This week I paddled 51 miles working out for my trip. 25 of that was on the Kokosing last Sunday with my new friend Scott Freese. I met him through Facebook when he offered me assistance. He is the one that gave me the information on the Ohio River Refuge Islands and the Ohio River Kayak Challenge which will give me almost half the places that I will be camping along the river. We had a great trip down the Kokosing.
I worked out on the lake at Ariel-Foundation park the rest of those miles. I learned more about how to balance my boat for better efficiency with paddling. I worked on my stroke to make each stroke matter, using my core and legs rather than so much arm strength.
Yesterday I started cleaning up everything, I will use my old boat to work out for the rest of the month, and keep the other one dry docked. I have some painting to do and lots of stickers to put on. I did some modifications on my console, putting a mount for my cell phone, and my video camera. I also mounted my throw rope where I can get to it easily.
I started going through my gear, setting aside things that I will not need on the trip, I don’t believe there is a need for cooking utensils to do a four course meal on the river. Every pound will matter. I continue to work on my solar panel making sure that it will charge my batteries. Think I finally got it.
I made a list of all the locks and their phone numbers. Going to call each to see if it is possible to portage any of them. If I can, for speed sake I would rather portage. I also studied the lock through procedure, over and over.
On Thursday I helped with a search for a drown man in the Tuscarawas River near Coshocton. This was a very emotional but rewarding experience. I learned a lot about myself and how to do this. I am glad that I could help bring closure to the family. Doing this I met a very dedicated man, Father Gabriel, a white water Kayaker and Priest from the Akron area. Meeting him and now being able to call him friend is quite an honor for me. He has lots of skills and dedication and has participated in several of these type recovery’s. I look forward to spending more time with him on and off the water.
Barry Smith contacted me again and is setting up lots of contacts for me with the VFW in Kentucky around his area. The article about my trip came out in the Lancaster Eagle Gazette, it was front page, with a picture of me taking up 2/3 above the fold. I was flabbergasted to say the least. The same reporter wrote the article that wrote about Barry Smith last fall when he was inducted into the Ohio Military Hall Of Fame for Valor. I have been contacted by many of my old high school friends as a result of the article.
My group for the send off at Pittsburg keeps growing. Irv has decided to come over and document it for a possible article. I have had several people contact me to paddle with me a day or so along the way. All this attention has increased the pressure, but I am trying to take it all in stride. and remember the purpose of it all. To raise funds for Paddle for Heroes. So many people have offered help and also donated to Paddle for Heroes. Thank you all so much from the bottom of my heart.
Now it is time to go out and pick up more litter!