This morning I went flying. First time since I got back from Oshkosh. I had to take the club’s Dakota out to Batavia for its annual. It reminded me what I loved and everything I hated about flying. It took an hour to scrape the snow and ice off the wings, and then it took most of the way to Batavia to get my toes to stop freezing. I made a couple of rookie mistakes on the departure, including making a wrong turn on the taxiway and actually forgetting to push the push-to-talk at one point. But by the time I got to Batavia things were going pretty good, and I made three perfect landings. I definitely need to squeeze in some time to do this more often.
This afternoon I went paddling. It was even colder than last week, but it wasn’t windy at all and it wasn’t snowing and blowing like last week. I wore an anorak over the wet suit and polytherm I wore last week, and it was too much – I actually ended up taking off my toque for much of the time. As well as Dan and Steven, we also had Doug along. He hasn’t been out for a while, and his boat still has his race number for the Long Lake race on it. Steven was trying a different boat, the KayakPro Marlin that I kept asking Ken to try all year but the rudder wasn’t working. And sure enough, half way through it the rudder broke again. Doug and I paddled on ahead while Dan and Steven worked on the boat, and next time we saw them Dan was in the KayakPro Marlin and Steven was in the Epic 18X that he’d been trying last week.
There was a ice on parts of the canal – for much of it there was ice up against one bank or the other coming out a few feet. It was thin enough that if you got into it you could paddle through it and it would break. But far more fun was to paddle along beside it, because as your wake flexed the ice sheet it made a sound very much like electrical wires twanging in the breeze. It was erie and cool.
Dan was in top form today, taking time to call out encouragement and advice to everybody about their strokes. He was really riding Stephen’s ass too – it seemed almost mean, but Stephen gives as good as he gets and still has that desire to start paddling like crazy when he should be slowing down and thinking. I was doing an ok job of hanging on to Doug when he was paddling at a moderate pace, which I thought was a sign how far I’d progressed. I still need to work on not letting my technique fall apart when I’m tired or when I’m thinking of other things.
Oh, and just to top a perfect day, I was able to get out of my kayak at Dan’s dock without help for the first time. Now if only I could get the spray skirt on without help.