“We’ll probably have good weather,” the lieutenant governor predicts. Time being, in North Side, it’s hot and humid. A quick rain brings out mosquitoes. A slow departure brings out moms. “Are they going on a trip or are they just going to hang out in the yard?” Amy Cobb teases.
A handful of moms gather beneath a tree canopy to watch and assess the packing. They make vacation plans of their own, ordering up a day at the river without kids.
Wesley Bland sports a new buzz haircut and a bright orange cast on his left arm. “He can’t grip a baseball bat and he can’t grip a canoe paddle,” says his mom, Sydney Bland says. “But he’s waterproof.”
Shawn Hash pulls up in a silver 15-passenger van that tows a multi-tiered canoe rack. Dads call him The Outfitter; moms call him The Hunk. The kids cheer his arrival.
Dads John Knapp and Mark Askin pack up another van with the week’s edibles: pretzels, cereals, hamburgers, hot dogs and plenty of peanut butter. While camping, both Knapp and Askin will spend wedding anniversaries away from their wives, they say.
Woody Kaine, 11, sits atop a cooler stacked atop a kayak. He sips a Sprite. He and his buddies tote plastic bags filled with stuff for the ride — portable CD players, CDs and books. “What’s the most fun is when we get to a place on the river where there really aren’t many rapids. We play keep-away,” Woody Kaine says excitedly. “Kayaks versus canoes.” — Brandon Walters
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