The Voyage: Roz Savage
25 Nov 2006, Hood River, Oregon

'I don't want to belong to any club that would have me as a member,' Groucho Marx said. Well, I don't want to be a member of any club that DOESN'T want me as a member. Like the Leander Club of Henley, 'the world's oldest and most renowned rowing club.'

From a recent correspondence...

"At the last meeting of the Committee of Leander we again considered the nomination for Ordinary Membership of your candidate Miss REA Savage together with your letter of the 8 November 2006. Unfortunately the Committee is of the opinion that Miss Savage fails to meet the criteria we use in assessing 'proficiency pf oarsmanship', which is a measure of excellence rather than endurance.

However Miss Savage would be very welcome as an Associate Member, should she wish to pursue this option. Perhaps you could let me know.

Kind regards
etc etc"

So obviously my two half-blues for representing Oxford in the women's boat races against Cambridge aren't enough, even though their website blurb says, 'Many of our ordinary members have raced in the Boat Race [i.e. the men's Oxford/Cambridge race] or competed in a Henley Final or an event of similar standing.'

So go figure. The men's Boat Race counts. The women's races don't.

So they can take their trademark hippos and pink socks and, erm, keep them. Pah! :-)

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Happy Thanksgiving!
24 Nov 2006, Hood River, Oregon

The history of the Thanksgiving seems rather a random excuse for a holiday, and it seems to me it might have been better to hold this big turkey-fest further away in the calendar from the Christmas turkey-fest, but hey, what do I know?

Despite that fact that the celebration is somewhat anti-English (the Pilgrim Fathers left England to escape religious persecution) I'm not one to turn down an invitation to party, so I joined some friends in Hood River for Thanksgiving Dinner last night. Great, high-calorie fun was had by all.

I went to work it all off on the racquetball court this morning. Yet another new sport - my fifth in four weeks. Sharla and I were about as hopeless as each other, especially both were feeling rather the worse for wear after last night's celebrations.

We ran around the court like lunatics, occasionally even hitting the ball. Sharla also scored a direct, eye-watering hit on my nose. 60 minutes later we were both exhausted, sweaty wrecks, but we'd had a great workout, and an hour's training never passed so quickly.

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One New Sport A Week
23 Nov 2006, Hood River, Oregon

One of the reasons I wanted to move to the Gorge was the outdoorsiness of the people here. Being a lazy oaf, I need either to set myself wild challenges (and then tell everyone I'm going to do them before I have a chance to change my mind) or to surround myself with people who will goad me into action.

It's working.

Since I moved here just over 3 weeks ago, I have attempted four new sports activities - mountain-biking, kayaking, windsurfing and now go-karting.

I have to say - go-karting was the most fun for the least effort. That's my lazy side speaking again. We went to the Sykart Indoor Racing Center in Portland and did two 10-minute circuit sessions. I seem to lack the kamikaze gene that had some of the guys tearing around the corners, but it was curiously addictive to see my split times for each lap gradually coming down.

I'm not sure it really counts as cross-training for my Pacific bid. My heart was certainly racing but it was adrenaline rather than a cardiovascular workout. But hey, it was fun, and I think expeditioners need to have their fair share of fun in the off-season. On the Atlantic I needed my happy memories so I could mind-travel out of the immediate, not-too-enjoyable, present.

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The Strange Voyage of Sedna Solo
22 Nov 2006, Hood River, Oregon

My ocean rowing boat, Sedna Solo, seems to be having quite an adventure of her own. After months of problems and delays, she was due to arrive into Miami from Antigua last Friday. But somehow she's ended up in Trinidad instead.

She was on board the CC Grenadines, bound for Miami, but the last I heard, the Grenadines had stopped off in Trinidad and all the freight containers unloaded. Sedna is now due to be reloaded onto a different ship, the CGM Barbados, which will go to Jamaica and then, finally, to Miami.

So Sedna is due to finally arrive on the US mainland this weekend. But I've heard that one before. I'll believe it when I see it....

(And then she still has to somehow get across the US from Miami to San Francisco - there are a number of options at the moment, but nobody seems very willing to tell me how much each option is going to cost me, which is making it difficult to make any kind of decision.)

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