Saturday, March 24, 2007

The Red Mo -Ready to Go!

Next week on Saturday, March 31, 2007, the road in front of my house will look almost like a city street. Cars, vans, trucks - you name it - will be going down here and almost every one of them will either be towing something or have similar equipment all strapped down on the roof of their vehicles - kayaks, canoes, paddles - all the items needed for folks to take part in the 40th Annual Red Moshannon Downriver Race!

This is one of the high points in the area every year, on the last Saturday in March. Canoists and kayakers will come from points almost all over the country now as the popularity and notoriety of this race has become known.

I remember back in the mid-70's - the race had been taking place at that time for roughly ten years or so and back then, almost like clockwork, every year in late winter, early spring, the road in front of our house would have a major upheaval resulting in a huge bump that rivaled any "rumble strips" the highway department might lay down in a construction zone!

There were no markers along the road either to alert drivers that this big, big bump lay ahead of them either.

And, for several years running, on the day of the race, my ex, the kids and I would watch out our front window, worrying and wondering how soon someone would come flying down with a vehicle loaded down with canoes or kayaks and gear, hit the bump, lose control of the car or truck and land in our front yard - or even inside the house for that matter. Lucky for them - and for us -that never happened although one car did some to a screeching stop in front of our house after taking the bump way too fast and the two canoes on the roof slid down and totally blocked his windshield.

I wrote an article about this race about two years back for the West Branch Review and focused my story on a father/daughter team who had run this race for several years. The father(Howard Pillot) is the son of a couple up the street from me who are very good family friends and their granddaughter, Anna.

Howie, as he is better known to me and my kids, has taken part in this race for many years now, won a couple of them too, he has. The photo on the left is Anna Pillot and her brother Carl, canoeing on the Red Moshannon Creek. On the right, is father and daughter at one of the many races they participated in on the "Red Mo. (Howard and Anna Pillot of State College, PA.

The Red Moshannon begins up around Osceola Mills, PA, winds its way down through Chester Hill and Philipsburg, behind Hawk Run, through Munson, behind Winburne and down through the ghost town of Peale, PA and eventually empties into the West Branch of the Susquehanna River. The photo on the top of the first page of my blog shows the Red Moshannon where it converges with the Susquehanna (West Branch) near Moshannon, PA.

The race itself runs a sometimes really wild and wicked course as the Red Mo makes its way downstream to the bridge on Rte 53 between Moshannon and Drifting. It used to be referred to as the "Iron Bridge" but since that bridge has now been replaced just a few years ago by a nice, new, much safer crossing, only locals would refer to it as that now. The distance of the race course is, I believe, seven miles long. Lots of beautiful scenery along the ride too!
So, if you happen to be a white water canoe/kayak enthusiast and want to try and exciting race, come on out for the fun on March 31, 2007 to Peale, PA. Peale is located about 1 1/2 miles down the road from Grassflat. You'll find lots and lots of other white water racers there plus a guaranteed good time too. And, if you happen to see Howie and maybe his son Carl at the race, wish 'em both lots of luck too from me!

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