Tuesday, July 30, 2013


Today is the last day that Mrs ERJ is gone.

I decided to "make a memory" with my two youngest kids.  I had been watching the weather and we had a window of perfect weather this morning.  Temps between 70 and 77 degrees.  Low humidity.  5-to-10 mph breeze.

So we went kayaking.

The plan was to go from Onondaga to Eaton Rapids starting on the river at about 9:30 AM. 

We ended up going about half that distance.

Map courtesy of Google Maps.  Turned into non-conventional orientation.  North to the left.  Start at Baldwin Park (upper right) ended at Gale Road boat launch (lower left)
My brother and I did a great deal of canoeing in our youth.  We figured one hour per road mile.  I thought the kayaks were significantly faster.  They are faster, but not THAT much faster.


Overview.  Faces covered to maintain privacy.
View from rear

Loop tied on one end.  It is important to use thin nylon rope.  Nylon is intrinsically stretchy.  Using thin nylon is akin to tying down your boats with rubber bands.  The bumps and bangs stretch the rubber bands and minimize the yanking on the knots.

Taut line hitch.  The ONE single best knot to learn for outdoor rigging.

Start of the trip.  You can see that we have a shortage of freeboard.  That contributed to some drama later in the trip that I may choose to share.  Needless to say, GVW goes up and freeboard goes down as the boats ship water.
News flash:  This is an Egyptian Goose.
Ground nut is blooming and smells delightful

Russian knapweed is blooming and getting worked over by the bumble bees.
After three hours on the water.  Waiting for our ride.

Lessons learned:

I learned that my cell phone gobbles up battery when it does not get a signal.  There is very little signal between Baldwin Park and the Gale Road launch.

Kayaks are very crappy platforms for shooting photos.  It is a very short jump from hand to water.  I did not have any accidents, but I was very uncomfortable taking the pictures I did take.

I learned that I need much better pick-up plans.  And I need back up plans.

I learned that we need a break every hour or ninety minutes. Soda pop with real sugar and caffeine has it place in this world. 

I  learned that I need at least one larger kayak due to my GVW/freeboard issues.

I learned that we need a shorter 'shake-down' cruise before I get ambitious.  A one hour shake-down would have been ideal.

I learned that the least experienced needed some flat-water time.

I also learned that putting a tactile feature on the paddle to provide orientation feedback (like the dot on the "F" and "J" keys of my keyboard) is very helpful to the newbie.  After a while you can know without having to think about the orientation just by the feel of the paddle in the water.  Newbies cannot do that.

We had to go back to Baldwin Park because I elected to ditch some gear early in the trip to free up some range of motion and to reduce the aggravation in one of the boats with minimal freeboard.

We went to Darb's in Eaton Rapids to lick our wounds over pizza, fried cheese sticks, and for me, a tall, frosty Oberon.

To be continued...

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