New England Paddlesports Show

Peter and I are on the move!  Heading to the New England Paddle Show at my old alma mater, the University of New Hampshire at Durham.  We’re excited to make some connections with manufacturers of paddling gear and hopefully scoring some support for our Kayak 50 quest.

We’d love to get free gear, of course, but we also are looking for sponsors to lend our quest a measure of recognition.  We are toying with a variety of ideas about Kayak 50 such as raising money for worthy, river-based organizations, creating our own organization, and/or focusing our efforts on education – online or off. Whatever we end up doing, having sponsors is a win-win situation, they get advertising and we get to show we’re legit. Oh yeah and  free stuff!

To get ready for our launch at the Paddle Show, we’ve been working on a business card.  Let me know what you think!

k50card k50card2

Meanders and Canoe Rescue in the Great Swamp (NY)

Feeling the familiar rush of excitement at paddling the Great Swamp, Christian and I put in at the Route 22 Bridge and pointed our kayaks south, checking for fish as we drift along, discussing whether the water has been stocked yet this year. We’re soon examining the barn swallow nests under the bridge some stacked six high from years of use. Images of fin-like wings scissoring the air flood my memory making for pleasant re-runs.DSCN9830The meanders of this section are interrupted by a downed tree necessitating a pull out and over where we also take the opportunity to pick up a plastic flower pot and other flotsam.

DSCN9837 - CopyOur next section is decorated by newly emerging skunk cabbage flowers.  These interesting maroon spates cover a spike-like flower that is an important first food for bear and other forest foragers.

DSCN9833The broad expanse of the upper swamp is flooded above the two year old beaver dams that have been tended with great care. This area is a solar collector of sorts with the surrounding hills creating a warm, protected environment for wintering ducks and geese.  This year, so much milder, has spread them throughout the swamp.  While the smaller flocks still provide protection, the less crowded areas seem to be popular.
DSCN9843

We discussed the beauty of the swamp as we continued our paddle into the next section with broad areas banked with lichen covered trees.  See if you can spot the red-tailed hawk…

DSCN9883

We passed the put in at Green Chimneys headed for the Donald B. Smith Conservation (off of Old Doansburg Road) a nice extension of our trip through the meandering flats that are often short on water later in the year. After a mile or so, we spotted a red canoe up on the bank and a little further on, a green one at a rather interesting angle in the river.  They looked suspiciously like runaways from Green Chimneys!

After much discussion, we decided to do our good deed for the day and rescue them (mostly Christian’s idea). Christian righted the green one and corralled it. Both in the water, we created a caravan to the takeout. Along the way, we had to go under fallen tree and deal with a spot of fast moving water with lots of obstructions. Finally, under the Doansburg Road bridge, we were home free!

DSCN9924

A call to Green Chimneys got us to John who was happy to retrieve the canoes in his truck.
DSCN9909

Great paddle – Good deed.    Done!

 

 

 

Kayak 50 Gets a Rig!

As in every expedition, there is preparation.  Peter and I had been spending hours looking for our new home/kayak mover for our Kayak 50 adventure (kayaking all fifty states). We had many considerations in some ways as complicated as new home ownership.

Perhaps the biggest issue in our minds was the trade off between inside-the-home comfort and overall external length.  This was coupled with musings on  gas vs. diesel (10-14 mpg as opposed to 20-23 for diesel), original mileage, overall condition, seat and sleeping comfort, storage, ease of driving, etc.

We had long ago dismissed the idea of kayaks on the top of the vehicle as being too cumbersome. Instead we were working from a model we saw at the Deerfield River in MA. A kind gentleman showed us his Sprinter and the custom-designed kayak carrier that fit into his rear hitch.  This small “cage” allowed the kayaks to be transported in an upright position – very cool!

kayakcarrier2       This is an off-the-shelf carrier, but similar to what we have in mind.

Peter and I had been scouring the internet for months looking at Class B RVs. We went through the pros and cons of different models/reputations/use etc.  We even were exposed to scamming  – an “owner” who wanted to sell to us via a private listing on eBay – beware, a common scam.

As President’s Day weekend rolled around, we had four candidates – three in Pennsylvania and the other in Delaware.

Roadtrek PA2                                        One  of the RVs we considered.

Stopping in PA first, we were able to immediately disqualify one of the models since Peter would have had to crop a few inches off his height to stand up in it!  The other two were the Sprinter  and a Roadtrek a more van-like model that was $15,000 less.  We liked the idea of a really cheap ride on one hand, because we are so inexperienced in RV ownership that it posed less risk. The trade off was possible breakdown in the middle of no where when routine failures crop up – alternator, starter, etc. Our other serious candidate, a Sprinter, was double the cost and was only 19 feet long – not really much space for visitors.  Our intrepid kayaker friend, Christian, would be joining us periodically as well as various of our collective children.

Off we went to Delaware with high hopes that we would find the perfect RV so we’d be off the hook with our PA dilemma. This was the longest RV we were considering at 24 feet.  We liked the bump out on one side that created a spacious feel. Plus, a big bonus, was a “real” bathroom with an actual shower stall! We sat in the Roadtrek for quite some time loving the extra room for entertaining, but realizing the bed was narrow and uncomfortable, and remembering how driving it was cumbersome.  We decided against it by Sunday afternoon.

Coachman DE2                                                         RV with bump-out.

We had some fun on Sunday exploring the Delaware seashore. On Monday morning, we showed up at the dealership driving through a snow storm that later caught up with us. We looked at both RVs again and decided that the Sprinter, although small, had everything necessary for us – friends and family would be tenting, and socializing would definitely be outdoors or at the local restaurant or pub. We also considered and were swayed by the ease with which we could resell the Sprinter if it ended up to be too small or in some way not the right fit.

Three hours later, we had completed the transaction and were on our way home. The bad weather followed us and was a bit nerve-wracking for Peter since he was driving the new Sprinter, but all went well….

RV1                               Diana and Peter in front of the new Sprinter.

As the days have gone by, we are happier and happier with our decision.  For the extra money, we have peace of mind, a fuel efficient vehicle, and all needs for shelter, food preparation and storage,  comfortable rest, and entertainment (computer/internet/music) met in one place.  Next step is a test run!

Sprinter2