Sunday, July 06, 2008
Conor's review of the Remix -- Plus some dam boofing...
Costumers at CKS have been asking lately about the new Liquid Logic Remix river runner. I usually assure them that it floats on water, which is pretty much the industry standard, but sometimes they have more specific questions.
Does it punch holes?
Does it boof?
Can I take it down creeks?
Is it the type of boat I can take out after work in the evening and book it 25 river miles to the nearest party?
Yes, it is.
When I left work on Friday, the fourth of July, the party prospects in Buena Vista looked marginal. Everybody had gone to Salida, it seemed, and the only vehicles at my disposal were a light-bleu single-speed girls bike and a pearl white Liquid Logic Remix 79. I decided to pack up the boat and make a run for it.
Last summer I attempted the solo mission from BV to Salida without success. By that I mean I stopped at a party after Zoom Flume and never left. I packed overnight gear just in case I got sidetracked again; then put in at the BV play park at 7:13 pm.
The only other time I had paddled the Remix was on Meadow Camp in Oregon, and it felt surprisingly like the Pirouette-S I paddled ten years ago. Loaded with about thirty pounds of gear it still paddled like a long-boat from the days of yore; super-fast and super-stable.
Less than an hour after punching the holes in the BV play park I found myself about a mile from Brown's Canyon, the only whitewater in this section. I decided to back-paddle for a while to warm up my shoulders. The boat even tracked well backwards.
When I dropped into the canyon the sun was beginning to set and I hoped to make it through all the rapids before dark. The displacement hull underneath me liked to find the fastest way across eddylines and swirls in the rapids, and punching holes was super easy.
One of the last rapids is called Sydell's Suckhole, probably named in honor of a giant hole on the left and the poor bloke who discovered it. I ran down the middle and at the last moment sprinted to the right to avoid a thrashing. It was still light and I was making good time.
The water between the canyon and Salida is pretty flat, and as darkness settled in I focused on keeping a good speed downstream. After what seemed like an eternity of island dodging I saw fireworks exploding in the sky ahead. I had almost made it. The twists and bends in the river, however, slowed any linear progress. It seemed like wasn't moving any closer. When the fireworks show stopped I heard a roar coming from downstream. I paddled closer to the right shore, in case I had to catch an eddy, and turned on my headlamp.
What I saw terrified me. The water was moving fast over a horizon line as straight as an arrow, and one look at the cement outcropping along the shore confirmed my fears. It was a dam and I was going over it. I had time for two strokes to gain some speed and then I passed over the lip and cranked a late boof. The sight below me was a monstrous boil that twisted and curled back down into the incoming water. When I landed my head smacked solidly against the cockpit rim and my headlamp went out. I took three solid strokes to get over the boil and then sprinted on toward Salida in complete darkness. I wanted off the river as soon as possible. Hopefully there would be no more dams.
When the lights of the Salida park appeared around the corner I breathed a sigh of relief. I parked on the flooded walkway under the bridge and coaxed my legs back to solid ground. It was 10:17, so I headed to Bensons for a drink. I had some catching up to do.