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Midwest Trip Report 2010.

After four frantic days at home sorting gear, tying up loose ends with regard to our business, and getting a million little details taken care of before leaving, we were finally ready to set out on our summer gypsy tour. Unfortunately, the first phase of our mission was to head back to Indiana where our van was built to have a few things repaired.

After a 10 hour drive, a night at a truckstop, and a half day in the shop, we were ready to head to Ohio for our first event of the trip - the Get Mad - Throw Down Thursday night paddle at Whitewater Warehouse in Dayton. Many people don't realize that Dayton, Ohio is home to one of the most happening whitewater shops in the US - Whitewater Warehouse - where owners Bernie and Jeryl have fed a ton of energy into an incredibly enthusiastic paddling scene. The Mad River runs right behind the shop, and we were lucky enough to have good water when we passed through. We joined in a group of about 25 paddlers for an evening run, before taking out at the shop for some snacks, adult beverages, and whitewater tall tales. Ghetto Johnny of Eastcoast Canoes took some shots, and shared them with us:

In the lineup for "Bernie's Hole" on the Mad.

Leland going for it on the hole.

Attempting to exit the hole.

Bernie looking for fish around the bridge pilings.

Andria showed the guys some yoga later that night in the shop. This is "rug burns on the forehead" pose.

After a great evening in Dayton, we were on the road again to head to our next event in Missouri. We've made a lot of friends from the Missouri boating community over the years, and were hoping to get to paddle with them on their home run - the Saint Francis (River Gypsies Run #294) - which we have been hearing about forever. Unfortunately, as we were driving toward Missouri we were getting steady word from our buddy Curtis that there was little to no water in the river, with only a long shot for showers to hit in the right place to bring the water level up to runnable. Undaunted, we drove on to the Saint so that we could at least see the place we've been hearing about for so long.

When we arrived, we found a beautiful area of low mountains, tall pines, and granite outcrops covered in moss. We also found that the D-Bridge gauge was reading -7. We had heard that -3 was about the lowest possible level, so it wasn't looking good. We proceeded up on the ridge to a really chill forest service campground and settled in for the night.

The torrent woke us in the wee hours of morning as buckets of rain hammered on the roof of the van, and monster peals of thunder shook the earth as lighning struck in the campsite. Things were taking a turn for the better! We awoke to the sound of the Saint roaring in the valley, and knew that we were going to get to paddle after all!

Hudson says to put your gear on,
it came up from -7 to +15 overnight!

Boaters started to gather - this is about 1/2 of the crew.
Unfortunately, our van was leaving a snail trail of oil in its wake,
which we decided to deal with after the river.

Putting in at the famous tree at Tiemann Shut-Ins.

Local legend Freddie getting his surf on at the first wave.

The granite on the Saint was beautiful and polished - some of the oldest exposed granite in the world.

Eric Roush at a nice stern squirt spot.

Looking back up as the group comes through Cat's Paw.
This rapid had at least 4 different cool lines in it.

Eric surfing while Andria runs Double Drop.

Leland working the shudder rudder in Double Drop.

Curtis, Andria, and Freddie in front of one of the many granite cliffs.

Adding oil to the Gypsy Van with a wine box funnel.
We got the blown gasket fixed the next morning.

After a great run on the Saint, we headed into St. Louis for dinner and a slideshow on the making of the River Gypsies' Guide at Highlands Brewing. All in all, it was a great day getting to experience the hopping Missouri paddling scene, and we were stoked to see all of our friends there, as well as making new ones. Big thanks to everybody there for making our visit super fun!

After our gasket was fixed the next morning, we hit the road for the trek to New Mexico, where we heard that the Embudo was running. We struck out across the plains on a mission to sample some desert creeking.