Monday, April 20, 2009

A great evening with Coach (Larry Hoff)

This is Jim's daughter Karen, posting an update at his request.

Last night I used the "contact us" email on Larry Hoff's website to try and determine his whereabouts. I got an email back saying that Larry was hoping to make Dimondale by Monday night and would be looking for a ride to Portland. (Read his account of his first three days voyage at

Well, my brother works near Dimondale, and I was only too happy to volunteer him to do the honors. And of course, I would bring The Topologist along so he could have the chance to meet "Coach," as Larry is known on the trail/river. As things worked out, Nancy Hamlin-Anderson was visiting Dad and joined us.

What a great evening we all had. We met Coach just past the Bridge St. bridge in Dimondale, and offered him a warm car to wait in while my brother drove from work to the firehouse parking lot next to the river. Once Jim was there, with Coach setting the pace, we had the Sea Wind loaded in no time flat and were on the road to Portland.

We made one brief stop at "the River House," Jim's house on the Grand River, to tighten the lashings. Jim showed Coach the spot across the river from his yard where Verlen Kruger is buried.

From the River House we took the back roads to Portland, got Coach checked into the local Best Western, and had dinner at Jerry's, a local watering hole. Dinner was a treasure-trove of stories from one end to the other - and we introduced Coach to a famous Michigan summer beer called Oberon.

It was one of those rare evenings - surprising and spontaneous and yet so completely meant-to-be.

L to R: Karen Stock (Jim's daughter), Coach, Jim Woodruff (The Topologist), Nancy Hamlin-Anderson, and Jim Woodruff (the son).

The Intrepid Four are spending a warm dry night as well, at the home of Ron Sell, owner of Unadilla Boatworks in Gregory Michigan. We haven't heard from Jon Holmes today, but his GPS tracker shows him west of Portage Lake.

Another damp cold day tomorrow - hope the paddlers get a weather-break soon!

(Karen Stock for)
Jim Woodruff
On the Grand River
in Delta Township