Tuesday, May 31, 2016
Sunday, May 29, 2016
Friday, May 27, 2016
Thursday, May 26, 2016
Before I start, we’ve had two new folks join Log of Ibi as subscribers. Thank you for joining us, and a continued ‘thank you’ to all of you that have been long-time subscribers. The second-most-recent to come aboard was Anne Muntean, a paddler from Ogden Dunes, Indiana. The most recent, just yesterday, was Sandy Tarburton, the Membership and Communications Director for Northern Forest Canoe Trail. Thanks, Sandy. I’ll be out there paddling while knowing you all will be peeking over my shoulder the whole way, and not feel so alone.
Ibi, a heavier Superior Expedition decked-canoe on the PaddleCart
after the new stainless axle replacement
The old aluminum axle about to be replaced was
again slightly bent at both ends.
Nothing is perfect, however, and in spite of the dependability of this cart, there have been a couple things I’ve had to address as glitches in R&D. First, I purchased the Dually, which has four large wheels and tires. This model greatly aids moving the load through mud, sand, grass, gravel, or normal trail obstructions. The four wheels also mean you have immediate backup for flats or bearing problems. I started getting flat tires from sand burrs. The first thing I did was replace the thin, standard equipment tubes with thick puncture-resistance tubes. As a further precaution, I installed tire liners like those I had purchased to stop bicycle tire flats, and put them in each of the four tires. In the five years since, I have never experienced another flat tire.
Buffalo Gal is ready to go with a new axle, and I anticipate
no further problems.
If you order a PaddleCart now, you will not experience this last issue. The cart was originally all aluminum, including the axle rod. The projected load capacity, consequently, was low. I called PaddleCart, and emailed them, saying that they needed to change to a stainless steel axle. The weight of many boats would reach their load limits while empty, and any camping gear and provisions would make them overloaded. My aluminum axle had been bent. A couple paddling friends asked to borrow my cart to bring their boats from the beach, through the state park, and to the parking area. I found out later that instead of moving them one at a time, they had erred in loading both boats on the cart at once. I straightened the axle, but with the weakening of the axle from the metal fatigue caused by bending and straightening, particularly with aluminum, I’ve never been able to fully trust the cart since. I knew I had to get the new stainless axle before attempting the Northern Forest Canoe Trail. I never received any acknowledgement to my communications, and perhaps others were telling them the same thing, but they did change to a stainless axle. As a small company, they couldn’t afford to eat the expense of a recall, but they did supply the replacement axle and carriage frame at cost. I now have 100% confidence that I can portage indefinitely with no further concerns.
Wednesday, May 25, 2016
Buffalo Gal with the NFCT decal on the bow.
Katina Daanen’s “Through-Paddler’s Companion” lists every portage, but more importantly, it breaks each portage into what portion is wheelable, and what is not. She even breaks some of them down to ‘wheelable with difficulty,’ indicating where roots, rocks, or other problems may make using a cart difficult. Unfortunately, most of the hand carries, versus portage cart carries, appear early in the trip, and one is 1.3 miles. Later, the portages are longer, but are mostly wheelable with an appropriate cart.
With a new hat on top, and my Keen hiking shoes on the bottom,
it was time to give it a shot.
With the canoe yoke done, it was time to make a portage and try everything out. The wind yesterday was blowing about 20-25 mph, but I tried to make a portage as we took a break from watching the radar for tornado development. It was like carrying a sheet of plywood on a windy day, as the wind tried to spin me and the canoe first one way, and then the other. The pads pressed into my neck muscles and caused a lot of strain. I went about a quarter mile, and was done. After a bit of thought, I decided the pads must be too close, so I moved them outboard on the yoke so they had a 20 cm separation.
This morning, I tried the portage again before the wind got up to normal strength. It was only about 15 mph. The separation of the pads made all the difference in the world. I walked a full mile with two short stops of 2-3 minutes to give the shoulders a break, one at a half-mile, and the second at about eight-tenths of a mile in. I don’t know why I didn’t think of it before, but upon my return, I took a tape measure and measured the spread on the Adirondack pack canoe yoke. It is 19 cm, so I know now I’m in the right ballpark, and am happy with the results.
Tuesday, May 24, 2016
The finished yoke.
With the end fittings installed so the yoke can be attached to the gunwales of the canoe, this is what the finished yoke looks like. (I don’t think you can beat the beauty of cherry wood.) Instead of probably $110 for the commercially created yoke with shipping cost and hardware, I probably have less than $10 in this, plus the satisfaction of creating it myself.
End clamp detail. To keep the bar from twisting and coming undone,
the outboard end is routed to grip the top of the gunwale, and the
inboard end is cut to sit over a brass key set into the step or post.
The yoke and pads fitted on Buffalo Gal, the Mohawk Odyssey 15.
Here’s something you may wish to consider if you haven’t already done so. In the lower left corner of the picture with the yoke in place on Buffalo Gal, you will see a bright orange sticker. This is a USCG “Vessel Identification Sticker for Canoe, Kayak, or Rowboat." The one I have on the boat is an earlier edition of the one pictured, but the function is the same. Before attaching the sticker to the boat, you should take an indelible marker and provide your name and a couple phone numbers. The rugged adhesive holds the vinyl sticker in place for years. The Coast Guard, along with Natural Resources departments and police agencies, have had problems for years with finding small craft sunk, stranded, or floating down a river with no identification on them. They don’t know if the boat has been stolen, if it simply floated away from the shore, or if it means that someone is in distress. Being able to establish ownership and contact someone with knowledge of why the boat may be where it was found, and if they know whether someone is supposed to be paddling with it, goes a long way to returning lost or stolen boats, or to initiate searches and rescues if there’s no apparent reasons why the paddler and boat have been separated. The USCG Auxiliary has had the stickers on hand in years past, so they may be the first place to find several free stickers for your craft.