Crossing the Big Lake

It had been a quiet week up here in Lake Wobegon country when He walked in. He began asking questions about tents that came in black. Well, there aren’t any. But, we asked, wouldn’t a black tent be depressing?

It had been a quiet week up here in Lake Wobegon country when He walked in. He began asking questions about tents that came in black. Well, there aren’t any. But, we asked, wouldn’t a black tent be depressing?

Not when you’re going to sleep during the day. It’ll be warmer and darker! Especially in the winter and especially on Lake Superior! See, I’m gonna pull a kayak all the way across the lake, from one end to the other. If I run into open water, I’ll just jump into my boat!

If you run into open water? We are aghast. Lake Superior hasn’t frozen completely over since 1994 and our winters are only getting warmer. I say this to him calmly as I envision the cold, dark waters of Superior swallowing him and his black tent whole. It has no effect on him. He rambles on.

Then, after a good night of traveling, I’ll get into my tent and sleep on my elbows and knees! That way I won’t have to take a pad!

I remember having to hold myself off the ground like that, only it was a form of torture my college soccer coach used to build our core muscles. Holding it for more than 30 seconds hurt. It hurt a lot. He’s going to sleep like this?

Oh, and I’m only going to eat on the days (nights, actually) that I travel! If I get stuck in a storm, I’ll just not eat! I don’t want to waste calories on days that I’m not actually traveling. That way I won’t have to pull so much stuff. I’ve been preparing for the trip by going three days without sleeping or eating!

We’re stupefied and we don’t want this man to die, but he is set on this so after a few more gentle hints we order him a harness and pole system to pull his sled-boat. We further recommend he do some more research on winter travel on ice or water.

Over the next month or two Hecomes in a couple of times to pick up his harness system and to chat a little gear. He’s still planning his trip and doesn’t seem to have changed his mind about much of anything. Next winter, we’re going to keep a close eye on the obituary page.

-- Robert Quinn

Through July 1, retail sales staff answered the contest call to submit a story of survival and perseverance in the face of challenging customers. The story titles with summaries that made the first round of qualifications are listed below, and each is now in the hands of our judges to decide on the top 10. You can read each story in its entirety by going to the contest landing page -- click here.

Ten lucky story writers will each win over $1,000 in product prizes based on the contest judges' votes. Here is where you come in! Of those 10, one will be named the grand prizewinner, cashing in on a trip for two to Outdoor Retailer Winter Market 2007. Three others will be named official "honorable mentions," and in addition to the valuable prizes, each will receive a gift certificate that can be redeemed toward attendance at an Outdoor Industry Association-sponsored event, such as Outdoor University, Mountain Sports Festival or the OIA Rendezvous. The grand prize winner will be announced at Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2006. We will determine the grand prize winner and the three runner up winners based on popular vote (sorry judges) -- those among the top ten receiving the most votes win, it's that simple. This is for store pride, for knowing you have a winner amongst you, so vote as often as you like. Tell your friends. Tell your friends friends. Tell your dog -- but only if he can work a computer keyboard.

Deadline for voting is August 1, 2006.Click here to register your vote now!

Did you miss out on this year's contest? Bummer, but no worries. If you haven't already done so, outdoor retail staff can get ready for next year by activating a subscription now at Then, watch your SNEWS® for announcements calling for our next contest entries and get ready to be a winner.



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