CEDAR RIVER COLOR CRUISE 2004
Written by MICHAEL COURTNEY & COMPANY!
(all pictures are AFTER the story!)
2004 was a tough year to hold a Hover Rally in Iowa on the Cedar River.
The Summer Cruise was first moved from the last weekend in June to the first weekend in June.Mother Nature decided she didn't want us there then either so she flooded the Cedar River. Thus cancelling the Cedar River Summer Hovering.As the summer went along I pondered the idea of whether or not to try for a Cedar River Fall Cruise and decided August to try one more time.
Notice was sent out that there would be a Fall Cruise on the Cedar River the weekend of Oct 1st thru Oct 3rd. The month of September was warm and pleasant. On the weekend of September 18th & 19th I went to the hover rally to the Wisconsis Dells. The temperature for that weekend was near 80 degrees and we had a pleasant time. I was thinking if the weather would be this good in two weeks that would be great.
Of course Mother Nature had her own ideas. Around Sept 20th there was a 13 inch rain in Austin Pe, Minn that emptied into the Cedar River. It caused considerable flooding in Waverly-Shellrock, and Waterloo with the crest at 7 feet over flood stage. This was all heading for Cedar Rapids and Palisades Park. I stopped by Palisades Park on Sept 25th and the river was running into the boat ramp parking lot. I thought OH NO! Not another flood to cancel The Cedar River Fall Cruise! Not to worry as Mother Nature was on teasing and the River was back in its banks by Sept 27th and falling steadily.
The weather forecast kept changing daily and then finally on Thurday it said there would be intermittent showers on Friday with high of 65 with sunny skies for Saturday and Sunday. The forecast was half right. It was sunny on Saturday and Sunday but the showers on Friday were anything but intermittent. It just rained all day and did not quit until after dark. Needless to say there was not any hovering done on Friday.
Saturday was much better with the traditional breakfast of Mary Jean Janni's "Chicken Chilli" and it was good. I had 2 bowls.
After breakfast we all went down to the Boat Ramp. To my surprise Vernon Weber was there and had already run the rapids. Although the first time he dowsed while trying to hover up the rapids. Later he got the hang of it and did just fine.
There was a total of 6 hovercrafts including: Linda & Verdon Weber, Vernon Weber, MaryJean & Dave Janni, Andy Pittman & Donna Woods, Ray Mathews and myself. Everyone hovered up and down the rapids except me but that was because I needed to take some pics. "Okay, I really have had some bad luck going through the cut to get up above the dam" and decided I did not want to chance crashing at the start of the hovering.
Verdon had a thrill in the rapids when he tried to go sideways across them and nearly stook his hovrcraft on its side at a 45 degree angle. But the Master put it back under controll.
Around noon we got together and I asked everyone if they would like to have a treasure/scavenger hunt. Everyone agreed it was a great idea so I gave each of them a small treasure to go hide between the boat ramp and Sutliff which is 10 miles downstream. They had to draw a map to the location and then later we would exchange maps and go find the treasures. It was quite a sight to see hovercrafts coming in and out of slews and creaks and off sandbars after hiding there treasure. You could see them looking around to make sure no one was watching. Some would deliberately make a false stop just to make sure that if someone was watching.
We hovered down to Rochester and had lunch while watching the Elk. Yes I said ELK. You know the big overgrown deer they have out west. There is small herd of 20 in a pen across the road from the Rochester Park.
After lunch we headed back. Earlier we had put all the maps in a hat and each drew out a different map. Everyone seemed to be in a little bit of a hurry as we came closer to the treasure zone area. People kept looking at there map and then would go up river a ways and then downriver. Sometimes doing a 180 turn then back again. It almost looked like bunch of hovercrafts just mingling around out of control. Finally all made it back to the Park with there treasures. A few more runs in the rapids when someone suggested going up to the roller dam. You know where I tried to make the infamous hover up the dam.
Okay this was going to be my test to see if I could get up through the cut without crashing into the side of the dam. Mag was shaking like a leaf as we started are accent toward the cut. Maybe it was me shaking. My hands were glued to the handle and I gave Mag more throttle getting closer to the mouth of the rapids leading into the cut. I kept saying to Mag, "You can do it! You can do it! You can do it!" and by golly she did. First I am looking at the mouth of the rapids and the cut and next I am hovering above dam on the smooth river. We all headed up to the C ST roller dam 10 miles upriver. It was a nice ride up and back and I did not have any problems going back through the cut.
When I got back to the boat ramp who did I see! Lo and Behold there are Dennis and Carol Alm. They just couldn't stay away and had driven 250 miles to see us and of course have dinner at Gwens.
After cleaning up we headed for Gwens for Barbeque Beef, Fried Chicken, Chiskabobs, and all the fixins. Later we all headed back to the Park for a campfire and good conversation.
Sunday morning we had some more Chicken Chilli for Breakfast and then said our goodbye's to the Janni's, Ray Mathew, and the Alm's who were heading home. "Vernon Weber left Saturday night".
That left Linda & Verdon, Andy Pittman & Donna Woods, and myself. We did a little hovering but it was quite windy and ended up back at the boat ramp at 1:00 pm.
We all parted company with the Linda & Verdon heading Northeast and Andy and Donna heading Southwest.
Another Cedar River Cruise coming to a close.
See ya next year
Mike C "Mag Master"
Happy Hovering "Mag Master"
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