A group of us training for the MR340 met in the early hours in New Haven, MO to have a training run. For this paddle, I decided to test out a new camera setup on the boat to try and get the best possible video. The first video is the paddle iteself.
We stopped at the Klondike ramp for what turned out to be lunch. I got out of the boat and walked around while people ate their food. I ended up barefoot and wiggling my toes in the sand/mud. What happened next totally amazed me. I sunk down to my knees!
As I continued to step around, the sand turned into what I can only describe as quicksand. Stand too long and you sunk into it. Step quickly and you could go over it. I didn’t test how deep I could go as it was quite hard to get out when getting knee deep! See it in action from the video!
I wish I had gotten a longer video. Just after I got out, JoJo stepped in it and promptly sank. Its particularly funny because she weighs about 80 pounds less than me.
The river is always there to entertain us if we’re willing to participate!
I love the big rivers around St. Louis. I spend a lot of time thinking about how I can travel them. A trip I have been thinking about for a while now is a float down the Mississippi to Kimmswick, MO. The map below is a screen capture from maps.google.com with driving directions from St. Louis to Kimmswick.
With a float trip in mind, I just needed an excuse to drive down there and look for river access. On this particular Saturday, it was cold and we had a scheduling issue. We got the wrong time for Corvin’s basketball game and showed up as the game was over. We were all frustrated with the situation and didn’t want to go home and stew over the mistake. I took the initiative and suggested we drive to Kimmswick to check it out. Further more, I suggested we wait until we got down there to get lunch instead of going to one of the same old hangouts.
As we drove down, I was in a bit of a hurry because the grunts of hunger were getting louder and more often. Getting off the highway, there seemed to be only one place to eat, The Blue Owl. The kids weren’t so sure about the restaurant, but we went in and sat down anyway. The food was amazing and the regular apple pie large enough to feed a family.
After lunch, we took a cold walk around the town square looking at the different shops. They are mostly what I would call “junk” shops.
Ultimately, I didn’t find any way to access the river from the city and give up. Looking now, there is Hoppie’s Marina that we were very close too, but didn’t realize at the time.
After browsing all the stores, we ended up at Flamm City access on the Meramec river. The kids had a blast exploring and throwing rocks in the river. Overall, it was a perfect day to be together as a family and explore our surroundings!
I’ve been talking about wanting to paddle while it was snowing for about two years now. Today, I got my first taste. I was snowing good and my boss let me out of work early for new years eve and snow. I called my paddling buddy, Jo Newbold and she was up for a snow paddle. So out to the river we went.
Unfortunately for me, once I got out on the river, the snow stopped. We did receive sleet, but no serious continuous snow. There were pockets of ice on the river. I told Jo that I was going to ram the ice, she warned me to take it slow. I’m glad I did, because the boat started to slide up the ice and got quite tippy. Lucky for me I didn’t tip over, but it was closer than I wanted.
In the ice was a fish that jumped, but didn’t get back in the water…
Each month, I participate in the Sunset Race Series. This event is the second Thursday of each month and traditionally held on the Merimec river. This month, we had a slight change of venue. Instead of everybody bring their own boats and racing to the finish, we all piled into a 31′ voyager canoe build by Joe Ringling and Martin (Larry) Hassle. The canoe is the product of approximately 2000 hours of woodwork. The finished product shows the quality workmanship and provides an amazing boat to paddle.
The voyager canoe is build for racing. It was designed after an Olympic C1 canoe, but run through the “Honey I Blew Up The Boat” ray to make fit a few more people. At a stop, the boat is very tippy. This provides adequate motivation to continue paddling under all conditions! And it is critical to continue paddling in this boat.
We had a minor incident during this outing. The incident proved that we need to respect the boat and the conditions. We ended up having two motorboats and the voyager within approximately 60 of each other in the river. We were paddling, but slowed to see what was going on. There was a water skier in the water. About the time all three boat converged, the water skier was pulled from the water. Each motorboat took off at speed from the area in different directions. This created what I call a vortex of crossing waves. What felt like a 4 foot hole/wave was created in front of the boat. Larry was able to turn us into the worst of it. Sitting in the second row of the boat, I took a wave over the bow that was chest high, soaking me good. I stopped paddling (bad me) and the boat rocked quite good to the left. I thought for sure we were going over, but between our momentum and the people in the back still paddling, we rode out the worst of it and stayed upright. We estimated taking on 20 gallons of water to the boat. All that was available was a single sponge to remove the water. It took most of the trip back to get the water out of the boat. Joe and Larry are working on getting a battery operated bilge to help in situations like that.
Overall it was a perfect paddle up and down the river in a boat that turned the heads of all! I’m looking forward to the Race For The Rivers where I’ll get to paddle in it again for 41 miles of the Missouri!