Twin Lakes, Colorado – Kayaking, 2016

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Great paddling conditions at Twin Lakes

Over the August 20-21 weekend we went to kayak a new lake for us, Twin Lakes, Colorado. I’ve driven by the lakes while traveling over Independence Pass, and even around it to the west end so I could backpack into Big Willis Gulch. Jeff brought his pop-up camper with his new truck, while Lisa and I carried his kayak and our tandem on the Avalanche. We had been   Continue reading

North Platte River – Foote to Ft. Steele – Wyoming

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Calm water on the North Platte River, Wyoming

Two years ago I floated the North Platte River between the Foote put-in (North of Saratoga) and the I-80 take-out at the Fort Steele takeout. This year I was invited to float it again with one of the same guys as last time, and his youngest son, and another guy and his youngest son, for a three-day, two night trip on the river. Check out my previous post for additional information.  This year the water flow was   Continue reading

Colorado River – Grand Canyon – Rafting (Part 3)

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Camp on the morning after the wind, sand and rain

Day 4, Saturday June 11th, 2016

This is the day of the big rapids. With adequate warning from the guides, the rafters in front were in full rain gear. Right from the beginning we were in big waves. The “practice” from the previous three days made this quite a fun ride because by now we have learned how to handle them. I planned to call out the name of the rapids after turning on the GoPro, but I didn’t always remember or hear the name. I know we began with Hance and continued through Sockdolager, Grapevine and Crystal with   Continue reading

Colorado River – Grand Canyon – Rafting (Part 2)

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Colorado River in the Grand Canyon

Day 1 Wednesday, June 8th , 2016

We stayed at the Marble Canyon Lodge on the evening before the trip. The lodge is right across the street from the meeting place at the airport. The lodge also has a restaurant, so we ate breakfast there and later drove across to the parking lot, unloaded our gear and waited. Planes began arriving, eventually bringing in Rod’s friends who invited us on this trip. There were several groups of people and at least two   Continue reading

Add a Woodstrip Deck to a Kayak

Today someone asked me how I added a custom woodstrip deck made out of Western Red Cedar, to my Mill Creek 13 kayak. What follows is the process I used.

The process involves making some forms to support the deck, give it some shape and allows for a place to staple the deck in place while the wood glue dries. Once the deck is finished being built and sanded,  I remove the deck, and thus removing all of the staples, flip it over and sealed the underside with epoxy and glass. Once it’s cured I use fiberglass cloth and epoxy to glue it onto the shell.

First, create the forms. I used MDF I had around the garage left over from some cabinets I made. The forms are only temporary so use what ever you have available. I used the original templates used to shape the shearclamps to transfer the arc onto the forms, and then cut them to shape with my bandsaw (if you have a jig saw that works too. I used hot-melt glue to hold them in place in the boat shell.

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A close-up of the forms during a test-fit

I spaced the forms about 12″ apart   Continue reading

Kayaking Chicago

Lisa and I just returned from a trip to Chicago. While there, we thought it would be interesting to take a kayaking architecture tour on the Chicago River. I guess when you live in a place for a while you don’t always get out and see some of the things you think about after you move away. We asked our friends and family about such a kayaking tour but nobody was familiar with the idea. Lisa searched around and found Kayak Chicago. They had several tours available and, since we’ve done none of them, we picked a 3 hour architectural tour leaving from the Magnolia and Le Moyne location. We arrived to find that we were the only people headed out with the guide that day, so if you want a trip with fewer people but don’t want to go on your own, it appears that a Thursday in mid-September is a good time to go. The weather was perfect.

Our guide, Brian gave us a few required instructions and we headed out.

Soon after launch we could see the Sears Tower (or, whatever it's called these days)

Soon after launch we could see the Sears Tower (or, whatever it’s called these days)

At the southern tip of Goose Island we paused for a selfie . . . .  Continue reading