This is the 121st Sunset Race. I’m surprised to say this, but I wasn’t looking forward to this one. I’m a fair weather paddler. Sort of, I’ll go out an heat and cold, and I really love snow paddling. What I don’t like is getting wet. Seems crazy to say and admit, but its true. Today, it was raining all day.
Before I left the house, I put my Kokatat dry suit on. This piece of gear would make the day much better. I loaded the boat in the rain, but only my hands and head got wet. Once loaded, I headed out to the river.
Its interesting how many people showed up for this paddle. We were here to paddle, so we took off for our race!
The photo above is where things got interesting. There was a light fog across the whole river. Not the kind that is dangerous and prevents visibility, but just a small amount. As we came downstream back to the put in, we paddled near the VFW post. They have a large LED security light over the whole area. This light created a laser light show effect across the whole river. As we passed the different size trees and their assorted branches, we would eclipse the light momentarily. This light show happened repeatedly for about 5 minutes as we floated by in awe!
I wish I had words that could begin to describe this. I almost wish for a photo that could capture it. But I do have a memory in my head that forms one of many reasons that I paddle the river every month. The surprises seem endless. Everybody should come out and make an adventure of their own!
I wonder how many more times I can say that the Sunset Race provided me with new entertainment. It seems like every time I go out to the river, a new experience awaits me. I started this one my favorite way. I went out about 90 minutes before the start and got in a unicycle ride.
When I got back from the unicycle ride a few paddlers had already shown up and more were arriving as we were getting close to starting. I had yet to put my boat in the water, but others has. That is when we noticed a hot air balloon coming our way very low. It eventually landed in a field about a 1/2 mile from the ramp!
Here is the view from the ramp.
Here is the view from the water.
And in case you were wondering, we do paddle during the sunset!
The 116th Sunset Race was set to go downriver to the Meramec Marina. The race would be 12 days before the MR340, so I hoped to see several paddlers out for a fun training run before the race. Several of my favorite people where here to paddle!
I brought two boats tonight. The kayak is for Megan to paddle, and I get the treat of having Danelle in the boat with me tonight!
Bernie looking dapper as ever!
Jon Marble getting ready to paddle.
Megan and Danelle getting ready.
Brian Waldrop checking out his outrigger.
With all of these boats, its always a challenge to tie up at the marina, but we’ve always found a way!
Megan coming down the dock.
Brian and Jon tying up their boats.
Bernie, Brian, and Danelle sharing a joke.
What a fantastic group of people and a great night for paddling!
How do you know when something is important to you? When you do whatever it takes to participate. For this Sunset Race, I started out in Port Lavaca, Texas. I woke up at 3:30 am in a hotel room after the Texas Water Safari. I thought I would start driving the day before, but I was wiped out!!! So I got up early, fired up Google Maps and started driving. Its just over 900 miles for this drive. I drove as far as I dared until I got tired, then pulled my van over and slept on the side of the road till I woke up. It helped that I shut off the van, so it got warm fast. With about 5 of these cat naps along the way, I arrived around 8:30 pm in time for the half way point of the race.
At one point near home, the wind and rain were so bad, I pulled over cause I wasn’t sure if the boat would stay on top of my van. Or the top of my van for that matter. Eventually I made it to have some beer with friends before going home and crashing for the night. While it can be done, I don’t recommend it!
I can’t say I was sad that I didn’t paddle this one!
January and February Sunset races seem the hardest to get people to show up to. This month we had repeat new people, Ken and Mark, to paddle with us. Mark is fairly new to paddling and we needed to share some warm weather gear with him, but its fun to have new paddlers!