Call it a TRI-FECTA if you will!!!
Left the house before Sunrise and headed down to meet V at Miller for a dawn patrol sesh. What an Epic sunrise, love the feeling of drivin to the beach while the clouds are turning orange and the trees are blowing in the breeze!!!!!
V got an even earlier start and was pumping up in the dark and riding at sunrise. He got a quick sesh in and then headed home to take care of Lil D!!!!!
PAPA V!!!!! He said the wind was crankin' and was about 20 degrees onshore at Miller.
I decided to check the Casino, though I figured it was directly onshore....shazam, sure as hell was. Windy though and the waves were still pumping.
I watched the sunrise begin to fade and stared at the smokestacks in the distance.....blowin' NE all the way to MC!!! The cloud line gave way to a cloudless sky somewhere between Burns Harbor and MC.....I decided to hit Beverly.
What a great decision it was.....my favorite TREE, was in full RED turning redder by the second as I headed down to the beach at Beverly. Wow it is absolutely spectacular down there.....a treasure indeed.
As I pulled in to the deserted parking lot, looking at all the tiles on the wall, I damn near fainted..........the wind was streaming sand down the beach at a perfect side-shore angle and the waves were lining up nicely!!! Sun was streaming through the trees, and I knew it was "game on".
There is a different level of intensity when you know that you will be kiting alone in big waves. I must add that I don't recommend others to kite alone.....kiting alone is something I have done for about 6 of the 10 years I have been kiting Lake Michigan, whenever I cannot find a buddy to brave the conditions with me.
(As an aside, I must say that I windsurfed the waves on the North Shore of Maui for a dozen years, often solo.....and have had to self-rescue in 20 foot waves many, many times!).....it is something I do with the utmost precaution and safety at all times, knowing that if something wrong occurs that quite simply....I must save myself. I accept those terms and focus entirely on the day at hand!!
Sitting in the parking lot and looking out on the scene below me, I knew it was going to be ONE of those days....the ones that fold your stomach inside out.....the ones you live for.....as I sat there, I recalled a conversation that I had with Matt Mulligan (the godfather) about 3 years ago. He told me that when the wind stays NE at the bottom after a big frontal push, and refuses to switch North....check out Beverly...it will be sideshore and the waves will be BIG and SMOOTH!! How right he was....
I rigged my 12m, even though the sand was screaming down the beach, cause I knew that there was going to be a CURRENT to contend with...on my first tack out, I believed the waves would be 6 to 8 feet, judging from shore. Well, as I kept jumping over the sets to get out, I quickly realized that they were double that height. AND smooth as a baby's butt!!!! There was a slight "warble" on them, but when the waves "jacked up", the warble disappeared and it was a glassy face, double over-head and breaking top to bottom!!!!
There is absolutely no mistaking the BOTTOM of the LAKE. There are no other waves on the lake that break as far out with as much force as the BOTTOM!! By the time you caught the inside smaller waves, they were steep and dumping....6 to 8 feet of rolling thunder!! and they were still a couple hundred feet offshore!!
The waves were tremendous, the wind 20-25 sideshore, but the CURRENT was a killer.....the most current I have ever experienced on the BIG LAKE. Although I could barely hold down my 12m, I would drift down the beach a good mile for every 4 waves I caught. I walked the beach three times and caught about a dozen waves over 2 hours. One wave was worth the effort and I notched a cool dozen!!!! Steepest faces I have kited since Maui last Winter!!!
I wanted to do a downwinder but had no buddies to ride with, so I packed it up and headed over to MC to check it out. Would've loved going from MC to Beverly, but saved that for another day, cause the MC jetty is so long, that I did not want to round it by myself....the wind was still streaming sand down the beach at MC, but I wanted to ride the other side of the jetty.....so I headed to Mt. Baldy (Scotty G's dream spot) and decided to pack in my gear, walk a mile up the beach, rig and ride in the shadow of the high, sandy, dune.
As I walked through the oak forests and up and down the dune, I started to hear the waves crashing on the shore. What a wonderful sound it was....as soon as I caught sight of the water, I knew I had made the right decision. The waves did not have the "warble" that I had seen at Beverly, and they were even cleaner!! The wind was still up, so I started walking up towards the power plant along the beach. I was hoping to have less CURRENT, so that I would be able to stay upwind!!! The current was less but still substantial.
Once again I rigged the 12m., and once again the current proved to be too much. I had to resign myself to the fact that I had to really "earn" these rides.....could've cost a million and that still would have been cheap, cause the rides were outstanding!!!! Breaking outside bout a 1/4 mile or so....with sooooo much room in between waves, the bottom turns were slow and meticulous (making every effort not to spin out at the bottom of the double head-high, thick, throwing waves).....I was able to get 5 to 6 turns a wave, and would exit the waves before they reformed on the inside! I had to pick the waves I rode very carefully, and would often kick-out at the last second in order to tag another "bigger and better" wave that I would see over my shoulder......head on a swivel.....
I cannot express the "awe" one feels being next to Mt. Baldy with the other dunes smiling in the distance, the trees turning colors on down the coast and the BIG LAKE in all it's splendor under a blue, blue SKY!!!! I caught about a dozen waves again, walked the beach 4 times, and milked it for all I could....I was spent!!!!!
I packed up my gear, decided to scale Mt. Baldy to get back to the parking lot (had never been on top of the "Fabled" dune) and checked out the view. WOW, that was nice....to be able to see the lines of waves coming around the jetty and setting up so well.....I WILL BE BACK, with a buddy I hope!!!!
Funny thing when I got to the top there was a couple checking out the "birds-eye" view of the Lake. They had smiles plastered across their faces, and commented on how much fun it looked like I was having. They said at first they were concerned about me, cause they heard alot of yelling going on. I simply laughed and said, that was me hootin' and hollerin' every time I kicked-out of a wave......they laughed with me and said "you must have been hollerin' pretty loud for us to be able to hear you all the way on top of the dune"......I smiled, and said "Maam, I am from Texas". She had another laugh, and said "noone hollers quite like an ol' TEXAN, do they"!!!! I said....."no maam, they don't".
I went back to MC, to check on the kiters that had started arriving...I could see them from the top of the dune....the wind had started to turn more North, and there were about 8 kiters having a good time and walking backupwind to stay away from the jetty..... I smiled and saluted and headed for the Shoreline Brewery for a little refreshment. I had a Singing Sands Stout and talked with the bartender, whom I recognized from open-mike night a week or so before.....he plays a mean cello!!!!
Greg gave me a call and was at Miller looking at 20-25 out of the NNE.....too onshore, he said. I told him to head back to the Casino and that I would meet him there for a sunset sesh!!!
I took the "SLOW" road....best road in the Midwest (MC to Beverly)....and took it all IN!!!!! Trees changing, birds singing, sun shining, marshes reflecting colors, flowers blooming, wind blowing (all at a creeping 10 mph)......then I came upon a lady filling her containers on the side of the road from a "deep" well. If you have been on this road you may have noticed the incessant water spout that is right off the road. I helped her load her car with the newly filled containers and shared in the "water from deep under"!!!!
After drinking my fill of the spring water, I hit the Skyway and headed to the casino.....seven come eleven!!!!11 Hit the parking lot to Greg boosting a "crowd pleaser".....yeah, it was going to be a good sunset!!!!
It was onshore, but with enough of an angle to make it very easy to get wayyyyyyy upwind with EASE!!!!! A nice comfort after all my beach walking earlier. We caught wave after wave, and had jump after twin-tippn jump, till the Sun moved on round the earth.
We were the only ones there, and it was grand!!!! Two buddies sharing waves, grins from ear to ear.....we kited for about 2 hours, till well past sunset.....Chicago skyline with darkening clouds lingering overhead, lights shimmering, oranges blues and greens mingling into each other, stars peeping out of their covers.....the TRI-FECTA was complete!!!!!
We stopped at the Riverside Saloon on 106th.....grabbed a couple of cold ones, and sat down with some Southside Bears fans tuning into the massacre of Jay Cutler!!! They had a spread of food for all at the bar, no charge; and Greg and I melted into our chairs and enjoyed the local charm!!
It would be a nice thing to be able to roll right down the street to get in a quick sesh and contiue on with your day....but then, what about all the other bylines that constitute a CLASSIC day......enjoy the beauty of the BIG LAKE, meet some folks, stare at the trees (shiz, even HUG one every once in awhile) and stop for a while to take it ALL IN!!!!!! That's what makes it so damn special for me!!!!! ALL HAIL ol' Mother Michigan!!!!!!