JUNE 2003 CEDAR RIVER CRUISE
Written by MICHAEL COURTNEY & COMPANY!
(Note from Linda: I have literally hundreds of pictures from this hoverin and will be updating this page again shortly.)
It almost started out like last weekend with the good chance of rain on Friday.
I thought oh no it can't be a repeat of last weekend but I needn't worry. Dennis&Carol Alm arrived Thursday evening and reserved there room at the luxurious Mount Vernon Motel. We ate dinner at Gwen's and had the Barbeque Ribs. After filling our bellies we headed to the park to see how river looked. The Cedar River was still rising and now water was running over the top of the dam. The rapids seem to be roaring louder and looking omnimous as ever. I decided then that I wasn't going to try and go up above the dam.
Friday morning I am up at 5:30 am, those darn birds make such a ruckus every morning or maybe I just couldn't wait to start hovering. After a quick cup of coffee I hop in my Blazer and head over to Sutliff to pick up Don Searls hovercraft. Don had left it there in Jack Leonard's "Maggie's Dad" garage while he had business on the other side of the state but was getting back here on Friday.
I have the hovercraft parked at my place by 7:00 am and then get The M.A.D. Mag ready to Roar. By 8:30 am Mag is sitting at the boat ramp.
I head to the campground and talked to Marv Olver who is camping and is in the process of building his own hovercraft.
How time fly's as I look to see it is now 9:20 am I was suppose to be at the boat ramp at 9:00 am.
Off Marv and I go and as we pull into the boat ramp there are the Alm's, Weber's, and Vernon Hartson. Vernon is working on refurbishing a hoverbike craft that he has amply named as Cloud 9 because that is was he feels like when hovering.
First thing I know there is Verdon taking off upriver toward guess what "of course" the Rapids.
As he approaches the cut to get above he turns around and comes back. He says it looks wicked with water coming down at a almost a 90 degree angle disappearing into a void. I told him that there were a couple of other places along the dam that water was flowing over that he might be able to get through to get above. Of course he turns right around and goes back to check them out and the next thing you know he's through the dam on the top side. It was such a tight squeeze to get up from the bottom side that Verdon decides to go back through the big cut. As he goes over into the void the bow disappears for a second then pops back up with a wall of water showering Verdon. He comes back to the boat ramp looking like a wet mop but grinning from ear to ear. He says there is more than one way to skin a cat.
At 10:00 am Andy Pittman & Donna Wood pull into the boat ramp with there RV pulling his starcruiser. We quickly get his hovercraft unloaded and take his RV up to campground. We hightail it back to the boat ramp and decide to go on a quick cruise down to Sutliff. I lead the way and what a nice start to have 4 starcruisers flying down the Cedar. I explained to Andy, Dennis, and Verdon to let me go first and then I would put Mag up across the road and then help guide the other hovercrafts up. Everything was going fine until I cross the road and started to go up the hill to the grass. Mag started slipping side ways as there is a slight incline and the next thing I knew there I am going sideways down the Sutliff blacktop heading towards the high river bank. I thought if I gave it more throttle that I could save it from crashing down the 20 foot bank but I couldn't. Thank God for Power Line Poles. It just so happens there are a few cabins located along the blacktop and one had a power line pole to stop me. I actually steered toward the pole because I had the ultimate saver, "The Hoverbumper". It took the force of the blow which was I figure at lease 20 mph and causing minimal damage.
After all the ribbing and one liners about hovercrafts not licensed to hover down the highway and not finding any cruise stopping damage we go into Sutliff for a pop. It's 12:30 pm when we head back upriver and see Gary Jensen with his yellow slider hovering up the boat ramp. Actually Gary brought 2 slider's and made ample use out of both. With the Slider ready we head down river for the short 15 mile cruise. Now I had 5 hovers to Cruise and more were coming. On the way back we stop at Sutliff again for a bite to eat. It is 4:00 pm when we get back to the boat doc and there is Don & Jean Searls.
Now we have six and one more still on the way. After loading up the hovercrafts we head for the campground. Now what's to eat? It's 6:00 pm and no one feels like cooking or going out to eat. I say how about Pizza and all agree. While waiting for our food to arrive Verdon takes his Airplane for a spin around the campground. When the pizza arrives and everyone quits talking and starts eating. Yum Yum.
The next thing you know it's 10:00 pm and we all call it a good night.
5:30 am rolls around and up I get ready for another good day of cruising. This time I am planning a 30 mile cruise down to Interstate #80. But first there is breakfast being furnished by Marv, Dee "Marv's Wife" and Matty "Marv's Grandaughter". Bacon & Eggs and pancakes furnished by Linda. And don't forget the Peanut Butter and Hoho's.
It's little after 9:30 am and we head down to the boat ramp. Today's cruise is 30 plus miles down river to Rochester Park where we ate are packed lunches.
We were a six pack "Dennis & Carol Alms were the Coca Cola Kids", "Andy Pittman&Donna Wood are the Diet Pepsi duo", "Marv&Dee Olver& Matty are the Ice tea tripplets", "Don&Jean Searls are the Lemonade Lovers", "Gary Jensen is Diet Coke Kid" "Linda&Verdon Weber are the Rootbeer twins" and I was the "Gatorade Guzzler".
On the return trip we stop at Sutliff for our favorite beverage and then on up to the park.
We head for Gwen's at 6:00 pm for a buffet with good conversation on todays cruise. Finally it is time to say farewell to Linda & Verdon who are headed back home as they have other commitments for Sunday. We also say goodbye to Don & Jean, and Dennis & Carol who are leaving early in the morning for there homes. It was a grand day but wait we still have another day to Cruise. We are down to 3 as Marv, Dee, and Matty are also leaving early Sunday morning. As Gary, Andy, Donna and I get ready to hover here come Doc & Pat Bowden from McGregor IA.
I guess we could call ourselves the "Fearsome Four". Maybe it would be better to say the Tremendous Three and one. Those three kept playing in the rapids and going through the cut like there was nothing too it and finally Mag thought she could do it too. Since Friday the 13th was past I thought it would be safe for Mag to do something daring like going through the cut with everyone else and go up river for a cruise.
If you remember what happened to me last year during the Cedar River Summer Cruise then you can guess what happened next. I follow the same line as everyone to go through the cut but going at a slower pace. Big mistake as the Mag's nose went down into the void and the next thing I am being tossed over to the farside of the cut into the iron gurds. Thank Heaven again for the Hoverbumber. It took the impact of the iron gurd and saved Mag from another near disaster but in the process was torn loose from the side. My lift engine doused and I had to thrust over to the sandbar before I could get it started. The impact actually tore the hover bumper from side leaving the mounting screws still attached. After checking over to see that there was no major damage to Mag we decide to forget the upriver cruise and head down river.
We have a nice cruise to Sutliff and get lunch. Gary Jensen decides to pack up and head for home while the rest of us head downriver for a little more cruising. But before he leaves we get Donna to stand on the Sutliff Bridge and take pics of us doing some formation flying. She did such a good job that I think she should be all time Picture taker at the next hovering.
We hover down river about 12 miles then back to the park. We say our goodbye's and the Cedar River Summer Cruise comes to an end. It was a grand time and will do it again next year.
Happy Hovering "Mag Master"
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