Let me guess… those are your real names?

And Mr Dunlap’s name is Ed!  How nice!  Baucom and Sosbee!  What?  Did you come up with those names planning Scrabble®?  OK a quick google reveals that there are actual people with these surnames.  The fact that I have never heard of them is of little matter I suppose…  But now we are on a first name basis, so what could possible go wrong now?  It would also seem, though, that Jared has been given strict instructions from Jeff- “I will do the talking once we get there…”  So there’s Jared, in the Stern, proving all the locomotion.  I am sure he is hating this gig more and more by the hour…

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Oh, Ed…  So trusting.  But what Jeff ‘n’ Jared do not realize is what else lies between them and riches!  Tension mounts!

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Mark and Andy bed down among the relics..

Better than sleeping with the fishes… I guess Dr. Davis and his daughter have privileges… being less stout and capable than Mark and the Big Dog.  I suppose that’s better than sleeping in some other musty, spider and vole ridden outbuilding…  Mr. Dunlap looks so pleased with himself.  He has been collecting for years without so much as anyone visiting, now his efforts are being appreciated.  Appreciated not only by Mark, but by the bad guys canoeing up to the landing with evil in their hearts…

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As Jeff ‘n’ Jared paddle slowly toward their objective, who wouldn’t mistake them for a couple of fisher-people out on the lake?  Their plan is nearly foolproof!  Or so it would seem… Reminds me of the scene in the Bill Murray movie Stripes: “what? It’s Czechoslovakia! It’s like Wisconsin!  We zip in, and we zip out…”

Apparently Mr. Dunlap knows a lot about alot…

…about more than Indian artifacts, that’s for sure, if he is able to pronounce that “Doctor Davis’ injuries are not serious…” What, is he running a clinic out there along with his Indian artifact museum?  And how about that- Cherry has a maiden name… Davis.  I guess I knew that, I just forgot.  But goodness we are all so formal- even the bad guys.  Mr. Dunlap, Dr. Davis…

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So yes, meanwhile, in the same general vicinity, Jeff and Jared are enjoying tremendous weather.  It would seem that the weather system that drove The Trail Party into the hands of Mr. Dunlap was extremely localized and hasn’t hampered their progress an iota.  So as Jeff polishes his .44,  Jared is growing weary of the whole travel by canoe thing.  paddle, portage, paddle, portage.  Stop, sleep, eat a little, do it again… hrrumph.  I might also point out that the bad guys have enjoyed not only good weather but a change of wardrobe… And if I am not mistaken, Jeff had hair when he met Jared at the prison gate and later bought him a beard.  I guess that way he can stay one step ahead of the wanted posters in the post office, and Interpol, for all I know…

That Ooooold Lake…

Can get rough all right…  Poor Cherry… soaked to her spanx and all she gets to do is stand in front of a fire, spinning like a Byerly’s five-buck-cluck… that’s not going to do it.  Mark and Doc look as though they were able to board the boat without much trouble, at least without getting wet.  How on earth did Andy get in, though?  Maybe he swam to shore?

Doc still has the fever, though, witness the little sweat beads on his bald pate.

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But what of all the gear and the canoes?  Towed to safety?  What a loss, otherwise…

There isn’t any problem a little horsepower can’t solve…

Of course we knew that paths must eventually cross…  otherwise how would Jeff ‘n’ Jared ever come to know the flinty edge of Mark’s fists?  There were just too many degrees of separation- it’s not like Mr. Dunlap falls into the category of “Ol’ Friend.”  He is just “Random Old Guy with a powerboat” about to save Mark, Cherry, Doc and Andy’s bacon…  So it’s the bite of the black fly coupled with heavy seas that needed to play out in order to bring these characters together…

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“Mark’s Canoe is threatened?”  How about Cherry and Andy are about to meet their end in a watery grave?!?  Seriously.  Like I supposed before, it’s Andy that is saving Cherry right about now, not the other way around.  And Cherry lost her stylish pink knit pillbox hat!

Andy’s not liking this ride!!

Windswept Whitecaps!  Boy it doesn’t get any more tense that this!  Not compared to Rusty being bound, gagged and trapped in a van, not even Mark stuck in a meat-locker!  We always knew they would emerge from those scrapes unharmed…  But this!  This is bad…  The seas have now grown to be 2-3 feet, and this is no place for a canoe, no matter how skilled the paddlers might be…

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Let’s see if the writers can string this out for the entire week!  Will they or won’t they make it…  You know, come to think of it, if part of the mission of Trail, Inc. is to open up the great outdoors and encourage people to enjoy all its wonders, the last few stories involving forest fires, charging elk, untimely death, and now this doesn’t get that job done, right??

Oh Dear.

Not good.  This actually is manufacturing some tension…  canoes and swamping go together like… canoes and swamping.  Look at Andy’s ears blowing back.  Muscles must be burning.  This is tough sledding, ladies and gentlemen.  How’s that for advice, though?  You grab Andy?  I think Andy may be the only warm blooded creature that is capable of surviving this scrape…

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Now, about those pfd’s… with that listed among their assets, they might have a chance.  Without them, their cotton clothes become heavy and drag them to the bottom.  “If we capsize?” Well, there’s an interesting turn of phrase… I guess it’s better to be ready, but still… If I had to make a prediction, they will somehow magically wash up on the dock/shore of Mr. Dunlap.  But I have been surprised before…