Sep 26, 2011

Paddling to the Packers game

There's no TV up here. And I like it. Almost always.

Living without television for the last five months has been good for me, and I didn't miss my DVR at all until the NFL season began. I follow the Packers very closely and while I was fine missing preseason games, it hurt deeply to have missed the Carolina game entirely (it was on the same channel and time as the stupid Vikings). Listening to the Saints game on the radio out around the campfire was fun, but the NFL game is made for HDTV. I needed to see my team.

So as Packers-Bears day approached (one of my favorite holidays), I knew I had to find a television. My co-worker and fellow UW-Point alum, Doctor K, is a long-suffering Bears fan, and we both had Sunday off, so we hatched a plan amongst a feast of Saturday-night drinks to paddled to the nearest tavern. Thus, we could fish along the way and ensure a safe ride home after the game. Brilliant. I had paddled to the same tavern earlier in the summer with Erik and it honestly only took about a half-hour longer than driving.

The fishing wasn't that great, but I caught the biggest (and only) smallie, so I naturally took it as an omen for Packers victory. We decided to head in early to watch the Vikings blow another lead and get started on some beer. The Vikings fans in the house were amazed that a Packers fan and Bears fan would share a canoe or a pitcher, but we explained that great rivals also respect each other. Then I made a wise-crack about the Metro-dome and resumed cheering for the Lions in a boisterous manner.

Being near the end of the Gunflint Trail tavern season, we had two choices on tap: Extra Pale Ale or 90-Shilling. We ordered the EPA and immediately killed the barrel. Free beer! Then with the game about to start, we ordered a pitcher of the 90 (go Raji!), and dispatched that barrel as well (more free beer!). Things were looking up!

Of course the Packers went on to dominate the Bears and I got lots of friendly looks at my Packers sweatsuit... and eventually we enjoyed a perfect September sunset on the ride home.

I've been to more taverns than was probably necessary in my 30 years, but before this summer I had never taken a canoe out for a night on the town. Much like living without a TV, I also recommend giving this a try where/when possible. You don't need lake-front property, either, especially if you have a canoe, which can be portaged many city blocks from water to final destination. So any place where you have water between your home and favorite tavern is eligible. If you want to paddle to a Packers game, however, you better plan on doing one before ice-up.