Now I know the meaning of a shakedown cruise |

Now I know the meaning of a shakedown cruise

Bringing It HomeJoelle MilholmGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado

Fishing is supposed to be a relaxing activity designed to make life slow down and give you a chance to take in natures beauty.I got a little curve ball in that plan when I hit the Roaring Fork River recently for a float trip with my dad and a never-before-used 16-foot raft.Not to say that it wasnt beautiful, and we actually caught some fish, but my inexperience on the oars, put together with some first-timer glitches and a bit of bad luck, made for quite an adventure.We parked near the Carbondale interchange of Highway 82 and began to assemble the boat around 12:30 p.m. That went pretty well until we realized we didnt have an Allen wrench, a key tool needed to tighten the frame which had one seat for the oarsman and one for a fisher on the front and a structure to lean against if you want to stand and fish from the front of the boat. So I went to the hardware store, picked one up, and two hours later, we were on the water. It was only then that we found out the oars werent very tight and needed a couple of twists from the screwdriver, which of course we didnt have. We just kept floating on anyway, with my dad at the oars and me fishing. After pulling to the shore every 10 minutes because my line was tangled or I had lost a fly, it was pretty slow going. Then I got a few bites and caught one fish before switching to the oars to give my dad a shot.A series of 360s that were not done for style points but more lack of control left me so disoriented and scratched up from the tree branches we slammed into I was ready to jump ship.My turn didnt last long before my dad became very eager to get back on the oars a job people usually volunteer for with as much enthusiasm as they have for picking up dog poop.Things started going more smoothly until I noticed the boat wasnt sitting as high as it used to. Turns out I didnt seal the air valves quite right and air was slowing leaking out of the raft. Thats awesome with two people, a dog, a cooler and a dry box full of everything you would need except a screw driver and air pump.We somehow managed to stay afloat and were heading toward Glenwood. As we drifted through town it got darker and darker, the way it does when cartoons are trying to skip an extended period of time. Still far from the Two Rivers pullout where my car was parked, I began to worry that we would be on the river long into the night. We finally reached Two Rivers Park at 9:30 p.m. But we werent home free yet.We backed up my car onto the ramp as we disassembled the boat in the darkness. With mostly everything loaded up, we tried to drive away. With the car parked on the 45-degree slope and the gas tank running toward the empty side, we couldnt get it started.With some help, we got more gas, I stopped back by the office to finish up some work, we drove to Carbondale to pick up the other car and I arrived at my house at midnight. It was a 12-hour endeavor more exhausting and frustrating than watching Brian Fuentes come in to close for the Rockies in that lovely stretch before the All-Star game.We headed out the next day, a little more prepared and ready to try again. It was nothing but smooth sailing, and we even reeled in a few fish. We just needed one day to get the kinks out, a day full of enough obstacles to make you appreciate a nice day out on the river.Contact Joelle Milholm:

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