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Rolling (roiling?) on the river

A mere three years ago, George Wolfe led a flotilla of kayaks down the LA River to prove the Army Corps of Engineers wrong, that LA's phantom waterway is, indeed, navigable. (And yes, that's George in the video above.)

This morning, thanks to George and FoLAR and a great number of people I'm unable to name, anyone with an internet connection (and fifty bucks for a ticket) got a chance to take part in the historic Paddle the LA River pilot program.

May I say the process also took a bit of patience and persistence?

The first-come first-served registration web page went live at 7:00 a.m. At precisely 7:00:01 it crashed. And stayed crashed for many long, heart-breaking minutes. I hit the reload button and kept reloading until voila! There it was, the registration page. With all the trips I was interested in now full.

But I kept re-loading and suddenly, there were openings. I quickly grabbed two spots on the Sept. 17 trip, which features a speaker from the California Native Plant Society. I hit 'enter' and the payment form appeared, and so did a countdown clock. Nine minutes to fill out the form. How hard could it be?

You'd be surprised. I filled and re-filled and re-re-re-filled the form, but each time I thought I was finished, I was told I'd left a crucial space blank. It took multiple tries (and some rude words uttered in multiple languages) to get finished. It was frustrating and infuriating and, when I reloaded the main registration page, I learned I wasn't alone.

Where once nearly every 10:30 a.m. trip had been sold out, there were now trips with 2 and 4 and 7 open slots. I suspect the buggy registration process separated the enthusiasts from the obsessed.

But now, with a pair of river kayak tickets for Sept. 17 burning a hole in my browser, I can say it was worth it. And of course (seriously, do you read Here in Malibu?) once the trip is over, you'll hear all about it.

See you on the river!


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