It is, to date, the coldest day of the year in West Windsor, VT. Our outdoor thermometer registers -12 degrees F but that does not include the windchill factor. Though the cold wind is blowing outside, we are sitting by our woodstove, our only source of heat in our new house, with the indoor temperature reading 72 degrees. It’s hard to fathom an 84 degree difference between inside and outside.
The cold wind does not keep me from thinking about our emerging plans for paddling another 100+ miles on the Ohio River this summer. Karen and I spoke on the phone last weekend and we began our planning for 2016. I now have my flight booked on May 28. I’ll fly to Cleveland where Karen will pick me up, our faithful red canoe Wonder atop her van. It is a high point of my trip to see Karen rounding the bend to the arrivals doors of whatever airport I am flying into. It is then that the adventure of the year begins.
Last year we were both particularly tired by the time we got started on our trip. In the van on the way from the airport to the Ohio River we were reminiscing on previous trips. We ended up laughing so hard we nearly had to pull off the highway. Moments like that are what remind us why it is so important that we do this crazy and wild thing each year.
We ended in Madison, Indiana, last year. We pulled in just about an hour before a deluge hit the river. The kindness of strangers once again helped us find a nice motel with a typical large “Southern” style porch from which we could watch the rain with gratitude that we were not out on the river nor trying to set up a tent along its banks.
We will find our way to Madison again on May 28 and perhaps pitch a tent in the yard of the kind man who let us leave our canoe at his house while we stayed in the motel. Or maybe we will stay in the motel again. Either way, we will be back on the banks of the mighty Ohio River in just over 3 months, wondering what adventures will present them and what kind of people will greet us and cheer us on down the river.