My generous employer gave us both Friday and Monday off for the Fourth O' July weekend, so yesterday morning found me following an extra-relaxed weekend regimen. As my internal alarm clock stridently announces that it's 0530 and TIME TO GET UP without any respect to weekends or holidays, I quite often find myself sitting out on the front porch enjoying a cuppa java, a book, and the companionship of Brave (yet groggy) Sir Hogarth. Hogarth's a bit odd when it comes to these early morning sabbaticals on the porch.
On one hand, he's mortally offended if I don't invite him out with me; he will sit at the storm door and pout. But if I do bring him out, he goes to pains to demonstrate that he thinks we're getting an entirely too early start on the day. This can take the form of ostentatious stretching, sprawled out power-napping, or a wide, wide yawn:
Once the rest of the house begins to stir, we head inside and begin the next phase of the day. That phase mostly entails the finding of a means of escape. That often takes the form of flying somewhere, but yesterday it worked out such that I was able to get out of the house for some nature communing by inviting Brandon to fly down from Lima and do a little kayaking. The weather was great for both as it turns out. Brandon wouldn't arrive until a little after 11:30, but that was fine with me. Not only was the porch still comfortable and appealing, but there was also the rumor going around that a B-17 would be landing sometime around 11am. Bolton was using runway 4, so if the B-17 actually showed up it would be flying right past the front of my house on final approach to the runway. And that's exactly what happened:
I got some close-ups after Brandon arrived:
After a few minutes of poking around the Flying Fortress, we loaded up the boats and headed for the lake. Brandon had never been in a kayak and I've found that it's much easier to learn how to do it on a calm lake than it is to learn the way I did. My first time was going down a river and there are memories of struggling to avoid hitting trees, rocks, and other immovable objects that convince me that it's not friendly to either the boat or the person to try that again.
The lake was nice and quiet, probably because just about everybody else was back at work. I briefly explained to Brandon that the kayak would feel a lot "tippier" than a canoe, but to not worry too much about it as it takes a deliberate effort to get one to flip over.
As explained to me at the kayak clinic I attended, there's a thing called "secondary stability." As the boat tips to one side, more of the hull comes into contact with the surface of the water and stabilizes the boat. I remember the clinic instructor describing it as if it was a universally applicable fact. I now believe otherwise. Brandon climbed into the boat, I gave him a push away from the ramp, and I turned around to get into my boat. That's when I heard:
"Hey, you're right. These are pretty stab....." Kersplash!
I turned around to see what had happened and saw no sign of Brandon, although there was an upside-down kayak where I had last seen him. I was just getting ready to run into the lake to see if he was stuck under the boat when he popped to the surface. It's a good thing I had told him to wear shoes that he didn't mind getting wet, but I suppose one could argue that perhaps that advice could have been expanded to include outerwear as well, should one choose to that uncharitable to your host.
Still, once you're wet there's not mush else to lose so we loaded up for another try. The second attempt went swimmingly, so to speak. We paddled up to the top of the lake and back. The wildlife was out in abundance, and I even ran across some Blue Herons that weren't nearly as skittish as those I see on the Big Darby. I was able to paddle up to within just a couple of feet without them flying away. Figures. I didn't have my camera with me. I know, right? I can't believe I did that again!
After boating, it was back to Bolton for a lunch at JP's BBQ. Having the luxury of not having to fly home, I was able to treat myself to two items I would never consider consuming before flying. I had the King Bull sandwich, which is deep fried polish sausage, chili, and onions on a bun. And a beer. Yummy!