Greeting, Celebrating, and Feeding the Rowers!

Row to Canada is on full force!  On Monday afternoon, Herb, Mitsu, marykay, and I went over to Camano Island State Park (WA), along with around 25 friends from Seattle to Greet, Celebrate, and Feed the Rowers!

It is a really exciting adventure!  From my end, I was in the Tetons and Yellowstone all of last week (blog and photos to come soon).  MaryAnn and I split the drive back in two days so that we wouldn’t be so exhausted and to be alert for the long 14 hour drive.  On Sunday, we drove into the warmest day of the year in Seattle, so traffic was thick.  Everyone was out and about, hiking in the mountains, swimming in the lakes, rivers, gorge!  After dropping MaryAnn off, I went grocery shopping, came home, showered, unpacked, and cooked up a number of dishes for Monday’s potluck gathering on Camano.

I taught one class on Monday morning, still trying to recover from the driving headache,  came home and did more preps for the grand afternoon at Camano.  The plan was for me to drive,  giving rides to Herb, Mitsu, and marykay.  However, marykay discovered that the seatbelt had locked up in the passenger seat of my Volvo, so Herb ended up driving us all to Camano in his VW van.  Good thing, too, because I had so much stuff to haul, from camp chairs to barbecue, charcoal, and trays of food, coolers of drinks and ice and water!

On Monday, the winds were strong, so the rowers were working harder than ever to reach Camano.  Geoff and Kilian arrived first.  Rick and the other rowers were caught in a current and desperately rowed for another 2 hours, making very slow headway to reach the shore and camp!  Our friend Brent Matsuda had come over from Vancouver, BC to kayak alongside the rowers that day.  He was also caught in the current. Finally they arrived safely, exhausted AND exhilarated. It was pretty exciting to wave them ashore and to whoop and cheer them on!  The rowers were wind and sunburned, lean and unshaven, had blistered hands and lips, and looked quite muscular from the efforts of rowing for 6 days.  It was super exciting to hear them tell their story thus far to the film crew interviewing them.  Rick looked like a movie star as he told of their adventure and struggles to get out of the current.  I think all of us gathered felt so proud of these guys as we fully saw the extent of the efforts.  They are rowing for a meaningful cause which is to raise funds for ALS research in honor of Rick’s friend, Mark Smith, whose life was cut short by the disease.  So far, they have raised over $6000.   On Monday, when we saw them, they had reached the halfway mark, halfway to Canada!

The story and adventure unfolds in the slideshow below.  Enjoy it.  Feel the rowers’ heroism.  Feel our anticipation, our long wait to welcome them ashore, the excitement of welcoming them, the unbelievable pride we feel in their efforts.  Watching the slide show  makes it so real.

And again, a great big thank you for all who were able to be there on Monday!  And a great big thank you to all who have contributed in so many ways to make this Row to Canada fundraiser a successful event. http:/

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5 Responses to “Greeting, Celebrating, and Feeding the Rowers!”

  1. Bev Says:

    Awesome story and photos, Fran. Wish I could have been there.



  2. kay Says:

    whoo hooo!! how wonderful! are you going to greet them in Canada? We are so proud of Rick and the others who are doing this.


  3. frangallo Says:

    They are doing great! I am not able to go to Canada, so will patiently wait for Rick to come home on Sunday evening!


  4. frangallo Says:

    Bev, I wish you could have been there, too. The guys are doing great. I think we are all so proud of them!


  5. marykay Says:

    Thankz 2 both of you for your zest in undertaking awe-inspiring adventures in mother nature and letting us all share thru your creative photography and phrasing!


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