Friday, September 5, 2008

Another paddle weekendf and a brush with Republicans

We're off to Akeley, MN for the Traditional Paddlers Gathering and then to Voyageurs National Park for what will be a fine long weekend. The Commish and FrugalFisherman arrived late last night from Madison and, in what should be a logistical snarl, we will all split up and then rendezvous somewhere in Voyageurs with RangerMark and possibly the MayorOfTurtleRiver. We shall see if this rendezvous in the land of no cell phone coverage can come off or not. I would say 'cautiously optimistic' would be the best we could hope for.

Yesterday afternoon I offered to go over to St Paul to pick up a boat that had become airborne from a car roof at relatively high speed. It had been repaired flawlessly at Northwest Canoe in downtown St Paul. RonO and I need to deliver it to our Brainerd buddy, ChrisG, at the Gathering and I thought that waiting around until 10am this morning, when Northwest opened, would cut into our serious rolling time. This would normally be a half hour round trip but, as some of you will recall, we had a national political event in town. My mission was two fold; get the kayak and avoid Republicans, anarchists, and heavily armed government forces. I knew my destination and was confident of my ability to 'make a move' as they say if I was confronted with roadblocks and/or urine hurling, malodorous vandals. As it turned I avoided neither and the trip was like a video game where you had to jump over and around obstacles. The first thing was that 3 exits off I-94 were closed and only convention delegate laden buses could use them. There were riot cops at each exit to make sure that kayak retrieving riff raff didn't attempt to slink off the freeway and then take a back alley to their destination. No problem. Even though the streets "were laid out by drunken Irishmen", as our former Gov, Jesse "The Mind" Ventura stated, I had a plan. Shortly after I got off at 7th St there was a traffic jam. I got out and looked ahead and either a Pearl Jam concert had just let out or these were the foul mouthed, smelly anarchists I was trying to avoid. Seems like they had a meeting at Mear's Park every evening; isn't a 'meeting' of 'anarchists' oxymoronic? About a half dozen of them tied up traffic for a couple of minutes and moved on. I went a couple more blocks and ran into a gaggle of riot police staging in the farmers market. I had an instant flashback to an incident when I was in Londonderry, Northern Ireland 8 years ago. A bomb threat had been phoned into a pub where my buddy from Cumbria and I were headed. Bomb squads, riot police, and helicopters all converged. These guys looked like they were just kicking back and taking a break however, and seemed oblivious to the quickly moving anarchists up the street. I arrived at Northwest safe and sound and was able to grab the kayak, take a quick tour of the shop, and pick my way back to work. ChrisG, you will be plying me with beers this weekend!

I will now cease blogging since RonO will be here in a half hour and we need to head north. I won't be anywhere near St Paul until the middle of next week. Things should have calmed down by then.

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