1) Where are you from? I had a fine time growing up in Gainesville, Florida...followed by 30 years of armed forces connected moves, stateside and overseas...then back "home," and now in St. Augustine.
2) When and how did you first become interested in paddling? I've lost track of the "when," but the clincher was a Fargo-to-Suwannee trip on the Suwannee River led by Walt and Sally Jetter.
3) Describe one of your favorite places to paddle. What makes it special? Any place that gets me outside! There are so many. The (north) Withlacoochee River is a favorite. Pellicer Creek when the lilies are blooming as far as the eye can see.
4) Describe what you do for Paddle Florida. (Editor's Note: Jan got bashful on this question, so Executive Director Bill Richards was called upon for an answer.)
Jan is the co-founder of Paddle Florida. She deserves much of the credit for any of the success we've been able to achieve. She has promoted each event. She has gone on every trip, and nearly every scouting trip. She has handled all rest stops, menu and campsite preparations, and is really...the straw that stirs the drink, so to speak. Without Jan, there never would have been a Paddle Florida.
5) What do you enjoy most about your work with Paddle Florida? Least? Most? The awards and extraordinary salary I get! Least? Not having time to be with everyone as they paddle and get to know each other.
6) Who is the stronger kayaking water wars combatant--you or Bill? On what do you base this assessment? Stealth wins out over strength! Based on my many victories!!!
7) Tell us something about yourself that would surprise folks to learn (...that's printable). I'm half Cuban and half Polish, I was a tomboy, I once ate 86 shrimp in one sitting...the rest is not printable.
8) We've met some of your grandkids on PF trips. Are you encouraging them to paddle? I talk to them about it all the time. I would love it if any of them became avid paddlers. It would help if they lived nearby...I could grab them and go any time.
9) Have there ever been any behind-the-scenes surprises or emergencies on PF trips that you've had to help resolve? Have there ever NOT been surprises??? No power, ramps under water, roads under water, no water source, gate number changes, car breakdowns, etc. Getting to the rest stops is always an adventure--some by boat!
10) What advice do you have for folks considering a Paddle Florida trip? Well, I'm always interested in the FUN part of it. Bring a camp chair, a musical instrument for beside the campfire, a masthead or flag for your boat, water gun, and most importantly a repertoire of jokes for the fireside competition. Also...no whining (leave that to me!)