It’s almost 8 PM on July 7 and I’m waiting for the sun to go down. It’s hot, hot, hot, here on the banks of the muddy Cuyahoga. “95 degrees, feels like 112.” Feels more like 300 to me.
Been on the water, or trying to be, for two weeks. It’s been hotter than heater, with some amazing thunderstorms, but the trip’s been cool. Lots of people out on Lake Erie. Kayaks, jet skis, freighters, ferries, yachts, sailboats, and swimmers. Sport fishing boats everywhere, and they come in with coolers full. Wally Walleye is the lake mascot.
I’ve passed two nuke plants, one in Michigan and one in Ohio, and Ruth tells me that’s all of them. I’m thankful for that, as there is a restricted zone of at least a mile around them, and the wind and waves seem to be in your face at least two out of the three legs of the maneuver. The Davis-Besse plant had the added inconvenience of being located within the Camp Perry National Guard’s “impact area,” a six-by-eight mile or so area of the lake closed down while the camp conducts target practice. The camp, near Port Clinton, claims to have the largest outdoor rifle firing range in the world. They don’t do this all the time, just when old guys in canoes are in the area. I can handle the mile-out, mile parallel to the shore, and the mile-back-in slog around the nuke buoys, but going six miles out, then eight miles, then six back? No thanks. They block this section of the lake off from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. So I hung out a nearby marina until about 4:30 p.m., then headed out and arrived at the Impact Area buoy right at 5 p.m., and I started my trip around the nuke plant buoys. It took me a couple of hours to get around, but toward the end I had a great talk with my sister, Pamela, on the cell phone (it’s in a waterproof pouch, in my PFD, and I turn it on speaker so I can paddle and talk at the same time. Twenty-first century canoe, oh yeah.) As I neared a sandy shore shaded by tall cottonwoods, I saw an eagle lift from a limb, and herons and egrets strolled the water’s edge. I waxed poetic as I said good-bye to Pamela, and began scouting the beach for a place to set camp. I landed, looked around, got back in the canoe and went up the beach a bit more. Then I spotted a sign that ordered “No Trespassing,” and something to the effect that unexploded ammunition might be under the sand somewhere, and you better get your ass out of there unless you wanted to lose it.
So, gingerly placing my paddle, I continued on my way, finally finding a spot a few more miles along the coast.
Eeek! I just surfed the net, and discovered there is yet another nuke plant, this one about 45 miles northeast of Cleveland. Oh well, three nukes and bunch of live ammo can’t come close to the fun I had over the Fourth of July with the regulars at the Copper Kettle Marina in Beaver Park. Now those guys know how to have a blast…
Tags: around Lake Erie by canoe, Camp Perry National Guard, Cleveland, Copper Kettle Marina, Cuyahoga, Davis-Besse Nuclear Power Plant, heat wave, Lake Erie, Notch, Seawind canoe, Stephen Brede, Tarptent