Monday and Tuesday were a blur. Wednesday morning began with a light fog clouding the lake, the dog sleeping, the kids and Beth still asleep, and all quiet at the cottage. The lazy days of summer are upon me. It is the time of summer when I fight inertia, a struggle with time. The week welcomes the town’s river festival week, ending the with the Ausable River Canoe Marathon start on Saturday night. According to the weather forecast, Monday was expected to be the best day of the week, it turned out Tuesday was pretty good, too.
Monday we had a lazy morning followed by a lazy afternoon. It was cool to start the morning, and we did a little cleaning upstairs. I needed to run a few errands – to get oil for the boat and glides for the patio furniture. Unfortunately, there is no reliable boat dealer in Grayling and I needed to drive north or south, same for the patio furniture glides. I decided north and Gaylord as my destination. The kids and I piled in the car and took off, leaving Beth and Ivy at home to fend for themselves. We got what we needed including a cribbage board for William. We were inspired by our guests and will be playing, soon.
Beth was ready to go boating when we got home and I was sidetracked talking about sand – more on that later – but we climbed into the boat in late afternoon and took off. We had Allison, a neighbor on the lake, with us. We started knee boarding and I waded into the water to help Olivia get up, she got up on her first try – with minimal assistance. William followed and then we switched to the tube. I switched the kneeboard over to the tube and Olivia jumped into the water to be first. I wanted to go too, and I climbed on the tube. Olivia squealed with delight and then asked, “daddy, what about your shoes?” I had climbed on with my crocs, I thought, fortunately they float and took them off and tucked them between my chest and the tube and the boat took off. Olivia weighs considerably less than I do and the weight imbalance made the ride difficult. We were being pulled to the right -my side – and I tried to shift my weight. However, I could not and was thrown off on a sharp turn losing one of my crocs. I laughed, Olivia hooted and howled, and Beth turned the boat to come pick me up. I collected my crocs, tossed them in the boat, and tried to climb on to the tube for another ride. But, I could not and climbed in to the boat to try another time. We continued to tube with William and Allison finishing the afternoon. The two have been friends at the lake for a while and they are about the same age and grade. It became a contest to see who could stay on the tube. Allison won – all six times. It was all good fun. The pair will be canoe partners in Casey’s Challenge Friday.
The canoe marathon follows the Ausable River from Grayling to Oscoda, Michigan travelling under bridges, over dams, and across open water. It starts at 9 PM and the paddlers canoe down the river starting in twilight, then darkness, and often fog in the morning. It is a grueling race, with the leaders taking close to fifteen hours to traverse the 120 miles; most of the racers take longer. I would not finish, but then again I am not a paddler. The race has checkpoints downriver, where spectators can cheer the teams and supporters can provide food, drink, and support as needed. The first checkpoint is Burton’s Landing, eight miles downriver. The Casey’s Challenge Race, sponsored by one of the canoe liveries in town, Borcher’s, is a canoe race for young paddlers. Teams of two race to Burton’s landing. Marathoners take 40 to 55 minutes to reach the landing. I have paddled the river before and it takes between two and two and a half hours to arrive, at leisurely pace. William and Allison will race Friday and we are looking forward to it.
Monday finished with a campfire and visit by the Parks’ planning the canoe race. William will take the back, to steer, and Allison the front to paddle. They planned to practice Tuesday and we all planned to cheer on Friday. It will be great fun.
Tuesday was a very lazy day. I worked on office stuff and got sidetracked watching Lance Armstrong make a play for a stage win in the Tour de France. He came close and ended up sixth. It was exciting to watch the drama in the mountain stages. The kids went tubing with the Parks family down the lake. They had fun, came back for lunch, and were back out on the lake until six.
I came back from walking Ivy about six and William came running in from the boat. He remembered he had been invited to the scout meeting to help with the float for Saturday’s Ausable River Festival parade. The parade’s theme is 75 years of Hanson State Park and 100 years of Scouting. He had gotten the invitation after he had contacted a merit badge counselor about the Fishing Merit Badge. He cleaned up, dressed, and grabbed a quick hot dog before we left. I took him planning to drop him off and run errands, instead I stayed and helped. The scouts were building a tower from timbers and using lashings to tie it all together. Building the tower took time as the scouts planned the layout using the Pioneering Merit Badge book as a guide. They built two frames and it took almost an hour for the two teams to lash the frames together. William jumped in and helped tying lashings and helping younger scouts. Once the frames were finished, we set them upright and lashed them together. The adults pitched in and helped and soon he had a tower. We got it up on the trailer and it looked great. The scouts still needed to do some finishing work and we will be back working again Wednesday night. William and I will be back and William will be marching in the parade with the troop Saturday. As we finished our work and cleaned up, dark clouds rolled in a few raindrops fell, but most of the rain missed us.
The day ended and we talked about the day in the front room. William was excited about the float, the parade, and the upcoming race. Olivia was excited about tubing. I just wanted to get to sleep. It had been a long tow days. I had accomplished a few of my ‘to do’ items and now I needed to sleep. Making the days count, one day at a time.