March 31st- the Day I packed my RV up and headed on the Road. October 14th- the day I get home again, for good. I have not missed home until this trip to Europe, without Kristine or KC. That makes all of the difference for me. Home is where the heart is, and my heart is with my Family. I am truly enjoying my time with Dane and Nick, but missing Kristine, Emily, and KC. I am in Spain right now- I have about 30 minutes before heading to the big party (a good time for sure, where I will drink wine from a Porron (like Dane is doing here) .
We just spent some time in Oetz, Austria training for the Sickline race and will return there from Spain tomorrow, or at least 1/2 way. Tonight is the final party here. We paddled two days on the Noguera River here with people from Scotland, France, Spain, Germany, etc.. Quite a different scene from the Sickline training scene. Tomorrow after we wake up we will eat breakfast and then start driving to Lyon, France where Toon lives (he owns Kayak Session magazine), who has been my friend since 1984. Should be a fun time. I am setting KC up with his daughter (and Lluis’ Daughter, and John Ratliff’s Daughter and a few more) 🙂
Last year here Nick made a video of me for the Dealer Summit we are having at Rock Island after I get back. Actually, Kristine picks me up from the Airport and we go directly to see Charlie Ingram and Ray Brazier to film a fishing show with them (Fishing University). And after that show is filmed, we will come home on the 14th. The dealer summit is after that and we’ll have a ton of cool people at my house and the factory, and paddling, fishing, and doing SUP on our new boards as well. The video Nick had for last year’s was filmed partially here during our trip in Europe:
This year’s Sickline race course is quite different, and the boat I am is the Zen, and my Gear is Kokatat- Sweet! Here is a video of a training run…
Now- back to getting home… I got a taste of being home during the World Cup and again for a couple of days before flying here. Rock Island, TN during October is magical. The water is warm for swimming, the air clean, not too hot, and weather awesome. The fields are cut, the disc golf course will be set up (as soon as I get home!), and bocce ball as well. I will get a glass of wine for Kristine and I and play some bocce ball with her (and the kids) in the fields behind the house. We’ll start trimming down the weeds in the woods for disc golf and have a course set up with 18 holes in about 2 hours. KC will have his car charged up and drive it around the fields as well as ask to be put up on the big round hay bails to jump off. Nick, Dane, Emily, and I will play around the house, go paddling at Rock Island (Clay and Stephen may come over for Disc golf as well and surely go paddling if they are home). Then, getting back to the house, Kristine will surely have some food ready for hanging out on the deck to watch the sunset. Dinner, and perhaps a game of Settler’s of Catan before putting KC to bed and saying goodnight to everyone. Waking up at Rock Island is also special. A good cup of coffee, and I’ll get some work done (but I am going to try to not work for few days at least!) and then perhaps a bike ride with Kristine and KC and the kids (we have a sweet 15 mile loop of backroads that is beautiful) I will be fired up for some bass fishing in my Coosa down the Caney Fork to the Boat ramp, of course- KC loves to go in the boat, so maybe talk Kristine into a Day Tripper or Big Tuna run as well.
Seeing everyone at the factory is also such a great thing, as it is too long without being able to see everyone face to face again.
Between now and then I still have a 17 hour drive back to Austria- then training on a kick butt course, and then the World Extreme Championships where I am hopeful that Dane, Nick, and I will do very well (a winner in this year’s big event??? We’ll see! We have the Zens this year and that is a big advantage)
I am signing off- heading to the party now. Last year I went to the party here and stayed until 3am where I was then driven straight to the Barcelona Airport and flew home! I left 100% of my gear drying next to the party tent, never to be seen again. Right now my gear, Dane’s gear, and Nick’s gear are also drying outside, and we are about to go to the party again… hmmm… better to put our gear away wet, or try to remember it? I have signed a bunch of boats already today. A lady flew here from Japan for this event, as well as some from Argentina! Pretty cool!