Friday, May 30, 2008

Early Fathers Day Gift!

Tanyia gave me my fathers day gift last night and as you can see, two Group of Seven prints. I have always loved "The Canoe" by Tom Thompson and "Stormy Weather" by Frederick Varley, even long before I was interested in canoes or Algonquin.

They hang on the walls of our dining room and every time I walk past them I stop, stare and smile.

Thanks Tanyia.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

A list of Articles by Kevin Callan

While surfing around I found this list of great articles by Kevin and thought some of you may like to read them as much as I did...if you haven't already that is! :)

Articles by: Kevin Callan
National Magazine Award winner Kevin Callan is sure to put a smile on your face as he shares his experiences in a canoe.

Well it made me laugh....

While listening to the radio driving back from the gym this afternoon the news report included a story on a "Bear on the loose" in Pickering, a large suburban town, just East of Toronto and not far from where I live.

What made me laugh was during the report they stated that "...over the last few years as housing develpoments continued to grow, Black Bears have invaded Pickering neighborhoods, bringing with them fear and frequent damage to property"

The bears invaded the neighborhood? Ahhh.....I'm pretty sure the bears were there first folks.

Canoe Fund GONE!

Since I now have my canoe, I have removed the "Canoe Fund Update" from the sidebar.

New Incedible Digital Map of Algonquin FREE

I can't believe that I haven't posted this before now. This is just crazy!!

Jeffery M from the AA forums has created a new map that includes information from many other maps. It is incredible and he has made it available for free!

There is way more on this map then I have time to say, but here are some of, but not even close to all of the highlights.

  • Directions to every access points
  • All portage routes (Current and decommissioned...very cool!)
  • Lake depths
  • Hundreds of Points of interest gathered from some of the most experienced people around
  • Topography
  • All logging roads and other access points
  • Campsites (Current and decommissioned)
  • Terrain impressions
  • and so much more...
You can download your own copy Just check out the original thread where it was posted HERE.

I'm going to get it printed and here is what Jeffery M suggests would produce the best printing job should any of you wish to do the same.

"Try 43.876" wide by 37.5" tall if you want to match the printed scale of 1:125 000. I'd suggest using the 500dpi jpg to print (The PDF takes wayyyyy too long). Although 300dpi is good enough for printing, I suggest using the 500dpi image because you're scaling it up for printing and of you only use the 300dpi image you'll have less than 300 dpi after doing the scaling."

I hope you find it as amazing as I do.

Friday, May 23, 2008

How to protect that new canoe

I recently asked that question on the AA forums and as is always the case, the members delivered with some great information on a couple of products.

  1. 303 Aerospace Protectant- This protects the gel coat from damaging UV rays.
  2. Nu Finish Polish- This is a "no buff" car wax, but was recommended to keep that "showroom shine"
In Canada, both products are available at Canadian Tire.

More Excellent Canoeing with Kids Resources

Thanks to Barbara from AA forums for posting this.

The "Get to Know" lesson plans are an awesome tool for me to teach Lauren and a good refresher for me. The Kevin Callan article is also really good.

Check them out.

-Bring extra ziplocks for all those found treasures.

Go to this page, and check out the Lesson Plans and Observation Templates:

Taking the Kids Camping (Kevin Callan)

Cradle to Canoe: Camping and Canoeing With Children
by Rolf & Debra Kraiker

Keys to Canoe Tripping with Kids

An anonymous poster on the Algonquin Adventures forum recently wrote a blurb on things to consider when taking a child out for their first canoe trip. With my daughter Lauren and I heading out for our first trip in just over a month, this really hit home with me. He covered some things I hadn't considered and thought it might be good for others to read as well.

"Ton's of advise that could be offered for a "kid's first trip". You've probably already searched the previous posts on this topic on this board, but if not take a moment to do so.

In general keep them involved and they'll have more fun, doing is better than watching others do it. A good example is sawing up firewood... most young kids love to do it, while most adult see it as almost a necessary evil, so be sure to take a saw that you are comfortable having them use. Be sure you have a first aid kit with antiseptic and small bandages (bandaids - clothe ones stick longer than the plastic) close at hand.

Let them help cook and clean up after meals.

You've probably already planned your menu, if there's anything on it that they don't eat fairly regularly, have them try it before you leave to ensure they'll like it on the trip. A good last minute meal substitute that many kids like might be Mac and Cheese, if you find something on the menu that isn't well received.

Let them know what tasks need to be done in camp beforehand and have them be responsible for some of them. That way they won't need to always be asking "what's next?" or having you calling out orders. set up tents, bear bags, get water, firewood, cooking, etc.

Lifejackets...have them put them on before getting into the canoe, exceptions..if for no other reason for your peace of mind. Attach a whistle to each lifejacket for "Emergencies only"

Have a backup plan incase weather makes being outside impossible, card games etc.

get each of them a waterproof disposible camera to record "their perspective on the trip"

you said that the kids would carry their own gear, if they are able (weight-wise) let them carry some of the group gear and meals as well (even if it's something small - a snack, fuel canister, etc.). This helps them to feel like a contributing part of the group rather than just someone along for the ride.

take along extra beverages, hot chocolate, koolaid for when it's hot and when it's not (sitting out a rain storm is better with hot chocolate)

Don't eat in or near your tent, never. It's a bad practice that could be unsafe in the long run.

Don't let them leave camp alone (buddy system) and anytime they leave (even just to find firewood), have them take atleast their whistle. It's easy for kids to loose their way in the woods, the whistle will help you find them. Tell them if the get lost or even a little lost to find a tree, have a seat and blow the whistle untill you come. It's easier to locate a noisy stationary group of two, than it is to try to find a quiet, individual wandering around lost.

Have fun and be safe."

Thursday, May 22, 2008

My Garage Project Last Weekend..

While many were out enjoying the cold, wet weather on the Victoria Day long weekend, I used the time to complete my total garage make over.

I needed to create a rack to store my new canoe and while I was at it, decided to build some overhead storage for all my canoe gear while throwing out the crap that has stolen valuable floor space. I'm pleased with how it turned out.

Building the rack and the ceiling mounted shelves was the easy part....organizing everything else was a long and at times painful process. But I'm proud to tell you that my garage is now exactly how I dreamed it could be and I have all my gear in one place. For her part, Tanyia is just happy that the "place" for all my trip gear is not in our closet anymore.

Sugar Free Sports Drink Recipe

With my training reaching it's peak I have been looking at electrolyte replacement drinks, AKA Gatorade alternatives.

When working out for extended periods, you lose electrolytes fast and those drinks are a good way to replenish them. The problem is I don't want any refined sugar and they are all just LOADED with them, but I DO need the salt and potassium.

After a bit of reading I found a few great articles that expose Gatorade, PowerAde and the rest for what they really are....very well marketed kool-aid.

This article does a great job explaining what your body needs when exercising and a simple way to make your own.

Here is a quote from that article...

"How to Make Low Carb Sports Drink

It turns out that two tablespoons of lemon juice contain almost exactly the amount of potassium in 8 oz of a typical sports drink. So, if you want to make your own low carb sports drink, it's quite easy. Just mix together:
  • 1 cup (8 oz) water (not carbonated)
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • small pinch of salt
  • Flavoring and sweetener to taste
Flavoring Ideas:
  • Crystal Light Drink Mix
  • Unsweetened Kool Aid (with sugar substitute to taste)
  • Sugar-free Flavored Syrups such as Da Vinci or Torino"

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

FREE headphones for life?

This is the headphone model I have used for years and love them. They are made by Sony and are the only ones I have found that will not come off while I run or bike and will still work even if they get soaking wet. They have great sound and offer a comfortable, low profile design, at a price that can't be beat and man, can these things take a beating. You can check them out HERE.

I bought my original pair from the "The Source" AKA Radio Shack, two years ago. When I bought then they offered me their extended warranty for an extra $6. I wasn't going to get it, but considering this was my second pair in a year and how hard I am on them I figured why not?
Well since then they have broken three times and each time they replace questions asked. Today was pair number four and again no problems with getting the replacement.

If you happen to be in the market for a good set of headphones, check these out and you won't be disappointed...but make sure you get the warranty. ;)

I Need motivation..... STAT!

BEEP...BEEP...BEEP...*SLAP* on the snooze bar.

That's how my morning went. I'm not sure if it's just an emotional low point in my training or something else, but I'm just so tired lately and I've been struggling to get up for my morning workouts. I still eventually get up, but I'm just not my "pop" out of bed self.

After my swim and bike workouts this morning, I feel much better.

Funny. I thought I had more to say about this, but..that's pretty much it! lol

Jim feel sleepy...then Jim feel better. This is real interesting stuff eh?

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Langford Canoe: SOLD!

After a week on craigslist with nothing but a handful of emails , I was starting to think that selling my "extra" canoe was going to much harder then I had planned. The Langford Prospector 16'6" is a great canoe and since this one was in such great shape (practically brand new) , I was a bit surprised at the lack of interest.

Last night, all that doubt was removed when I sold the canoe to a really nice couple from Peterborough. They are just getting into canoeing and we talked about it for while. They peppered me with questions for about an hour and it felt good to share what I have learned over the past 3 years.

As much as I'm glad to have the space it occupied in my garage back, it sure felt cool to see two shinny red canoes in there....even if only for a week.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Real Quick Update...

  • I still have no pain to speak of and it's now just 4 weeks until my Olympic Triathlon
  • My Barrel and harness arrived yesterday and it is awesome!
  • This is more of a reminder to myself that I still need to get the tarp for my hammock fixed. It was damaged on my solo trip last July and I meant to get it fixed, but never go around to it.
  • Tanyia and I are going out with Gerry and Marie tonight. It's been way too long since all of us were able to get together, it should be a fun night.
Have a great LONG weekend everyone!

Hammock Cold Bum Soloution

Back in March of the is year I posted about what may be the only knock on the Hennessy Hammock. At night when it gets cold we need to sleep on top of our Thermarest pads to keep warm and during the night if your bum, arm, leg or any other appendage happens to slip off the pad it gets cold and you have to wake up and reposition yourself. It's the only annoying part of the sleeping in a Hammock. I thougth about using the idea outlined in my previous post, but I'm not brave enough to try the Z pattern of adhesive on my Thermarest, so I figured there must be a better soloution.

Well there was and as reader "Reeeock" recently suggested, the best is by a company called "Jacks are Better" and they specialize in accessories for the Hennessey Hammock. Cool eh? The only problem is the $230 price tag! OUCH!!! That's more then I paid for the Hammock, so I can't justify that kind of money for what is essentialy a sleeping bag that attaches to the outside of the hammock.

A similar, but MUCH cheaper idea is outlined HERE but here is the quote:

"...However, a Gossamer Gear ThinLight Evazote sleeping pad (Wide-Long if available) slung in a Jacks R Better Weather Shield bottom cover (at present, only their top cover is out of stock) is much cheaper, lighter and almost as warm as the Hennessy under-pad/under-cover system. The JRB Weather Shield has the advantage of being able to sling a quilt as well as a sleeping pad"

Still not exactly cheap, but $60 is much easier to handle.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Canoe Plans Update

Lots of stuff going on right now and all of it good! Here are the highlights.

  • Canoe for Sale - Last week at this time I didn't have a canoe and now I have two! It's kind of funny actually. The first one I bought was the Langford Prospector I posted about and despite being a bit heavier then I had planned on, it was love at first site. Then two days later, I found a great deal on a Swift Algonquin 16 Ultra-lite. The swift was in even better shape then the Langford and it too had only been used a handful of times. It only weighs 46 lbs and I can lift it over my head using one hand with little effort. It makes me wonder how much the "52 lb" canoes we have been renting really weighed, as they were much heavier. So now I have two. If you know anyone looking for a good canoe, I'm selling the Langford for exactly what I bought it for and you can check it out HERE on Craigslist.
  • Temagami - The plans for CC2008 have taken a back seat to life the last week, but the maps and Haps Book on the area arrived and I look forward to looking them over with Gerry. We haven't had a chance to go over the details of the trip yet, so there is much to talk about.
  • Building a Garage Canoe Rack - I have designed a simple rack that will allow me to keep the canoe safe and out of the way. It uses heavy metal L brackets and 2 X 4's and I think it will work well. I will post some pics after it's up.
  • Where to find Kneeling Pads? - The Swift doesn't have some of the neat features of the Langford does and one of my favs are the kneeling pads. I want to add them, but the few I found were really expensive. Does anyone know where to find high density pads that don't cost $100?

How long does it take to wear out swim goggles?

1 year, 4 months, 6 days....just in case anyone ever asks.

The strap on my swim goggles broke today and they were the original pair I bought at Canadian Tire when I first started my swim training last January. It's a bit sad actually. I trained for and completed my first tri wearing those goggles, so I don't think it's too crazy to have a sentimental attachment...right?

Since I started I have swam over 114,400 Meters or 114.4 km wearing those goggles and have seen a real improvement in my overall performance. Replacing them won't be easy, but not for the reason you might think. You see I have a BIG head, so finding a pair that fit well is tough. For me it's like trying to put a thong on a bowling ball!

The search begins...

Monday, May 05, 2008

BIG development on the canoe front!

I don't have much time to write this up, but I just had to let everyone know about the deal I what I think is the deal of a lifetime I just made for a used canoe.


-Langford 16'6" Prospector, Kevlar,
-2 years old and used twice
-In like new condition
-With 2 adult and 2 kids paddles and PDF's

for just $1300!!!! This canoe is worth $2900 new.

I'm going to see it tomorrow and if it checks out then I have my dream canoe for a steal of a price. It is a little more then I had wanted to pay, but how can I pass up a deal like this?

I will update with pics and more after I pick-it up...I AM SO EXCITED!!!

Friday, May 02, 2008

Don't be frightened's just math!

While reading another excellent trip log from a trip to Ishpatina in Oct 2005 the writer mentioned that he departed the put in (Beauty Rd and Montreal River) at 9:30 and arrived one lake north of Scarecrow lake (our destination for CC2008) "...just before sunset". I wanted to know how long it took him to get that far and then use that to see if it was possible for Gerry and I to do it in a single day.

I found a site that reports the sunset and sunrise times for Canada and you can set it for any date past or present. So I punched in the date and presto... for the Ottawa area, on October 9, 2005 the sunset at 6:28 pm. So it took him 9 hours to go 90% of the way. For the record I had to use my fingers to count, but no toes....I repeat no toes! This is great news for Gerry and I, as we will be moving much faster then a solo canoe and will hit the water earlier....not to mention that the sun doesn't set until 8:30 pm, so we can easily do this trip in day if we choose too.

I had intended on writing up the itinerary for CC2008 today, but it appears that won't happen. I promise to have it posted ASAP...maybe even tonight...if I don't fall asleep first. Very tired right now.

In case I don't post again, have a great weekend everyone!

July 31- Aug 4.....CC 2008 is a done deal!

After speaking with Gerry about changing our route for this years trip it is now official...Gerry and I are going to Ishpatina Ridge for CC2008!

I plan to do a time line for the trip this afternoon, but until then here are some things I've been working on for the trip....

  • I bought a used GPS for the trip off a guy on Craigslist and have loaded it with Garmins topo maps of the area. It also came with Garmins North America maps for driving directions and it works awesome. This combined with the Spot will give me peace of mind on our most adventurous trip to date.
  • Chris Lawson has has been great! Not only did he answer all my questions, but he even forwarded me the way points from when he did the trip. Thanks dude!
  • I found a listing for hotels/motels in New Liskeard and have decided on the "Wheel Inn Motel". This is where we will spend the night after making the 6 hour drive from Newcastle on July 31. Why the motel and not just start the trip? We won't be able to leave Newcastle until early afternoon, so this way we will be able to get the long drive out of the way and have our canoe in the water first thing Friday morning. I still have to call and make reservations.
  • I have mapped out the trip from Newcastle to the Motel (assuming we are able to stay at The Wheel Inn) and from the Motel too the put in located where Beauty Road crosses the Montreal River. NOTE: On the Google map it lists Beauty road as "Unknown Road" for some reason, but it's the right spot.
  • I ordered Hap Wilsons book Canoeing, Kayaking And Hiking Temagami. Everyone I have spoken too has considered this book to be "the bible" of Temagami trips, so $16.00 is a small price to pay for such a potential wealth of information.
  • This is a link to Markus Wendel's account of his trip to the ridge. Very informative and includes, narrative, maps, pictures, routes and site descriptions. An excellent resource.
  • I was surprised to discover that unlike Algonquin, you don't need to make reservations for Temagami. It's because it's considered a Wilderness Reserve and not a provincial park. You do still need to pick up permits and you can do so at one of the Outfitters in the area. I still have to call Parks Ontario to find out specifically where.

Home away from home

Although years...and years and...(you get the idea).... years away, Tanyia and I have been looking at our options for retirement. I would like to have some property in the Algonquin area where I could put a small cabin to use as a base camp for my trips. It would have no electricity or plumbing, but would have a wood stove, be completely winterized and able to sleep 6. There are lots of options, but I found this article from the National Post that gives a great overview of some of the options available for a simple shelter, many I had never heard of before. Check it out!

My personal favorite is the Yurt.

Tanyia has recently expressed interest in going on a canoe trip next year. This is a monumental moment here folks. I figure if I can get her out on an easy route the first time. and get her hooked, my life will be complete. It's all theory at this point, but I may have a girl other then Gerry to go on trips with! ;)