Sunday, December 30, 2012

Thoughts for a New Year


I've never been a big fan of New Year's resolutions. There is just something artificial and "plastic" about making a bunch of resolutions (no matter how well intended) that you never can live up to or into. So you will not be getting resolutions from me! Instead, I would like to share some wishes and hopes for a new year in 2013.


Mike's 10 Wishes and Hopes for 2013

Thank God for all your blessings
Spend more time with family and friends
Say "I love you" more often
Smile and laugh more
Love yourself and then love others
Build up, don't tear down
Give more of yourself and watch it returned tenfold
Appreciate, respect, and care for nature
Help others
Take life one stroke at a time ;-)

 
"New Year's eve is like every other night; there is no pause in the march of the universe, no breathless moment of silence among created things that the passage of another twelve months may be noted; and yet no man has quite the same thoughts this evening that come with the coming of darkness on other nights." -Hamilton Wright Mabie

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Durhamblogger Top Five Posts of all Time!



Hi everyone! I've looked back into the Durhamblogger archives, dusted off my past kayaking posts, counted them up (using both fingers and toes!), and got them into order by most popular post. Than, I checked my list twice, since it's that time of the year. Ho-Ho? Drum roll please! So, here for your reading pleasure, are the all time top five Durhamblogger reader-viewed posts! Enjoy!

#1. Before Kerr Lake - An Interesting History Lesson

#2. Gear Review: Teva Fuse-ion Water Shoe

#3. Installing Kayak Seat Cushions - An Easy Project

#4. Paddling and Cold Water Survival

#5. A Beautiful Morning Paddling at Sandling Beach, Falls Lake


 
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Thursday, November 29, 2012

How to store your kayak during the off season



So...  that dreaded time finally arrives... the end of your paddling season! You sigh... think back to all those wonderful times on the water... and prepare yourself mentally for your "on shore" time during the paddling off season. Did you know that you should also prepare your idle kayak so it can effectively "weather" the off season too? You want your kayak to be as ready as you will be once its time to get back to paddling! Here are three tips on how to store your kayak during the off season.

Tip #1: Dry and secure: Make sure both your kayak and storage area are dry. Remove all gear. Sponge out the hull, paying special attention to any bow and stern dry compartments and under the deck storage areas. Indoors - The kayak may be stored inside your house, garage, or in another temperature-controlled building. Outdoors - If indoor storage is not possible, than a suitable outdoor shaded area needs to provide protection from both weather elements and direct sunlight. A carport, house eaves, or other structure that provides some protection from the elements is preferable than leaving the kayak out in the open. If you are storing outside, you can invest in a cockpit seal cover that fits securely and tightly over the opening. Make sure hatch covers are secure. You don't want either water collecting or critters making themselves at "home" inside your kayak! You can also store your kayak without a cockpit seal cover. I did it for one off season. But you need to check on your kayak frequently to ensure no water, insects, or animals have crept inside the hull. You can also use a water-resistant tarp stretched (not wrapped around) over your kayak. Be sure that water and snow cannot collect on it. You want air to be able to circulate around the hull so there is no moisture build up.

Tip #2: Even and level: Indoors - Invest in a wall, or floor storage cradle so the kayak weight is distributed evenly. An overhead cradle system is possible in a garage setting, but is a more involved project that requires some carpentry skills and adjusting pulleys. Plastic kayaks can be stored flat on a hard surface (like a garage floor) provided the hull bottom is also flat. You don't want the hull to deform or warp because of uneven weight distribution. Don't store anything inside or on your kayak - especially chemical solutions like gasoline, turpentine, paint, etc. Keep your kayak away from any heat sources like furnaces, hot water heaters, or portable kerosene heaters. Outdoors -  Invert (flip over) your kayak and be sure the hull is supported evenly by padded wood blocks, wedges, or other cradles to distribute the weight evenly. Don't lay it on the ground by itself. Again, ensure that water cannot collect and pool on any hull surfaces. Visually inspect your outdoor stored kayak periodically - especially after rain and snow events.

Tip #3: Lock it down: Unfortunately, you need to guard against theft too. Indoors - An indoor storage location should provide adequate protection. However, if your kayak is stored in a garage or other structure with windows and the interior is viewable from the outside, you may wish to cover any openings so prying eyes cannot see into the building. Outdoors - Position your kayak so it is not visible from the front of your house - especially subdivision roads or other main avenues into your neighborhood. A security cable attached to a sturdy part of your kayak like the foot brace track or hull carry bracket and than locked to a fence, tree trunk, or pole will "discourage" thieves. You want to basically "hide" your kayak from view while making it difficult for a thief to do a "snatch and run" with your valuable kayak.

Follow these storage tips and both your kayak and you will be ready for many paddling seasons to come!



  
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Thursday, November 15, 2012

That's All Folks!



Well, that dreaded time has finally arrived... the end of my paddling season! The "V" formations of geese are honking overhead. Trees are bare and dead leaves blanket the ground. The evenings are arriving sooner. The days are colder. Winter is here.

Most importantly, the water temperatures here in North Carolina are getting too low for me to paddle safely... especially since I do not own a dry suit. So, it is time to store my kayak flotilla in the garage and pack up all my gear. Sigh.

But, I'm not going anywhere. I'll still be posting here at Durhamblogger on paddling sports related subjects and will continue to respond to my readers' comments and questions. And I hope that the 3 long months before I can paddle again (Mid-March) pass swiftly!

Now it is time for me to embrace Terri Gullemets' sentiments on Winter...

 "Hot coffee and cold winter mornings are two of the best soul mates who ever did find each other."  ~Terri Guillemets

I hope to join these "soul mates" for many enjoyable times!

 Many thanks to all the folks who are Durhamblogger followers and everyone who stops by to visit at Durhamblogger! I greatly appreciate your reading my blog and your comments! And always remember... Take life one stroke at a time!

 - "Warmest" Regards, Mike - the Durhamblogger 


 
   
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Saturday, November 10, 2012

Late Fall Paddle at Hickory Hill on Falls Lake!

 Location: Hickory Hill, Falls Lake, Durham, NC. Temperature: 50F Wind: Calm Conditions: Mostly Sunny 

Saturday was one of those rare days in November, when the temperatures would climb to a balmy 65F, after a cold start in the mid-30's! Fantastic paddling conditions and the Durhamblogger was NOT going to waste such a "gift!" Unfortunately, Rachel was feeling under the weather and was not able to accompany me on this paddling adventure. I decided to strike out for Hickory Hill,(Put in was location #16 on the map) an area on Falls Lake and paddle in a section of the lake that I had not paddled since the summer of 2011. It was time for a return visit! Reminder - click on the photos to enlarge.

 Water and wind conditions were calm, that made for an easy paddle. In the distance, I heard  rifle fire several times during my paddle. Deer season was in full swing and hunters were in the nearby woods. I felt a little small and vulnerable in my kayak!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Paddling the Hyco River with the Dan River Basin Association!

Location: Hyco River, Halifax County, VA. Temperature: 43F Wind: Calm Conditions: Mostly Sunny


Saturday morning I met up with Wayne Kirkpatrick and the fine folks of the Dan River Basin Association for a paddle on the Hyco River! Rachel was not keen on paddling in cold temperatures and decided to spend some quality time with her mother. I was excited to meet fellow yakers and paddle the Hyco River - the first time I've paddled this river! I was a little apprehensive while loading my kayak and gear in the early morning hours - it was cold with temperatures in the mid-30's! But as the sun rose and warmed the outside air, temperatures became more tolerable in the mid-to-upper 40's and 50's halfway through the paddle.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Coffee Drink Recipe - Great "Picker-Upper" Beverage!


Here's a great recipe for a cold coffee drink! It's a wonderful "picker-upper" beverage that I like to make... and consume... following one of my paddling adventures! BTW, this drink packs all the flavor you have come to expect from those other "fancy" gourmet coffee shop offerings... but without the exorbitant price tag! It only costs pennies to make and blends together in under 3 minutes! Enjoy!

Cold Coffee Drink

3/4 cup french vanilla creamer
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup hot cocoa mix (Nestle is my favorite!)
2 tbsp instant coffee
2 - 3 cups ice
Optional - Top with whipped topping, chocolate flakes, or other favorite toppings. Aside - I usually make this a "mandatory" step with my coffee drink!  ;-)

Throw all ingredients into a blender. Blend and serve immediately.



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Thursday, October 18, 2012

Paddling the Eno River on a beautiful Autumn morning!

Location: Eno River, Durham, NC. Temperature: 49F Wind: Calm Conditions: Partly Sunny

The last two weeks for Rachel and me have been crazy! My mother-in-law was dealing with some serious medical issues and we were commuting for several days from Durham, NC to South Boston, VA to be with her. BTW, she is doing so much better now! I've been literally "slammed" at work and having a hard time keeping up with the amount of projects coming my way. On top of all this, we had planned to have some house renovation work done this past Thursday and Friday. I had taken off from my job, so I could be at home with the contractors, but at the last minute, the renovation work had to be rescheduled for next week! Yikes! With all this turmoil and stress, I REALLY needed to head to one "place" where it all makes sense to me... getting on the water and going on another paddling adventure!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Durhamblogger Flotilla on the Flat River!

Location: Flat River, Durham, NC. Temperature: 72F Wind: Light Conditions: Sunny

Saturday was a gorgeous day with low temperatures and humidity. I was feeling much recovered from my bout with "flu-like" symptoms the previous week... and was anxious and ready to get back out on the water! I decided to paddle the Flat River, that branches off the Eno River. The put in / take out area is a short 10 minute drive from the house. 

Friday, October 5, 2012

Durhamblogger has been "under the weather!"


Howdy everyone! I've been flying "way below the radar" for the past week... with assorted aches, pains, and running a low grade fever. In other, words, feeling pretty darn lousy! A late summer / early fall flu-like bug has sent me for a ground loop. So there has been no paddling adventure updates from me... as evident by the quiet pages here at Durhamblogger.

However, I've been getting back into "paddling" shape and starting to feel like my old self. Looking to "sneak" in a short paddle this weekend. I've got to get back out on the water soon! Stay tuned!
  
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Monday, September 24, 2012

Hiking the Fox Trot Trail - Beaver Dam Lake Area

Location: Beaver Dam Lake, Wake Forest, NC. Temperature: 86F Wind: Light Conditions: Sunny

Occasionally,"the Durhamblogger" wanders off the lakes and streams in eastern North Carolina, and finds himself exploring various trails in the area. Today, Saturday, September 22, I found myself and Rachel both exploring the Fox Trot Trail located at the Beaver Dam Lake recreation area. This adventure was undertaken the same day I had paddled Lake Holt in the morning. "Return to paddling at Lake Holt." So, I got an upper body workout in the morning and a lower body workout hiking the 1.6 mile Fox Trot Trail in the afternoon! Man, I was living large! ;-) BTW, you  better believe I was asleep "early" that night! 

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Happy Birthday Durhamblogger! Three Years Old!

"Taking life one stroke at a time!"

My, how time flies when you are having fun! It was three years ago this month, that my love for both blogging and kayaking were "melded together" to become Durhamblogger!

And over these three years, Durhamblogger has grown tremendously. My first year blogging saw 500 reader visits with 33 posts and 15 comments here. Fast forward to today... from those modest beginnings, this year alone (2012)... over 6,000 visitors have stopped by from all 50 states including over 90 countries world-wide, leaving over 40 comments! Wow!

Many thanks to all my readers. I greatly appreciate folks stopping by and leaving a comment or two over the years! I look forward to many more paddling adventures and hope to meet more persons here on the pages of Durhamblogger!


And as always, remember to take life one stroke at a time! Warmest regards - Mike, the Durhamblogger.





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Saturday, September 22, 2012

Return to paddling at Lake Holt

Location: Lake Holt, Butner, NC. Temperature: 62F Wind: Light Conditions: Sunny

Saturday morning, Rachel had to make rounds at work, so that left me by myself with "nothing" to do! Right! Hopefully, my readers know me better than that! I decided it was time to return to Lake Holt for an early morning paddle. I arrived at the Lake Holt recreation area a little after 8:00 AM and after paying the very reasonable $3.00 launch fee, I was making my "rounds" on the lake!  ;-) 

Friday, September 14, 2012

During Work or After - Paddling is the Best Therapy!

 Location: Beaver Dam Lake, Wake Forest, NC. Temperature: 84F Wind: Light Conditions: Mostly Sunny

Thursday, I had made plans to meet my wife Rachel and friends Carol and Gracie at Beaver Dam Lake to enjoy an after work paddle. But, after a particularly "challenging" morning at work and than being pleasantly surprised that my afternoon meetings got canceled... I decided I needed additional paddle "therapy!" So, around 2:30 PM, I closed up shop for the day, packed a dinner, loaded up my truck with both kayaks, and got on the road to Beaver Dam Lake, a favorite paddle "haunt" of mine! I arrived at the park soon after and by 3:30 PM I had started my therapy!  ;-)

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Beauty! Trees! Birds! And Paddling!

 Location: Beaver Dam Lake, Wake Forest, NC. Temperature: 77F Wind: Light Conditions: Mostly Sunny

Rachel and I decided that we both "needed" another paddle after church this Sunday!And who could blame us? Weather was ideal with moderate temperatures, low humidity, and light winds. Even the weekend crowds at Beaver Dam Lake were light at both the beach and picnic shelters. We decided to explore the NW area of the lake. There were several quiet coves in this area and a better chance of spotting wild life.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

L. L. Bean - A Throw Back to a Simpler Time!


I just received our Fall 2012 L. L. Bean catalog... and I love the cover art! L. L. Bean recreated their popular 1966 catalog with photographer Randal Ford. For me, the cover captures the essence of adventure, the excitement of exploration, and the fun of being on a family vacation... all wrapped up in a "Norman Rockwell-like" painting! It's a nostalgic look of a bygone scene complete with a strapped down roof-mounted canoe and the prospect of many paddling adventures on the flat water below the parked station wagon. As a child, I remember riding in station wagons similar to the one depicted in this cover art... since these cars were the "mini-vans" and "SUVs" of the 1960's. What a nice break from work to take a trip down "memory lane!" Thanks L. L. Bean for the memories!

 
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Saturday, September 1, 2012

Lake Michie, Duke Women's Rowing Team, and Mike's Island!

 Location: Lake Michie, Durham, NC Temperature: 88F Wind: Calm Conditions: Mostly cloudy

During the long Labor Day weekend, Rachel and I took a break from our "labors" and decided that a paddle was in order! We agreed to pay a visit to Lake Michie, located near the the town of Bahama. The put in area is located a short 20 minute ride from our house. The last time I had visited Lake Michie was back in June 2011, so it was time for a return trip!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Paddling the marshy area of Beaver Dam Lake


 Location: Beaver Dam Lake, Wake Forest, NC. Temperature: 84F Wind: Light Conditions: Mostly Sunny

Rachel and I decided that a paddle was in order immediately following church on Sunday! My only apprehension was I had to transport our kayak on I-85 to first attend church services and than drive to Beaver Dam Lake off Highway 50. Maybe because of my multiple caution flags hanging off my Extend-A-Truck bed extender or because I was traveling at a moderate speed in the right hand lanes, motorists gave my rig a wide berth and there were no incidents! It is said... and is truth... that the most "dangerous" part of kayaking... aside from getting in and out of the cockpit... is the drive to your put in / take out areas! 

Friday, August 10, 2012

An Early Morning Paddle on the Neuse River

 Location: Neuse River, Durham, NC. Temperature: 72F Wind: None Conditions: Overcast

 I had been working hard all week with work stuff... and decided that I deserved to take a break and go paddling Friday morning! Rachel was unable to join me, so I loaded our single seat kayak into my truck and headed for the Eno River boat ramp, a short 10 minute drive from our house. I wanted to paddle down the Neuse River, that feeds into the Eno River, and see what early morning sights I could discover on the river. 

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Paddling Chernobyl? Canoe & Kayak Magazine at its worst - again!


 Hello everyone! Regular Durhamblogger readers may know that I've taken Canoe & Kayak Magazine to task... on several occasions... for running photos / ads that depict unsafe paddling practices:Shame on Canoe & Kayak Magazine - No PFDs! and Shame on Visit Florida.com - No PFDs. The most recent dust up was in May when editors sheepishly admitted to a "miscommunication" when an adult products and DVD ad was published in their paddling magazine Canoe & Kayak Magazine and Porn? All three times, I fired off letters to their editor, voicing my displeasure, and received no response from them. Surprised?

Monday, July 23, 2012

Paddling the Flat River on a beautiful summer morning!

Location: Flat River, Durham, NC. Temperature: 77F Wind: Light 3 -5 mph Conditions: Mostly Sunny

Monday, July 23, is my birthday! You may guess my age... but I'm only going to reply that I'm old enough to know better! So, in honor of my birthday, I decided to celebrate by taking a day off from work... and going paddling! Rachel had to work, so I took our single seat kayak and headed to the Eno River boat ramp, a short ten minute drive from my house. I wanted to explore the Flat River, that branches off the Eno River, and see the early morning hour sights. For this blog post, I've decided not to write commentary, but let my photos capture the beauty, wonder, tranquility, and peacefulness of paddling the Flat River on an early morning summer day. Enjoy! 

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Lake Fest and paddling on Kerr Lake, Clarksville, VA.

Location: Gypsy Beach (Private Beach), Kerr Lake, Clarksville, VA. Temperature: 75F Wind: Moderate 5 - 10mph Conditions: Overcast

Rachel and I spend this past weekend in Clarksville, VA. to visit her mother... attend Lake Fest... and of course, get in some paddling at Kerr Lake!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Tandem Paddle on the Eno River


Location: Eno River, Durham, NC. Temperature: 78F Wind: Light 0 - 5mph Conditions: Partly Sunny

It had been several weeks since our last paddle in mid-June. With weeks of record heat... temperatures in excess of 100 F... broken up with brief periods of torrential downpours -the weather had not been favorable for any paddling adventures. So, it was with much relief on my part, that Rachel and I were finally able to paddle this Saturday on the Eno River! I was also excited to try out my new camera (birthday present) that Rachel and my sons bought for me -  a FujiFilm Finepix S2980 14 Megapixel camera with a 18X zoom lens! BTW, I believe the following photos are the best quality and sharpest images ever shown on Durhamblogger!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

So, you want to buy your first kayak?






Or, five tips to follow BEFORE you buy your first kayak!

During my paddling adventures, folks will come up to me at various put in / take out areas and ask about getting into paddling sports. Here's some advice I learned over several years of paddling kayaks, to pass on to any person thinking about getting into this wonderful sport!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Paddling on the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway!

Location: Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway, near Myrtle Beach, SC. Temperature: 90F Wind: Light 0 - 5mph Conditions: Sunny and Hot

Our family took a short vacation to Myrtle Beach, SC. (June 21 - June 24). We partook of the "usual" vacation activities; going to the beach, eating seafood, playing putt-putt golf, and just being "lazy." But, being the Durhamblogger... I was able to also incorporate a morning paddle on the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway! Rachel and I headed south of the Myrtle Beach area and found our way to Island Adventure Watersports, located on the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway, just off Dick Pond Road (guys I don't make up these names!)

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Gear Review: Teva Fuse-ion Water Shoe

Gear Reviewed:Teva Fuse-ion Water Shoe (Men's Size 11)

  4 out of 5 kayaks rating

Net: A stylish, breathable, comfortable, and well-made water shoe that performs equally well in the water or running errands. 

Price: $90.00

Manufacturer: Teva

Pros: Nice "earth tone" color, water resistant, quick drying, breathable shoe with a sure-grip rubber sole. Doubles as both a water and casual shoe. 

Cons: Some users may prefer a non-laced shoe (e.g. slip on or elastic cord)


Details: I put the Teva Fuse-ion water shoe through its paces during an actual paddling trip. I wanted to see how it handled in the "real paddling world" as opposed to looking "pretty" in a show room.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

After Work Paddle at Beaver Dam Lake!

Location: Beaver Dam Lake, Wake Forest, NC. Temperature: 78F Wind: NE 10-13 mph Conditions: Mostly Sunny

Hi everyone! Friday (June 15, 2012), I finished my work early and made plans to meet Rachel and some friends at Beaver Dam Lake, for an afternoon of paddling! I loaded both our kayaks - Aquafusion Liberty 13 (single) and Mainstream Escapade (tandem) into the back of my truck, packed my gear and drove to Beaver Dam Lake... arriving early afternoon. Rachel and our friends were unable to leave their work until after 5:00 PM... so (darn? Not!) I was able to get in some quality paddling before their arrival! I was excited since I normally don't get much time in our yellow Aquafusion Libery since when Rachel accompanies me, we usually end up taking the tandem kayak.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Gear Reviews - A New Feature at Durhamblogger!



I'm excited about offering gear reviews here at Durhamblogger!  I'll list the "pros" and "cons" of submitted paddling gear and accessories! Put the gear through its "paces"... and let you, the reader / potential buyer... know if its worth your time and investment dollar to purchase and use!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

A Beautiful Morning Paddling at Hickory Hill

Location: Hickory Hill, Durham, NC Temperature: 75F Wind: E 8 mph Conditions: Mostly cloudy

Rachel and I decided to paddle at Hickory Hill today - an area that we had last paddled back in August 2011. Even though it was Memorial Day weekend, there were only three other trucks with trailers in the Hickory Hill parking lot, when we arrived at 10:00 AM. I guess folks were either sleeping in or away for the weekend?

Friday, May 25, 2012

Canoe & Kayak Magazine and Porn?



Hello everyone! Regular Durhamblogger readers may know that I've taken Canoe & Kayak Magazine to task (twice) for running photos / ads that depict unsafe paddling practices:Shame on Canoe & Kayak Magazine - No PFDs! and Shame on Visit Florida.com - No PFDs Both times, I fired off letters to their editor and received no response from them. But, maybe the third time is the charm?

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Return to Beaver Dam Lake!

Location: Beaver Dam Lake, Wake Forest, NC. Temperature: 65F Wind: NE 10-17 mph Conditions: Sunny

Saturday, following my return from London, UK... I had experienced enough of being crammed into an airplane like sardines for 8 hours... and was more than ready to get back to some paddling! It was great to have Rachel with me since this would be her first paddle of the season! Beaver Dam Lake was crowded when we arrived at about 10:00 AM Saturday. The Carolina Kayak Club had set up camp near the put in area and its members were giving instructions to first time kayakers. So lots of kayaks perched on various vehicles were streaming into the parking lot and off loading near the shoreline. I also had a few individuals admiring my Extend-A-Truck bed extender bar for transporting kayaks in my pickup truck.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Cockleshell canoes or going to war in a canoe - Revisited!



Hi everyone! I just returned from a business trip to London, UK! It was a long 8 hour flight from the United States to the UK! But, even with my busy schedule, I was able to have "some" downtime. So, I met up with one of my buddies, and he took me to the British Imperial War Museum! Among all the tanks, artillery, aircraft, and other military paraphernalia on exhibit... I chanced to stumble across one of the actual Cockleshell canoes (kayaks) that were used by the British during WW2!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

What's wrong with this photo?


 I'll give you two hints... there's no water... and the kayaks are sitting in my garage!  Unfortunately, due to business travel and other "stuff" going on in my life... the Durhamblogger has been "shore bound" for a while. Drat and double drat!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

First Paddle of the 2012 Season!

Location: Beaver Dam Lake, Wake Forest, NC. Temperature: 52F Wind: SW 10-15 mph Conditions: Sunny


Finally! My first paddle of the 2012 season... and at one of my all time favorite paddling haunts... Beaver Dam Lake! It was a brisk 42F when I woke Saturday morning... but by the time I arrived at Beaver Dam Lake around 9:30AM... the temperature had risen to the low 50'sF and abundant sun promised warmer paddling conditions. I sprung for a $50 park season pass and paid the attendant.. knowing that only 7 more park visits would "pay" for the cost of my season pass. I know that I will get my money's worth!

Monday, April 9, 2012

When Cosco gets into kayaks - paddling is close at hand!

Howdy everyone! biggrin My wife and I recently went "grocery" shopping at our local Costco. I put grocery in parentheses because while Rachel focused on the food items... I tend to gravitate toward the "non-food" ones... especially items that you can paddle on the water! wink

I spotted this enticing rack of "off-brand" kayaks! Costco was selling the kayak, a decent paddle, and car roof rack for approximately $550! eek Not a bad deal for beginners looking for an inexpensive means to get into this sport.

However... the Durhamblogger cautions folks wanting to get into kayaking to first review my Kayaking Basics section... and also rent a kayak for a few hours (or borrow one from a friend) to get a better feel for what works best for your paddling style. Also, ask lots of questions of more experienced paddlers before dashing off to purchase your first kayak. You'll be glad you did!

I also spotted this interesting pontoon boat for some fun hours on the water! But, be sure to bring along your compressor since the pontoons are air-filled!


Also... big paddling news to share with Durhamblogger readers! I am planning my first paddle of the season this Saturday! Hooray! biggrin Location TBD.

Rachel and a friend are going to a spa to get pampered on Saturday... while I'm heading to the water to paddle! Sounds like a "win win" to me! My next "check-in" here at Durhamblogger will be me filing my first paddling adventure of the season! See you'll on the water soon!


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Friday, March 23, 2012

Spring has Sprung in Durhamblogger's Neighborhood!

Ah! Spring is in the air... especially in my neck of the woods! biggrin We have been enjoying mid to upper 70's air temperatures, and sunny days for the past week. Even our Redbuds (Cercis) in the front yard have blossomed! eek

With the warmer air temperatures.... my thoughts have been turning more towards paddling... but I still need to wait about one more month before my first put in of the season.

Why?

Water temperatures are too cold.

Local water temperatures are in the 50's. An unprotected individual falling into such water temperatures would quickly succumb to hypothermia and likely death. Tragically, this time of year in North Carolina, I usually read of one or two folks, usually fishermen, not wearing PFDs or dressed for immersion, dying from hypothermia after falling from their boats.

I don't own a wet / dry suit... so I don't paddle in these cold water temperatures. I ALWAYS err on the side of safety!

Please take a minute to read about surviving cold water temperatures in my Cold Water Survival Section. It can save your life or someone you love!

Be safe out there! smile

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Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Spam be gone!


I hate spam! Ever since I was a child and my mother tried to disguise the flavor of it by heaping mustard or mayo on it... or by hiding it under lettuce on a sandwich... I have hated this processed meat with a passion! evil

It is with this same passion that I hate spam emails too! evil

The latest spam was from a friendly individual named "Jane" who actually used correct English as she gushed enthusiastically about my Operation Bumblebee and Topsail Island post. Unfortunately, "Jane" also included an URL link in her post to a Website advertising Thailand vacation homes.

There is a reason why I have "Comment Moderation" enabled on my blog.

I throw online spammers into the same category as those annoying "computer phone calls" that I start receiving at dinner time. The calls that claim to be conducting a quick, survey, but not "selling anything." However, at the end of the "survey" when it's determined you are "missing" a specific product... they than try to sell it to you. Or the phone calls that start with: "I am calling on behalf of (insert politician's name here)". Please hold for an important message from (insert politician's name here)." Somehow I never get around to listening to that important message from (insert politician's name here.) wink

I guess, as visitor traffic increases on Durhamblogger... approaching 12,000 visitors now... spammers will increase too? You have to take the "bad" with the "good?"

But, the bottom line... no spammer's message or note will see the "light of day" on Durhamblogger!

So, you guys might as well stop while you are behind!

Wonder what vacation houses are selling for in Thailand?


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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

AAA shows poor kayak use - But can't take it seriously!

Hi everyone! biggrin

The March-April 2012 AAA North Carolina "Go Magazine" cover has a photo of a couple enjoying themselves while kayaking. Even though the models are not wearing PFDs, are carrying hot coffee (in a kettle), are not dressed for immersion, and paddling during months (in NC) with dangerously cold water temperatures... the Durhamblogger can't take it seriously... due to the fanciful nature and treatment of the photo! wink

All in good fun... as long as nobody tries to copy this behavior? question

Please check out Mike's Gear List and Cold Weather Survival for gear and safety tips when paddling.

Stay safe out there on the water!

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Friday, February 17, 2012

Winter Blahs - Waiting for Paddling Season to begin!

"O, wind, if winter comes, can spring be far behind?"
- Percy Shelley (1792-1822)

Percy Shelley (English Poet) wrote the above over 180 years ago as the last line... and one of the most memorable of his poem "Ode to the West Wind." It expresses the hopes and desires that while we sometimes struggle through the gloomy, cold, and bitter days of Winter... whether in our environment (seasons) or in our own lives... there is always the hope of better times ahead... both in the season (spring / summer) and in our lives too! biggrin

These sentiments hold true for me. Everyday, during these cold winter days... as I bustle about at the house... I see my two kayaks... sitting in the garage... and it reminds me of my times on the water... paddling and taking in everything that nature has to offer me!

Fellow paddlers may share and sympathize with me. Folks who don't paddle may not understand these feelings.

As a consequence... my blog has been "quiet" lately... because I am "impatiently" waiting for warmer weather... and looking forward to the "quieter" times paddling will bring for me.

Two months until paddling season resumes here in North Carolina.... and counting. I can't wait! See you soon on the water! cool



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