Sunday, July 29, 2012

Jim's initial Spot Check came in at 8:23 AM as he started the first leg of the Great River Rumble after a sleepless night.  He tried hard to be well prepared for this trip, recognizing that the heat was going to be a big factor.  What he didn't figure on, and couldn't have known about, was that the first nights' camp-site, decided upon by the organizers, was directly under the flight-approach path to the airport serving the capital.  As if that wasn't bad enough, Jim said that apparently everyone and his grandpa in Jefferson City must ride motorcycles - AT MIDNIGHT!  Noisy cycles came through the campsite one after the other all night long.  At one point, Jim heard a gun-shot, with a ricochet hitting something, but the motorcycle noises continued, non-stop.  On a positive note, Jim's new fan worked well, and he only had to use it for a couple of hours before thunder storms lowered the temp. Even then, the cycles came!   There was a 3.5 knot current running today in the low-level river, and even with a day-long headwind, Jim made the days' destination, near Bonnets Mill at 2:26.  The group stopped at noon for about a half-hour lunch break.  Some of the paddlers debarked to stretch their legs, but quickly ended up knee-deep in oily mud.  Jim opted to stay in Ibi.  Earlier in the day he had a chance to observe the "safety net" put in place by the trip organizers.  Two canoeists capsized and were quickly picked up the safety crew accompanying the group in a power boat after Jim alerted them to the situation.  At days' end, after arranging his camp site, Jim volunteered to stay with the boats while everyone else went to dinner.  I hope there was enough food left for him later!  Our conversation on the phone was constantly interrupted by his yawns as he awaited their return, and he was really looking forward to putting his head down for some well-deserved (and needed!) rest.  Don't know how that will work out.  Tonight's camp-site is on the front lawn of a private residence - immediately adjacent to a busy railroad crossing complete with a working (and noisy) crossing-gate. Oh, for a pair of earplugs.   Our group will meet another paddling group sometime this week.  The other group is taking part in a 340-mile, non-stop race.  Many in that group are members of the intrepid "Water Tribe," individuals noted for their participation in endurance events such as the "Round Florida Non-Stop" race.   I guess some people are just gluttons for punishment.  For now, I'm just praying for a peaceful night for Jim and his group and a good day tomorrow. 

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