Our boat is sinking!!!

Trip Start Oct 01, 2010
Trip End Oct 01, 2011

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Flag of United States  , Michigan
Saturday, September 10, 2011

As we left Sleeping Bear Dunes Nat'l Lakeshore, we stopped at the small fishing town of Leland. Steve's parents bought some smoked salmon, havarti and I got one of those huge dill pickles for a mini picnic. Then we drove on to Traverse City. Known for their cherries, we found a store that sold everything cherry and had samples of it all. We strolled the streets full of shops and walked around a Schooner Festival that was just setting up. 

The following day we drove around the Old Mission Peninsula. I was taking a break from alcohol but the rest of the gang took some sips at the wineries. (I never knew how many wineries we have across the US.) We drove out to the lighthouse and on our way back, stopped at an Old General Store which had yummy desserts. 

Since the weather was pretty warm, we decided to take on Boardman River...in a blow up beach boat and raft. What were we thinking?! I was thinking, we know nothing of this river, its currents, course, etc. Is this smart to go down in a raft! The other Francis's seemed unfazed. As we parked Big B, I asked a couple (with a real kayak!) what the conditions were and they said, "Just don't go that way as there are rapids." (Really.) They said the other side was much more calm but make sure to get out before the rapids and that there'd be signs.

Feeling better about the situation, we all piled into the parents RV and drove to the drop in area. We took turns pumping air into the blow up boat and float, then jumped in. To be fair, Steve and I did have oars. His dad had to hold on tightly to a rope and avoid swinging too much or lose us. All went well as we successfully maneuvered around hanging branches out of the water and avoided the sharp branches sticking up in the water. Until...there was an unavoidable branch right below us and poking towards us. The gash in the middle of the boat quickly drained in cold water. 

I started eye searching the land for a possible path to the road but saw nothing. I was kicking myself for not wearing shoes (which I had contemplated earlier)! Then, I remembered that the top rim of the boat has a different air intake and we could use it as a raft. Worse case scenario, we could all jump on the parents raft. Rusty kept looking at us to see if it was normal to have water in the boat. In the end we made it down river and out by the time we saw the signs for the rapids. Safely back in Big B, laughing about the fun (we can say that now) we had, we drove to pick up the parents RV from our starting point. We noticed some people who had passed us on the river, walking in the direction we were heading. Turns out that they left the keys for their 2nd car in the car at the starting point. Against our no picking up hitchhikers rule, we stopped and gave them a ride. After going down the two hour ride on the seemingly sinking boat and visualizing our potential walk to the RVs, how could we not! 
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