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Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Rod Jetton- KC's on the Current, Old Reps. Float Trip

Back when I was a State Rep. a few of us legislators would get together with our wives and go on a float trip once a year.  We usually floated the upper Current River, which is a beautiful river to be on.  A few weeks ago I was having dinner with the Coopers and Mayer’s and they said hey we need to go on our float trip.  So I asked them for dates and started organizing.

We decided to go on the southern Current where my boss, Stan Schultz owns a floating business called KC's on the Current.  I invited all the old gang along with Kenny Jones son Caleb and new Rep. Steve Cookson. We had several takers, but by the time the trip came around, we were down to only three of us.  Tom Dempsey, Carl Bearden and me.  Molly would have come but she didn’t want to be the only girl on the trip.

Stan, Tom, Rod and Carl in front of Stan's Shoal Runner
I guess we should have started planning earlier and more folks could have worked it into their schedule.  We came into Doniphan Sunday night and Stan showed us around KC"s.  Then we had dinner at a very good Mexican restaurant in town.  We stayed at the Days Inn and decided to hit the rack about 9:30.  We had just turned in when a huge storm blew in and the rain started falling hard.

Watching the rain from out hotel at 9:00am

I went to bed hoping it would be hot and sunny in the morning.   When I woke up it was cloudy and soon it was pouring down rain again.  I told Stan well I don't think we will be able to go floating so we headed over to the coffee house for breakfast and enjoyed talking about the old days and current issues till 10:30.  After almost 30 days of 95+ weather and no rain, it looked like today was the day to end the drought.   

Weather map showed it was supposed to clear up by noon, so we decided to get our gear packed and head down to KC's and take our chances.  The great thing about the Current River is that its spring fed, which means the water is clear and cold, which makes it hard to jump in the water on a cloudy day.  Kathy Schultz (Stan’s Wife) drove us up to the put in spot about 7 miles upstream.  The van ride was quite a thrill in itself.  She had no lack of confidence on the curvy Ripley County roads and when it changed to gravel it seemed the bumps almost bucked us off the road.

As we unloaded our raft and tubes the sun started shining but it was having a hard time getting through the clouds.  Patrick Schultz (Stan’s Son) had a kayak and was going to help guide us down the river.  He said it would be sunny soon and he was right.  You should never doubt an old river guide who knows the area like Patrick does. 

If you have never been floating in Missouri you are missing one of life’s greatest pleasures.  No matter how stressed and busy life is, there is no better way to spend a hot Missouri day than floating slowing down the Current River.  It's best to take a cooler with plenty of drinks and food so you can pull over on the inviting gravel bars and take in nature, while you soak up the sun and relax.  Anytime you’re hot you can jump off your tube and cool down.

The Southern Current is a great place to float because the stream just lazily flows over the clear gravel bottoms.  You can see the crawdads and sucker fish swimming below you and sometimes when you’re quite a big smallmouth will meander by.  There is very little danger from strong current which allows you to enjoy the trees, cliffs and rock outcroppings along the way.

Stan the man cooking!!

Carl, Tom and I had a 4 man raft aw well as a tube to float down in.  We stayed up out of the water the first mile or so while we prayed that the sun would break through the clouds.  Thankfully, young Schultz was right- the clouds parted and we had the perfect sunny weather we had hoped for.  Since it was a weekday we also had the whole river almost to ourselves.  The whole day I think we only saw 7 other floaters and a few fishing boats go by.  I guess the morning rains scared them away!

Stan brought the hamburgers and hotdogs up on his Shoal Runner about 2:00 and started up the grill on an inviting gravel bar.  We pulled over and joined him, Representative Cookson and his wife Joy for a nice BBQ right on the river.  Stan did a great job of cooking and we had a good visit with them before we pulled our raft back into the water for the final few curves.

We let the current pull us south towards Doniphan and I must admit I was a bit sad when I looked up and saw the KC's take out sign up ahead.  All too quickly we were pulling the boat out of the water and visiting with Stan, Steve Cookson, and several other locals who had gathered at the dock to swap stories about the fishing and happenings on the river that day.

Stan gave us a ride back up to the headquarters where we dried off and changed cloths.  I said by to Tom and Carl as we talked about what the other guys missed by not being there.  I have floated with several different outfitters on most of the beautiful rivers in Southern Missouri and KC's is a first rate operation.  There slogan is floating the way you like it, and I liked it allot!

Next year we will plan ahead, make reservations and get more of the old gang together. 

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