(Ed Note: This post links to the previous post “It’s not always bad when dates don’t go as planned…”, since that was when this was planned out)
I’d texted my adventure partner the day before, but was still waiting for a reply when I headed to bed on Friday… when that happens, you sort of have a feeling what’s going on. I was right, unfortunately; when I did hear back at 9:30 (when we were going to meet around 10:30) it was to cancel out.
But you know what? Screw it, I’m going alone – I want to do an adventure, and it’s a perfectly humid day out, and I am good company if I do say so myself. So I’ll explore the river, talk to myself a bit, and hope that the other boaters on the river don’t think that I’m too crazy, heh.
- Bike to breakfast, eat it, it’s excellent and starts me out right
- Relax a bit, and call in to make sure I don’t need reservations.
- All that’s left is to actually rent a boat and get on the water… once I do? My life finally transforms back into one that’s calm and relaxing. This is what adventures should be like – physical labor, and a bit difficult… but un-stressed and fun. I love just moving slowly down the river, and spend my time swapping between paddling hard, and letting the current carry me onward…
- Lots of photo opportunities, and I take advantage of most of them as I paddle & drift down the river
- Watch a rowing race by some high school teams, get yelled at by some standard-issue sports moms who are saying that I shouldn’t be near the river while they’re racing. I’m honestly not convinced that’s true, but I’m not really in a position that it matters. The banks of the river there border Storrow… which means that they’re high brick walls. Not really an option to leave the river, even if I wanted to… which I most definitely did not want to.
- Continue on, having water and snacks as I keep playing photographer
- Once I get near the Longfellow bridge, I turn into the Esplanade, and get ready follow the route that Emma and I took before
- Take a short break on the boat launch near the end – pull the Kayak out of the water, relax, and have a bite to eat
- Get back in the water… shoot. Maybe I should have put the paddle in first… now I’m drifting too far away, and it’s still on the dock. Crap. Just before I jump into the river to swim back, someone on the shore tosses it back to me. Whew! Note to self – remember the paddle next time!
- I head inbound and explore the esplanade a bit, which is really fun and very beautiful… Though I do have to dodge a few other boaters who seem intent on paddling on the wrong side, straight at me, as maniacally as they can.
- Keep going on, and finally head in to the rental place and return the boat.
- From here, I need to get back to Allston… roughly a 6 mile walk, via “an unknown road” as google has told me. So I tie up my gear, clip it to my bag, put on some headphones, and start walking!
- It’s a good walk, and it honestly doesn’t even seem that long. I make a few phone calls, catch up with some people, and listen to a lot of music. It’s nice, and I stick mostly to the North Bank of the Charles, which is one that I don’t usually spend much time on. Always good to explore the road less traveled, even if it was only less traveled by you.
- Finishing up the walk / kayak / adventure was a nice drive home – basically, a good end to a relaxing day.
So I’d planned out a date with a girl I’d recently met online (yay dating sites; they’re not always horrible!) where we were going to meet up and go kayaking before grabbing some dinner nearby. The plan was to leave work early, then meet up at Allston to rent boats – we chatted during the day, and things looked like they’d go as planned…
- I leave work a bit early and bike down the Charles – lots of bugs, but thankfully I’ve got my glasses on so they aren’t the worst thing ever. I do swallow at least five or ten little flys though. Meh. Protein.
- Get there early, but unfortunately they’re under construction and not open on Wednesdays… crap! She’d checked in before, and their website isn’t the best at telling you when they’re open and when they’re not (it defaults to telling you the hours for that day, and you have to hunt for the full schedule). I shoot a text over to her about it, she says she’ll meet me there, and I take a quick nap in the sun while I wait
- “This place is closed… but there is one more option, though it’ll be a heavy bike ride.” <– I always have a backup plan, and this one was to ride down to Kendall square, to the other rental location. But it’s nearly 6 miles biking, and we had less than 20min…
- This is how I know I like this girl – she looks at me, grins, and says “hell yeah!” while jumping back on the bike.
- Good bike ride, and we go quickly. It’s fun, actually following a really similar route to what I used to take to get to Biogen
- Kendall is closed too! Damn! I guess they’re all closed mid-week :/
- Instead, we take a walk along the esplanade, dip our feet, and play the “getting to know you” game on land, instead of on the water. It’s still good.
- Once we get to the Mass Ave bridge it’s starting to get rather late, so we hop back on the bikes and go to a place called Emma’s Pizza for dinner. It’s excellent, and we get a rather appetizer of Brie & chips, followed by an amazing Pizza (carmelized onions, bacon, and buffalo chicken)
- Chat more, relax, and then head our separate ways at the end of the evening
Ed Note: For those curious, we planned a second date that evening, to meet up on Saturday and do a full day-trip worth of kayaking, to make up for the lost adventure we had planned. However, I got a “thanks, but no thanks” text message on Saturday morning, and that was the end of that. I find that I’m basically the worst at understanding when dates go well, or go poorly. I generally think that they all go well :/
So a bit ago I got a full season membership to Charles River Canoe and Kayak. I also bought a new waterproof camera as a prep-point for taking Spring Break in France. Combining these two means that I can take pictures out on the water, and that I can get out onto the water for cheap. So… why not, right? It’s a medium-warm day in May, let’s get into the Charles!
- Start out the adventure by texting everyone while I’m at brunch… btw, brunch? Balling. So good! The brunch place that I usually go to upgraded its fare – they raised the price and cut out the menu options, but holy crap it was worth it. Carving station, omelette station, extra snacks… yeah. I enjoy going to the Foundry.
- Emma’s the only one to reply, so we aim to meet up after I finish gardening
- Finish gardening, get ambushed by neighbors (which is nice), and then meet up with Emma… late as always. I’m sorry Emma!
- It’s too cold to go in the water :/ Wait, they’re joking! They call out to us as we’re about to walk away that it’s warm enough now! Just barely… but they can’t rent to anyone if the water temp is below 55 Deg.F – and it just hit 55.5 Deg.F out.
- They make us go through a whole slew of cold water release and waiver forms. Emma’s a bit worried, but we get a really stable Kayak to make up for it. Tie up the gear, get situated, and head out.
- The channel is kind of choppy, but nothing too bad.
- We’re about to get out into open water… Wait, the channel. The protected, enclosed channel, was choppy. Shit. Now we’re out on the river itself…. The river? 3ft waves.
- Emma starts to worry, but we’ve got this. Water spraying as we bash through the waves, paddles straining deep. Cue battle-music and some old grizzled sea-dog screaming orders over a hurricane.
- We can’t work through these waves… we need to make a break for shore, so we turn toward the esplanade and make landfall on a small dock.
- Beach in the esplanade, reorganize, and have a snack. Give Emma my waterproof layer.
- Now that we’re in the sheltered esplanade, it’s really nice! We take our time and mosey through the small channels. The trees are all in bloom, and it’s gorgeous with the cherry blossoms sprinkling down.
- After we get to the far end, we turn around and head back. Once we’re out into the river the waves aren’t super bad this time. The wind died down, I guess.
- Bike back, via the Harvard Square May Day event. Listen to some cool music and roll out home
- Have dinner, have a fire, and relax the night away. Nice.