Chronicling the author’s 10,000-mile “Great Lakes Circle Tour,” this travel memoir seeks to answer a burning question: Is there a Great Lakes culture, and if so, what is it? Largely associated with the Midwest, the Great Lakes region actually has a culture that transcends the border between the United States and Canada. United by a love of encased meats, hockey, beer, snowmobiling, deer hunting, and classic-rock power ballads, the folks in Detroit have more in common with citizens in Windsor, Ontario, than those in Wichita, Kansas—while Toronto residents have more in common with Chicagoans than Montreal’s population. Much more than a typical armchair travel book, this humorous cultural exploration is filled with quirky people and unusual places that prove the obscure is far more interesting than the well known.


“Captures a slice of North Americana with the precision of a Walker Evans photograph, and sentences worthy of John McPhee.”

Neal Pollack, author, Alternadad

“[A] hearty, good-natured homage.”


“The author struts an extensive knowledge of the area that makes this a must for fans of travel literature.”

Kirkus Reviews

“To [Ted McClelland], the North is a state of mind, and it is the Great Lakes region that fuels his imagination.”

Chicago Tribune

“Is there a Great Lakes culture? Damned straight, and Ted McClelland nails it.”

Jerry Dennis, author, The Living Great Lakes and A Place on the Water

“The Third Coast is much like the place it chronicles: interesting, not at all ostentatious, and a great amount of fun.”

Tom Bissell, author, The Father of All Things

“[A] quirky travelogue.”

Kenosha News

“A very good read. I learned more about the Great Lakes region from it than I had in a half century of living in Michigan.”

The Bay City Times