Sunday, September 30, 2007

Chasing the moon - chasing my "tale"

Chasing the moon
Spent Thursday and Friday out on the water "O" Dark 30 chasing what I hoped to be an unbelievable full moon set and sunrise.
The paddling was excellent but photo opportunities were scarce. The marsh is pretty choked off with weeds and Lilly pads, but I managed to get around Goose Island. Isolated and remote, with nothing but the geese to guide me.
Loaded for bear... Teddy Bear
Where's my paddle, I mean rattle!
Another adventurer has made her way into our hearts. Mike (long time adventuring friend) and his lovely wife have just had their first child. - Lillianna... what a dream. Hope she likes water! :-)

On Sunday, we hit Fowler lake with a full boat - my nieces, my sister and my two chit-lands. Got out for about an hour, tootled around up the Oconomowoc River to Riverside Park.
The kids did pretty good. Attention span in the boat was fleeting... Thank goodness for a couple of turtles and the geese. The kids got a kick out of seeing them.

Marissa just shook her head as she was bumped to passenger. She took issues with Jenny's poor paddling technique and lack of power in her stroke. I think the term "Boo" used was "She's a Paddle Dipper"


The wind came up and we fought our way back to the landing. We hugged the windward shore, the sun was shining, the water still very warm. What a great day to get the kids out on the water.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Sailing canoe kayak frenzy

We held the 1st annual sailing canoe -kayak rendezvous on Lake Mendota this past June. Winds were light, but the energy around the event was high.

The point of this posting, is there are so many paddle sailors out there that have their own personal story and adventure unfolding every time they hit the water.

Here is an outrigger -tri sailing canoe. Reminds me of the outstanding effort Team RAF put together for the Everglades Challenge 2006. So many different configurations of small craft to view and test paddle sail.

Lake Mendota is an awesome lake located in the state's capitol of Madison. Lake Mendota has been the host lake for many sailing world championships, to local series races. It just makes sense that we host the 2nd annual sailing canoe kayak rendezvous here for 2008. Stay tuned for more on this up-coming event.

So why the fascination with these one off designs? There is just something about building your own craft and paddle sailing it.

If you are just tuning in, head over to the Watertribe website as teams and solo adventurers prepare for the Ultimate Florida Challenge, Everglades Challenge and the Ultimate Marathon. There is a lot of good info if the sport of adventure paddle sailing interests you.

Also here is the Mid-west, Kruger Canoes is ramping up a bunch of courses and classes through their canoe college if you want to add to your skill set.


I feel like building something - The Capt'n

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Status report

Fall has definitely arrived and I am loving it. Yesterday's "O" Dark 30 Paddle was warm and balmy. I did get sprinkled on, but it was well worth it. The temperature has dropped by 20 + degrees today. It's sweater weather for sure.

Still had the Bell Yellowstone on the car from the weekend's Turtle creek paddle. Skirted the shore chasing the waterfowl foraging for food on the bank.

Glassy conditions an added bonus. Full moon veiled by cloud cover. Tonight is the full moon paddle with the MadCity Paddler's on Cherokee Marsh. Temps have plummeted but the sky's have cleared. The moon was outstanding on my morning plod.

Status Report:

Blah... Searching for the silver lining, I have increased my workouts and my plods are getting faster and longer. But, I actually gained some weight back. How could this be? Maybe the barley pop, wine, chips and ribs had something to do with it?

Go figure... - The Capt'n

Monday, September 24, 2007

Prairie Paddlers Shine

Turtle Creek at the put-in

Great all around weekend end for paddling and knocking about the local paddle shop.

Saturday found Laura and I hanging around the Paddlin Shop with John, Carl and Chris. We killed the better part of the morning there. We ended up at this quaint little bistro enjoying a great lunch and sharing a bottle of wine.

Checked the MadCity Paddler's website for any last minute changes or additions to the schedule. My plan was to paddle on the Wisconsin and meet up with a group from the club coming down on an overnighter on Sunday. But a last minute post on the message board had a hand full of club members heading south to the Wisconsin Illinois border to paddle Turtle Creek with the Prairie Paddles out of Northern Illinois.

Here is a video post by canoebuildermark on U-Tube in the mild winter of 2006.

Our paddle down Turtle Creek had a much warmer feel. But it will give you an idea of what Turtle Creek has to offer.

Vern had a saw, so we cleared out some dead fall. Quite a few snags along the way. You needed to be alert and pay attention, especially around the bridge pilings.

The water was running clear and warm during our paddle yesterday. It was in the low 80's, sun burning bright. Perfect for our lunch stop.

Great daze... I have to be where on Monday? Work? What? The Capt'n

Friday, September 21, 2007

Indian Summer

We have some great weather, heading in the 90's today! Loading boats and getting ready for a great weekend of paddling!
Stay tuned!

Oh Oh The Paddlin Shop is having a blow out sale this weekend!!! This could be dangerous!!

Cash or credit; you can't paddle either - Carl

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Big Wednesday - Status report

Big Wednesday: Jan-Michael Vincent plays a self-destructive beach bum to whom surfing is a Zen experience. We first meet Vincent in the devil-may-care 1960s, in the company of his carefree buddies William Katt and Gary Busey. The boys reunite ten years later, after one has served time in Vietnam. The beach is still there, the waves still break upon the shore, and towards the end of the film, the characters become people that we truly care about. Barbara Hale, the real-life mother of costar William Katt, makes a piquant supporting appearance. Cut from 129 minutes to 104 for its pay-cable release, Big Wednesday is also known as Summer of Innocence.
I need to get back on the water before it turns to a solid.

Wednesday again...

How time flies when your stuffing your face with burritos, chips and the ever delightful barley pop. The good news is I feel stronger and running faster then I was two weeks ago. Giddy up... but I didn't lose any weight this week... fell prey to the American weigh.
Back away from the buffet - The Capt'n

Friday, September 14, 2007

Super Boo -turns the corner

Little Boo
Not so little any more.. my Little Boo turns the corner and turns 11 on the 25th of September.
A switcharoo of weekends puts us at the Wisconsin Dells this weekend for a sleep-over and water slides and a pre-birthday celebration.
O dark 30 paddle
I'll need to get up early tomorrow if I want to get a paddle in this weekend. Gonna be busy busy. Some great paddling around the Dells, hmm?
Happy Birthday Boo!! Here's your new Balogh BOSS System! - the Capt'n

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Status Report

The tale of the tape

Those of you that have been following along, last Wednesday I set a goal of getting in the best shape of my life by age 50. My birth date is June 22, 1958.

I dropped 3.7 lbs this week. Perfect. Not that weight is the best line of measurement, but I know my fighting weight to be 167 lbs. I'm headed in the right direction.

I've been slowly... I mean slowly increasing my running... MUST STAY INJURY FREE!!

Damn, I feel pretty good - The Capt'n

Monday, September 10, 2007

Super Boo -Road trip

Marissa ( Boo) and I load up the Azul and Sea Wind for a little adventure. What a great weekend of paddling. Mid-70's and sunny! Made even better when you daughter says, lets go paddling!

Boo heading across Fowler Lake in Oconomowoc. More glassy conditions. No waiting around. Marissa can keep the Azul moving. No floater, she's a paddler.

Heading up the Oconomowoc River. Marissa has the Azul dialed in. She's thinking frozen custard. What ever it takes to keep her motivated!!

Taking a break at Riverside park. Bathrooms locked for the season. Off to the woods! The river and lakes are still like bathwater. Ironman Wisconsin was this weekend. No wetsuits allowed for the pro's, water was over 76 degrees.

Our destination, The Kiltie Drive In!! Only to be swash buckled, they have closed for the season! We were so looking forward to a frozen custard with jimmys. Oconomowoc has at least 3 other places to get custard, but none that you can paddle to. We could always portage!

Bummer, we'll have to settle for Culver's Custard.

America, what you want, when you want it and a lot of it.- The Capt'n

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Rock Lake paddle

Getting ready for a paddle on Rock Lake. Marissa and I take two different types of boats out for her to compare and see what she likes better. The wind was non-existent which is perfect for paddling with kids. You got to keep it fun and full of adventure.

We got out on Saturday for an hour or so. Marissa does a test ride in the Azul and Bell Yellowstone. No boat waves enhances the experience.

The Azul is a pretty quick kayak. Marissa makes it look easy. She is using a Epic Comp paddle.

The crowds on the water have really dropped off after the Labor Day weekend. We are thinking of putting in a few hours tomorrow. I wonder which boat she'll paddle?

We did a quick spin on Rock Lake up to the Sandy Bar Restaurant. Grabbed a snack and paddled back. But not before we talked adventure and switched out boats.

We traded boats so she could feel the difference between different types of boats. Marissa swings a pretty good single blade paddle as well.

Here Marissa paddles the Bell Yellowstone with the kayak paddle. She kept it moving pretty good, but said she liked paddling the Azul over the Yellowstone.

The jury is in. Marissa likes the Azul with the kayak blade. If the wind comes up tomorrow I will put her in the Sun Velocity. It is a shorter boat with a rudder. Not nearly as fast but the rudder will keep the fun meter high.

Let's do it - The Capt'n

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Kruger Challenge 2007 - Reflections

The Kruger Challenge 2007 is scheduled for Saturday, October 27. The challenge is to complete 100 miles on the Big Manistee River within 24 hours. This river is located in northern lower Michigan. This is a rain or shine event.

The section of the Big Manistee River selected for this event runs from the Manistee River Bridge State Forest Campground, 7.3 miles west of Grayling, MI (M-72 Bridge campground), down to the Veterans Memorial Park at Mesick, MI (M-115 Bridge). This is a self-supported trip. You are responsible for your own safety, shuttle, and assume all risks and responsibility.

We will be camped Friday, October 26th at the starting point. The challenge begins at 6:00 AM sharp. This is a no cost event. The moon will appear full on the 26th, so if we're fortunate to have light cloud cover on Saturday night, the night paddle will be even more pleasant. Contact Jack Cramer at or Mark Przedwojewski at for more info.

Some handy details:

The starting point is located on M-72, 7.3 miles west of Grayling, MI.

This event is free. Pre-registration is required so we can arrange for parking at the finish. E-mail and let us know you're going to paddle this event. All types of paddle craft are welcome. The river current at this time of year is slow to moderate and is considered easy. No rapids. No portage. It's best if you have some night river paddling experience prior to entering this event. Bring a bright light.

Many camp spots are found along this stretch of river if you decide to make it an over night trip. 100 miles is a long way. Bring minimal camping gear. Expect to take a full 24 hours to complete this event. Bring plenty of ready to eat food and at least 2 gallons of water per person. Bring at least two changes of clothes, one set to change into if you tip in and one set of warmer items for the night paddle. Standard safety gear is advised: PFD, rain gear, safety whistle, fire starter kit, hypothermia kit, first aid kit, cell phone, river & road map, compass, walking shoes, and a great attitude.

You are responsible for your shuttle, safety, and all risk. To finish this event within 24 hours, you will paddle in the dark. A bright light is handy.

Camping at the Manistee River Bridge State Forest Campground will require a fee of $15/day. No reservations. Water is available. Pit toilets only. If you leave a vehicle there, you will have to pay the daily fee. No boat launch fee.

Parking at the finish, the Veterans Memorial Park on M-115 at Mesick, MI is prohibited except by permission of the Mesick, MI Lions Club. We will arrange for this permission. No fee will be charged for this parking. Security of your parked vehicles is your responsibility. No facilities are located at the finish. The town of Mesick, MI is one minute drive time from the finish.


Looking back at the MR340 I found this great picture taken by Brian Hopkins.

The beauty, the solitude, the adventure. The MR340 - The Capt'n

Thursday, September 6, 2007

MCP - Yahara River

A great MCP outing on the Yahara river just below Lake Kegonsa near Madison. A very good showing for a Wednesday night paddle. There about 20 something joining us on this paddle.

The gang working their way down the Yahara. All types of craft show up at these paddles. You see wood strippers to Kevlar and everything in-between.

The sun sets earlier these days. Just made it in before dark. Pictures taken on my camera are done with out the use of a view finder or LCD screen. I crushed the camera some how and am left with an aim and shoot hope for the best scenario.

I can't believe this camera works at all. It has been in the lake twice and now crushed in my pocket.

Blah!! - The Capt'n

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Status report

What to do?

So many options and opportunities out there. So many variables. A very exciting time indeed.

Persons follow my blogging; Via the e-mails and phone calls, the question always comes up. " What adventure or craziness are you planning next?"

Laura and I have been kicking around a variety of ideas. Marissa (10 yr old) "Super Boo" or "Boo" for short is showing enthusiasm for a paddling adventure. Hmm?

So to get the ball rolling, I have set a personal goal of.... wait for it.... getting in the best shape of my life by 50. yea yea... we've heard this before... but it gives me 10 months.

I did this when I was 45. It was an outstanding transformation of mind and body. The idea of being 30 lbs. lighter has a nice ring to it.

Some of the challenges.

Knees have seen better days, neck and back are tweaked, and of course I am not a 20 something guy anymore. My response to these challenges, "so what".

I'll stay clear of the lofty goals of past: Ironman - no; Marathon - no; 5 day adventure races - no.

No the goal will be consistent workouts, throwing in weekend challenges that will vary from moderate to long paddling adventures, trekking and maybe even dusting of the ole bike. The biggest challenge will be getting back on track with healthy eating.

I will set at goal of at least one long paddling adventure for 2008. Not sure what that might be at this point? So many things happening around PEAK CAMP and The Kruger Canoe College that I have to bank some vacation time and keep my calendar clear.

After walking the dog this morning - I went for jog (plod). I did one whole mile... giddy up! I'm a runner again - The Capt'n

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Anchors away

Anchor at the Sunset Bar and Grille - Lake Koshkonong

Great weekend of paddling... though we didn't see the Lake Koshkonong Monster, we did encounter the undesirable weekend warrior in his too large out of control motor boat. We had the lake to ourselves up until noon. Then it got crazy.

The Lake Koshkonong Monster
Written and contributed by Ben Feld
Watertown Republican, November 1887

When Watertown first learned of the famous Scottish Loch Ness monster in 1933, they had been talking about the monster in Lake Koshkonong for at least 46 years. For nearly half a century skeptics and believers alike had enjoyed telling and retelling the tale of the alleged sighting by two storytellers on a duck-hunting expedition long ago.

To be sure, the Koshkonong monster was not the size of the Loch Ness monster. It couldn't’ be, given the shallowness of the lake. No aquatic beast of any great size could find an area of sufficient depth to conceal itself in that reed-filled pond. But it was sighted, not once, but six times albeit the other five sightings were in Red Cedar Lake a few miles away. Strangely, the Red Cedar Lake sightings were not mentioned in the newspapers until quite some time after the fact.

The one sighting which did find its way into the Watertown Republican took place in early November, 1887, when two men, A. I. Sherman of Fort Atkinson and his cousin, Charles Bartlett of Milwaukee, were duck hunting on Lake Koshkonong. While rowing down the south edge of a bay in the northeastern part of the lake, they both spotted, about 150 feet away, a huge snake-like object swimming toward the center of the lake. It swam with the head raised about two feet above the water, and about ten feet of the trunk, which appeared to be eight inches thick, was partly visible. The water being very calm at that time, the highly visible wake left by the creature indicated it was about thirty or forty feet long.

Without a thought about the wisdom of their actions, and following the instincts of the inveterate hunters they were, Sherman and Bartlett put their oars into the water and began rowing at top speed toward the animal hoping to kill it and examine it at close range. But the creature, for it could not truly be called a snake, a fish, or a lizard, spotted them and at once slipped under the surface leaving the pair befuddled, astonished, and thoroughly disappointed at having to abandon the chase.

Forever after, the two nimrods stoutly maintained they were in no way under the influence of the ardent spirits and they never failed to remind the skeptics that at least six times a similar sighting had been reported in Red Cedar Lake only a few miles away.

One wonders, were A. I. Sherman and Charles Bartlett still around when the newspapers announced the sighting of the Loch Ness monster 46 years later? Was their veracity doubted any less? Did they feel they had finally been vindicated?

Or did the skeptics conclude that the sighting of a strange creature in Lake Koshkonong and a monster in Loch Ness, in Scotland, prove that hallucinations are not limited by national boundaries?

The water levels on all lakes in the area are at flood stage. Every lake in the area had a no wake posting. So we thought. Every maniac with a boat was on Lake Koshkonong over the weekend. We wanted adventure and a long paddle we got it.

We made it to the Anchor Inn for lunch. Current on the Rock River was raging in front of the Inn. It would make for an interesting paddle back up into Lake Koshkonong.

Weather was awesome light winds and tons of sunshine... Grabbing a coupe of lemonade aides as we wait for our food. Band starts at 4pm, though I think we will make our way back up the lake to the put-in.

Laura at the Anchor Inn as we wait for our lunch.

We pondered what our paddle would look like on Labor Day. We had planned on doing the Oconomowoc chain of lakes. If it is anything like Lake Koshkonong, we'll take a pass.

Labor Day Paddle

Marty in his Loon

Laura took a pass. I went out for a couple of hours on the Oconomowoc River. I did the section that allowed me the opportunity to grab some ice cream at the Kiltie Drive Inn. Met up with a pretty interesting guy, "Marty". Oh the stories...

We stayed off the lakes as boat traffic was out of control.

After the Labor Day weekend - The paddler's get their waterways back. The area becomes a ghost town after the holidays.