The Perche Creek Gutbuster That Wasn't

Friday night: In Preparation

O’jeez.. I really thought I had it figured out. Plans had been made to get our new kayak on top of “Goldie” (Kelley’s Toyota Highlander). We have some friends who thought they’d be available, we borrowed some gear from my pal Mark at work. (Thanks Mark!) But as usual, my plans didn’t turn out exactly like that. Instead here I am holding my breath and hoping the Universe will step in and give a hand, else Kelley and I are gonna be hefting that boat by ourselves at 6 am.

With a little luck, I figured we’d manage.

And here is where the luck comes in. We’d already decided to go to the local wine tasting and I am secretly hoping somehow, something magic will happen and that 70 lb beast will, after all still land safely on the rack, tonight.

And sure enough, there he was holding a tasting glass: Our dear friend Mike and man, does he look STRONG! And he’s meeting our mutual pal Allen. Allen’s loaded a few kayaks in his time as well. Then Russ, our Ground Crew Tech Director and Jane’s husband shows up and next thing you know, there actually are a bunch of cars parked in our yard and some serious muscle is heaving our kayak atop Goldie.

And we are ready for the 2 hour trip in the morning.

I don’t know why the Universe continues to surprise me like this.. but She does. And it’s so grand .. and humbling. Thanks, you guys.

Saturday morning: “All dressed up…”

Oh heck, all of that effort to “get dressed” last night, and the race is postponed. It makes sense, of course. The the river is high and fast from all that rain. All that rain the we didn’t get any of, I mean. Charlie, you did a great job of making the call for safety’s sake, no doubt. (Race is postponed to April 26th, that’s next Saturday, if anyone’s interested.)

And did I mention that without the help of our proverbial village… Really, we’d never have known the race was canceled -and we’d be paddling in the garage.

The Race is Canceled?

Yep and lucky for us we’d planned to convoy with Gina on Saturday, she’s a solo paddler, but she had to drop out of the event. However, she is the clever paddler who thought to check the Rivermiles forum and found out the race was canceled. Thanks for the text, Gina, that’s something we never would have thought of. (We will from now on though, every time.) Also, huge thanks to Nesea, Dean and Paulla for the temporary loan of life vests — we are still trying out options for the right fit.

So there we were, the car all packed, Dad, peering through the front door expectantly. He’s relaxed and ready to spend the day hanging out at the river, cheering us on. “Hi, Dad. Wanna cup of coffee?” It’s 7:00 am and 40 degrees. Saturday. Kayak ready to go. All that adreneline but no race. Now what?

More coffee and a bowl of oatmeal later, we decided to launch for the first time at Lake Lotawana. We’ve some friends there and grew up on the Lake so it seemed fitting (in so many ways) for our maiden voyage.

Good thing we had ground crew on the shoreline. Thanks to their sharp eyes we would never have known how unbalanced we were. It took some time but Jane moved her seat around and leveled the weight, I was able to wiggle the rudder pedals some and get my knees below my chin (that’s darned uncomfortable, by the way) and off we went.

We defined success as: a few dry spots left on our pants, meaning we were not completely soaked by water dripping down our paddles. I only drove us into a dock twice when I pushed the wrong rudder pedal and while there were some near misses, I never actually whacked Jane in the head with my paddle.

See you on the water!

After about an hour, I’m pleased to say, we were lookin’ smooth and feelin’ good. Afterwards, we wrapped our as-yet-unnamed kayak up so we could store her at our dear friends, Dave and Jeanne’s place for now.

Plans are afoot to go out again as soon as we can!

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