The Great Lakes are great for many reasons, but the word, in its original usage, simply meant large. And that they are. So large, in fact, that in many places the curvature of the earth hides the opposing shoreline from view; so large that the moon’s gravitational force causes measurable tides. Sitting on the beach, or bobbing in the water, you gaze at the horizon as if over the expanse of a vast ocean.

Some months ago we left the oceans behind with a heavy heart. Dry land can be awesome, but even the most boring towns are made more interesting if they’re on the water. Thankfully, this part of our voyage wound us East to West through the Great Lakes. I’d seen Lake Michigan from the shores of Chicago, but I still didn’t expect the beautiful blue and green water we encountered throughout much of the region. At times, when the light was right, blue water would mix with reddish sediment to cause purple striations close to shore.

We expected large, we found great.

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