31 July 2006


Because I live so close to some great paddling water (about 300 yards), I built my own portage cart. Parts include 1 1/2 PVC, a "pool noodle", some steel pins with spring retainers, and a nice set of tires, that are too heavy, and too expensive. I originally found a couple of pictures on the web that gave me all of the required info. My little cart is working very well, but I have a couple of small manufacturing flaws that are resulting in a slow breakdown. The heavy wheels and my constant overloading of the cart put a lot of stress on the PVC where the retainer pins cross through, and the holes are tearing out. One day soon, it will need a serious rebuild. The cool thing is: I now know where I got the dimensions correct, and where I came up short. I just need to find a new set of wheels that are lighter in weight. This particular set actually have sealed ball bearings in the hubs. Total overkill. I just hope that it lasts until winter.

30 July 2006

Garbage Scow

Out paddling today, I picked up some trash. I guess it is unavoidable on lakes with so many cottages around them. Any time you have a lot of people around, you end up with a lot of trash too. I just wish people would be more careful, or would make a bigger effort to retrieve their trash. I can't help but remember the Pollution Prevention: Keep America Beautiful -- Iron Eyes Cody PSA

29 July 2006

Fish On!

Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime. ~Chinese Proverb

I went fishing with my brother today, that's him in the photo, with a real nice sunfish.

21 July 2006


The driver picked us up in a white, Lincoln Continental, stretch limo. Leaving the office at 11:00am on a Friday, feels a little naughty, but our plan, with this little field trip, was to enrich our creative process. Six packaging designers (a six pack?), two supervisors, and four digital cameras, all headed for the "big" city. The Ann Arbor Art Fair. (And this link too.) Our task was to collect as many images, and ideas, as we could for a new mood board at the office. It was also a great way to get the creative juices flowing again. There were plenty of great sculptures, pottery, paintings, drawings, and photography. There were also the typical elements that provide the chaotic carnival atmosphere that no one can seem to resist. Street performers, sidewalk vendors selling anything imaginable, and junk food galore. People watching at its best on the University of Michigan campus. It was a great way to spend an afternoon for work. Oh my head is sunburned, and my feet hurt, but I think our new boss is going to work out just fine. It is a tough job, but somebody has to do it. =8-}

15 July 2006

Compass Before and After

I made a little change to the way my compass is secured to my kayak. Here are a set of before and after photos. I wanted to place a bungie with some beads here where the compass is so that I could place a spare paddle on the front deck, and with the compass located like this, it was really getting in the way. Here is the new location of the compass, I just threaded the deck lines through the existing holes in the base of the compass, and it is now sort of permanent. I stared at the deck lines on my CD Gulfstream for a long time before I did this though. The deck lines were very tight. I don't know if this is common for all kayaks, but Current Designs puts a lot of tension on them. I was trying to figure out how they make them that tight. The only way I could figure is that they leave the last recessed cleat loose, when they thread the deck line and tie the knots. Then when all of the knots are tied, they then mount the last cleat. Anyway this is how I took the deck lines off, threaded a couple of beads and the compass, and then retied the knots, then totally abused my fingers while pulling the cleat back into place and held it while I tightened the screw.This view shows the new bungie with beads, and the compass located further forward. I can still read the compass easily, and being further forward, is less likely to make me seasick when viewing. The beads work very well for stuffing a GP paddle under, and they work so-so for stuffing the shaft ends of my euro splits under.

11 July 2006

Close Call

I had a close call tonight. As I rolled to a stop at this road construction site, the minivan coming up the road behind me must not have been paying attention. When I looked in the rear view mirror, I didn't even have time to flinch. As I watched the driver of the minivan whip the wheel to the right, it went sliding past me with all four wheels locked up and making the gravel fly. The minivan finally came to a stop further forward than I was, but luckily for them, still not fully in the ditch. The driver then simply put the van in reverse and backed up behind me and then pulled back in line. Wow! The poor flagman never moved his feet, but did at least look up. I wonder how many other close calls he has seen? Enough to make him have nerves of steel, or is the job so dull as to make him numb to screeching tires?

08 July 2006


A nice day for a paddle. Plenty of sunshine. Five and a half hours paddling.
Green Heron
Laying on my back deck looking up. A good picture for FH2O. =8-}
Drip, drip, drip.....I love relaxing on a Saturday.

01 July 2006

Holiday Paddling

Here is a picture of the tennis ball for Derrick. There really are deer at the edge of the lake, and I tried to get a picture of them, but as I got closer, they just melted into the grass.
I started to make some changes to the rigging on my kayak. I had wanted to get a new, fancier (read more expensive) compass that would at least look more professional, but as I got to looking around for a new compass, there really are not very many choices for kayaks. So I kept looking to see what everyone else seems to be using just for ideas, and I found out that some pretty big names out there are using the same little Suunto Orca as me. Not only do they own one, but they have been using them on some pretty big kayaking trips. Renata uses one, Wendy uses one, and sometimes you can even find them on some pretty nice looking creations as well. So the compass stays, and I'm a little more proud of it as well. I have also added some beads to bungies as well as deck lines to make stuffing things like paddles and fingers under them a lot easier.
I went for a long paddle this morning. About five hours total. I wanted to get in some quality holiday paddling before the lakes got totally crazy with high speed power boat traffic. I was on the water by 9:30 am and paddled west under the little stone bridge, and the kayak felt good. I started out right with my best forward stroke, including straight arms, loose grip, and plenty of torso rotation. I amazed myself with the speed. As I exited the "tunnel" I was reminded of the Cadillac commercial where the car explodes from its tunnel with a bang, and we are left only with the sound of a brass shell casing bouncing on the concrete.

Oh yeah, watching three "red-neck" ladies in string bikinis (two of which were very pregnant) back a boat trailer down the boat ramp this morning was particularly entertaining as well. I know dey was red necks by tha way dey talked, tha cussin required, an by tha quantity, quality, an location of dar tatoos. Makes me smile just to think about it.