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.
Monday, May 23, 2016
Credit: Google Images
Indian Blankets are the Oklahoma State Flower, and the park
had a great display of blossoms on hand.
We got away for the weekend to take our granddaughter camping at the Great Salt Plains Lake State Park, north of Jet, OK. The lake is formed by the joining of Medicine Lodge River, Driftwood Creek, and the Salt Fork of the Arkansas River. In spite of supposedly being fed by three tributaries, the years have been too numerous that all of those have dried up leaving the outflow of the lake as dry as the empty riverbed below. The outflow is just called the Salt Fork of the Arkansas, and seeing it with water flowing was a pleasant shock.
None of the canoes got to go for the ride as winds were forecast to gust to 25 mph on Saturday, and 30 on Sunday. Down in the river valley between the surrounding hills, and below the walls of the dam, we could see the tree tops dancing, but we just had a good breeze in the campground. Even that died down enough Saturday evening for a campfire, and for Maggie to make s’mores.
It would prove to be a wildlife weekend, and guess who forgot the camera. Grrrr! That’s the one thing a blogger should grab even before his pants, but I ended up with pants and no camera.
Jean sat at the picnic table Friday evening and watched a doe and two very young fawns. Being on a major flyway, this area is always great for seeing birds, and this weekend was not going to disappoint. We saw scarlet tanager, cardinals, orioles, gold finch, and of course egrets and Great Blue Heron, and all day we were fascinated by a pair of Bluebirds as they rushed about to feed their five young fledglings. Then, each night we were serenaded by nighthawks and owls. We also got to enjoy a full array of wildflowers that were in bloom in reds, oranges, yellow, white, blue, purple, and salmon. Next time, I’ll even take the camera.
Thursday, May 19, 2016
Two of my three canoes came with portage yokes. The Superior Expedition has an adjustable tractor seat, which if you remove it and put it back in inverted, a portage yoke was fitted to the bottom side of the seat. My ultra-light Kevlar Hornbeck 14 also came with a removable cherry portage yoke which quickly attaches to the gunwales with bolts and wing nuts. The Mohawk Odyssey 15, however, has no yoke, and being made of Royalex, is substantially heavier than the Hornbeck. There were two solutions. The first is to buy a yoke and mounting gear ($95.00 + shipping for an ash yoke and gunwale hardware from Piragis; or, from Jem Watercraft, the gunwale mounting hardware is $40 alone, without a yoke, or $57 for both yoke and hardware.). Or secondly, make a yoke and buy your own hardware.
This is the whole pattern with the panels taped together and transferred
to the rough-sawn wood. If needed, you can zoom in for closer inspection.
The first necessity was making a pattern for the yoke. Neither of the yokes from the other two canoes, due to their proprietary design, would work as a pattern for a classic portage yoke. Jem Watercraft, however, does have a free pattern for making a yoke. There is one little wrinkle you need to take note of. For the pattern to be printed to scale, the printed pattern panels, of which there are five, need to measure 9-inches in length. The first time I printed it, the panels measured 8 13/16”. When I realized the printer was set to “fit” rather than “actual size”, just clicking “actual size” corrected the problem. Not checking the scale will obviously make your pattern useless. The pattern is printed as five panels, which you assemble by just joining the patterns, A to A, B to B, and so on, and taping them together.
Then, there’s the choice of woods. Ash is the most common, but cherry is also listed as a choice for those who care more about aesthetics. My choice was simple. I have zero ash in the shop, but about 1,000 board feet of cherry, so cherry it is.
The pattern will give you a long yoke that you can cut to length
to fit your canoe. This has been planed, had the edges rounded
with a 1/2 inch router, and pre-shortened a bit. A bit of wood was
left for final fitting, as the Mohawk has both sheer and tumblehome.
Here the pattern transfer is done with a sharp stylus, awl, or tack. To transfer the pattern to the wood, I use two methods. To transfer a pattern to planed wood, I use carbon transfer paper. If the wood is rough finished, you can either plane first, or with a hard wood, like cherry, getting rid of most of the wood makes the planing that much easier. Make a series of dotted perforations along the pattern lines, remove the pattern, and pencil a line to join the dots. For transferring patterns to smooth wood, there are several techniques illustrated on You Tube.
Tuesday, May 10, 2016
Monday, May 9, 2016
This is the easily identifiable Oklahoma-style home of the period,
and many surviving cookie-cutter homes may still be found in almost
any of the old towns.
One of a home's most useful tools just discarded.
This is the South Canadian River.
Found in the woods near the new bridge is the trestle of the original
bridge that the settlers would have used. It is interesting in some of
these areas to find old relics. At one site, I found the remains of the
original bridge trestle written about as the one used by covered supply
wagons carrying settlers and U.S. Army supplies from one fort to another,
like from Fort Reno to Fort Supply and beyond. If interested, you can
read more of the Fort Supply and wagon train era in archives for June
10,11, and 12, 2012.
Saturday, May 7, 2016
The church is buried in wild vegetation, but the gate at the end of the
sidewalk that led to the door can't help but make one think of the families
and newlyweds that ventured into the world from this sanctuary.
In the church's entryway was an old Lehman cistern water pump, which
has a series of cups on a continuous chain that rotate down into the water
as one cranks the handle on the side of the pump.
The pulpit, a couple old pews, and heater were left behind in the old
church when the congregation moved to the new Methodist Church.
An old garage and store are all that are left of a once prosperous
Pearl of the Prairie.
George 'Red Buck' Weightman on display when no one
claimed his body. Credit: True West Magazine
Thursday, May 5, 2016
Monday, May 2, 2016
I guess this is Native American humor. When you have little, look on the light side, so here's a 'no parking' sign on the prairie, in the middle of nowhere. In spite of what the sign says, there's no place to park, there's nothing to look out on, and there's no point. Oh, maybe that is the point.