Monday, April 6, 2009

Charlie's 2008 Odyssey XX

Continuing with Charlie's Final Report:

Wednesday April 30
It was another cool night but I slept good. We were up a little after seven and after breakfast, breaking camp and on the river a little after 9:00.....another beautiful day. At the Ionia Fair Grounds I realized I did not have my life vest on and thinking I had left it in camp I headed back upstream. Dan and Jim said they would wait for me in Saranac.....and I thought I was done with the upstream paddling part of this trip...after paddling upstream a short ways I thought about it and remembered checking to make sure we had not left anything behind.  I pulled off the river and found my life vest up in the front of the boat. I put on my vest and paddled hard to catch up with Dan and Jim.
When we got to Saranac we pulled off the river at the Railroad Museum and walked into town for lunch. After lunch walking back we met and talked to George and Pat Raimer. They had paddled on Grand River Expedition 2000. After talking and buying a book on the history of the Grand River ("The Grand" by Kit Lane, part of her Rivers of Michigan series) Pat told me she had taken kayak lessons and was ready to paddle on Expedition 2010. She took some pictures and sent them to me along with the book. I would like to thank the Raimers for their kind and energetic hospitality. I remember meeting Pat and George on Expedition 2000 and hope we will be able to paddle together again on Grand River Expedition 2010.
We paddled on down the river and camped upstream of the Rogue River. For dinner we had T-bone and Porterhouse steaks, salad and baked potatoes. We sat around the fire and talked and went to bed about 10:30.

Thursday May 1:
We were up, had breakfast, broke camp and were on the river at 8:30. We paddled past the Rogue River and on to the dam in Grand Rapids (Sixth Street Dam and fish ladder). We portaged on the left and paddled over the coffer dams below on the right side of the river. The first one was the biggest drop....a little scary but the rest of them were fun. Paddling past the Gerald Ford Museum and seeing the dinosaur thru the glass window (My Note: dinosaur???) and the carousel above the river while going over one of the coffers was cool. Stopping downstream by a dinner paddle boat a jogger offered to go and get us water so we would not have to cross the highway or walk so far.

We camped downstream of M-45 a mile or so.  In honor of Verlen and the Ultimate Hugh HewardChallenge we had macaroni and cheese with tuna and peas. We toasted the trip and ate dinner by the campfire. It was good. After a few beers to celebrate the occasion I went to bed and slept like a baby.

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