Summer Is Shaping Up, But Something’s Different This Year

It’s only May and the calendar is filling up with important events and vacations. In just two weeks Cathy and I are attending a wedding for one of my childhood friends. After sending the happy couple off with a post wedding breakfast we’ll be heading off for a vacation ourselves. To where? Who knows! Montreal. Philly/Washington DC…someplace else? We can’t decide. The only thing we know for sure is we’re going somewhere. I might even, gasp, leave the cell phone at the hotel (ok — I’m not sure this one’s realistic unless we hit up Montreal). In late June there’s the Rochester International Jazz Festival which is always a good time. What will July and August bring? At least a couple of bike tours. With any luck I’ll even be able to get Cathy on some longer rides. The rest of the summer will have to remain a surprise — at least for now.

So what’s different this summer? As the days lengthen and the air warms, the tides too, are warming. That would typically signal one thing. Paddling season! This year, however, paddling has been the last thing on my mind. For the last several years I’ve had the pleasure of paddling the East River out of Long Island City with some great people…many of whom I’ve developed close friendships with. We’d meet up for evening paddles during the work week and occasionally go for longer excursions on weekends. Some of us even organized public trips for the boathouse where we kept our gear. Unfortunately during this last off-season nearly everyone I normally paddle with has moved on. Either to another boathouse or other activities altogether. Each person had their own reasons but gone are the days of our impromptu group paddles. I’m sure I’ll bump into some of my old paddling buddies on the river from time to time and we all still keep in touch but the convenience and camaraderie associated with paddling out of the same boathouse is gone. So I’m left with the options of coordinated trips, solo paddles, or perhaps new friendships. One things for sure…those after work paddles I’ve come to enjoy just got a whole lot lonelier (or more relaxing — depending how you look at it) and I suspect I’ll spend a lot less time on the water this year.

Of course there’s no lack of activities to fill the predicted paddling void. Cycling is great with a group or alone and there’s no shortage of places to ride. I’ve also been volunteering with Recycle-A-Bicycle. My first car, a 1979 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme, keeps me busy with racing. For the last decade I’ve been racing the car in autocross events. Of course the car requires plenty of work. Turning a midsize family cruiser into a lean mean handling machine is no easy task. Throw my constant travels between New York City and Rochester onto the pile and it’s a wonder I’ve ever had time for anything else!

Photo: Looking north from Gantry State Park by Christopher Schiffner
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