This weekend might be it. Feb. 15th, start up the motorcycle. Should have done this earlier. Just because it was completely tuned up last October, doesn't mean it will run.It runs great. There is still some snow on my driveway. Feb. 19th, 20th; Conditions not good. Very cold temperatures and some moisture predicted. I cannot do it next weekend because of other obligations.
March 3rd,Heavy rain coming up the Ohio valley. Pittsburgh will get it Saturday, Not a good report. Will bide my time. March 6th; North of Pittsburgh snow fell all across the northwest. March 8th,Tuesday, it looks like more rain from the southwest Thursday and Friday.
March 9th, Wednesday; Load the canoes again.Noticed the float bags were low in air probably from the cold temperatures. Reinflate them. One was stuck shut and broke apart while I was opening it. Thats the problem with old equipment. Other two bags inflated OK. I should have checked this closer much earlier. I would hate to be out there with only one good float bag in my whitewater canoe. I have two other bags in my reserve equipment. Got both out and inflated them. Both are good. Put a good one in place of the bad one. Will take the other along incase one gets a puncture. Notice that the gas is low in the motorcycle.I left it that way all winter. It could be going stale. Wondered if I put 89 octane in on top of the old 87 octane would that reinvigorate the old possibly stale gas? I normally use a stabilizer in fuel which is to sit for a while.
March 10th, It is raining very hard here and the weather pattern looks the same out by Pittsburgh. Phone around to motels. Yes, what I am seeing is what is happening. I am getting anxious to get moving.Morning temperatures are 32 degrees or higher now and afternoon going into 50s. No ice on well used roads in the morning. Good bike riding. 40 degree water and 60 degree air is the breakover point regarding hypothermia. Conditions are getting better and safer at this time. A traveling customer of mine tells me snow is expected north of Pittsburgh tonight. Thursdays paper shows 50s out there and 40s north of the city. Will check river gauges tonight.
Thurs. March 10th. I am in denial over my condition. When I picked the canoes up off of the picnic table the other day to reload, I felt the muscle in my back stress out. Now I am experiencing lower back pains. Hope for some signs of improvement. Friday 11th, Weather don't look favorable and no relief on my back problems. I could do this thing but it means slippery roads up near I-80, East Brady. Decide to forget it. Now I see another problem. Next weekend is brother-in-laws 70th birthday party and I am expected to be there. May decide to go out for one day and return by Sunday for the party. Who doesn't like a party?
Half an inch of rain in Pittsburgh Tuesday and Wednesday. Thursday Fri, and Sat. will be unusally warm in the 60s.Decide to go for it! I had hoped not to take time off at work because I have three day weekends. Sometimes events will not fit into a weekend, so I had better go for it. These creeks are mostly under five miles long, so with a bit of luck I might get six of them in on a three day trip, but not this coming weekend. Two days, Friday and Saturday.It rained and got warm.
Had tested both CB radios. Both are junk, but I installed the better one to keep me company on the long early morning ride to Pittsburgh. Notice that one float bag has a slow leak. It takes a whole day to lose it, so I'll continue to reinflate it as I go until I can replace it on my next run.Completed final details of loading Thursday. Recharge the MC battery. Also, charge up the jumper assist box incase needed. Plan to start up MC when I drop it so that it should be OK. I have three chains and locks. One to carry in the canoe incase I have to leave it half way into a trip.Two more; one for the kick stand to keep it from being put up. If kids play with it, they will never be able to get the stand down again and will lay the MC on its side which is not good. The second chain is to secure the bike to a railing or tree. It is too easy to steal, so fasten it down.
Some last thoughts. "By yourself?" We go out to dinner with different friends and someone will say, You are going out there by yourself? I explain that it is imposible to find a person who can function on someone elses schedule, which may be a very short notice to go. Years ago, I heard Ed Gertler the writer of a canoe manual, express this same thing when asked by someone in the audience. I fully understand it. The important thing is not to lose your head. Systematically check everything. The canoe must be ship-shape before you put one foot into it.All blind descend needs to be walked down and checked before floating, and the next eddy downstream that you plan to pull into must be located. Nothing can be done in a hurry, or pressed into the 3:00PM waning hour of the winter day. Do it another day.Motorcycle riding has its own set of things to watch out for. We can die anywhere. Weds.March 15th Reading Eagle had a story of a man found dead by his car in a restaurant parking lot. It was not foul play. Probably a heart attack. We all take our chances in this world, and when its your time, thats it. This is the last posting in the log book. I carry a pocket size log book to record details which will eventually be posted in this larger book when I return home.
Friday, March 18th, Up at 3:00AM, on the road at 3:30AM headed for Pittsburgh. 41 degrees, three/quarter bright moon. Animals will be crossing roads.Watch for deer.Notice water seeping down vertical rock along the turnpike. Notice sides of shoulder of road are still wet.All good signs. Get breakfast 7:40AM at Kings Restaurant on Rt.28. My CB radio did not work well. Miss having trucker reports on the road.
I missed the turn to enter Rt.28 expressway and ended up going the old business route through the small towns to Breckenridge. This place looks like a crowded city on the atlas.That is where I have to locate a drop spot for the motorcycle where Bull Creek enters the Allegheny River. Think it best to do a partial ride up Bull Creek Road first to determine the water level and check details of the degree III rapid "under Rt.28 bridge".Found the creek. Circled around town to check out bridges and found the P.F.C. area under the bridge over the river. The river is up so it backs up into the creek about a half mile. One bridge has very low clearance at this level. Wow! This is something boaters should check before running it.Got into wetsuit at the PFC area which is vacant this morning. Traffic through town is scarey at rush hour. Coming in all directions.
Found the first road on the west side of Rt.28, Grim Road. Today this will be an ideal take-out point.The degree III rapid is about 400 feet upstream of Grim Road bridge.Water level looks Medium (M). I asked at a welding supply store if I could leave my MC by the pole across the road by the creek? Owner says to bring it over here by the trailer. Nobody will bother it there. I did that and continued towards Millerstown. Cross an intersection and found a Methodist Church and a ball field. This is a good put-in location. Water is running 12 inches down on cement base works which supports the poured concrete verticals of the bridge. This is M level here-into the average mud line on shore.it proved to be a good level, but at the degree III drop, it was just not enough. This drop is thirty feet long over large base rock creek-wide,with best flow on two sides of center. Going over the entry part is OK, but there appears to be a pool pocket and then another partial ridge of rock splits the water at this level making it difficult to complete the course. A portage up a steep bank was neccessary because the shoreline was very dense old growth briars. A lady raking her yard here wanted to help me make the portage, so I gave her the double blade paddle. She said that if I could not get through the briars, she would shuttle the canoe around to the bridge. As I have said in my book, the Pittsburgh people are great! I got cut up with briars so I back off and decided to carry up to the guard rail at Grim Road bridge and chain the canoe to it. It is a short walk from here to the MC.
Riding out Grim Road I noticed the PFC guy inspecting my canoe. I tooted the horn, waved and kept going. He waved back.It took one hour and fifteen minutes to complete the 4.5 miles. Three portages of strainers. Went over one low head cement dam about one and a half feet high. One cement bar, 12 inches thick and creek-wide was passable. I don't know what purpose this structure served. Returned for canoe and headed for Sugar Run at East Brady.I think the PFC guy was looking to see if I was fishing illegally.