His favorite places along the way: "There are a whole lot of beautiful spots up in the Upper Peninsula that I think a lot of people here maybe don't know about, despite how close it really is. A lot of the Pictured Rocks and Porcupine Mountains parks are amazing. The absolute standout for me, though, was Lake Superior Provincial Park, which is about 150 kilometers north of Sault Ste. Marie. It's a really big park with tons of accessible lakeshore, and pictographs that are hundreds of years old, but you can really go see them. A lot of times you go to see pictographs and think, 'What am I looking at?' Not here."

His favorite person: "I was trying to find the house I was staying at in Big Bay, a town north of Marquette, and it was pouring rain. This guy pulls up next to me in a Toyota pickup who looked a lot like Jesus, and he introduced himself as Chauncey. I said, 'Thanks for looking out for me,' and he replied, 'That's what shepherds do.' He showed up later wearing knee-high rubber wader boots, and it turned out he's the oldest registered overland firefighter in the United States. He's been fighting forest fires since he was a kid, and he's in his 70s now. He had incredible stories about the backcountry around there, and flying helicopters around there."

His favorite lesson: "Mining is the one issue that came up everywhere. It affects the lake in so many ways, especially in the U.P. It's something people are thinking a lot about, and it's how a lot of people make a living. Some of those people know it's not good for the environment, but they say, 'But how am I supposed to feed my family?' The position I started taking is there really shouldn't be a choice between having freshwater and having a job. A job is not more important than clean drinking water for your family. Water makes up 75 percent of your body. If you don't have clean water, what does a job matter?"

Chris Riemenschneider