Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Wild, Wild, West

Well we finally nailed the trip I had been scheming for some time. Two weeks in Utah and Colorado. The first week was spent kayaking Canyonlands National Park and the second was spent mountain biking various epic mountain trails.

For the Kayak part, my son, Jake and I drove our vehicles west. We were joined by Jill and Jeff, two fellow SKOAC kayak buddies. I had the Trailblazer with the SKOAC trailer and 4 kayaks and Jake had his Jetta TDI. We had a fabulous trip just getting there. We met and stayed with Jill’s friends, hiked, 
hit a brew pub and saw Brandi Carlisle at Red Rocks. From there we traveled through the Rockies to pick up Jan at the Grand Junction airport.

Then our bigger adventure began. Tex’s Riverways shuttled us to the top of Canyonlands National Park. They dropped us in at the Mineral Bottoms on the Green River. We spent the next 5 days paddling and floating the river on down to the Colorado River. We saw a good amount of wild life and the like with fresh cat prints on our sand bar the night Jake slept out under the stars. Floating the canyons of the Green river was quite a sight. The outfitter cautioned us about the wind and we did get some sand blasting at times. It was also hot, with 105 in the shade and 84 in the water. We spent some quality lounging time in the water. Spotting Anasazi cliff dwelling on the cliff as we floated by was quite a thrill. When we got to the Colorado R., Tex’s jet boat came to pick us up. They strapped our boats to the upper rack and jetted us at 35 mph up the Colorado. Kayak Pictures.

The kayakers all headed home and three mountain bike buddies, Mike, Matt and Joe joined me at Fruta CO. We biked Fruta, Moab’s Slick Rock, Phil’s World in Cortez CO and spent a number of days biking the epic Durango area. My cousin Mike put us up for the week and Mike and Meg were fabulous hosts. We did two - two car shuttle rides where we put one car at the lower elevation and the other hauled us all to the top of the mountain. We did Hermosa/Dutch creek and Engineer Mountain with this method. We spent one day at Mesa Verde doing the tourist thing and saw some serious cliff dwellings. Mtb Pictures.

QOD: The Creative Adult is the Child that survived. Ursula K. Le Guin

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Sept 2012, Slice and Dice

Late posting of previous work: With the help of my bro n law, Jim we got the next kayak out of Chequamegon forest (actually, the family's north forty section of the Chequamegon National Forest). Jim brought up his new four wheeler and that worked quite well to get the two smaller Cedars out of the tall trees but the big log, destined to be the next kayak was a little more than she could handle.

We used a come-a-long to slowly drag the log from where she was laying for the last year. We put small rollers under the log for easier rolling and used 3-4 chains to lash trees to hook the come a long to. We had to drag the log 100 yards to get to the point where we could reach the chains with the old Toyota pickup. It took two runs with the Toyota to get the log up from behind the shit house to the top of the lawn. We dragged the log under a tall Maple, lifted one end with the come a long and backed the boat trailer under the log. My 17 ft fiberglass Four Winns weighs quite a bit so it's trailer should have been able to handle it quite well but I was still very nervous. I was sweating it during every one of the 245 miles back to Mpls.

I was pretty proud to use my own chain saw lumber mill to make Jan's kayak but I was determined to not waste so much wood this time. I went onto the WoodMizer web site and also did a Craig's List search for people who owned band saw lumber mills. I found one guy who called me after I had the tree already cut up and said that his minimum was $210 and would charge $0.50/mile from St. Cloud. I found two other guys who could not handle a 25 ft log but the guy who did the cutting only charged me $49 for the whole log. I gave him a good tip.

The WoodMizer was gas powered and computer controlled. It took the WoodMizer only 35 seconds to cut the 22 ft length and it barely left any saw dust! I had him cut the boards a full 1 inch to leave some room for plaining but it cut so smooth the boards hardly need any it. If you are interested, leave me a note and I'll gladly give you his details. He can bring the saw mill to your site to do the plaining.

The kayak is now under my shed roof, sitting on blocks with wood strips separating the planks. I hope to start work on my last boat next August.

QOD: From the book: Tour de France by Graham Watson: About a week after my return to England, I was going smoothly  at a fair pace to the top of Highgate West Hill, that evil little pimple whose gradient sprang to mind in the first ramp of l’Alpe d’Huez, when a paunchy, oldish man on the far pavement yells: “Push harder on the pedals.” No hint of a smile or cheer of encouragement. In France they shout – pedestrians or cyclists, it make no difference – Allez’ Courage!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Epic 2012 Sauna Tour

It was a fabulous all around trip. A great experience.
More details to follow.


12-Feb-2012, My New Avatar

This space reserved for the discussion on my bitch'n avatar.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Third Time's a Charm

Not that I have any regrets with the first two yaks. The first kayak plan was chosen to get the biggest boat, that would hold the most gear and allow me to go on longer expeditions. Savor Diem. The plans were from One Ocean and they were of the Cape Ann Expedition. I can't say enough about the great web site that Vaclav Stejskal created for the benefit of all. He teaches boat building, tests materials, recommends material supplier, etc. If you buy the plans he has ever more details on building a fine craft.

The boat I built for Jan definitely needed to be smaller. For this I wanted to try a different company so I went with Guillemot and bought the plans for the Guillemot S. The S plans create a boat that is very stable and can keep me from getting too nervous when Jan or my daughters get in to tall seas.

The next one will be more a model of speed, agility and efficiency (at least I will have to learn how to pack more efficiently). I have not bought plans yet but I'm thinking that the Gillemot Night Heron.

The boat building for number III started on 11-Nov-2011 when we went to the family cabin and cut down a few White Cedar trees. I was looking for one tree (first Picture) that would do it but the best tree was going to be hung up by another tree (second picture-with my son Jake, at the saw). We actually had to cut a third tree down to get the trees to fall. There was more dry rot in the center of the trees than I would have like but not much you can do about that. Between three trees and maybe this time using a band saw lumber mill, I might get enough good boards. Last time I used a chain saw lumber mill I made for my dad's 20" Homelite chain saw. It worked well but wasted a lot of wood.

QOD: That which we persist in doing becomes easier, not that the task itself has become easier, but that our ability to perform it has improved. Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882).

Monday, September 26, 2011

Colorado 2011 Catch and Release Hunt

Had a fabulous Elk Hunt for two weeks in Colorado. I got into more Elk than in any of my previous trips. The high (and low) of the trip was calling in a nice size Bull, standing broadside at 30 yrds and then throwing an arrow over his back. The only explanation I can come up with was that I grabbed the 50 yd pin instead of the 30 yrd pin. I later removed the 50 and 60 yd pins from my bow.

Other Highs and Lows

- The next day, being surrounded by 7+ Elk with the heard bull's basting-bugle, echoing throughout the valley as he came my way. Calling didn't bring the heard in but one satellite bull circled way around me and then winded me at 18 yds.
- Another day, stalked another (or the same) group of Elk, that had a bull calling until 11:30AM but the swirling winds did me in.
- Snow at 10k ft
- Camping for 7 days at 10,250 ft. Three trips to the spike camp: 2 days, 3 days and 2 days. I Love that Exped down filled air mattress, slept like a baby.
- 11 Trucks at the trail head but none found their way to me so I had my camping/hunting area all to myself.
- Leaving my tent and some gear, not fearing for someone messing with it, but when I arrived, I found one of the free range cattle standing ON my tent. I got hoof prints 3' up the side of the rain fly. No damage though.
- Awesome mountain bike trail: Phil's World near Cortez Colorado, with a mile or two of great blasting down hill roller coasters and jumps running down a draw. Also hit the Lunch Trails south of Grand Junction.
- Getting 24.7 mpg with the Trailblazer.
- Meeting Eddie Howard again. A guy who has gotten 18 Elk and has been hunting 34 yrs in this area. Stopped into his condo that he rented for the month and compared hunting stories.

QOD: "What if we choose the wrong religon? Each week we just make God madder and madder." Matt Groening (1954-)


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Newbie Weekend

It was a fabulous weekend for new members of the; Paddled Superior Club. For Jan, it was her 4 time paddling and camping on the big water, for Sebra, it was her third time on the water, first time camping and for Maria it was the first for both.

Maria, Matt, Jan and I car pooled up on Thurs and camped at the Herbster beach side CG on Thurs PM. The next day, Breakfast at Bayfield and then we paddled past the sea stack on Basswood to Hermit for a lunch break on the warm pebble beach. Swimming started immediately. Then we headed to camp site No. 20 on Stockton Is. Great Beach as was shown by the number of boats moored there. Sebra and Aras joined us about 9:30 PM. I liked the beach especially the neighbors clothing optional program.

The next day it was off to Oak site 2 near the dock, the rangers station and the group site with the Boy Scouts. Still a great site. Did get some rain but that didn't stop Aras and Sebra from hiking to the other group site. On Sunday Maria and Matt got in an early run to the cliffs on the north side of the island.

Sunday morning we paddled across to the main land to visit Sebra's Buddy's parents land. They own 80 acres along the shore and shared some interesting details about the land, the neighbors and the area.

We had great smooth water, bright sun and evening fires both nights. A fabulous trip for getting an intro to Superior and the islands. The trip went too fast but maybe left some yearning for a return.
See Links to Photos:
Aras Photos
QOD: You don't get anything clean without getting something else dirty. Cecil Baxter