a few weeks back while on vacation at Camp Arcadia, I took my wife and 3 boys, joined up with some more family and friends, and we all drove up to the Platte River near Sleeping Bear Dunes to go tubing down the river. the Platte River is a nice lazy river that slowly winds its way through parts of Sleeping Bear Dunes park, and eventually opens up at the sand dunes before dumping into Lake Michigan. I’ve been canoeing and/or tubing down this river many times (almost every time I vacation at Arcadia during the summer, anyway!).
two years ago, we had planned to go canoeing, but realized that for the amount of money it’d cost to rent a canoe, we could just buy our own tube (or even a few of them)… this year was the 2nd year using the tubes. a few of the tubes we bought are actually more like a 2-person raft of sorts – they work great for an adult, especially if you need room for a young child to ride along, particularly if they don’t like getting too wet.
this picture is my 15-month old son playing in the water as he floats down the river with his mom.
is doesn’t look like he’s too happy, but he really was – he’s just doing something funny with his lip… I’d say that he loved it, in fact, and was only fussy for maybe 5 minutes out of the 2 hours of floating – and the fussing stopped quickly after he got to snack on a banana!
as you can see in this picture, he was having a great time, this time sitting on my lap. my tube was the Cadillac of tubes – instead of using the 2-person raft, mine is an actual “tube”, but it has a nice mesh bottom at the donut hole part of the tube – it keeps you nice and cool resting in the water, plus it has a nice backrest and cupholders… it’s fantastic!
now, as this is a Sunfish sailing related blog, I thought I’d also talk a bit about the Sunfish race that used to take place on the Connecticut River – the Sunfish Connecticut River Classic. I’m having trouble finding much information on it browsing the internet, but if you have a copy of the Sunfish Bible, there is an old magazine article, called “A Mighty Good Time” by Dom Degnon (starting on page 356) that talks quite a bit about the race.
the two-day annual fun race in May follows the lower Connecticut River from Hartford downstream to Essex, with an overnight camp-out at Hurd State Park… soon you are sailing past meadowlands and wetlands...
…Two people sailed per boat, carrying on board the necessary camping gear (tents, sleeping bags), life jackets, clothing and foul-weather gear, lunch and drinks for two days. The folks at Alcort, builders of the Sunfish [at that time], provided the food, drink, and staff for the Saturday night cookout and a complete breakfast Sunday, as well as a postrace party.
It seems to me that it was more of a chance to drift down the river in a Sunfish, occasionally making attempts to race, but just as much spending time socializing with the other “racers”, passing snacks and cookies back and forth, and then having a good time at the mid-way campground. honestly, it sounds like it would have been a great time, and I’m amazed that it hasn’t been continued on every year. maybe some Sunfish sailors in that area can resurrect the tradition sometime in the near future.