Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Hudson River Paddle Part 2: How It All Came Together At Last

Sunday, August 10th - on the road to Waterford

So there I was with this eminently practical and achievable pipe dream. My favorite sort, really - I'm not a dreamer of particularly grandiose dreams; I don't spend a whole lot of time worrying about things that I can't see a fairly clear way to accomplish, I'm good about jumping at interesting opportunities that come along (that's how I ended up being a partner in a kayak company, working on the schooner Adirondack, and going on that fabulous sailing trip in Finland a couple of years back) but I really tend to have enough amusing stuff going on on a regular basis that I don't go chasing after excitement that requires major contortions to achieve.

And the Hudson's right here - it's not like I had to hurry to make it happen. And I didn't. I put it on the back burner for a good long time. I even partway let go of my fixation on doing it solo when TQ and I were sitting around with some clubmates talking about trips we'd thought about doing - I said "Well, I'd like to do the Hudson River Watertrail," and before I could get out the part about doing it by myself, TQ's face lit up and he said "That sounds great, let's do it sometime!". I paused for a moment, thinking about explaining that I wanted to do it as a solo effort, and then thought, "So you really want to tell your sweet and caring boyfriend that he can't come on your make-believe trip?", and kept my mouth shut about the solo aspect of the idea.

I figured that I would explain that part if and only if things ever came together in such a way that it would be plausible for me to actually do it on my own, and if we got to a point where we had a good opportunity to do it together first, that would be fun too (and plus I would probably eat a lot better, my camping cuisine concept is pretty cut and dry, emphasis on dry - dry beans, dry rice, dry couscous, dried fruit, dried meat, etc.)

I wasn't betting on myself getting my act together for a solo, either, really. See that infernal internal-combustin' wheeled mechanical device that's strapped to the underside of my boat up there? I haven't got one of those. I'm a city dweller, I glory in the wonders of public transportation (at least when the transportation is running properly and I'm not cursing it out after discovering that late-night or weekend aberrations have suddenly made getting where I'm trying to go much harder than it should be). I don't particularly like renting a car and I think that's actually why it took me so long to pull this off - the easiest way for me to do this had always been renting a car, driving up there, dropping off my stuff, getting rid of the car, and paddling home - easy enough, just somehow never got motivated to do it.

And then, a little earlier this summer, as I made up my mind to go help out with another fun Women Swimmin' in Ithaca, it suddenly hit me that I could rent the car, drive to Ithaca for that (actually a pretty pleasant drive, and I do like driving at least once a year so that I don't get too rusty), and then instead of driving back to Brooklyn, I could drive to Troy, get rid of the car, and paddle home from there! Checked Google - it's a shorter drive to Troy than to Brooklyn. So far so good.

The timing was good for work; we're fully staffed this year so there would be people to cover the things that can't stop happening while I go on vacation (last year would've been tough), and for me it's sort of a natural breathing point between major royalty-related projects (we pay our authors 90 days after the close of a calendar half, so in July I'm doing the reports that happen right after that close, and then in September I do a lot of reviewing - August is relatively slow though). 
I think this all hit me while I was at work one day, and as I thought it through, I realized that the only reason that this couldn't actually happen would be if the tides weren't right the week after Women Swimmin'.

I was practically hyperventilating as I went to the tide tables - what I wanted to see was an early early AM high water at Albany on the days right after Women' Swimmin'; I really wanted to be able to do my paddling in the morning because a) my main reservation about the timing was that it can be so freakin' hot here in August, and the more paddling I could do in the relative cool of the morning, the better, and b) summer thunderstorms generally wait to roll through in the afternoon to early evening. For those two really good reasons, I would've had serious second thoughts if I'd seen a late morning or early afternoon high water - but no, high water in Albany on the 11th was 5-something-am - we get a lag of a couple of hours between high water and the beginning of the ebb on the Hudson so that was actually just about perfect. I thought I was going to faint, I was so excited.

I asked the bosses, they OK'd the vacation time -- oh my goodness. Let the planning begin - this was really going to happen!

I went home, I dug out the copy of the Hudson River Watertrail Guide I'd gotten way back when when I first got the idea I wanted to do this, and look - my notes from back then were still in there! Note the ending point of Pier 63; that's where I used to keep my boats before I moved out to Sebago. Miles were just based on latitudes, and there'd been some additions to the Watertrail (for example Turkey Point was an addition I made this time around, it wasn't a campsite yet back then -  I missed an updated version of the Guide by that much with my August timing, would've been nice to have but the updates were mostly already on the website) but still, this was a useful set of notes to start with.

Not that I was worried about prep time. I think I realized it was all going to work back in June - seemed like I had all the time in the world to prepare. 


dennis g moonstruck said...

So! You didn't just jump out of bed one morning and speed off in the family buggy?

bonnie said...

No, there was a little more planning than that! :D

Pandabonium said...

I'd see the kayak on the car and remark to K "that's a funny place for a canoe"...