I guess I'm no different from anyone else when I start to get down at the mouth when things aren't going my way. Here is something we can play each morning we get up. Whether you go searching for his motivation materials or not, watch this.
Friday, March 7, 2014
I try to give credit, but don't know the source of this. Anyhow,
nice job, and my apology, but it was too nice to pass up.
I received this email from a friend in Florida. When thinking about why we enjoy going paddling so much, nature and wildlife are certainly legitimate reasons, but escaping two-legged wildlife has to be added to the list. This was called “Idiot Sighting: Our Society is Doomed.”
I handed the teller at the bank a withdrawal slip for $400.00. I said, “May I have large bills, please?” She looked at me and said, “I’m sorry sir, all the bills are the same size.”
When my husband and I arrived at an automobile dealership to pick up our car, we were told the keys had been locked inside the car. We went to the service department and found a mechanic working feverishly to unlock the driver’s side door. As I watched from the passenger side, I instinctively tried the door handle and discovered that it was unlocked. “Hey,” I announced to the technician, “It’s open!” His reply: “I know. I already got that side.” This was a Ford dealership in Canton, MS.
We had to have the garage door repaired. The Sears repairman told us that one of our problems was that we did not have a ‘large’ enough motor on the opener. I thought for a minute, and said that we had the largest one Sears made at that time, a ½ horsepower. He shook his head and said, “Lady, you need a ¼ horsepower.” I responded that ½ was larger than ¼. He said, “No, it’s not. Four is larger than two.” We haven’t used Sears repair since.
My daughter and I went through the McDonald’s take-out window, and I gave the clerk a $5 bill. Our total was $4.25, so I also handed her a quarter. She said, “You gave me too much money.” I said, “Yes, I know, but this way you can just give me a dollar bill back.” She sighed and went to get the manager, who asked me to repeat my request. I did so, and he handed me back the quarter. He said, “We’re sorry, but we could not do that kind of thing.” The clerk then proceeded to give me back $1.75 in change. Do not confuse the clerks at McD’s.
My daughter went to a Kansas City Taco Bell and ordered a taco. She asked the person behind the counter for ‘minimal lettuce.” He said he was sorry, but they only had iceberg lettuce.
In Wichita, KS, a stoplight on a corner buzzes when it’s safe to walk across the street. I was crossing with a co-worker of mine when she asked if I knew what the buzzer was for. I explained that it signals blind people when the light is red. Appalled, she responded, “What on earth are blind people doing driving?”
A child that attends a Kansas City, MO, school has the name “Le-a.” How would you pronounce the name? Leah? No. Lee-a? Nope. Lay-a? No. Lei?? Guess again. Her mother is irate because everyone is getting the girl’s name wrong. It’s pronounced, “Ledasha.” When the mother was asked about the pronunciation of the name, she said, “The dash don’t be silent.”
Think about it. They walk among us. They vote. They have babies. If this leaves you depressed, with your head hanging low, perhaps this will at least leave you with a smile on your face. The reason why baby diapers have brand names like Luvs and Huggies, while undergarments for seniors are called Depends, is because when babies mess their pants, people are still going to Luv’em and Hug’em. When old people mess in their pants, it all Depends on who’s in the will!
Thursday, March 6, 2014
Credit: Google Images
Most people in this day and age are so accustomed to traveling by car that they can’t imagine anyone moving about by any other means. We arrived at our landfall, and a day had to be set aside for doing laundry and provisioning. We had been told that a laundromat was nearby, so we loaded up three large sacks of laundry, and picked up the two toddlers, and headed toward town. We stopped and asked for directions, and sure enough, we were told it was just down the road a piece, and that we couldn’t miss it. I asked if it was in walking distance, or if we needed transportation, and was told, “Naa, it’s right down there.”
We walked, and walked, and walked. We stopped for a break and to catch a breather. We took advantage of the opportunity to check with a local again, and was assured, Yeah, it’s right down the road a piece. On the right. You can’t miss it.”
We walked, and walked, and walked. At the top of a hill I saw a man mowing his lawn. By this time, between carrying two kids and three bags of laundry, we were exhausted. I related our experience, and he assured me that we were on the right track. More importantly, we were almost there. It was “just down the road a piece. On the right in a little mall. Ya can’t miss it.”
Driving out of town at highway speed, the laundromat was indeed just down the road a piece. On foot, at two miles per hour, while carrying a heavy load, in fact several of them, “a piece” is an entirely different creature. Rest assured I called a taxi for the return trip.
If you ask a fisherman if you can reach a certain campsite before dark without stopping a second to think that his bass boat runs at 40 mph, and he says, “Sure, it won’t take you any time at all,” you have a right to be dubious. Show him your map and insure you and he are talking about the same places, and then judge for yourself.
If you are looking for a hazard, a point of interest, or a landmark, you can encounter the same thing when you ask how it appears. People become so accustomed to looking at something, they cease to see it. I enjoyed this one, even though it’s a non-paddling example. I was making a delivery into a large industrial park, and I asked the woman in the receiving office for directions, but I also asked what color the building was. There was a long silence. It dragged on so long I thought the call had been dropped. Finally, she started giggling. “You know,” she said, “I’ve worked here for eight years, and I drive in here every day, and I have no idea what color the building is. Hold on a minute.” Apparently I was the first person to ask her that question. She went outside and looked at her place of employment and answered my question, but as it turned out, the information didn’t help. Every one of the 200 or so businesses in the industrial park were in charcoal grey block buildings with a purple stripe around the tops. While local knowledge can be the best information available, it may also be misleading or worthless, but I’d still seek it out.
Perception can also get warped. Remember that river classes are subjective. If you ask about a Class V rapids, you will get answers that may cover the spectrum. One will say, “Stay away from that hole. A half-dozen people are killed in there every year.” A kid that lives on a hill overlooking the rapids and hot-dogs it every day will answer, “Na, people get freaky over it. Forget it; it’s nothing.”
Local knowledge is the best information you will get, but if you don’t remember to use sound judgment, it can also get you in trouble. You are still responsible for the final decision.
Tuesday, March 4, 2014
Credit: Christian Arballo
This is a great shot by Christian Arballo, an adventure photographer from South Lake Tahoe, CA. The photography follows whatever draws the camera, but special emphasis is directed toward hikers and backpackers. A great selection of wonderful photography may be found at www.christianarballo.smugmug.com. Another shot was taken in deeper darkness, but I just love the light in this one.
Monday, March 3, 2014
My North Face Rock 22 home away from home.
Along this line, Morrall River Films did a 5-part interview with Cliff Jacobson for You Tube. Tent selection was one of the many topics covered. (You may find these interesting. Just Google “you tube cliff jacobson.”) He laid out some basic criteria, like you should expect to spend over $500 (the Rock is $168-$209), should have aluminum tubing, no fiberglass, black netting, a large fly overhang or vestibule, and numerous attachment points for holding the tent in place in high winds, etc. He would not mention brand names, so I sent him a message to see if he‘d be more specific in a private correspondence. To a point, North Face has incorporated these in the Rock 22, so I was curious about what else he had in mind. I wanted to send along a picture of my tent as a reference point.
I Googled my tent and clicked on Google Images. I found a nice picture to illustrate my tent. As I looked at it, I found other startling similarities. The owner of that tent also hung his fly opening rather than rolling it up each time. Look at that! They even show a paddle cart just like mine sitting next to the tent. In addition, there’s a water bottle inside the tent like mine. This is my picture! They lifted my picture! Getting past shocked, I began to think, “Wow, this is cool.” To the right of the picture, they even gave credit to the blog, and had a link where anyone could see the original post, so all the proper etiquette and protocol had been followed. My little picture had hit the big time. Wahoo! I know that happens all the time, but when there is a 20-degree below zero wind chill outside, I really need to take my excitement where I can find it.
Saturday, March 1, 2014
Credit: Kayak Around Florida
L-R: Jim Windle, Marc DeLuca, Gus Bianchi
They actually made landfall at the municipal marina ramp yesterday afternoon, but returned to the ramp today to paddle the last two miles and make the official landfall where they were greeted by family, friends, and a few other prior circumnavigators.
Our congratulations go out to Jim and Marc for a great expedition. The link to their site is in the right margin: Kayak Around Florida. I got a kick out of the song they chose to celebrate the occasion. What could be more appropriate than “This is How We Roll,” nor to pick a song done by a group named after where they’re standing: Florida-Georgia Line.
Friday, February 28, 2014
In a well-planned trip, the actual run is the second time you will have done the trip. In a way, planning is indeed doing the trip for the first time, actually seeing the miles, rapids, portages, dams, lakes, campsites, and most other features for the first time. Another part that makes planning so much fun is that you are doing this part of the trip on the living room floor or dining room table in the depths of winter. As the maps, guides, charts, trip reports, and directories spread out over the table, the winter storms and doldrums slip away almost unnoticed. The best cure for cabin fever is planning a trip.
The first step in planning will be doing an internet search for the area you are visiting, and the first thing you will seek there is a guide. Waterway guides can be as simple as a tri-fold flyer, or as involved as that provided for the Northern Forest Canoe Trail, which runs 302 pages. Many also include an overview map of the whole route so you can get a general idea of whether you want to do the whole trip, or shorter segments. From these you can get an idea of what maps you may need and a list of suppliers where they may be obtained, the location of towns, main or alternate routes, historical or cultural points of interest, a schedule of area events or festivals, and so on. Once you get the guide and the maps for your trip, the fun begins.
To be successful in planning any trip, nothing beats the value of local knowledge, and the guide incorporates such information. The guide will usually come from the agency that regulates the waterway. Some may be the National Park Service, state parks, and the state department of natural resources. Some guides are also published commercially by states, like “A Paddler’s Guide to Missouri,“ or by individual authors like “Paddling Northern Wisconsin,“ by Mike Svob, which I reviewed earlier. A list of these may be found by searching sources like paddling.net or Amazon books. There may also be overlapping responsibilities where the river may be managed by the park service or department of natural resources, while the water and some sections may be under the authority of a private concern, like a utility company.
The guide will generally do most of the work for you. Once you obtain the guide, you will find it incorporates all that was offered on the overview map, but of course in much greater detail. Here the managing agency will include points along your route for nature preserves and parks, canoe and kayak launch sites, historic points of interest, cultural sites, museums, state parks and campgrounds, activities for kids, accommodations, locations for provisioning and watering, and some will provide contact information for outfitters. You will also want to know how to contact emergency services, and if the water is controlled by a utility company, where you can get information on when water will be released through a dam.
In addition to a printed guide, many guides or portions thereof may be found on the internet. For example, if you go to www.eriecanalway.org, the site for the Erie Canal, in addition to all of that above, they will provide the lat/long for every one of the 57 locks along its 524 mile route, as well as the lock number, mile post, and telephone number for the lock operator. They also suggest that if the family enjoys cycling, there are 365 miles of bike path that follows the canal using the old mule towpath, along which the animals walked while towing barges and canal boats.
The first information you will want out of the guide is what maps you will need and where you can get them. I’ll get into maps next.
Wednesday, February 26, 2014
I had used my EOS 60D Canon for a couple years with the 18-250mm Sigma zoom lens, but I wanted to add a bit more wildlife capability. I also wanted to remain within handheld capability so as to not be dependent upon a tripod all the time. John West (See the right sidebar for his photography link. Check out his work.) suggested I go with a 400mm primary image stabilization (IS) lens, since I was shooting at maximum extension most of the time anyhow. Further, the lenses in a primary are such better quality than in a compound zoom lens, that if I needed to crop and magnify an image, I could do so without such great loss of resolution. I turned to John for advice since he does wildlife photography from a kayak, and would best understand the conditions I would be shooting under. He said the 400mm is the largest lens that should be attempted handheld, and that occasionally he will in fact use a tree limb or rock to steady the camera in a low-light, slower shutter situation. For the latter situation, I did add a monopod to reduce camera movement.
My approach, at least at the outset, will be to use the 400mm primary while in the canoe, and use the zoom while ashore where the need for greater framing flexibility should be expected. Since exchanging lenses introduces dirt, dust, etc. into the camera, I’d like to minimize lens changes as much as possible, especially in a saltwater environment.
I haven’t really gotten the chance to get out and use the new lens seriously yet, but had the chance to get a couple shots in the backyard when a hawk came in to visit the wild birds that Jean was feeding. Hawks are so close in their markings that I have trouble trying to distinguish species, but its markings do show that it is a juvenile.