Tag Archives: Travel

Weekend Outing: Burnham Point State Park, NY 8/15 to 8/17/08

This will be my second outing in the month of August 2008, and it should be interesting. I am planning to camp on the shores of the St. Lawrence Seaway at Burnham Point State Park. This is a little bit downstream from Long Point State Park.

This is the route I have planned:

burnhampt.png

Overall this should be a nice 9.5 mile outing for an afternoon. It offers the option of heading upstream to Cape Vincent to hang out for a bit if I get an early start.

Once again I’ve planned this route so the outgoing leg is to the west against the wind and current and the return leg follows an easterly course to the campground.

It’s tough to see on the posted graphic, but I shouldn’t have a problem with any lakers. If I keep close to the southern shore the water should be too shallow for their draft. I figure any lakers I see should be at least 1/2 to 1 mile north of my planned route.

Burnham Point is also an interesting state park because the sites on shore do not have any vehicle access. Campers have to hike their gear in. This should be a good stepping stone to later camping adventures involving more strenuous hikes with gear or situations where I won’t have easy access to my car.

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Trip Report: Little Traverse Bay, MI, 7/1/08

Sorry about the long period between posts. I’ve been busy starting my new position at work and on the road. Fortunately, I was able to get on the water a couple times while I was in Michigan.

My first outing on the water was between the beach at Petoskey State Park and the waterfront of Harbor Springs, MI. This route is seen in the plot below:

LittleTraverse.png

Note that this route does not show the return leg. This is because I lingered in front of Harbor Springs too long to make some adjustments to my cockpit coaming. This lack of movement caused my GPS to shut down, and I failed to notice. The roundtrip was about 8.2 miles in length and took about 3.5 hours.

Some of the notable points during this journey:

    Petoskey State Park to Harbor Springs, MI:

  • The initial northward leg wasn’t too tough
  • However, I did forget to don my paddle leash from the outset, d’oh!
  • Turning west I faced a breeze of about 5-10 kts. This would eventually strengthen to 15-20 kts as I reached Harbor Springs.
  • The Cooper did very well paddling into swells and waves I made at about 3 feet. The skin-on-frame design slithers over the waves easily.
  • Two waves in rapid succession were a challenge, but this would be true regardless of kayak type. The Cooper did fine when the second wave broke over the bow deck.
  • Thank goodness I was able to hop out near the public boat launch in Harbor Springs and resecure my cockpit coaming.
  • The return leg would prove much more interesting.
  • On the return leg the wind and waves originated from the SW
  • Again the Cooper did well in 15-20 kt winds and 3-4 foot swells.
  • The key to not capsizing in such conditions is rolling your hips into the oncoming swell. The lower center of gravity provided by the original seat is also of great help providing stability in these conditions.
  • Another simple, yet key modification, of the original Cooper seat is the addition of a Seal Line Discovery Kayak Seat Cushion. Let about 1/2 the air out and you have a massive improvement in seating comfort!
  • The leecocking of the Cooper did get a bit annoying. I really need to install my rudder one of these days.
  • If I had a track of the return leg it would show I cut across the “corner” present in the outgoing leg. I did this to shorten the period of time I was getting pounded by waves
  • Upon arriving at Petoskey I had to turn the Cooper so the bow was pointing W/SW, into the waves. Trying to ride the waves into the beach is a recipe for disaster.
  • I timed my exit from the boat almost perfectly, but the bottom was a foot deeper than I thought! Fortunately, I was able to get my other leg out of the boat and get away with a little hopping around using my paddle and the kayak for support.
  • After that I got washed up on the beach and I stowed my kayak near a Hobie Cat. The next morning I would find the cockpit full of wind-blown sand. ALWAYS turn your boat over if you’re going to leave it assembled overnight!
  • I celebrated my expedition with a delicious 1/2 lb. perch dinner straight from the Great Lakes and prepared by my friends at Scalawags. I washed this awesome grub down with a couple bottles of Bell’s Pale Ale.
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Paddlefest Day 3: Another Post Why the Folbot Cooper is Insanely Great!

I didn’t stay out too late on Friday, May 16th because I knew that I had a huge day of paddling ahead of me on Saturday, May 17th. I’ve already posted my planned route for the Fulton Chain Lakes, but in this recap I will post the route I actually paddled. Here it is:

fulton_chain.png

This route took me from the beginning of First Lake in Old Forge all the way up to Third Lake, about two-thirds of the way to Inlet, NY. The total distance for this paddle was just under 10 miles, and the total time on water was 3.5 hours.

Some high and lowlights of this outing:

  • Once again, I can’t stress how awesome the FoxWorx Vixen feels in the hand! No blisters and only modest chapping!
  • The Folbot Cooper is an incredible boat! I was easily able to cruise at 3.5 to 4 mph for the bulk of my 3.5 hour journey
  • The river to First Lake is pretty calm and sheltered, but there are some random rocks sitting in the channel.
  • Crossing the open waters of First Lake to the northern channel by DeCamps Island was pretty uneventful except for the jet skier that fired up when I was halfway there.
  • Second Lake is nice, much less built up than First Lake. I was able to get some very nice shots of Bald and Sugarloaf Mountains immediately to the north.
  • I made it into and around the southern end of Third Lake. There is some pretty troubling treefall in this area. Folding kayakers need to be really careful in this spot.
  • I thought about going farther up Third Lake, but some weather was rolling in so I thought I’d head back
  • I had to deal with some pretty nasty winds during my paddle from DeCamps Island and past Dog Island. Made pretty good headway in the Cooper though.
  • Dog Island is more like a sandpile rising from the depths.
  • More wind picked up as I paddled north and turned west to head back to Old Forge.
  • Made it back to Old Forge just before the rain!

Overall the Cooper handled superbly during this outing. Almost 10 miles in 3.5 hours and the boat tracked true the whole time. I have to say that the improved fit of my new PFD and better hand feel of the Fox Worx paddle also contributed to the pleasurability of this outing.

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Adirondack Paddlefest: Staging

Yes, I know I’ve been delinquent in my posting frequency of late. I’m sorry to say that I’ve been suffering some health and stress issues at the conclusion of grad school. Not a good way to be by any means!

I’ve been searching for inspiration about what to do with all my newly found free time, and an interesting flyer about the Adirondack Paddlefest showed up in my mail the other day!

This looks like it could be a really cool weekend, and it’s already got my mind bursting with ideas on what to do while I’m there!

The first major decision is whether to camp or get a room. Normally I’d camp without a second thought, but the above mentioned issues give me pause about exposing myself to the elements. I’ve also managed to find lodging right on the water, at the Water’s Edge Inn.

There are some decent campgrounds in the area, but I’m having trouble finding one right on the water’s edge. Anyone got recommendations? Pass ’em along!

The other major consideration at this point is whether or not I should take my personal holiday and a vacation day to go to Paddlefest. Friday morning a special session involving high-end composite boats will be held. That might make it worth my while to head up Thursday.

I’m also debating whether I’d drive back Sunday or Monday. It’s hard to say if I will be tired of demoing boats by Sunday or not. On the other hand, it would be nice to spend an extra day away from work and Rochester. I guess I’ll sleep on this for a couple nights before I decide.

Much more to come, I promise!

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Projected 2008 Outing: Bear River, Michigan

For the next entry in my series of proposed outings, I present the Bear River!

BearRiver.png

The total length of this planned route is about 12 miles from Walloon Lake to the bend just before the river enters Petoskey proper. There are a few things to keep in mind about this proposed route, and I need to try and research them before I get there in July!

    Bear River, Michigan Pointers:

  • Overall Journey Length should be about 12 miles.
  • This distance should be manageable since it will be with the current.
  • From the internet it is unclear if the Bear River is navigable by kayak over its entire length. 24k topo maps don’t do much to clarify this either.
  • It’s also unclear what type of boat traffic I might have to share the river with in the summer.
  • Regardless of the level of boat traffic an early start is warranted.
  • I plan to get fished out before entering Petoskey because it is more likely there will be an open area to knock down the Cooper.
  • The other reason for not paddling to the mouth of the Bear River is that area has some Class II/Class III rapids. The Folbot Cooper is a very capable sea kayak, but at 16’6″ it is unsuited for that type of use!
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8 Tools to Help You Travel Forever and Live Rent Free

This is a great article that should give everyone some nice ideas about how to live the “on-the-road” lifestyle they desire without breaking the bank!

How do you travel long term and not run out of money? Hotels (and even hostels) are expensive over time, and finding rental accommodation in every city you visit is impractical. Heck – you don’t even want to pay rent at all! Here are eight handy resources to help you get started on your long term travel adventure.

read more | digg story

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Summer 2007 Kayaking Recap: Indian River, MI, Part I

This the next post recalling my adventures during the summer of 2007. I spent the first half of the July 4th holiday week camped out at Interlochen, MI and I spent the second half of the week staying at the house I grew up in. Fortunately the river running by our backyard still had enough depth to allow me to float the Cooper and head out toward the Indian River.

A plot of my first foray into the Indian River is shown below:

To_Mullet.png

Note that the river meanders in a northeasterly direction between Burt and Mullett Lakes. For my first venture, I paddled toward Mullett Lake and back to our house on July 6th, 2007. The track shown is about 8 miles in length. The highlights of the journey were as follows:

    Indian River, MI, Towards Mullet Lake, 7/6/07:

  • I’m about 175 lbs., and even after adding a basic gear bag the Cooper’s draft was shallow enough to easily float in four or five inches of water!
  • Paddling downstream toward Mullett Lake was no problem. Even though the channel is full of powerboats one can easily cling to the reeds at channel’s edge.
  • There are also some nifty shortcuts through the reeds that powerboats simply can’t go.
  • In the direction of the current, keeping up with boaters was no problem because the Indian River is a no wake zone…unless you run into one of the more impatient types out there.
  • One of the best parts of kayaking is how closely you can approach waterfowl in a kayak.
  • Once again an energy gel proved invaluable at the turnaround point of my paddle.
  • Paddling southwest against the current was an entirely different story…stay off to the side and use the shortcuts through the reeds! Wait up for boaters if necessary.
  • Overall this journey was about 8 miles in total and it took me a little more than two hours to complete…not a bad day’s work!

I probably should’ve gotten out earlier to avoid some of the boat traffic, but in the end this was a great way to spend a sunny summer afternoon on vacation!

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Summer Concert Recap

summer07tix.jpg

This summer was great in terms of the concerts I was able to see! This post is just a brief recap of the bands and venues I was able to hit in my travels…

The Black Crowes, Interlochen, MI, 7/3/07: This was an excellent show, the band hasn’t changed a bit since I started listening to them in the early ’90s. They played a good range of tracks and hit “Remedy” for the encore. The venue was a little odd since there were fixed seats. People piled up by the stage. I managed to forget my earplugs…BAD!

Social Distortion, Town Ballroom, Buffalo, NY, 7/20/07: The Town Ballroom is right on Main St. next to a hostel and a huge police station. Great setup for going to see a Friday night show, kicking back several drinks, and crashing overnight for $25. Social Distortion is another great live band, and they ripped through a fairly long set that included most of their classic songs. I brought earplugs this time around!

Silverchair, St. Andrew’s Hall, Detroit, MI, 8/3/07: This is the one show I really wanted to see this summer! There is a longer writeup below, but I will hit the highlights. Once again I managed to pick an incendiary live act, and I managed to get within 20 feet of the stage. They played a good mix of tracks, but the set was only an hour long. The encore sing-a-long to “Freak” will be something I never forget!

Clutch, Higher Ground Ballroom, Burlington, VT, 8/29/07: Higher Ground is a great venue even if it’s in a strip mall. I say this because I was able to work my way right up to the speaker at the left side of the stage. Thank God for earplugs! Clutch is another band with really tight chops, and they played a bilstering 2 hour set. The crowd was kind of weird, there were a lot of people who stood there like stones. Just stay home next time, ‘kay bro? Maybe next time I’ll be able to grab the sticks the drummer passed out at the end of the show!

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