Thursday, December 8, 2016

Greetings From The Great White North

Hope this finds you nice and snuggled in, ideally next to the fire place, your skis, snowshoes or fat bike now at rest after the days adventure.

2 years ago, having just purchased a fat bike I decided, with the help and advice of many, to head to Park Falls Wisconsin and test myself against The Tuscobia 150. Now here I sit, typing to you from a one bedroom apartment above Out There Nordic in Rice Lake, Wisconsin. Winter and all it's activities have captured my soul and if all goes according to plan, most of the winter will be spent here. Bjorn Hanson, his wife Kris (owners of Out There), son Per and dog Kussy have made me feel right at home. The next few months will be spent learning all things about xc skiing (Kris is a coach and has taken me under her wing), Fat biking, snowshoeing and learning how to survive AND enjoy nights spent in 10-20 below temp's. There is no TV, no car, just simplicity. Rice Lake is about 8200 folks and the pace of life here is perfect. A year ago I had the thought...."I wonder if I could figure out a way...". It was a bit scary leaving the known behind even if just for a few months but I can't remember ever feeling so excited. The snow is here and it will stay for the next 4 months.

This is what winter should be. If your ever in the area please stop in and say hi. Bjorn and the crew will be happy to chat ya up and if your looking for ski gear or advice about said gear, they really know their stuff. (A waxing clinic is underway downstairs as I type this.)

One last thing before I let you go. Whatever your "I wonder if I could..." question is, please make it happen for yourself. It will be better than you could imagine it.

The quiet space has also got me just about finished with my second book Upside Down in the Yukon River. Here is a little excerpt for you. (excuse any typos or misspelled words. She still needs to take a trip to the editor).

New chapter -
"Good day Mr.Cannon. Your reason for entering Canada?" - the customs agent asked. "Headed to the Yukon" I replied, a bit full of my adventurous self. "Taking on the world's longest kayak race."
I can only hazard a guess, as this was my first attempt to pass into another country, but my sense was that most answers were one word, maybe two and the agent would manufacture a smile, stamp the passport and grant access. Perhaps he or she may, if having a better than average day even follow up with a half or perhaps three quarter "Enjoy your Stay." My instincts reckoned that with hundreds or more likely thousands of "reason for entering's" and an equal amount of passports to be stamped there was little interest or time for banter.
I could almost see it happen....just as the words "enjoy your stay" were traveling from mind to mouth, elbow at the ready, passport about to be stamped, the gentleman caught himself. "What's that you say? Kayak race? World's longest?" Again, only guessing, but this fella snapping out of routine probably was an occurrence of some rarity. Certainly the token response of "business" or "pleasure" surely was met with only a stamp of the passport and a "Next please."
"Yep, that's right", glancing quickly over my shoulder, a hundred or more folks in wait, "Off to Whitehorse. 700 kilometers down the Yukon River, Whitehorse to Dawson City."
Perhaps I touched something in the man. Was he more than he appeared (most people are). Maybe he was a great adventurer or at the very least a flicker of adventure still burned inside the man. A few seconds delay at the Customs I surmised was equal to minutes in other situations. This line stopped, or slowed for more than the required time needed to move us travelers through seldom, if at all.
Looking up, stamp holder arm half cocked, stalled but at the ready, the gentlemans head still raised as I replied. The man took just a moment to fully absorb my answer. With a genuine smile of approval, he seemingly stamped my passport with not just seal of Canada but his own seal of approval. "Good luck man. Welcome to Canada!" And with that, I left the United States behind for the first time in my life."

Hope you enjoyed. If you want in on the early release just go to where you can download a free copy of my first book "40 Days" FREE for the holidays. (GREAT GIFT ALSO) and that gets you on the list for early release info for Upside Down in the Yukon River.

Happy Holidays to you all and to all a good night.

Steve Cannon