Friday, November 10, 2006

The Canoe Didn't Fit

Most of the activities at the Rio Grande Valley Birding Festival are for Mary Ann. She goes off to see the birds and I stay home in the RV and work. But today, I came along. The event of the morning was a canoe trip down the Rio Grande at the Santa Ana NWR. We've taken canoe trips together before and she knew she'd have a better chance to take pictures with me doing the driving.

There were 14 of us, including the Refuge guide, the two Festival guides, two reporters and us ordinary people. We dropped off upstream for a 2 and a half hour tour. Mary Ann and I claimed a two-seater and started out. I took the back seat so I could do most of the rowing and steering.

It was a nice trip. They were identifying birds right and left ( there were about 50 species in the final talley) and Mary Ann took photos of the group, and maybe a few bird photos. She did not bring the monster lenses; just a general purpose one, inside a water-proof bag.

It worked well, except for one thing. I could never fit in the rear seat. I kept sliding out of the comfort-contour bench. I kept juggling my feet, bending my legs and hopping back up on the seat. It wasn't horrible, but after two or three hours of that, my legs were cramped and useless. When we reached the unloading dock, and I dragged myself out of the canoe, I was unable to stand up. The reporter with more cameras and lenses than even Mary Ann helped me up. Once standing, I could move, but now, eight hours later and well dosed with Aleve, my knees are still sore.

I've got to figure this out. I'm not about to give up canoeing. Was it just that one canoe, or have I grown ... incompatible? Once we get home, I'll have to do some more canoeing around the pond and see. If so, maybe I'll try kayaks.

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