Sunday, October 3, 2010

Fall, Glorious Fall!

Kayakers on the Catawba River, US National Whitewater Center

This is a cheat picture--I've already posted it on my upload photos page.  And I took it in August, which is hardly fall.  But I don't care, because fall has brought such fabulous weather that it's almost painful to stay indoors.

The rain that began right before our illustrious Panthers game last week ended up enduring for almost two days.  And if the greenery didn't immediately spring forth with new luster, the temperature and humidity both dropped dramatically.  Since then, it's been like emerging from summer hibernation. 

This lovely weather is most fortunate, because October is a busy, busy month for us here in Flartopia.  Tomorrow opens a new quarter of teaching for Miss Chef and me.  (For newer readers, we both teach part time at the Art Institute here, Miss Chef in culinary arts and I teaching French.)  Somehow, even though Miss Chef is picking up an extra lecture class, we will be able to enjoy three weeknights together, and she still has her full Sunday off.  Before classes start back up, we got one more summertime activity in.

Here's where I make my picture more relevant: today we made the short drive again to the US National Whitewater Center, this time to go kayaking on the Catawba River.  We had each played around on a kayak once, down in the bayous near Mobile, and both enjoyed it.  This second outing proved just as enjoyable, not least because of the fabulous weather.  We cruised up the shoreline of the river to the inlet of a largish creek, and continued in for about a quarter mile or so, twisting with the waterway.  We saw a great blue heron, an anhinga and, back out on the river, a low-flying flock of Canada geese.  In spite of Miss Chef's nervous alertness, there was no sign of alligators, lol.

We took turns leading and following, warning each other of shallow sandy bottoms, coming suddenly upon submerged logs and even fishing an empty beer can out of the water.  Kayaking is amazingly easy, especially with these sit-on-top fiberglass designs that are reassuringly stable.  As Miss Chef said, tilting left and right, "I don't think it's possible to tip these."

You know what's coming, right?

As we headed back down the river past some private docks, I suddenly heard a great deal of splash noise behind me, and turned to see Miss Chef perched, somehow, sideways on her tilted kayak.  But only for a moment.  With a modest splash, over she went.  Next thing I saw was an upside down kayak, one floating shoe, and her head bobbing on the other side of the hull.  (She had taken off her shoes earlier, to trail her feet in the water, alligators be damned.)

I felt warring emotions of panic and hysterical laughter.  It soon was obvious that Miss Chef was fine, calm as could be, if a little confused.  She had no idea, after all her earlier experimentation, how she managed to finally tip the kayak.  As I clumsily manuevered back towards her, my dad's boat safety lessons came rapidly back.  "Stay with the boat, I'll get your paddle," I told her.  "Though you might want to get your shoe before it sinks or floats away!"

It turned out Miss Chef could actually touch bottom, so it only took five or ten minutes to collect her paddle and shoe, flip the boat over to find her other shoe floating beneath, and get her hauled back onto the kayak.  I am very proud to say that I managed to keep the giggling to a minimum until we were safely underway again.  I also bit my tongue to stop from suggesting that maybe the alligator had flipped her over.

We continued on our planned course, paddling around for two hours before returning the kayaks and other equipment.  As it turns out, the last laugh was on me.  We had both brought a change of clothes, but I had somehow neglected to include a pair of pants.  Which meant that I was stuck wearing my jeans, soaking wet from drips coming down the double-ended paddles.  We ate lunch on the patio of the River's Edge restaurant, and I was well chilled before we left.  By the time we got home, I couldn't get out of those wet clothes fast enough!

So begins our month of adventures...before October is out, we plan on taking the train to the State Fair,  driving to the mountains for a long weekend in a cabin, and celebrating Halloween at the Renaissance Festival.  I have high hopes that at least two out of three of these adventures will leave us relatively dry!

As I go back to working two jobs, you will undoubtedly notice that I'll be posting only once a week.  But, at least for the next month, I'm sure you'll find it worth your while to keep checking in.  With all these exciting plans, there's no telling what trouble one of us will get into next!

As for you food-following folk, I would like to tell you that as I wrote this post, we were grilling dinner the rain.  We forgot it could rain more than once a month.  But that's ok, 'cause we got to see a rainbow!  A double rainbow!  But it didn't go all the way we remained calm.  And now Miss Chef tells me our Italian sausage and chicken leg quarters are almost done, so off I go!


  1. What a great post! I giggled while drinking my coffee with nearly disastrous results. Sounds like a lovely time despite the dunking! Shame that you couldn't take pics (would have been classic!) but the alligators might have been attracted by the camera. :-)

  2. I loved that you took us along for this adventure!

    That picture! Loved it!

  3. What a cool - and wet - day!!! I've canooed and have spent a lot of time in motor boats, but never had the guts to try kayaking. I'm sure I would have tipped over faster than Miss Chef could say, "this won't tip over"!!! Thanks for sharing.

    Nancy in Iowa

  4. I've been white-water rafting a few times (almost died on the Gauley River in West Virginia)and canooing but never kayaking, looks like fun though.

    If I lived closer, I'd like to take some culinary courses at the AI with Miss Chef. Do you have to have some cooking skills to be accepted or can anyone sign up? The reason I ask is because I like to use canned soup in casseroles. :-)

  5. What a FUN day!! Tipping and all!!

  6. Love it! And I'm glad you enjoy autumn. So do I really, but I'm pretty chuffed all the same that it's spring here with the promise of summer to come. Yay!

  7. Amazingly easy? I've never been kayaking, but it looks like it takes strenght and balance to me. You must be a natural. So glad you and Miss Chef are making the time to enjoy Fall.

  8. Yum - dinner sounds like it was really good. :) I have a confession to make though. When "bad" things happen to other people, I laugh. Hysterically. And sometimes have to will myself not to pee my pants. :D I would have been laughing hysterically on your kayaking trip. I'm sorry. There, I feel better now that I got that off my chest. :)

    Have a great October - sounds like you have all kinds of wonderful things planned!

  9. What a great post, it sounds like such a fun way to spend a day!

  10. "Cheat" picture or not, that's a beautiful photo.

    Sorry Miss Chef took a dip in the water but it sounds like you're lucky you didn't too with the case of the giggles :-)

    October will be fun-filled for you. Can't wait to see the pictures.

    Cheers, jj

  11. Oh my gosh! What an enjoyable read! Thanks for sharing your kayak post. I've only canoed(is that a word?), but never kayaked. I want to so badly though!
    I'm sure I'll end up in the water, though. Probalme will be how to haul myself back up with wonky knees and hips. lol!

    Reading about the Catawba River was cool, too. I've spent many lovely days walking beside, picniking near and boating on that river when we lived in South Carolina.This time of yea is absolutely glorious in the Carolinas to be sure....especially after one has endured the evil summers. lol!



    ps Yay!! for Double Rainbows.....OMG!!!! I'm so happpyyyy! *crying*


  12. Probalme??

    What the heck is that? lol! Sounds like a professional balm the French use.

    You know I meant to type Problem, right?




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