until they pass, so it also slows me down quite a bit.
I was paddling against the wind, getting ready to enter Lake Pepin, silently cursing all the inconsiderate motor boats, drinking my tea to calm my nerves, when a pontoon boat headed right for me actually slowed down. "Finally!" I thought, "Someone who understands and follows the rules." Just then, I hear, "Alyssum!" from the pontoon. It's Justin Staker, one of the paddlers I met the weekend before in St. Paul. He's visiting his parents' house in Frontenac, a town on Lake Pepin, for the weekend. He pulled up, said hello, introduced me to his family, offered a place to refuel and rest if I needed it. I thanked him but said I was going to try and make it all the way across Lake Pepin. He gave me some pointers, and pulled away.
The wind was against me, and I felt myself pulling harder than I ever have to. If I stopped paddling, the wind pushed me backward, so I was making terrible time. After a couple hours of hard paddling, I decided I should probably take Justin up on his offer afterall, and began to look forward to a rest. I knew I just had to get around Point No Point, and then I'd be close to my day's destination. As I paddled and paddled and paddled, I realized why it was called Point No Point. It looks like you're coming up on a point, but as you round the bend, the land moves in a perfect curve so that it never looks like you're making any progress at all. It took an eternity. In actuality, it took me a full 6 hours to get just 8 miles, I was moving so slowly.
Once I got to Justin's parents' place (Lynne and Jim), I was greeted by a sweet couple dogs, the whole family, and a sign hanging that read, "SANDY FEET WELCOME." You could tell they had taken in paddlers in the past, and it definitely made me feel less self-conscious about my dirty/sandy state. A shower was my first stop, YAY.
After a visit with Jim and Lynne, I sat in the porch to do some interneting, and Justin's young niece, Flannery, came over and said, "Are you the same woman we saw earlier in the kayak?" I affirmed. "You look....different," she stated flatly. I laughed, and confirmed, "Yes, I'm clean!" She added, "also you don't have your life jacket and stuff on."
A great joy is that I plugged my non-working (for 2.5 days) phone, and after a couple hours, the battery charged enough for the charging LED light to come on--PHEW! It was just the battery! I couldn't be happier. It's little things like this that make River Angels so amazing--if I hadn't had a place to just relax and plug in my electronics, and let it sit for a while I would have gone without a phone for a lot longer and maybe would have tried to buy a new one. THANK YOU Jim and Lynne!
Later in the evening, their next door neighbors had a pot-luck, which was great fun. Delicious food, fun chatting to folks about my journey and learning about the local news. I slept on the couch out on the porch; it's always nice not to have to set up and take down my tent.