Monthly Archives: October 2006

Mon 30 Oct 06

So the jig is this, just in case my vague otter-postings weren’t information enough. I was offered three different jobs while in Oregon including the jobs I was reasonably excited about at Oregon State and the University of Oregon. For one reason or another I had to pass on these offers and I ended up driving forty hours back to the hotbed of awesomeness that is West Michigan. So, whatever.

The drive back went fine other than than absolute worst 5-6 driving hours of my life across an ice field pretending to be a highway in central Wyoming. I’ve never seen so many jackknifed semi-trucks in one stretch in my life. It was white-knuckle, no-other-option stress driving that just wouldn’t end. Somewhere between 100 and 200 miles of inch thick ice layered over black ice next to trucks mindlessly hurtling by at 65 mph all while a gale wind yanked at the surfboard (now functioning as a sail) on the top of my car. Every overpass I crossed, and I mean every single one, just felt like a crapshoot whether or not I was going to spin out or not. I’m having a mini heart attack right now just thinking about it again.

You know what it’s like on those truly awful winter storm days, maybe driving home from work, when it’s a whiteout and your car just feels completely disconnected from the road and that fifteen minute drives turns into a forty-five minute drive and all you want to do is get home to your warm house and relax and maybe laugh about how bad the weather is with somewhere you care about?

Now do that for half of a day with morons driving death machines careening past you, showering your already obscurred vision with salt and chunks of ice, and with absolutely no stress relief to look forward to other than eight hours of driving across Nebraska. I will drive 500 miles out of my way to go around that God-forsaken state the next time I need to drive to the Pacific Northwest during winter conditions.

But, I lived and actually cheered for Nebraska as I cruised across the border. Slept a couple of nights shivering at rest areas (one in Utah and one in Iowa) and rolled back into Michigan under rainy skies.

So, what’s next?

I don’t really know.

Sat 28 Oct 06

Surf Report # 25

Location: Grand Haven, MI – South Pier
Time: 1:30 pm- 3:30 pm
Air Temp: 46° F
Water Temp: 48° F
Wind: From NW 24 mph
Waves: 5-8 ft
Gear: 5/3 wetsuit, 5 mm boots, 3 mm gloves, .5 mm hood

Wind gusts up to about 42 mph, brown foul-smelling water pouring in from the Grand River channel, wave chop as bad as anything I’ve been out in. Oh well, I guess you take what you can get sometimes. Actually stayed pretty amused for the duration in spite of constantly fighting to keep the nastiest water I’ve ever been in out of my mouth and eyes. Had some fun rides, driven, I’m sure, largely by all the practice I had out west. Paddling out certainly was much easier than even the smaller stuff I had to paddle through in the Pacific. The wind was out of control to the point where if I wasn’t holding my board down, it would blow right off of the top of the water. Lots of photographers were out on the beach all afternoon getting shots of waves crashing over the pier and against the lighthouse.

Fri 13 Oct 06

It really does look like I tried to hang myself. The skin is raw and lightly scabbed in a ring around my neck where my wetsuit collar has been chafing me ever since I started using it in salt water. I’ve been avoiding surfing for a few days before each interview out here. Don’t want a future emplorer worrying about my mental state.

Thu 12 Oct 06

Surf Report # 24

Location: Devil’s Punch Bowl State Park – 8 miles N of Newport, OR
Time: 1:00 pm- 4:30 pm
Air Temp: 63° F
Water Temp: 55° F
Wind: From NNW 6-10 mph
Waves: 6 ft
Gear: 5/3 wetsuit, 5 mm boots, 3 mm gloves

The predicted surf report looked stellar, but the actual waves were kind of disappointing this afternoon, mushy, lots of froth, kicking rip current. Can’t complain too much though when the skies are cloudless and temps in the sixties in mid-October. (It was snowing in Michigan today, ha!) Pretty sore from yesterday’s hard paddling session, but still plenty of gas to go on. Had a lot of trouble catching clean faces today, but when I ignored that frustration, it was a hoot launching into the whitewater. Piggybacked off of yesterday’s progress and started doing a variety of cutbacks (nothing dramtic, but plenty enough to keep me on the appropriate section of wave). Super fun to finally figure that one out. Seems like I’ve been enjoying a lot more board control lately. Snapped a fin on the last paddle out though. Bummer.