Friday, March 2, 2012

Just a Couple of Ducks...

I finally understand how a duck feels. Truly. On the surface, calm and serene, floating on top of the water. Underneath, his little feet are moving lightning fast just to keep him afloat and, hopefully, steer him in the right direction.

For the last few months, we've had to take a serious look at our future. And the overwhelming truth is that the business we've been planning for almost a year is one with scary steep start up costs, equipment, staff, supplies, insurance, etc. So we came to a fork in the road. We could go left, stay stubborn and push this business with barely any capitol, experience and little-to-know bank support (apparently adventure travel companies carry a bit of risk... who knew...) or we could take a step back and find a way to insure the success of this company by taking an alternate route.

So... we're starting with a parent company.

Bobby's always had another dream (can you tell we're a family of dreamers??), to open a military surplus/outdoor recreation shop. The Reader's Digest version is that by starting under this umbrella, we'll have a location to run GLAT out of when the time is right. It's like that old saying "The right thing at the wrong time is the wrong thing". Or something to that effect. Anyway, it makes sense for now.

So that's where we've been! Checking out properties with realtors, meeting with banks, talking to investors,... even Scout's cramming for his Canine Good Citizenship Test (to become the ultimate Shop Dog!).

So don't worry. Great Lakes Adventures isn't going anywhere. Its just taking a backseat for a little while. Stay tuned for more info about our new project... Alpha Troop Supply.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Holiday Craziness!

Well it has been a month of crazy holiday parties, long work days and shorter days. Which is why it is easy to get distracted from time in the great outdoors and other passions. However, at Great Lakes Adventure Travel we stand firm in the belief that whether you have 30 minutes or 30 days you can get outside and enjoy this time of year.
In fact we are planning a section of the Coast to Coast trail after the Holiday Season has ended. If you are unfamiliar with this trail system that is not uncommon. In fact I only learned about it a few years ago and have been interested in doing some winter hiking/nordic skiing along its terrain. The trail is broken up into approximately 3 sections and the one we are planning on hiking starts in Oscoda, MI and follows the Au Sable River, which is known for its trout and steelhead fishing.
We are planning on this trip lasting 3 day and 2 nights and will be an experience that we are looking forward to.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Thanksgiving in the Backcountry

As we approach this festive season of eating, I can't help but long to grab a backpack and a tent and head out into the beautiful crisp fall air. Granted, the leaves have all fallen and it feels as if snow is *about* to fall at any minute, but isn't that the fun of fall camping?

The only thing I'd miss about a backpacking Thanksgiving would be the pumpkin pie. But we did try a Thanksgiving dinner one trip- rustic style, of course. A variation of the Backpacker recipe, we boiled water and added it to savory stuffing mix with diced apple, dried cranberries, crushed walnuts and a packet of chicken. Let me tell you, after a day of hiking in the rain in West Virginia, it seemed like the most delicious meal we'd ever eaten. Had I the forethought of that pumpkin pie, it would have been heaven.

As we ate, we talked about how fun it would be to take the whole family camping on Thanksgiving. Maybe not rustic backpacking (not everyone is as adventurous as we are, I know...) but with preset tents, cots and blankets. A truly cozy campfire, lounge chairs and a hearty Thanksgiving feast... Campfire Roasted Turkey... Cornbread... Cranberry Relish... Baked Potatoes... Pumpkin Pie... Sounds like a dream to me! And a bit more true to the first Thanksgiving, don't you think??

True "glamping". Probably the only way my family would even consider it.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

A note on "VIP"s

VIP: "Very Important Person"
n.  A person of great importance or influence, especially a dignitary who commands special treatment.

 I know it's a fairly common practice to treat certain clients differently. They get special perks, discounted pricing, the royal treatment. And in this world of actors getting a hand slap when they're instead of jail time, universities covering up crimes for fear of scandal and people becoming celebrities for absolutely no reason, it seems our whole moral code has gone out the window.

This is definitely a pet peeve, but it goes deeper than that. Why give someone special treatment over another person? Because they have money? Because they're famous? Because they travel in the right circles?

The wonderful thing about starting a business from scratch is being able to identify your company values. And one of our most important beliefs is that everyone is a VIP. It doesn't matter if you're taking a trip with your family or you're the President of the United States, everyone will be treated the same. We will work hard to provide an amazing experience for every single person who travels with us, no matter who you are.

We're one small company but, maybe, if we stand firm in our values, we might make a difference.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Whoa, we have a website!

That's right! We have a website!

Ok, so it's only one page... but it's a start!

And the flood of enthusiasm we're receiving as we pursue this business more and more is incredible. From the talented friends offering to help with logo and website design, to the skilled adventurers offering to lead tours, to the family and friends who are there just to chat and offer their love and support. Thank you everyone! It makes this potentially-scary venture so much easier.

And what comes from this outpouring of support is all of the new ideas gathered! Everyone brings something new to the table. "Have you thought about trip...?", "Would you consider doing this...?". I constantly find myself looking for my notebook to jot down all these amazing ideas! Fly fishing in Canada, an urban bike trip from Chicago to Ann Arbor, backpacking on Isle Royale...

Something tells me we're never going to run out of ideas for this business...

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Cross State Cycling

This idea has been on the back of our minds for awhile now.

It started from the lifelong dream of cycling cross country- taking a few months off and just exploring this amazing nation. But since Bobby and I aren't closet millionaire, trust fund babies or completely irresponsible, it's going to continue to simmer on the back burner of our fantasies for a little while.

But it's how our cross state idea came about. We were walking along the Huron with shop dog, talking about our 30 Before Thirty lists. One of his is to take a motorcycle/backpacking trip with a couple of his Army buddies when one of them gets back from Afghanistan next year.
And in the midst of the bungee-jumping and wine-tasting-in-Italy fantasies, we both came up with biking across Michigan. From Ann Arbor, up the east coast, all the way to Mackinac Island.

The 340 some miles sounded daunting, but soon visions of small town charm, local eateries and inns along the way, horseback riding and ice cream on the island filled our heads. This could be incredible!

At a leisurely pace, we could comfortably ride 60-70 miles in a day, with frequent stops for dining, exploring and relaxing, making it a 5-6 day ride with a day or two days on the island. Add transportation for the trip home and I think we're onto something!

The only question is... are we the only crazy ones? Would anyone want to take this trip? I guess we'll find out as we dive into it further!

oh, Mackinac Island, how I love you!

Friday, November 4, 2011

So sorry...

Hey all,
Sorry for the lack of posts lately! It's been pretty crazy in our neck of the woods. Work, business planning, family, traveling... and a root canal, to top it all off.

I've been ignoring this pain in my mouth for months now, hoping it would go away. After all, I'm a busy girl! I've got things to do! Places to go! People to see! Mountains to climb! No little toothache could slow me down!

Until Tuesday. When the pain became so unbearable, I could hardly walk. I couldn't eat or sleep. All I did was lay on the floor crying in pain. After staggering to the dentist, he suggested an emergency root canal. But before I could have a chance to freak out, the nurse had me sucking in nitrous oxide and it was off to la-la land for me! I vaguely remember a drill and dreaming that I was in a Super Mario game.

Suffice it to say, I'm feeling much better thanks to rest and my personal pharmacy next to me. :)

So onward and upward! Time to keep dreaming and keep planning! What's next? WINTER TRAVELS!! Looking forward to cross country skiing, snowshoeing, hot cocoa and all things Christmas!

  En guard!!
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