Sunday, July 30, 2006

N.C. ROCKS! So does ICE!

Just a few shots from the French Broad River. We did 2 day paddles, TQ brought his sister a new kayak that needed to be broken in, she had a great book that listed 50 paddles in Western NC, and we picked one that took us through the middle of the Biltmore Estate (fantastic paddle, peace & quiet & all sorts of wildlife - in addition to the deer & the groundhog, there were a lot of great blue herons, some smaller brown herons which I'll have to look up, kingfishers, and I even spotted a hummingbird!) the first day, then the next section the next day (not quite as quiet, never got far from the highway, but there were lots of fun little mini-rapids to play in).

Back to work on the schooner today. It was hot, and the lack of sailing over the last two weeks told when it was time to raise the sails. At least we had some decent breeze & were able to actually do some sailing. Had there not been a breeze, today would've been exactly the kind of day I always tell people about that makes working on the Adirondack a job, not a hobby - raising those big gaff sails is some fairly heavy work & when you know you're not even going to get any drive out of 'em, well, it feels WAY more worklike than when you at least know that in a minute the motor's going to be shut off & the boat's going to come alive.

I had a very middle-of-the-season moment today too - my morning was simply MADE when I went into Ruthy's to get the ice for the cooler and saw, there where the old non-functioning smaller ice machine used to be -

A Great Big Shiny NEW Ice Machine!

Woohoo! Woohoo! Yippeee!

See, one of the recurrent tasks that has to be done between each sail is getting ice to chill the beverages. During a heat wave, cold drinks are absolutely CRUCIAL to passengers having fun, and also help the crew not pass out from heat exhaustion. We have 4 big ice chests on the boat, and to chill the drinks properly usually takes at LEAST 2 fresh buckets of ice between each sail.

Ruthy's, the cafe right next to our dock at Chelsea Piers, has a big ice machine that we use - I think there's some co-ownership arrangement or something, even. Anyways, they've had the same one since I first started working on the schooner, and it just can't keep up with the demand when the temperature cracks 90. You'll go up there with the buckets & the guys at Ruthy's will just say "No ice". That means a run a couple of piers down to where the guys who run the Mariner & the Chelsea Screamer keep their ice machine - saves our necks but it's a LOT of extra exertion on a hot day. I was fully expecting that to be the case today, hence the extreme happiness over finding the NEW ice machine in addition to the old one - and between the two, there was plenty of ice for everyone ALL DAY! YAY!

It's the little things in for all when it's hotter-n-heck? Life is good!

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