Every summer our family vacation consisted of packing a vast array of fishing tackle into our white Chevy Impala trimmed out in red leather seats, but no AC, and heading north 671 miles to Leech Lake, Minnesota. Our annual trip promised my sisters and I that our Dad would enjoy a few fun-filled days with all of us. A time when he’d leave the business concerns behind, relaxing with the family. It was the highlight of my summer… better than playing baseball, eating fresh watermelon, hanging out at the pool – better than staying up late or sleeping in ‘til noon. To this day the sights, smells and sounds of Leech Lake remain fresh in my mind. My sister Deb and I swore we’d buy our beloved Merit Lodge when we grew up… she’d run the lodge and I’d become the best guide on the lake.

Well, time has a way of changing our goals. I still love Minnesota and Leech Lake will always be special in my heart, but there’s so much to explore. Today, I find the road calling me out to different places and new experiences. My 15 year old son, Sam, is an aspiring freestyle kayaker, so, what better way to see part of the country than tour a few western states where whitewater flows.

So it was that our 2007 Summer of Love tour was born. Our ultimate destination would be the Oregon coast; how we navigated our path would become quite the journey.

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