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Paddling Articles In the Same Boat

Trip of a Lifetime

In Brief — Our Story, Chapter by Chapter

By Tamia Nelson

A Note to the Reader

Whether you've been with Trip of a Lifetime since day one, or are stopping by for the first time, these chapter summaries should help you follow the story. And if you're having trouble keeping the characters straight, just take a look at Usual Suspects. Everybody who's anybody is there. See you on the water!

Chapter 1: Stirrings

It's March. Wild geese are flying over the upstate New York bookshop run by Brenna Trent and her husband Ed Fletcher. Ed and Brenna have been dreaming about taking a long trip up North for years. Now — with a little help from Henry Hudson — they decide that the time has come.

Chapter 2: Cold Light of Dawn

Trip of a lifetime? It sounded easy yesterday, but things don't look so simple the next morning. Is Ed and Brenna's trip over before it begins?

Chapter 3: Something Turns Up

The problems are multiplying. Brenna doesn't see how she and Ed can get away, but Ed keeps telling her that something will turn up. Who's right?

Chapter 4: I've Got a Little List

One problem's solved, but there's still a pile of gear to collect. Jack Van Dorn steps in to help, but it's Brenna's lists that really save the day.

Chapter 5: On Snyder's Pond

Ed's away at a book fair and Jack's tending the store, so Brenna takes a day off to go kayaking at a favorite local pond. It's a welcome change from the endless job of getting their gear together.

Chapter 6: Knotty Problem

Brenna almost loses it on the way home from Snyder's pond. Luckily, Jack's around to show her the ropes.

Chapter 7: Friends and Lovers

It's show time! Ed and Brenna are getting together with some old friends. The object? Seduction. There's safety in numbers, and our two heroes are looking for partners to share their trip of a lifetime. But it's harder work than they'd thought.

Chapter 8: April Fools

April Fool's Day finds Ed, Brenna, and the rest of the gang on the Battenkill. Everything is looking pretty good so far, but Ken is dogged by a problem that he can't seem to shake.

Chapter 9: End of the Trail

Doggone! The party's already over for one of the gang. So why do you think they call 'em take-outs?

Chapter 10: Shooting the Sun

Ed and Brenna's trip is going nowhere fast, and they've all but lost their bearings. Then Jack steps in to put them back on course.

Chapter 11: A Foreign Country

Fade to black, as Jack gropes in the dark and takes the lid off Ed's past.

Chapter 12: Everything Was Wonderful

Jack's wondering if the Ed he knew is gone for good. Will he get the point?

Chapter 13: Looking for a Boat

With the lid back on the box, Ed and Brenna are taking a drive to check out the canoe of their dreams.

Chapter 14: Unlucky Friday

A river runs through it, and that river's pretty lively. It has a few unpleasant surprises in store for the gang, too.

Chapter 15: Three Sisters

The casualty list grows, and Ed and Brenna trip the light fantastic.

Chapter 16: Stepping the Mast

It's time to try sailing the big canoe, and what better place than Lake George?

Chapter 17: Old Glory

Memorial Day weekend's always a busy time on Long Lake, but Deputy Sheriff "Bubba" Buck is doing his best to keep the peace. Local radio host "Jerkin' Jake" Slaughter has other ideas, though. Is the Hollywood Lady about to star in her last production?

Chapter 18: A Wink is as Good as a Nod

The Memorial Day weekend cruise continues, as Ed, Brenna, Pete, and Karin are joined by a man of mystery.

Chapter 19: James Bay or Bust!

After months of preparation, Ed, Brenna, and the Nearys are on their way up North. Their goal? Fort Albany on James Bay — and then on to Moosonee. But no river trip ever goes exactly according to plan, does it?

Chapter 20: On Different Wavelengths

Nobody loves headwinds, and the struggle to keep paddling is taking its toll. More and more often, the two couples seem to be on different wavelengths.

Chapter 21: Between a Rock and a Hard Place

Hurry up and wait. Sometimes that's good advice, but don't tell it to Pete Neary. He's had enough. He wants out now, and he almost gets his wish.

Chapter 22: Billy Swamp

A meeting at an island camp gives Pete the opening he's looking for.

Chapter 23: The End of the Beginning

Alone, together. It sounds like a recipe for a romantic weekend, but Ed and Brenna aren't sure it's what they want for their trip of a lifetime.

Chapter 24: Into the Mists

Back in the States, Independence Day is a washout for Frontenac Lowlands University, and the Reverend Jefferson Williams gets handed a sentence he can't appeal. Further north, Ed and Brenna learn that taking the road less traveled by can make all the difference.

Chapter 25: Up the Creek

Brenna's caught with her pants down, Nikolai makes a move, and Ed does his level best to get his point across.

Chapter 26: In the Same Boat

Ed and Brenna clean up and get ready to clear out — with two new partners. Now everyone's in the same boat.

Chapter 27: On a Wing and a Prayer

Jack Van Dorn is worried. There's been no news from northern Ontario, and he's beginning to think that Ed and Brenna's "trip of a lifetime" might have gone terribly wrong. Then he decides to stop worrying and do something. Has he left it too late?

Chapter 28: The Eagle Has Landed

Ed and Brenna are back on the river, but Jack doesn't know that. He's already gone underground to visit an old friend.

Chapter 29: Making Connections

Traveling downriver with Sergei and Pavel, Ed and Brenna are wet, miserable, and on the run. Their plan? Get back to the United States any way they can. Meanwhile, Jack's made a few plans of his own

Chapter 30: Upriver

The four members of the "northern alliance" have been attracting a lot of attention as they travel down the Albany River. Now they're cooped up in a tiny fisherman's shack, while Jack heads upriver on a fool's errand. Or is it?

Chapter 31: Freedom's Just Another Word…

Only 700 miles to go! And Jack has his own ideas about the best way to bring his friends home. Only one thing's certain — it's really going to be the trip of a lifetime.

Chapter 32: A Forlorn Hope?

Ed, Brenna, and their companions missed a chance at a flight out of Fort Albany. Now Crazy Dog's come through for them once again, and they hope they're on their way. But is it a forlorn hope? And what about Henry Hudson?

Chapter 33: Homecoming

Sometimes the last few miles of a trip are the hardest. At least it's…


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