The lead in to our travels to Switzerland were anything but being prepared. Coming back from the Ottawa, we entered into a world at Rock Island that still had a vacuum for my time there. Lots to do, and lots I forgot to do, like call my partner before I left, pack a Happy Feet 150, etc., etc… Oh well, I am lucky to have internet where i am at, so I can catch up from here…
My last week preparing for this trip included meeting with the owner of Rock Creek Outfitters, Dawson, in Chattanooga. Dawson was my first dealer meeting in 2004 and became Jackson Kayak’s first ever dealer. in 2006, they became our first ever “Preferred Dealer”, and going into 2010 you’ll find them doing a ton of great things in paddling, both whitewater and recreational kayaking.
Lorraine’s birthday was Thursday and we had a dinner party with Aunt Connie, Kristine’s brother Bill and his family, Nick, Emily, Dane, KC, Kristine, myself, and Dave Olson. By the time we finished cleaning up the kitchen I was too tired to pack for the trip to Switzerland, which was scheduled for a 9am departure from the house. I had the bright idea to schedule a dealer webinar for 11am on the morning of our flight from the airport. Luckily i recorded the entire thing the night before and was able to uploaded to the dealer website.
Early Friday morning I started the day by going to the put-in of Rock Island to try to get the Landcruiser started (1988 truck that David Knight gave me back in 2002) but it wouldn’t go. That was our airport vehicle. Defeated, I started packing, remembering most of my stuff, like my wet gear, which is the most important thing I can bring. I made a trip to the dump, using the Mini-filled out the windows.
Nick and Emily arrived in their Honda Element and that was now or vehicle for the airport run. We tried to load our stuff in it but it quickly hit capacity. We then loaded the Mini Cooper up to the brim, filling all around KC’s car seat putting him in a little cave in the back. At 9:15am we were bound for the factory, the bank, and then the Nashville airport. I got the signature cards signed, got some swag (we brought 100 really cool Football jerseys that make up the 2009 World Championships Team JK shirts. 100 shirts take up a lot of room! By 1pm we were airborne and anything left behind, was, well, left behind.
Our connection in Atlanta went smoothly and we flew up I-81 over quebec, then Eastward over the Atlantic ocean. (It occured to us that Clay would be driving from the Ottawa to Syracuse, then fly to Atlanta, then fly back up the same path he took, straight over the ottawa, before making any progress towards Switzerland!)
A fairly smooth flight with KC co-operating like the good boy he is, we arrived at Zurich, CH at 7:30am CH time, or 12:30am Rock Island time.
Jessie Stone and her boyfriend Jurg was scheduled to pick us up in his car and a borrowed Mini van from his uncle (Jurg is swiss). They arrived at 9:30am and we were off on our 90 minute drive to Thun, the site of the world championships. We realized that we reserved the hotel for Sunday night (a year ago I made the reservations), and that they were booked on Saturday night, and according to them, every hotel in town is booked. Sure enough we get dropped off by Jessie at 11am, and we are tired and feel like we need a shower. The hotel was nice enough to allow us to store our bags in a conference room so we could walk the town looking for a free room or two for the night. After a couple of hours of asking at hotels and getting nothing, we got a lead on a hotel about 30 minutes away by bus, but it was 110 dollars/person (110 Ch francs actually, but the exchange is nearly 1:1). We walked to the bus stop but then the bus fare was 37 Ch francs per person each way, making it a 900 dollar night if we went!!! ouch. We decided that we would rather sleep under a tree somewhere for sure. Meanwhile, these guys were in river boats, dressed up in costumes and jousting. it was fun to watch.
Lunch at Rialto pizza, (yummy) and back to our hotel, for me to ask them one more question. “Hey, if we are really good, can we stay in the luggage storage room tonight?” they said yes! Every staff member remembers me from last year, which is a good thing, and they not only allowed us in that room but opened up a conference room on the third floor that had carpeting and gave me the key to it. We all immediately went in and dropped to the floor for a nap and it felt so good! A knock on the door a few hours later and the staff brought us in pillows and towels and showed us a ladies bathroom that had a shower in it. OK, now we are in hog heaven.
Our container of kayaks is still in Germany and i can’t seem to get in touch with Robert to see about getting them delivered tomorrow. This means no kayaking for today, Sunday. The competition wave isn’t a wave yet, and won’t be until the 26th of August. KC’s 1st birthday is the 25th of August (remember that at the exact moment of his birth (C-section) I was surfing the wave here last year. So it is fitting that he’ll have his 1st birthday here. Also, Kristine and I will celebrate our 21st wedding anniversary here on the 27th of August.
Today we all woke up stiff as a board, as we attempted to sleep on the carpet, no blankets, using our towels as blankets and fighting the jet lag thing. Our first european breakfast, with some great coffee immediately got us all kick started for the day. We are in the lounge of the hotel at the moment, as we wait for the room to be ready today. Locating and getting 39 kayaks from Germany to Thun today or tomorrow is our primary goal for the day.
The World Championships are so close, yet feel so far away. Yesterday we spotted Jordan, on the C1 team, and his dad, as well as Ruth, and Elaine. I am sure there are more people here, but i haven’t seen them yet. Billy and Carly harris are somewhere.
OK- so the rest of the updates from here on out, will hopefully include some kayaking!