On Saturday, RonO and I drove down to Madison, via the Chicken Chasers Bar in Fall Creek, WI, to help our friend Woody celebrate his 60th birthday party. This is year 35 for this fine event, which features a stunning array of whiskeys, 5 alarm chili, a keg of microbrewed beer accompanied by several well chosen growlers, illegal fireworks, and a massive bonfire as the centerpiece. This year a large screen of tarps was erected to hide the flames from the road, due to a couple visits from the volunteer fire department last year. Woody also made a preemptive strike and warned the township of his intentions. In their defense, it does look like a garage has caught fire once it gets going. A number of years back a yuppie neighbor and his esoteric Scottish Long Haired cattle moved in down the road. This guy made no attempt to visit the neighbors and introduce himself or paid any attention to their friendly overtures. The morning after a Woody birthday party however, we found the following note, wrapped around a half dozen large skyrocket sticks, in his mailbox: "Mr.Woody: My pasture is not your missile range. If this continues, I shall be forced to contact the authorities. I hope I make myself clear". Fortunately the asshole moved away, likely not appreciating his working farmers neighbors in the area. Meanwhile, the VOR and a half dozen other women were attending the Lantern Loppet on the family land north of Mora and stayed the night at the one room cabin. These are the first 'annuals' of the year with more to follow. Even though we have ski races to run, a downhill adventure to Colorado to harass JeremiahJohnstone and the ColoradoKid, and the upcoming London jaunt on Thursday, talk around the bonfire was pretty much kayaking on Saturday night.
Canoecopia was the hot topic, since we were in the Madison area, and RonO and I made a pilgrimage to Rutabaga to check out the incoming boats. The new Cetus LV kind of caught our eye and I hope to test drive one at some point this summer. The big event is only roughly 5 weeks away at this point. The Commish and FrugalFisherman were at the party and some initial planning was done for a Pictured Rocks trip either side of the Grand Marais symposium. The Traditional Gathering was discussed as well. It was cancelled last year but it coming back bigger and better than ever this year sometime in mid July. Its a fine event for skinny stick fans and offers far more than just the paddling. My friend Pat, up in Thunder Bay, weighed in with an email demanding that we organize a Silver Islet to Rossport trip around Memorial Day, and the Commish said he plans on taking vacation for a return trip to the Sauna Islands after Labor Day.
I'm not sure I like the fact that my summer is scheduled before I've even gotten into the meat of the winter but I guess a person needs to roll with the punches. The part of these annual events that I look forward to is the consistency year after year and the different core groups of friends that are encountered at each one. The bad thing is that a lot of weekends are sucked up, limiting the time for new adventures. Annual events never seem to drop off, only increase as is evidenced by the talk of the 2nd Annual Weiner Island paddle in the Chippewa Flowage in April. Oh well, I guess its considerably better than having nothing to do. I guess carpe diem needs to be our new motto.