“Spend as much time as possible on mountains, in small boats, or otherwise out in the weather; if you never get wet, cold, exhausted or scared, you won’t properly appreciate being dry, warm, rested and safe.” ~ Peter Jay

"I’m an adventuring river rat at heart. Put me on a floating piece of driftwood and I’m happy." ~ Christina Glauner

"There’s folly and foolhardiness on one side and daring and calculation on the other." ~ C.S. Forester's Horatio Hornblower novels

Friday, April 25, 2008

Product Review: Boat Carriers

Many paddlers have Thule or Yakima racks, some use factory racks (many SUVs and some cars), and some just use foam blocks on top of the roof of their vehicle. I use none of the above.

Before last spring, I carried my parents' tandem using their old Ford Taurus wagon. But last winter they sold it and I was planning on buying my own boat (the green Hurricane Santee 140T). So last spring, I bought a rack for my pickup. I chose the utility rack from US Rack for it's simplicity. Unlike most pickup racks I've seen, this one just clamps onto the bedrails instead of bolting into the bed. I can set it up or take it down in under 30 minutes.
This past winter I noticed that US Rack had added a new product, the Malone Auto Loader. I ordered this item, so that I could more easily carry two boats on occasion. I didn't use it for the Flandreau cruise, but since then I am gaining more confidence in it. I actually am using the Malone Auto Loader a bit different than what their website shows. The low side of the loader is shown on the outside edge of a factory rack on a car or suv. Because I am using it with a pickup, I can set it up opposite by loading it from the rear of the pickup rather than the side.

US Rack also carries a Malone cradle type carrier to attach to their rack. Also, I am thinking of purchasing a second Auto Loader for when I get a second boat. For more information, I have a link to US Rack in the links section to the right.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Two For Tuesday

Normally after work I either go for a run, kayak, or, on occasion, take my mnt. bike onto La Framboise Island. This past Tuesday I chose to try to do two of the three: run and kayak. I drove down and parked in the park (just above the causeway in the map). After my run, between 2.5 and 3 miles, I decided to put in near the American Legion Cabin for a short paddle.
From the map, you can tell I turned around just past the marina (Down's Marina). The trip was 2.7 miles. On returning to the gravel beach by the American Legion, I felt the need to take a picture of the flag showing the wind.
That is not an ordinary site in SD!

Whiskey Gulch

Well, I would have added a post sooner, but blogger has not been too willing to upload to my ftp server with godaddy.com. The problem appears to have resolved itself though.

After work on Monday, I went down to the causeway connecting Pierre to La Framboise Island and put in off the boat ramp there.This boat ramp can be busy at times with fisherman, but there is a narrow part of the ramp on the opposite side of the dock that a paddler could use to put in.

I didn't have any particular destination in mind on Monday, just to get a short evening paddle in.
I ended up turning around after a brief exploration of what Google Earth calls Whiskey Gulch. The entrance can be seen below.
I've never before made it very far up without running out of water, but it's still April so I decided to give it a try.
I even managed to get past the above fallen tree/branch. Though the bow o my kayak got a bit muddy from the "stream" bank.
I didn't make it much farther and the gulch doesn't even continue much farther either.
But I still enjoyed the short distance I could sneak up into it. On the way back to the boat ramp, i managed to capture this photo of a pair of ducks in flight.
Also, this picture of goose taking off.
I was surprised about how close I was able to get to this goose before he took off. It wasn't even the kayak that spooked him. So i have two more pictures to answer the question of why geese fly.
Scruff behaved himself and stayed in the boat until we passed the goose on the little island next to the causeway. Then he couldn't help himself anymore. Though the one picture of us in Whiskey Gulch has him looking at me as if he is thinking "this doesn't go anywhere idiot." ;)

The trip was a short one; Measuring only 2.2 miles on my gps.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

2008 SDCKA Kickoff

The 2008 Kickoff cruise for the South Dakota Canoe (and Kayak) Assoc. was held today on the Big Sioux River near Flandreau, SD. It was a very enjoyable cruise. We were protected from the wind for most of the cruise and I wasn't bothered too much on the occasions a gust was able to reach me. I didn't bring Scruff along on this trip... he would have been too excited with all the people around.

My GPS had the trip down as about 7.88 miles. Google Earth doesn't have a very good image of the area, so here is one from Microsoft's Virtual Earth. The track claims only 7.54 miles; I am not sure why the discrepancy.

I got to talk to a number of different paddlers and really enjoyed the company of the other paddlers. I did take a number of pictures, most of which were of people taking out as I floated nearby.

Afterwards I headed for Scheels in Sioux Falls... when in the area I pretty much have to ;)

I have been thinking of getting a Perception Carolina 14.0, but at Scheels I saw a Hurricane Tampico 140 and it was a site... shiny! ;) But before I get another kayak I need to find a better storage solution than I currently have... it is looking to be a storage unit for short term and a house in the long run. FYI, my tandem is a Hurricane Santee 140T.

Dump Island, Farm Island, and an Unnamed Creek.

Two recent paddles I went on that I have not posted about were a renewing of my normal after work paddle around Dump Island and back to the beach near the Legion Cabin and investigating a creek the Lewis and Clark Trail crosses.

The first map is of the Dump Island paddle; it is approximately 4 miles round trip and is a very good quick, evening paddle.

Next I decided to find the river side of a creek that the Lewis and Clark Trail crosses. This was another quick evening paddle ending up being 3.3 miles. I used the boat ramp where the trail widens into a gravel road on Farm Island (near the polo fields). Scruffy (my dog) had a blast running along a sandbar spooking a few geese.
A few pictures from the Farm Island/creek paddle:


Well, I finally decided the best use of my domain name... a blog dedicated to my paddling excursions. So my normal blog will be reserved for non paddling posts and this blog will involve kayaking. I have yet to figure out how to bring my kayaking posts over from my other blog, so here is the link to the kayak label for it.