Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Charlie's 2008 Odyssey II

Email from Ron Sell March 31st:
Okay, here are the details. I realized that today was my best chance for catching up with Charlie and that I could probably find him at the portage at Ford Lake Dam or on Ford Lake. So I loaded a boat on  the car and headed for Ypsilanti about 10 AM. There's a township park with a boat launch ramp on the south side about half way down, I stopped there first to see if i could see him in the water. Shocked to see most of the lake was still covered with ice! Took out the binoculars and sure enough, to the south edge of the ice was a lone paddler in a Sea Wind, surrounded by mergansers, geese, and a migrating loon or two. We communicated to meet back at the dam, where Charlie spent the previous night at Hydro Park on the downstream side, dry and cozy under a the picnic pavilion. We loaded his gear his gear into my car while we pondered options and headed for the Sidetrack Saloon in the Depotown side of Ypsilanti. While stomachs were filled with burgers, batteries were charged, rain gear dried out and paddling stories swapped we decided that since the boat was already loaded, might as well "portage" on up to the Peninsular Dam at LeForge Road and save hours of fighting against swollen currents and obstacles through downtown Ypsilanti. Back in the water, he continued upstream on Peninsular Pond....
My Email April 1st:
Got a call from Charlie at 10:30 AM. He just passed under US23 on his way to Ann Arbor. Has had to portage two dams. Tough head wind. He sounded pretty chipper, identified himself as "Hugh Heward, Jr." I forgot to ask him where he camped last night.
In a message to Ron Sell on March 18 Charlie said:: "Hey, this is an adventure and I don't want to know everything...It is said that "The  true adventurer goes forth aimless and uncalculating to meet and greet unknown fate..."
I think you all will agree that Charlie is getting his wish.  He has to go through Hell, make a multi-mile portage and wade through the Portage Lake Swamp before he can start to ride downhill to Lake Michigan.
My Email April 2nd:
11:15. Charlie called. he's on his way home to refit and revise his outfit. His wife Deb picked him up. What we didn't hear from Ron was that Charlie dunked yesterday by the footbridge across the river. Wiped out by an overhanging branch. He intends to restart at Argo Pond in Ann Arbor in a couple of days.

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