Day 2

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Hard to tell but this is big enough to slide my hand through. Not good! However, turns out 5 gallon buckets at Home Depot are made out of polyethylene (HDPE) and so is my kayak. 

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My workshop was the Hampton Inn parking lot. After cutting the plastic, I began to melt it to my kayak. After a few minutes of blowtorching the plastic, my optimism shifted to a reoccurring statement that only I could hear, "ain't no way this is gonna work". 

An hour or so later, I started making progress. 

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To top it off, I put two rolls of flex seal tape over top of the melted plastic and boat repair cement inside the hatch. I felt good about it. If MacGyver were on one side and Clark Griswold was on the other, I'd be right there in the middle.  

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Back on the road! We went back to the marina where we finished yesterday. Karla and Jim helped me get my, partially submerged, kayak out of the river yesterday as I limped to the finish line. When we saw them again today we had a good laugh about the day before. They were super kind and caring. We got a ton of rain last night so they recommend that I start a little further down the river.  

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My kayak, now sponsored my Home Depot, was back in the river. Sarah wanted me to do a couple of circles in the river to make sure it was dry. After opening the back hatch, we didn't see a drop of water. Sarah had a surprised look on her face and I pretended that I wasn't surprised;) 

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Once I knew my kayak was back in order, I went to say goodbye to the kids. They have been amazing! They know that I'm doing this for "Papa" and have been very supportive. As I was closing the van door, Harper said, "no more rocks Dad, love you."

 

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A weight was lifted physically and mentally. As I was paddling down the river, a train ran parallel to me for quite a while.

My Dad was from Elyria Ohio. I remember piling into the van as kids and driving up to Grandma and Grandpa's house. It felt like an eternity driving up there even though it was only Cleveland.  It felt like we always got there really late at night but Grandma would always greet us at the front door. Jon, Abby and I would sleep in my Dad's old room. We'd always hear a train at night, which we still reminisce about. Today, that old train and memories of my Dad brought on a soothing presence as I paddled down the river in my new 5 gallon bucket. 

 

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My only experience of the Ohio river is crossing over top of it to get to Northern Kentucky and Cincinnati. There is a forgotten history to this river. 

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Finished the day in Steubenville, OH. When we got to the hotel, we ordered a pizza from West Virginia and it was only a 1.5 miles away. 

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The kids finally talked me into jumping in:)