Yaquina River Halloween Float
October 27, 2012

The Coots hold an annual messabout on the Yaquina sometime near Halloween. This more or less marks the end of the boating season for the year. Weather is pretty unpredictable in late October, so instead of worrying about it, you just deal with it.

Saturday, October 27 dawned wet wet wet. John K estimated a "Biblical" amount of rain had fallen right after dawn. John and Darrell had come with their boats the day before and slept at the docks. As you can see, John has adapted his Redwing 18 to the local conditions.

David B and Bart had come over from Salem. Bart is quite the sailor's sailing dog, having competed the 2009 Columbia 150 and the 2012 Texas 200.

Toledo is a timber town, a mill town, and it is beautiful in the morning. That's Darrell's Caulkin's Craft on the left.

It takes John a while to get moving in the morning - he values his sleep - but when he does emerge, he looks every bit a sailin' man.

We used the Toledo Community Boathouse as a staging area - nice and dry and heated. Lou B had come over from Redmond, scooping up Hal along the way. They were shipping out with John while David, Bart and I rode with Darrell. The original plan was to tow a Mollyhawk up to Elk City so visitors could have a boat to row, but we decided the rain would keep people away. Worst case, any visitors could ride with the power boats.

The plan was to go from Elk City to Canyon Quarry - a little over 6 river miles. We'd be riding a falling tide, starting at about 1:30 or so.

I'd planned on paddling my canoe, but even I chickened out and rode with Darrell, along with David and Bart. We set off from Toledo at about 10:30, riding the tide up to Elk City. Every once in a while, the weather would clear and we'd get some nice photos.

I was starting to regret not driving my canoe up to Elk City - there wasn't much of a view from inside the cabin of a power boat.

I titled this shot "Old man on the River" then Darrell snapped at me for some slight offense, so I re-titled it "Grumpy Old Man on the River."

Industry gets a pretty bad rap (deservedly so, in most cases) but industry is economy and economy is livelihood. So long as they are doing their best to keep up with sound ecological practices, I hope the mill at Toledo runs forever.

I had a distinct feeling of "Apocalypse Now" as we went upriver.

Beautiful fall colors.

We saw Sparkin' Joe with his Selway-Fisher Fantail Launch (I think it is the Fanny the Fantail design) as we passed the takeout spot at the Canyon Quarry boat ramp. Sparkin' Joe used to be Steamin' Joe when his boat was powered by steam. He's gotten into the 21st century with a really cool electric setup.

Several fishermen on the water today - which always does my heart good. Nobody seemed to be having any luck, though.

We met a bunch of other Coots at Elk City. That Cullin's Skiff Michael B. saved and restored is a thing of beauty. Man, that looks like it rows fast.

Jim B was there with one of his kayaks, as well as a new (to me) couple with a 12' Stillwater canoe. You can see Bob M's double ender in the background (an Ian Oughtred design, but I can't remember which one.)

By this time, I'd decided I'd had enough power boating for the day. I was really regretting not bringing my canoe up, and while I am sure I could have hitched a ride in someone's boat, I decided I'd head back to the boathouse and put another layer of filler on the chines of the Clark Fork Drifter we are building.

Bob and I worked out a deal where I'd drive his truck and trailer down to the Canyon Quarry launch, then make my way back to Toledo on my own.

Michael and Mary as they leave the docks.

Right as they were leaving, Sparkin' Joe arrived, making a full armada. The fleet followed the tide down river while I drove Bob's truck. At Canyon Quarry, I found a nice couple to give me a ride to Toledo, where I did a little work on the Clark Fork Drifter, then headed for home.