Sunday, October 11, 2015

The Great Pumpkin Rides Again

The great pumpkin has slept since it went into the shop for repairs at the end of July. Carl turned the repairs around quickly, but vacations, weather, and family obligations meant there were no opportunities to get her back on the water.

Truth be told my crazy conjured up images of there being more damage than Carl had noticed or that I hit another rock. These were not reality based concerns.

Carl always does solid work and this repair was no different. He reinforced the area with extra glass and from the outside you could not tell where the damage was done. Carl did leave some of the scratches in place so I could brag.

This weekend the stars finally aligned. I had time and the weather was good. Two paddles were scheduled: surfing at Narragansett Beach and a tour along the outer coast of the Bay from Pier 5 to Harbor of Refuge. I decided to go with Pier 5 because Sunday is better for me and while the pumpkin is made for surfing I enjoy some variety in a paddle.

On Saturday, one of my chores was to clear cut a tangle of vines and prickly thorns out from behind the garage. How hard can pulling out a bunch of weeds when you are equipped with a pair of mucho grande shears? When you are an office drone in his mid-40s, it can be a crippling experience. I yanked on a particularly truculent weed and felt by back tweak. In a fit of not wanting to admit I’m middle aged, I didn’t stop the clear cutting to give my back a rest….

By dinner time I was barely able to walk, but I was not willing to admit I couldn’t paddle. I packed my gear in the car and parked my butt on the couch with a heating pad. I even swallowed my crazy dislike of Tylenol and took two before bed.

H made me promise that I wouldn’t make any stupid decisions in the morning…. She didn’t want to rescue me once I was in Narragansett.

Things didn’t get much better. By bed time, I could barely move. I wasn’t even sure I was going to be able to sleep….

When I woke up, I gingerly rolled onto my feet not sure if I’d crumble to the floor. I felt a little twinge. As I went about my business, the twinge went away. I still popped a dose of Tylenol for good measure. Then I finished kayak prep by putting the pumpkin on the roof.

I was excited to see CC and RB on the paddle. It felt like years since the last time I saw either of them. I looked forward to catching up with them as we made our way to the Harbor of Refuge.

Once on the water, it became clear that the forecast didn’t match the reality. The winds was steady and out of the south.

Eight miles is a long way to fight a steady wind.

The group succumbed to the fate of all kayak groups in a steady wind. We started spreading out. Fast paddlers ran away from slower paddlers. Then the fast paddlers have to stop and wait and the slow paddlers have to struggle to catch up. Over time, this makes for trouble. The fast paddlers get cold with all the waiting. The slow paddlers work really hard and don’t get enough rest.

TM made the smart call and had us stop before we reached the light house. We lunched on a sheltered rocky beach.

The conditions on the return trip were in the pumpkin’s sweet spot: following seas. I pretty much surfed the whole way back. The most difficult part of the return trip for me was not getting too far ahead of the group of longer kayaks.

A few people took the opportunity to play in the rocks. I, however, decided to stay clear of anything that might hurt the pumpkin. It was tough to resist the siren song, but it is still too soon to test my mettle.

After paddle coffee was at Java Madness. We lingered over our coffee. Visiting with old friends cannot be rushed.

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