The scene of the monthly crime was "Past Time Community Park" in Plain City, Ohio. Trip leader Wil secured permission to camp for $10.00 per night, per person and there were flush toilets, showers and electric nearby. Tony arrived first, set up his camp and started erecting the clubs 10 x 20-foot canopy. He got as far as one man could and waited. Newest member Eric pulled in next and helped flip the canopy upright and finished it off for the rain that was coming. Not long after Wil and his granddaughter Lillian showed up. Everyone got their camps settled and talked of food. Downtown they all went to Lee's Sports and Spirits. It was Karaoke night and the 4 folks listened to 3 singers that sounded like they should have sat back down. Wil's grandson Carter joined them at the restaurant. After burgers it was back to camp for a little campfire. Around 11:00 pm it started to sprinkle so off to the tents they went. The rain striking the tents lured everyone to sleep.
Around 6:00 am more rain fell but none too heavy so Friday morning was a slow moving event. Lance was coming from over Indiana way and soon met around 9:00am as breakfasts was being enjoyed. The rain ended around the same time and the 50° cloudy day was perfect for canoeing. The USGS stream gauge at Darbyville registered 3.63 feet. The water level was fabulous. The canoes were unloaded at Burns Road northwest of Plain City and after the trailer was shuttled downstream to the St Rt 42 and 38 intersection, the 6 were on the river at 11:00am. Eric, Lance and Tony were solo canoeing, Wil and Carter were tandem and Lillian was in a kkkayak. Lance was using his newest canoe, a Wenonah Adirondack and Eric was using a Wee Lassie by the same company. The 8.5-mile trip was wonderful. The animals were enjoying the fine spring day as they saw groundhog, squirrels, bald eagle, raccoon, buzzards, hawks, kingfishers, ducks, a woodpecker, those damn geese and lots of deer. Rounding a bend in the creek they saw 25-30 deer just standing and staring at them. They never moved and that's when they noticed the fencing. It was a deer farm. They also saw 10-14 free ranging deer, some running across the creek kicking up water as they ran. There was a log crossing the river and Tony ducked under a curve in the trunk. Wil tried the same but as he touched the tree it fell into the water, almost pinning him to the canoe. It was dubbed, "The Man Submersing Tree Limb." Arriving back at camp around 3:30 they were greeted by Ted and Connie and their camper van. Carter and Lillian ran off to play while the adults enjoyed beverages and company.
Around 6:00 a cooking fire was started and individuals cooked as Harold and Laurie arrived followed by Chuck and then Coleen. After dark Mike and Judy drove in. There were now 14. The campfire blazed as poker played and tall stories abounded. The evening was chilled but spring was springing into action. The night was quiet and still as the campers slept until morning.
Saturday was cloudy but with a promise of a beautiful day to come. Chucks gal Kerri met the folks at 8:00am and the logistics of shuttling commenced. It finally worked out after planning and changing plans and more changing. 10 boats and 12 people make getting everything together time consuming. They put on the water at yesterday's take out at 10:26 am to 57° Again the water level was perfect. Eric miss stepped getting into his canoe and rolled into the water up to his knees. There isn't a canoeist yet who hasn't done that trick. Our newest "Unofficial" member came along for his first canoe trip...."Mr. Rude" and his trusty side kick, "Mr. Bump." More on them in future reports. The 7-mile trip ended at 2 as it was a very slow relaxing paddle. There weren't as many critters out and about but they did see a heron rookery in some sycamore trees, turtles, snakes (right Carter) and a cat. The take out was at the Prairie View Canoe Access off Price-Hillard Road. There were 2 rangers greeting all the outdoor folks using the area. Wil and Carter had picked up some trash and the park rangers were happy to dispose of it for them. It was now 65° and mostly sunny and back at camp folks sat in the shade and took in all the beautiful day had to offer.
As the afternoon wore on, yard games were played. Chuck and Kerri went to the basketball court to challenge Carter and Lillian. For a combined age of 105 years, Chuck and Kerri took on the 2-13 year olds in 2 on 2 basketball and lived to talk about it the next day. They were not too sore after all as Kerri averaged 2.3 steals on defense while Chuck was the offense machine. Who knew "White Men can Jump." Thoughts of the feast rumbled in hungry stomachs as Eric made appetizers of lamb chops which melted in the mouths of babes. Everyone decided Eric was a keeper and look forward to more of his culinary skills. Steve came out after working overtime just in time for the potluck which was again fit for a king. Way too much food lined the table and the flavors were wonderful. What the club lacks in paddling sure makes up in cooking. Since the weekend was the final four play offs, half the club went back to Lee's to watch some basketball while the others kept the fire stoked. The warm spring evening was very comfortable.
Getting out of the sleeping bag Sunday was easy in the warmer air. Steve, Chuck, Coleen and Kerri cooked breakfast for everyone. Sitting around the now dead campfire eating soon had everyone wide awake and planning their day. No paddling but disc Frisbee, basketball and hillbilly horseshoes were played with others packing up. It was a good weekend and hopefully there will more days with nice water levels and warm temps for future OHCRA outings.