PLACES TO GO ON LAND HOME PLACES TO GO ON WATER
One thing I’ve discovered in my travels is that the larger the body of water you paddle, the more crucial it is to plan around the weather – especially if you have a long drive. For example, since my commutes are now running around 2 hours, I want the days I choose to paddle to be optimal. I don’t want to get all the way out to a put-in only to be disappointed that I wasn’t able to get as far as I wanted. So, in order to get the most out of my days I thoroughly check the weather reports. While we’ve been lucky to have had some very warm and sunny days well into the fall this year, I could still wind up picking a great day only to find that it wasn’t the temperature that held me back – it was the wind.
Here’s my thing: I generally like to get at
least 8 hours out on the water in order to fully experience it and make a proper
documentation. With the added burden of much shorter fall days, however, any
sizeable amount of wind threatens to curtail the distance I can cover.
That happens consistently, and it’ll take me forever to finish the
That said, the water started out really calm today
(as expected with only 8 to 10 mph gusts forecast) but by the time I got up to
Vevay, Indiana I was paddling against wind induced 1 – 2 foot waves and gusts of
what seemed like 25-30 mph. I did end up getting my time in, but I
certainly didn’t expect this. Now I know what it’s like to kayak-surf
though! It’s exhilarating, but also a little nerve-wracking while having
to do it across the
paddle began today from the
Today I began paddling the
As for Carrollton, you’ll soon pass a second ramp which extends down from the heart of the city, and if you were to get out and walk up you’d find that the building just to the left is a nice restaurant that I’ve eaten at a couple times. Forgive me for I’ve forgotten the name, but I believe it’s called Welch’s Riverside Restaurant.
At one point after passing this ramp my reverie was interrupted by loud cracks of fireworks which were clearly meant just for me - the prankster was otherwise completely silent and gave no indication that he was there until I got very close. Then he set them off. Kids would have been in school at this time, so this was a bit odd, and I never saw any sign of my would-be startler as I paddled on.
Once past downtown
Two little creeks soon enter
the river on the
Next came South Fork at mile 541. “South Fork of what?” You ask… I can’t tell, to be honest, but if you go in about 150 yards you’ll discover a really interesting old bridge…
Now back to that conveyor… It’s apparently part of a Dow Corning facility that lies further back from the shoreline here (http://www.dowcorning.com/content/about/aboutlocn/locations.aspx?lg=FNYAM), and according to their website they’ve been operating at this location since 1966. In that time, this facility has become one of the world’s largest silicon production plants, making silicates that go into products like sealants, lotions, polishes, and antiperspirants. Oddly, I didn’t see any particular signs for Dow Corning, but I could see some for Airgas, Inc. Airgas apparently built their facility right here on the Dow Corning property in 2008, specifically to supply them with liquefied gasses for their operation.
Indian Creek now enters the river at mile 540 in
Now by this time I’d been seeing a towboat in the distance. Not once or twice, but three or four times. I believed it to be the same boat at first, but what in the heck was he doing? What’s going on up there??? Turns out, once the river straightened a bit I could more clearly see a couple boats (one of which was the Eddie B. Marsh) moving barges around the location of Gallatin Steel at mile 539.5. Check out Gallatin's website at https://www.gallatinsteel.com/Company/Tour/shippingorders/tabid/113/Default.aspx. It's exceptional and it takes you through their entire steel making process).
So, figuring that I had just enough time to cross, I headed on over and in the process found myself being uplifted by the waves - surfing - as I paddled. Quite honestly, this startled me at first. The waves hadn’t seemed that large while I was paddling along the shoreline, but once I’d gotten out to the middle of the river they were much larger. At one point I could feel my boat being lifted almost completely out of the water. Nevertheless, I steeled my nerve as I paddled along with them and at a slight upriver angle - both to increase my speed and also to reduce the possibility of being swept over. It was all quite an experience for someone who hadn’t done it before and I found it to be quite exhilarating!
Getting to the other side, however, I soon discovered that the oncoming towboat (the James G. Hines of American Commerical Lines LLC http://www.aclines.com/site/aboutus/about-us.html) was also hugging this side with his barges. “Hmm… OK. I’ll stop and wait while he passes.” No luck... He was apparently waiting too - for the other towboats at Gallatin Steel to cease their activity and I’d have to very carefully paddle right beside him along the shoreline. I hoped that in his eyes I was doing the right thing. I don’t want to be an added inconvenience for these guys. I mean, do they wonder who this lunatic kayaker is or are they content to suffer my company?
Anyway, there were some really great rocky beaches at
this point and as I paddled I was able to get some nice close-up shots of the
James G. Hines. According to their website American Commercial Lines
(“ACL”) began their operation on the
Meanwhile, up ahead around mile 538.5 there was one interesting area in
Then, directly across the water in
This inn also seems to usher in the town of
Also interesting is that down by the end of the ramp there are 3 conical structures which, in turn, designate the names “Vevay”, “Indiana” and “Switzerland” (the county). They looked to need a little paint or you might clearly be able to read them for miles, but I thought they were a great expression of community pride!
to be outdone however,
I did pass another towboat (the Gail Ann) on my return and also got in the aforementioned Indian Creek.
Would I meet some more interesting people back at the
(Alas, as I complete this journal on November 9, I
find that both the weather and the length of the days have become such that this
will have to be my last paddling trip of the year. Should fate and
finances allow me to continue, I’ll look forward to doing more of the
As I see it, I’ve got at least 5 good months (June, July, August, September and October) to paddle; then figuring that there are about 4 weeks per month that’s 20 total weeks. At 2 -3 trips per week, that means I’d get about 50 trips in. 8 – 10 miles per trip, and I’m left with the conclusion that I might be able to get 400 – 500 miles on the Ohio next year and another 400 – 500 the next. We’ll see what happens…)
far as what I did from