Friday, September 24, 2004

The Long Promised Canoe Trip Blog

Just sit right back and you'll hear a tale,
a tale of a canoe trip.
That started from Eaton Rapids,
aboard a canoe not a ship.
The leader was an ex-navy man,
his intentions brave and sure.
Seven customer reps set off that day,
in three metal canoes, three metal canoes………
The weather was very nice,
but the tiny boat got tossed.
If not for the speed of Steven's crew
the canoe would be lost; the Canoe would be lost.
The boat hit ground on the shore of Grand River
with Larry, the Winston too,
Steven, and his Wife,
Olympia, Rufus and Alice,
here on Larry's Canoe Trip.

I could not work in my office building, if not for my group of friends there. They make it more then tolerable in an intolerable situation. A prime example was yesterday at the weekly (uh bi-weekly maybe, I can’t keep up) meeting. Maude Flaunders had decided to go over the call numbers with us for the last 3 months. We answered 18,000 out of 20,000 received the first month. 18,000 out of 19,500 the second month. And 18.000 out of 24,000 the last month. Maude explained that if we can just knock 20 seconds off each call…

That is the type of thing that would drive me loco if I did not have my friends to talk to about this. Okay, more then talking, more like tearing it apart and making fun of it. (“I think I detect a pattern in the amount of calls we answer each month!”)

Part of the reason we get along so well is that we not only work together, we play together. Golf outing, Wally’s wake. Winston’s birthday party. The future promises bowling, card night, some type of party involving costumes and singing, and a night of running around the local bar scene wearing panda costumes. (Steven: We will be thrown out of the bar! Me: What are they going to say, don’t ever show your panda face here again?)

Mid-Aug of this year I mentioned a nice little canoe trip I like to take about once a year. The river is slow but steady, no real rapids, and is always a great little trip. Usually takes between 4-6 hours. Got a couple of bites of people interested. Set up a Saturday morning meeting time at the local Meijers. Grabbed breakfast and headed out. My friend Ivan planned on coming with us, so I stopped at his place first. This was before the golf scramble so I was actually bummed he could not make it.

Got to the meeting spot, then we loaded up into two cars and drove to the park. Now without Ivan, that left us with an uneven number of people. We would either have one person in a canoe by themselves or three people in one canoe. Alice volunteered to be the monkey in the middle. Everyone chipped in for canoes and beer then we were driven to the landing to start our trip.

The purpose is to canoe back to the cars. The time was around 10:30. The park estimates it at four and a half hours. I cautioned that it usually takes longer. The only one who was even worried was Winston, who had to be at an appointment before 5. I told him of course we would be done waaaaay before then!

We split into our canoe groups, Steve and his wife, Olympia and Rufus, and Winston, Alice and me in the last canoe. I took the back seat to steer, Winston in the front seat to be the navigator and lookout, and Alice in the middle doing her best Cleopatra imitation. All loaded, and we pushed off.

In a fine example of boatmanship, we went about 3 feet before we tipped over.

I hadn’t figured out the problem at this point, but I started to after a few miss launches. Winston was very nervous and kept over shifting his weight. Looking back I should have realized there would be problems when he put on his way too small life vest a half hour before we got to the river.

Got everything reloaded into the canoe (cooler, food, towels, shoes, Alice) In between fits of laughter, this very nice wino helped push us off.

We went about 100 yards before we ran into trouble. About 1 minute after I opened my beer.

I guess I did not really explain to Winston that he is the lookout in the canoe. That when we are heading something in or above the water, he needs to let me know so I can dodge it. Like a tree. Winston and his damn trees. I will take partial blame for this, not briefing him on his job. I also have to note he might have been distracted, Rufus was right in front of us, and he does have a nice ass.

By the time I saw the tree hanging over the water it was too late. I fell out, but Winston took the blunt of the tree. It was one of those events in life were everything goes to slow motion. I watched Winston’s ordeal. That tree took unwanted privileges with Winston that day. It was not pretty.

The river was a little fast at this point, so the other two canoes collected everything that was dumped out of the canoe (cooler, food, towels, shoes, Alice). Steven managed to save our canoe as it rocketed down the river. I am very grateful for this service because I needed that canoe to finish the trip.

After about an hour of resorting, looking for Winston’s glasses (yeah, never found them) we got back moving. Winston was now in the Cleopatra seat with Alice in the front. I got another beer.

Went about an hour before we hit a rock, Winston, moved the wrong way. I was sick of getting dunked in water at this point. So, I drank more beer. It helped.

We reached a resting point and had lunch. Alice made these great sandwiches. Then it was time to move on. Winston and I got in the canoe. Steve, being a gentleman helped Alice in the canoe. I really am not sure what happen this time, just that I and only I ended up in the water.

“What the hell are you guys doing”, I yelled when I resurfaced. Was really funny.

The rest of the trip was non-eventful. Well, Rufus did have problems walking in the mud during a rest stop break. That was messy. Winston made it to his appointment on time. No one drown.

These are the people that help me survive work everyday. Steven said that every time he does something with me outside of work, it’s an adventure. Good, wouldn’t want life to get boring. It is not just I; everyone in the group is fun. I may sound like a snob, but let others in the office be jealous and uptight. We have fun at work and at play. We will canoe again, and Winston promises to be waiting for us at the bar when we are done!

5 Comments:

Blogger CarpeDM said...

You know, for a minute, I was extremely jealous that you got to go canoeing. For a minute. Then I read further. And I became scared. But also laughed. Laughed quietly so I did not wake the neighbors by snorting uncontrollably (although I wanted to, believe me).

Larry, I got to tell you, Beth and I are so glad you stumbled onto my blog. You are great and a lot of fun and we really enjoy reading your adventures.

10:32 AM  
Blogger brooksba said...

I love it!

Thank you for sharing the story of the canoe trip with us Larry. This was priceless. It reminded me of tubing down the Apple River (which people in the Twin Cities seem to enjoy). I could just picture the dreaded tree and poor Alice.

I think it's fantastic that you can have fun with your co-workers. It makes working for a living easier.

4:58 PM  
Blogger Brat said...

Ahhhh, the adventures I miss . . . . although I can say with all certainty I would have ended up being soaked also more than once but as long as the beer is cold, the weather good and good companionship--who cares? But there is something to be said for tubing down the river . . . less stress!!

9:03 AM  
Blogger keem said...

Funny! Had a family reunion this year. They decided to do the canoeing thing too. One of my relatives didn't know how to swim and decided they didn't need a life jacket. Bet you can't guess what happened to her? Yep. She fell into the river and freaked out. Go figure! non-swimmer, no life jacket on the river in a canoe = stupid. :) Your stories are great!

8:27 AM  
Blogger CarpeDM said...

I was re-reading your blog, looking for shadow people (?) which I am assuming are faceless comments made by stupid people and I came across this:

"some type of party involving costumes and singing, and a night of running around the local bar scene wearing panda costumes. (Steven: We will be thrown out of the bar! Me: What are they going to say, don’t ever sow your panda face here again?)"

You have worn panda costumes? And I wasn't invited? I love pandas about as much as Beth loves penguins! Which is a lot.

5:39 PM  

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Desert Shield/storm vet. I am the one at work who comes up with the ideas on filling up those non-work hours. (ok, who is up for canoeing this weekend?) After several wrong turns, have finally found the love of my life.

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