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Oklahoma River makes for pleasant cruise

By Ann DeFrange Published: September 16, 2008
The rain misted our faces and dimpled the surface of the river as we launched our boat for the long voyage between Regatta Park and Meridian Landing.

And if you're not familiar with those ports or that river or our boat, they're all found within the city limits of Oklahoma City.

I took my first cruise on a morning last week with a senior group from Village Baptist Church, joined in the cabin by a senior group of Presbyterians.

That ecumenical crew entered the Oklahoma River from the Chesapeake Boathouse on a Devon Cruiser. From Bricktown to the vicinity of the airport, we moved seven miles in one hour and 15 minutes.

But we traveled through an unfamiliar world removed by geography and mood from the city around and above us. And all the time I'm floating and thinking, "We have a river!”

A busy river, actually. The boat moved out of the dock slowly, to avoid floating over rowers and scullers and other naval athletes. Capt. Bill Bird, our host and a former Coast Guard officer, welcomed us in a marine vocabulary on matters such as knots and afts. He delivered a lifejacket demonstration and admitted that even if we sank, at that point of the river, the water isn't deep enough to wet the cabin carpet.

But soon we're making our way down a smooth stretch of flat water at a hair-blowing clip.

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