Kayaking the Great Ruth Ann

Finally, we went kayaking.

Frankly it was a bit of a disappointment!

A Little Backstory

You guys know that Tracy is a serious kayaker. He used to take a solo trip for a month each year down a different stretch of the Mississippi, with all his gear stowed in the tiny boat compartments, camping on the banks and cooking fish he’d caught over his campfire.

I’m not a serious kayaker: I’m more of a float-down-the-river-in-a-plastic-boat-with-a beer-in-my-hand kayaker. But my style shares some basics with Tracy’s (kayak, water), and so we’ve been kayaking together since we met.

Above we’re on the Chesapeake Bay, on Lake Anna near where we are now, and on a tiny river near our little cabin in southern Costa Rica.

I have endless photos of the tip of my kayak on the Potomac, the Anacostia, various rivers and inlets in Florida, and around Chincoteague Island. Kayaking was our main adventure before we got the Frolic (when Tracy fell down the rabbit hole of fixing that RV and then prepping for this one).

Our plan has always been (and still is) to kayak as much as we can where we go in the Airstream. It’s pure luck that this first campground where we’re quarantined has its own little lake, so we can baptize post-retirement kayaking despite being stuck in one place.

Ruth Ann

I’ll summarize our kayaking stint yesterday by saying that the great Lake Ruth Ann here is tiny. We joked we’d race around it seven times, but really once was enough to see it all.

And the day was cloudy. (My smile below is to offset my quarantine hair; I wasn’t smiling about the weather.)

And we went out in the middle of the day, so there was little wildlife around.

Oh well, we did find an abandoned beaver lodge, the former residence of the beaver we now love to watch, and we had the lake to ourselves.

And it was something to do! Now that we have the kayaks down at the boat launch, we will go again.

Tracy, Stop Reading Here

This was the first time in at least a year that I’ve been in my new touring kayak, and I am out of practice, if you can call the bit of flailing and cussing I’d done on it previously practice.

You see, the cheap, flat-bottomed, plastic boat I used to own is to my new fiberglass kayak like a tricycle is to a street bike. It’s steady, slow, and clunky.

When I used to go out in it with Tracy in his touring kayak, I’d always be way behind him, struggling to keep up and zigzagging like a drunkard.

Tracy has assured me—most logically—that my new kayak takes just a bit of getting used to, and if I were to actually learn how to paddle, I’ll be glad I have it when we’re kayaking the Everglades and around the Keys this winter.

Man I miss my cheap little tricycle, though. I could carry her by myself, get in and out again by myself, and float along with my feet propped up and a beer on the floor in front of me. I loved her like you love your first beater car—pure emotional attachment. Plus, I was never afraid of falling out of her.

Tracy, You Can Start Reading Again

But it makes no sense to have a plastic boat with us now; the two long kayaks fit on top of the truck together just right, and with a little effort I will learn how to paddle and maneuver my new one so I’ll be able to keep up and not fear for my life every few strokes.

Just looking at my old photos of us kayaking together (even the ones in my new boat) makes me excited for where we’ll go!

7 thoughts to “Kayaking the Great Ruth Ann”

  1. Kayaking, YEAH, looks good Shelly! Good pictures (and I am a bit yellous), we havn’t yet been able to get out in the archipellago.
    Love -Li

  2. I have 2 questions and 2 comments for you , comments first. You have mentioned 2 things in your blog that I remember you (I know, should be your) doing so well. I had to smile when I read each of them. First, you described clapping your hands together really fast when something pleases and excites you. I see it! You’ve done this when I’ve loaded you all up with food to take home with you after a big holiday meal. Am I right? The second thing I could picture was you loading your kayak when you were getting ready to leave Lake Anna. Larry and I would laugh at you hefting that thing on the top of your car like a 200-lb. man!
    Speaking of the lake, here are my 2 questions–Is there any chance that you and Tracy can still join us at Lake Anna the end of July? I know you’re anxious to get on the road soon, but if your departure falls close to that time, we would love for you to be with us.
    Second question–do you have any idea of anything Finn would like to have for his birthday next week?

    Sounds like you two are doing fine–glad you’ve kept your sense of humor. 😊

    1. Yes with the hand-rubbing! I get that from my mom, who would do it all the time and say, “I’ll be darned.” She said that so much that Katherine when she was little used to mimic Mom with her version, “Hoppy darn.” I love saying Hoppy Darn!

      And that plastic kayak was pretty easy to handle if you held it the right way. The trick when mounting it on my little car was getting it up there before the wind blew off those foam mounting blocks. I should have had a better system.

      About Lake Anna, I made reservations in the campground for the Frolic back before we bought the Airstream, and I’m not cancelling any reservations for this summer until a couple of weeks before the event, only because who the heck knows what the world will look like. I strongly bet we will not be in Virginia in July, but if we are then I certainly want to see everyone.

      And I’ll let Finn answer your question when he reads this blog entry! 🙂 Seriously, I can’t suggest anything other than you asking him – I know you like to give surprise gifts but asking is your better bet this time.

  3. Hi shell,
    I think you need both bicycles to please yourself and your independence and please you coupledom( probably not a word, but Im soo restless, so Im making up new words to feel alive). You guys have done a great job of making the best of a “still” situation , but you need to be able to get a move on! This will happen soon as will the haircut.
    I actually tried to get an underground haircut this week, but was turned down. I look REALLY bad.