Monday, June 21, 2010

Paddle Boat Backfire

On Saturday morning Andy and I discussed what we needed to get done in the house. After debating and considering, we decided to blow it all off and head up to Peace Valley park for the afternoon. Hey, it's not like the laundry was going to wander away or anything.

The park is really nice. It surrounds a lake and includes a lot of trails and boat rentals. We discovered the park the summer I got pregnant, so even though we visit at least once a summer, we have never rented a boat.

This year we knew that Michael would want to go on a paddle boat the moment he saw one, so we were prepared for the possibility. He did not disappoint, and rushed right up to the dock the instant he saw the boats. Personally, I would prefer to rent a canoe over a paddle boat, but they are too prone to tipping, so Andy overruled me as he doesn't swim. I can see his point.

We decided to rent a paddle boat for 30 minutes, put on our life vests and headed out onto the dock. We loaded onto the paddle boat with Michael sitting in between the two of us where the rudder control was. Michael was thrilled!

I'm not an experienced boater, but I have spent a decent amount of time in canoes and kayaks. I know that you need to be careful of both wind and water currents because it really sucks to go too far and then turn into the wind and realize just how hard it is to get back. Trust me, I've done it before. So, I checked the wind and the ripples on the water and we headed off in the "hard" direction first.

Michael enjoyed himself, but on our way out we discovered a few problems. The first problem was that the pedals were too close for comfort. I ride the exercise bike all the time, but because my legs were bent so far, it was much harder than I'm used to.

The other problem was that Michael wanted to steer. And by steer I mean yank the rudder control back and forth and frustrate mommy and daddy beyond belief. We kept getting him to stop only to have him jam his toes under the control, preventing Andy from steering the boat at all. We were frustrated, but did our best to hide it because Michael was having fun.

It's a good thing I pointed us into the wind so at least our trip back would be easy. After 20 minutes we decided to turn around and head back in. Between the work of peddling out into the lake, and the heat from wearing life vests, we were already hot and tired.

Andy took the rudder and turned us toward the dock and we started to peddle. We didn't move. We peddled harder. Still, we didn't move. We put everything we had into it, and OMG, we weren't moving. Some how, despite the wind at our backs and the appearance of the water, we were going against a very strong current.

And we had 10 minutes to go the distance that it took us 20 minutes to travel.


We could see that the people along the shore were not having the same problem that we were, so we decided to head to the shore and then work our way to the dock. We peddled and peddled and peddled. That's when I realized just how hot the sun feels when you are out on open water. (That's a lesson I've "learned" before as well.) We worked and worked and worked as we kept our eye on the shore. All I could think was just how embarrassing it would be if they had to come and rescue us.

To make matters worse, Michael really wanted to steer the boat. No, let me rephrase that, Michael wanted to steer the boat with a passion. It was as if his whole life depended on him being able to steer that boat. We had been pretty understanding of it on the way out, but now that we were peddling away, we couldn't afford to deal with him yanking the rudder around creating even more resistance for us.

So, we chugged away at the peddles and got increasingly snippy with Michael as we watched the shore from a distance. Finally, after working hard to come in, we started making a little headway. Not much, but at least we could see that we were getting closer to the dock.

My legs started to burn, but I was afraid to rest in case we started to drift backwards.

Andy fought Michael for control of the rudder.

Most of all, we peddled and peddled and peddled.

Finally, dripping sweat and exhausted, we pulled up to the dock. The young man working the dock tied us up and we heaved a sigh of relief at finally being able to stop peddling. It felt so good to peel of that hot life vest. We headed back onto land to return the vests and pick up the security deposit.

Michael immediately insisted we go again. He was also a little startled by how quickly we both said "NO!" We didn't have the energy for it, but we did promise to do it the next time we come to the park. I'm thinking we'll shell out the extra 5 bucks for an hour next time, and I'm going to let Andy pick the direction so at least if we have a hard time, it's not my fault.

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