June 23

We’ve all been enjoying some beautiful hot summer days.  For me, that means several kayaking excursions onto the Russian River.  I went out there yesterday with a new friend and her awesome, ocean-ready kayak.  Fortunately, she didn’t look down on my less-than appealing folding Oru Inlet.  I did feel a bit embarrassed however, once I got onto the water and compared the two vessels.

I bought the Inlet two years ago, simply because I have nowhere to store a kayak.  Once folded, my inlet fits on the top shelf of my bedroom closet!  It gets me out on the water and has afforded me a significant amount of pleasure, but it does have drawbacks.  For one thing, I can’t keep the bulkheads in place.  I thought about tossing them altogether, but they do keep the boat steady.  Thus, I am often having to reinsert them throughout the day. 

I did toss out the Inlet’s seat as it was terribly uncomfortable.  I bought a new seat at Walmart. It’s a portable lawn chairs that has no legs or arms. 

Oru is probably the best name in foldable kayaks, but there are other brands.  I’d encourage shoppers to research other brands, and to keep their eyes out for any new foldable kayak technology.   One can also purchase an inflatable Kayak if storage space is a challenge.  I actually own an inflatable Kayak but seldom use it.  That’s because, although it’s easy to inflate, deflation is a mother.  It actually takes me a good two days to get all the air out. One friend, who owns the same model, circumvents this problem with a garage vacuum. She plugs the vacuum into the Kayak and it sucks out all the air.

The Inlet does attract a lot of attention.  When I first bought it, and was still learning to put it together, I had to wave off several men who insisted on coming over to help me.  Thus, I soon learned how to assemble it as quickly as possible. That last thing I wanted was to look befuddled and then have some guy come over and mansplain what I needed to do.

Two years ago, when the boat was new, nobody seemed to know what it was.  Passersby were fascinated and had a lot of questions about what it was and where I got it.  This summer, everyone seems familiar with the kayak, and they want to know how I like it and if they should buy one.  (I tell them no).   One teenager approached me yesterday and said, “Hey, can I try out your futuristic plastic boat?”

I’ve explored kayaking spots all over Sonoma County and my favorite is in Monte Rio.  I would discourage kayakers from putting in at the Monte Rio boat landing.  If you launch there and head northwest, you will encounter a small island followed by a strong current that leads to the ocean.  That current might be fun to ride down, but then you’d have to paddle back upstream to get back to where you parked.

If you paddle northeast from the boat ramp toward the Monte Rio beach, you’ll encounter some small rapids that you’ll have to paddle up against.  I couldn’t traverse them with my Inlet and had to portage for some distance.  Once I walked under the bridge that is part of the Bohemian Highway, the water smoothed out.  Thus, in the future, I plan to launch from that site, northeast of the bridge.  You can park in the Monte Rio Beach parking lot and then carry the kayak a short distance to the water.  Kayaks are also rented at that location, so friends who don’t own kayaks can join the fun.  From that site on, paddling up-river is smooth sailing.  My friend and I easily paddled a great distance.  We were surrounded by beautiful scenery and found several places to stop and swim.  On the way back, we were propelled by an ever-so-gentle southwest current.

I’m still glued to the January 6th Hearings which will resume today.  I’ve been thinking a lot about the terrible hate, violence and corruption that has permeated our nation.  In many ways, I’m not surprised.  I’ve done some research into the prevalence of sociopathy and psychopathy among humans.  This is the reality that many individuals lack empathy and see no problem with lying, cheating, or harming others.  One study estimates that at least 4.5% of the adult population in this country falls into that category.  That is a lot of people!  Some suggest that these numbers are increasing. 

It’s possible that sociopathy within societies can increase or decrease based on cultural norms or types of leadership.  But the sad reality remains, that bad people will always be with us.  That is why we need laws.  We shall see as the hearings, and this ongoing saga proceed, whether we are indeed a nation of laws.  We will also find out whether some of these psychopaths are above the law.

Published by susancasslangmailcom

Susan Casslan is a writer and a nurse. Her writing touches on spirituality and issues pertaining to social justice. Casslan lived for a decade in the San Francisco Inner Mission District, and she was greatly inspired by the Latinx culture of that neighborhood. The Inner Mission emerges in her books Conversations with Richard Purcell: The Adventures and Reflections of a Renegade San Francisco Priest and That Which Wavers with the Night, as well as in her chapbook 24th Street and Other Poems. Additionally, Casslan’s nonfiction articles have appeared in El Tecolote, an Inner Mission newspaper.

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