Hello, there! After a long hiatus that began with a week (an entire week!) of Influenza B and two looooong weeks of recovery (I heard stories but never really believed it until it happened to me – doesn’t that sound like a subtitle to a tabloid story about seeing aliens?), I’m back to the blog. Even now it’s a struggle to sit here and try to write, so I am hoping that by making myself just sit down, I can break the logjam and get started again. I was doing so well, hitting once or twice a week, there, at the start of the year, and then …. thump. That stupid wall. So, here is the news that’s fit to print.
First of all, the flu makes you really tired! After my first day back (after an initial attempt the previous Friday – it was a two-hour late start, so I figured I could swing that — I was wrong), I went to bed at 6:30 and slept the next ten hours straight. Whew! Made the Shrove Tuesday pancake supper at church, but couldn’t make the Ash Wednesday service. But sleep, sleep, sleep was all I wanted for two weeks. I was so tired for those two weeks that even the time change looked easy in comparison.
Anyhow, it is now Spring Break (said with a fanfare of trumpets). And as Ed was at the Augie men’s basketball tournament on Friday, I started my break with one of my two ritutals: mopping and cleaning (the other ritual is a stop at the library to load up on books). Followed, of course, by early to bed. But that was fine because Day Two was….Canoecopia!
What is Canoecopia?, I hear you ask (yes, I do hear you, so be careful!). It is an amazing canoe and kayak expo in beautiful, wonderful Madison, Wisconsin. My best friend, Brent, went with me (which was fortuitous, as on the way home I got pretty sleepy and it helped to have someone to talk to so I would stay awake, even at 4 in the afternoon). On the way up, had to have a coffee stop in my adopted hometown of Mt. Horeb. I love Sjolind’s Chocolate House! And not just for chocolate. They have wonderful baked good and excellent coffee (and hot chocolate). Brent had a blueberry scone the size of a baby’s head, I swear! I had a melt-in-your-mouth snickerdoodle that was just the right size and oh so fluffy! When they brought out the quiche, I figured it was good I had a co-pilot, or I would have just stayed there all day.
On to Madison! It really is helpful to have a good co-pilot! Brent is an excellent map reader and direction-giver, so no worries getting there. And once we got there, holy cow! Canoe and kayak sensory overload!
There was so much so look at and play with and people to talk to. We fit a lot into three hours of wandering. I had set a budget (yes, this is me talking) for a new pair of water shoes and a PFD (don’t say “life jacket” – that’s so yesterday). Even with the post-event stop at the liquor store and for cheese (Wisconsin = beer and cheese, duh), I still came in under budget. But that’s because Brent bought lunch. I highly recommend The Great Dane Pub & Brewing at any of it’s four Madison locations.
If you want to kayak Iowa, there were folks there to help you. Wisconsin? Of course. Illinois? Minnesota? Oregon? Yup. But Dubrovnik, Croatia? Well, yes, there, too. That was a bit of a surprise, but it did look like a lovely trip (guide, and I’ll assume interpreter, included in the package price).
I saw some beautiful paddles, colorful and lovely. However, quite out of my budget range. Honestly, I’m not sure I could justify spending over $200 on a kayak paddle, no matter how pretty it is. But I did finally settle on a pretty purple PFD. And it’s designed for women, and for the kayak, with a higher back so I don’t get pushed forward out of my seat. Safety first, girls!
My new water shoes look like real shoes and have support and laces and little suction-y cups on the bottom for grip. I could actually wear them when I leave home, that’s how good they look. And no one would know they are water shoes. Cool.
The most beautiful boats there were actually kits! In 80 hours of your spare time in your garage, you can glue together and poly your own beautiful wooden canoe or kayak. I’m including a link to the company’s website (Chesapeake Light Craft), and you can see some pictures, but it really is more beautiful in person. And hard to believe it’s a kit. If I get really super into kayaking, this is something I’d consider, just because, for how beautiful they are, it’s hard to believe I could afford it (the kit I would need is about $600, at least at the show). But I’m also afraid it would have to be the kind of thing I’d have to live on a lake to own. I’d be afraid of trying to transport it. Unless, of course, I had the new Yakima “Show Down” system!
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, Yakima makes the most amazing method of getting the kayak onto the car means not having to wrestle it over your head. Really. However, I will have to make sure I spend a lot more time on the water to justify spending the money for that baby, though it wasn’t as expensive as I thought it would be (of course, there are big discounts on things at the show – so I’d have to plan a much bigger budget for next year). But if I continue to kayak, as I get older (Golden Years? Who came up with that phrase?), it would really be a good idea because you load the boat by only having to lift it about chest high onto some cradles and then, once it’s strapped in, you lift up and push it onto a track and, voila! it’s on top of your car. Magic!
On the way home, the final Wisconsin stop: Mineral Point (my first adopted home town). We stopped at the grocery on the east side for cheese, but, alas, no Hook’s. Hook’s is my favorite cheese, and it’s made in Mineral Point. So imagine my surprise when I asked the stock boy at the grocery if they had any and he hadn’t heard of it. Really? What a bizarre turn of events. So we left and hit the “convenience store with character”- and about every kind of booze you might need, along with cheese – that sits right across the street from Hook’s. There we snagged the last two bags of cheese curds and I stocked up on several cheeses, knowing it would be a while before I got to come back.
And then, straight on to home. I think I was in bed an hour after I got home I was so tired. Tired, but happy. And cheese rich. I drifted off to sleep, thinking of my new PFD and water shoes, and dreamed of beautiful wooden kayaks, paddling the islands off the coast of Croatia.