Jacky and I knew each other in Chicago, and when her band (The August) moved to Nashville we became better friends. Then she got as obsessed with standup paddling as I am. We’ve done a bunch of cool paddles together, including in our bathrobes at the Ritz.
But now she enabled me to do states No. 32 and No. 33. We made the long drive from Nashville to her parents’ lakefront cabin in Wisconsin. The next morning we woke up (not early) to her mother making us breakfast. Then Jacky and her mom packed us a lunch (complete with names on our bags) and we got back in the car and drove some more to lovely Winona, Minnesota. I had never even heard of Winona until I looked at the map and it looked like it had a decent lake, but Jacky had been a bunch of times to visit friends who went to college there.
We paddled on Lake Winona, launching from a park district facility where locals can use paddleboards, kayaks and canoes (and log roll, something I want to add at NPC) if they have a membership, for $5 for 365 days. Sigh. Oh, and they had free WiFi. I was jealous of this place. But I digress.
We paddled for four hours, picnicking on our boards, looking at the amazing scenery, showing a few people how to hold their paddles properly, making our way under two bridges and finding Water Narnia. There had been storms recently, so the water was very high (one of the reasons we did not paddle the Mississippi here), but that allowed us to go places people usually can’t.
On our way out of town we stopped to buy some unusual supplies we knew we needed for No. 33.