Friday, September 24, 2010

Kayaking the Rivers Three

"The sea was angry that day, my friend. Like an old man sending soup back in a deli." -- George Costanza

What a great way to incorporate one of the 5 best lines from Seinfeld into a blog post. Even if I was on a river (or three).

I took the day off work today and headed down to Kayak Pittsburgh underneath the Clemente Bridge. DB~ and I had 2 Groupons (each good for 1 hour of kayaking) that needed to be used by the end of October. But they weren't good on the weekends anymore, so that kind of ruled out DB~. I politely asked if I could use both Groupons myself and get 2 free hours -- I caught the two hippies on a mellow buzz apparently, because they went for it. I was ready to bribe them, if necessary.

My goal today was to kayak on a piece of all 3 rivers. Once I pushed off from Kayak Pittsburgh on the Allegheny, I paddled down towards the Carnegie Science Center on the Ohio River. I stopped in front of the submarine docked outside the Science Center (the Requin, I think) and took this shot:

I floated a little towards the Rivers Casino. There were no semi-strange Beatles cover bands performing in full costume this afternoon. Just a few gamblers with broken dreams eating lunch outside. Wondering how the dealer was showing 16 and hit his 21 to beat the 20 on blackjack. Or why the player at poker stuck in the pot all the way to the river to hit his inside straight.

I took this shot while near the Casino looking up the West End Valley. Have you ever tried to take Route 60 through the West End Valley towards Robinson Township? It's like in the Family Circus when Jeffy has to get his mom a cup of sugar from next door, but ends up taking the most circuituous route possible.

I turned around and headed straight for the Point, being careful to not get broadsided by a speedboat, jet skier, or Gateway Clipper paddlewheeler. This is when things got a little edgy. It was pretty windy today and the rivers were not kind to me. There were whitecaps and actual waves rolling on the river. At one point on the Mon, I was going a good 2 feet up in the air riding the crest and trough of these waves. My kayak got perpendicular to the river at one point and some water from a wave crashed into the kayak, soaking me pretty good.

But it was an adventure. I did my good deed for the day while I was out. I picked up about 7 plastic bottles and jugs that were floating in the rivers and put them in a trash can when I got back. Recycling them would have earned me two gold stars, but I'll settle for one.

When I was walking back to my car in the West Robinson Garage, I passed by one Mr. John Russell reporting for work. He was resplendent in an electric blue workout shirt and black shorts. He was walking stiff-legged, so Russeltron 3000 must need his joints oiled and servos lubed, I guess.

I also stopped to watch some construction workers next to the Garage. They were pouring a low slump, stiff concrete for the new subway stairs and pedestals. This is the Subway extension stop as part of the North Shore Connector project.

It was good to have an off day and no better way to spend it than kayaking on a sunny, if windy, day. Of course it probably wasn't as good as the two dudes parked next to me in the Garage in a Dodge Ram. As I was walking towards my car, their truck looked like they were filming a Cheech and Chong movie in the cab. The sweet smell of burning hippie lettuce wafted through the air. I guess we all spend our Fridays in different ways.

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