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Flotilla attracts Houston Canoe Club to Goliad

By KBell
Nov. 6, 2010 at 6:06 a.m.

Robin Carville leads a canoe down the stairs leading to the San Antonio River as his son, Willi, and grandsons, Nicolas, left, 10, and Nathan, 11, bring up the back before the family set out on the river during the Canoe Trail Goliad's 8th Annual Fall Flotilla. It was Carville children's first flotilla. Canoes and Kayak enthusiasts put their boats in under the San Antonio River Bridge just West of downtown Goliad and ended at the Goliad State Park.

GOLIAD - From underneath the roaring San Antonio River bridge, just past the sign that blinked "heavy traffic," a group of canoeists from Houston were escaping just that.

"Being away from the desk, away from buildings, away from traffic - it's all good here," Janice Baker said before embarking on the 8th annual Fall River Flotilla on a cloudless Saturday morning.

Baker was with more than a dozen other canoeists from the Houston Canoe Club who were spending their weekend in the small town, just as they have for the past five years.

Other club members were in East Texas floating the Neches River, but the friendly community keeps this crowd coming back to Goliad, they said.

"What a nice place Goliad is," John Bartos said, as volunteers helped dismount kayaks from a long line of cars. "And what a nice day. Sitting inside watching sports? I don't think so."

Bartos would rather be in on the action.

"Living in Texas, it's a year-round sport. That's the beauty of it," he said of his canoeing passion.

"And easy exercise us old people can do," Baker said to the amusement of the group.

They were chatting under the bridge, kayaks and canoes at their side, waiting for the rest of the crew to return from dropping off their vehicles at the Goliad State Park, where the 6.5-mile canoe trail ends.

Most of the group met through the club, which participates in water-related activities "as often as possible."

"You become great friends. It's such a nice thing," Baker said.

"When you camp with people, and you see them first thing in the morning, you gotta be friends," joked Bartos' wife, Cindy.

Barker and her husband, Fraser, would be staying at the Antlers Inn that night, but she said they looked forward to experiencing the historic town again this year.

"They really make you feel welcomed," Barker said.

Canoe Trail Goliad hosted the flotilla and offered restaurant coupons to the more than 150 canoeists to attract them to Goliad's downtown.

While some club members discussed their lunch options, Barker looked forward to something else.

"The stars are going to be terrific down here," she said. "We don't ever get to see that."

The San Antonio River Authority sponsors both the fall and summer flotillas.



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