Dave and I had been planning for a while to take a canoe trip on Sugar Creek in Indiana. As a kid I took this trip many many times, although always one of the shorter versions. And we always ended the shorter trips by saying, “That was really great, but not long enough!” So, this time we planned on the long version…15 miles!
But last week was a mess. As usual. Work was crazy. Life was crazy. I spent a couple of days traveling for work. And at 5 PM on Friday I was still at an airport not located in Chicago. By the time I actually got back to Chicago, changed clothes quickly, made a couple turkey sandwiches to eat in the car for dinner, threw a bunch of stuff into the car and left the city with Dave, it was well after 9 PM.
You can picture my state of grumpy mixed with work frustration mixed with tired mixed with “Dave, what the heck! I can’t believe you didn’t pack my hair dryer. Of course I need my hair dryer on a canoe trip!” Dave deserves a gold medal in husbandry or something.
So here we were, driving to my parents’ house in Indiana late at night. And we had to be at the canoe place at 8:15 AM…Eastern time…Chicago is not on Eastern time. It was very late and we were very grouchy. So we pulled into a hotel between two corn fields for the night.
I took a picture of the hotel sign as we left the next morning in the dawn hours, on 4 hours of sleep, mostly because it looked so shady. To tell the truth the hotel itself was not that bad. I have paid more money to stay at shadier…most notably in Muncie, IN.
And so on 4 hours of sleep, which did slightly combat the grouchiness, we were off to canoe 15 miles.
This is the pre-canoe picture. I have lost more than one camera on boating related activities in my life, so I did leave the camera in the car for the actual canoe trip.
Canoeing was fun, the scenery through two state parks was beautiful and the company was grand.
There was one hiccup…Maggie’s kayak had a little itsy-bitsy tiny 4 inch gash in its hull. This little hiccup required us to pull into shore every 15 – 20 minutes. Over the course of that much time, the kayak would take on about 100 lbs. of water, slowly sinking the boat below water level and requiring dramatically increased upper body strength to propel the craft forward. Everyone took turns paddling the heavy leaky kayak, but the extra chore of pulling into shore so often added a lot of time to the day. A trip that could have been completed in under 5 hours, we completed in under 9 hours.
And there was a second hiccup…and this is the part of this story which makes me cringe with embarrassment at the mention of the term “Hoosier”, because I now better understand how people who are not from Indiana use the term.
The last 3 1/2 miles of the trip allow inner tubes on the creek. I should note that at this checkpoint we were able to trade Maggie’s kayak in for one which did not take on water. But back to the inner tubes.
For $5 you can rent an inner tube and drift down the creek for 3 1/2 miles. Of course you rent an extra inner tube for your cooler full of Coors Light. Some even choose to rent an inner tube for their favorite canine. And if you bring a bunch of string you can tie 20 or 30 of your closest inner tube loving friends, their beer and their dogs all together for one drunken party boat. Of course you should make it difficult for canoes and kayaks to pass up your party boat and all the aluminum beer cans and empty bags of Cheetos you toss into the creek. Oh and spray them constantly with water guns, they “love” that.
And if you’re drunk in an inner tube while in a beautiful state park, why not encourage your small children to climb up the cliffs of a canyon and jump off into 4 ft. of water? Totally safe! And fun for the whole crowd.
You should of course be smoking a pack of cigarettes while doing this. And wearing a bikini top that is too small.
The whole scene was best summed up by another canoe paddler who said, “I have never seen such a collective dumb-ass.” True that.
Grrrr….and that’s about when my grumpiness came back.
Having fun is exhausting.