Monday, August 9, 2010

Sea kayaking entry 6: Headed for home

Sixth and last in a series...

To paddle backwards...
With a 10:30 AM ferry departure, the crew was finally able to awaken on their own terms. However, with the rising sun and quickly rising temperatures, most were up shortly after dawn. The adults took shifts walking about a half-mile to a nice coffee shop for a hot cup of premium coffee and toasted bagel. Ahhhhh.

Mid-morning, everyone hoisted their gear on their shoulders and into their hands and trekked back to the ferry dock. We were not as rushed on the return trip as we were going to Ocracoke.

Upon reaching mainland again two hours later, the base camp vans arrived to greet us ... and assign us chores. All kayaks, boat gear, personal gear, and crew gear we'd left behind a day earlier had to be loaded and secured. Most folks pitched in to quickly load the gear. A few decided they wanted to sit in the shade or in the vans until we were ready to go - or so they thought. A few "tough love" words of "GET OUT HERE AND WORK LIKE THE REST OF US!" was about all it took to get their priorities back in order. In short order, we were on our way for a return trip to base camp. Most caught up on some much-needed and much-deserved rest.

Upon arriving at base camp, all gear had to be unloaded, cleaned, and hung to dry so it could be re-deployed to other crews the next week.. The camp staff estimated 2 hours would be needed to complete the cleaning. Instead, it only took 45 minutes with the 3 troops working cooperatively and efficiently. All troops were congratulated by the staff for the collective hard work.

The troops had a final grilled chicken dinner together. The other two troops showed great scout spirit by deferring their showers until our troop could eat, clean up and hit the road.

After a final group photo and some t-shirt purchases, we were on our way. The captains of the troop armada were headed westward away from the coast. We arrived around midnight at the National Guard armory in Lexington, NC for a night's rest.

As all awoke Saturday morning to head for Charlotte, NC, I caught sight of an STP cap in a display case along the wall. Sure enough, it was autographed by my NASCAR hero - The King Richard Petty. I wished someone had been there to convince them the hat would be much safer in my custody, but that wasn't the case. So all that went with me was a photo.

We boarded the vans for breakfast and a 90 minute ride to Carowinds theme park near Charlotte, NC. While we thought the heat was challenging on the coast, at least we had wind. Inside the concrete jungle of Carowinds, there was little relief from the heat except on roller coasters and constant drinking of water.

The newest ride for the season was The Intimidator - a roller coaster whose theme was based on the late NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt, Sr. One of our dads donned the Intimidator cap and my sunglasses to create our own version of...


After a full, draining day at Carowinds, the crew had dinner in Asheville, NC. A phone call was placed to the Clyde Police Department officer whose name we were given a week earlier. Fortunately, the right connections were made and we were back in Clyde City Hall again for the night. It was almost like coming home. Almost.

We got an early start on Sunday morning and stopped for breakfast. My son led a crew prayer to give thanks for the meal, give thanks for a fun and safe week, and ask for a safe journey the remainder of the trip home.

Shortly after noon, the captains returned home. Captains - of boats with christened names such as:

  • SS Minnow
  • The Titanic
  • Flying Dutchman
  • Red October
  • Cornelia Marie
  • The Wizard
  • El Diablo and the Magic Man
  • the destroyer (for our scout who could destroy a buffet or fast food menu)
  • the cruiser (for our girl-ogling scout for all the coolness he *tried* to exude)
  • the carrier (for our smallest scout who hauled 3 bags of gear plus his tent while wearing blue jeans the half-mile from the Ocracoke Ferry to Teeter's Campground and back)
Sure enough, when I got home there it was. The six pack promised me via a text from "the carrier's" dad our first day on the water. A sixer of Italian Peroni - chilled. Plus, the dad gave our family a gift card to our favorite Mexican restaurant.

While the gifts were genuinely appreciated, I did feel a bit sheepish about accepting gifts for a trip on which I had so much fun personally.

Thus endeth the series. Finis.


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