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15 May 2008 @ 06:59 am
between two more adventures  
I must make time for journal entries like this because I'm learning a lot from the things I am doing so I need to have them recorded.

Saturday I went by Porta-bote in the Ohio River from New Albany, Indiana across the bridge from Louisville, Kentucky, to Mauckport, Indiana, 40 miles downstream.

Here is a picture of the ramp at New Albany (from local.live.com):

I camped on a sand ledged beach about 12 miles back upstream toward Louisville, and got to try out my little tent wood stove with tiny logs. It really warmed up the inside of the tent with just a few sticks burning in it.

The tent I used is a special one I don't want to describe because it is just a prototype. Now that I know it is practical, I am going to re-design it somewhat as a permanant more durable and lighter tent/platform.

Sunday morning, I was ahead of schedule but they had predicted "breezy" conditions the night before, so I took off right away because the water and skies were calm.

What happened next was terrifying, and has made me alter my rules for decision-making about the weather.

Overnight, while I slept, the "breezy" forecast suddenly was upgraded to a "high wind advisory", and I had not bothered to learn this.

A cold front was about to pass directly overhead, a front which had just killed 22 people to the west with several tornados.

Luckily, the front gave just enough warning for me to race to shore, and luckily the warning came exactly as I was passing the small town of West Point, Kentucky, where I had spent time on Saturday:

As soon as I pulled my boat well above the shoreline, the wind reached near hurricane force even though the sky was sunny! If I would not have landed right then, I would have lost my boat and everything in it, and would have floated ashore with only my clothes and life vest, strapped-on glasses, and my pinned-on car keys.

I don't have time to describe everything else that happened Sunday after I escaped at West Point.

But I ended up walking, riding with a family going to Mothers Day breakfast, and riding the Louisville transit buses back to my car. Then I drove to West Point to get my boat from the beach. It was half-filled with water because the vicious winds continued all day and they literally lifted the water right into the air and splashed it into the beached boat a quart or so at a time.

The important thing is my new rule:

I will never be on or near the water when a distinct cold-front is or might be passing.

I have focused too much on thunderstorms, and ignored this less-obvious clear-sky danger.

Just because the forecast calls for manageable winds, frontal boundaries are too difficult to predict, and wind forecasts can quickly change, as on early Sunday.


Tomorrow morning, I and four others from O'Neil will begin our 3-day trip down the Little Miami River from the edge of Dayton to the Ohio River at Cincinnati.

I will probably have a lot to write about after this is over.

The important thing to me right now is that no cold fronts are forecast from Friday to Sunday!