Slippery Otters Paddling Club

Slippery Otters Paddling Club

Promoting paddling sports to foster an appreciation for their benefits of fun, adventure, and fitness.

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Paddling a ‘49 Ford

My wife loves hot rods. Her last project was a 1972 Buick Riviera Boattail. It is beautiful. It is also huge. Some people have referred to it as “A Boat.”…

My wife loves hot rods. Her last project was a 1972 Buick Riviera Boattail. It is beautiful. It is also huge. Some people have referred to it as “A Boat.” My only ‘old car purchase’ has been my ‘49 Ford.

I appreciate repurposing as much as anyone. I love antiques. I appreciate the way old things were made and engineered. How could I ignore a canoe that had been made out of two hoods and a roof from old trucks?

This story starts with a confession.
“My name is Zane and I have a problem with eBay. Some people Netflix and chill. I browse eBay and spend.” There I said it. It is now in the open.

One hot and humid Summer’s day I was sipping my Coke Zero and browsing through eBay. I have a thing for canoes, kayaks, and all things you paddle. There I was looking at used canoes and Wham! I see something I have never seen before, a canoe made from the hoods of two 1949 Ford trucks welded together as a bow and a stern with a center made from what appears to be an old car roof. This is thing is ugly. It is black, dusty, and has some rust. It is dented and very heavy. It is real. It was also in Tennessee and I live in Florida. Then I remembered I was about to go on a family vacation to Western North Carolina. We were headed to my old stomping grounds, The Nantahala Outdoor Center. I was heading up there with my wife and two step-sons for a few days. Could I made a side trip of a 100+ miles or so and pick up this repurposed piece of steel art? I decided I could and I placed a bid. I think it was one of those auctions where you make the best offer. They countered. I caved and it was mine. You know I don’t remember how much I paid. It was a great deal (he told his wife). I would do something creative with it. We would repurpose it into a something really awesome (never happened).

The ‘49 Ford Canoe was mine and I traveled to East Tennessee to pick it up. I brought my Honda Ridgeline pick up truck with the bed extender I use when I carry boats in my truck bed. I also brought tie-downs and a young man with a strong back to help me load it. It was an interesting bit of hide and seek to find the location but we got there and met the seller. He was a nice guy who was selling this “Barn Find” for a relative. It seems his Great Great Uncle loved to go fishing in a rocky whitewater river (the dents verify this story). He had access to a junkyard and a welder and decided to make his own version of Old Ironsides. The boat was put together CIRCA 1953. That is the same year I was put together so I know we (‘49 Ford and I) were destined to be together. We loaded up my newest canoe and eventually got it back home.

This is where my story goes haywire. I thought I would repurpose this boat into something awesome (see above) but instead, I stored it in my barn where it stayed dry and got dustier. What do you think I should do with this heavy unique piece of history? It does float. I put it in Santa Fe Lake two weeks ago and I paddled it around. It definitely floats. I piloted it solo and then with my buddy. It was a breezy afternoon so I stayed close to shore, but I had no problem getting it where I wanted it to go. We enjoyed dressing up to look “Mid-Century” and were delighted that the canoe was leak free. It was fun. Presently it is parked lakeside at my canoe rack waiting to give someone a ride into history.

So dear readers, should I leave it as is, patina intact? Should I refinish it and paint a mermaid on the bow? Should I sell it? I would love to hear your thoughts and ideas. Meanwhile, get out there. Don’t let rocks, heat, or humidity stop you. It is beautiful on the water!

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Kayak fishing – you should try it!

Mitch Hammond is one of the original members of the Slippery Otters Paddling Club. He is a musician, outdoorsman, father, and friend. He is also an avid fisherman. Mitch wears…

Mitch Hammond is one of the original members of the Slippery Otters Paddling Club. He is a musician, outdoorsman, father, and friend. He is also an avid fisherman. Mitch wears a lot of different hats and now blogging is his latest.

Kayak fishing? Well… Do you like fishing? Maybe you’ve never tried it. Do you like kayaking? Again maybe you’ve never tried it. Hi my name is Mitch. And like many others I love both fishing and kayaking. Sometimes I combine the two for an extra special adventurous treat. Now, I don’t mind admitting that I am not a pro at either fishing or kayaking. I am an amateur, but man do I have a lot of fun! I simply grab a rod and reel, sometimes a couple Rod and reels, and I load up my simple little ten foot Sun Dolphin fishing kayak. I grab a little bit of bait and off I go. Now if you own a kayak please understand it doesn’t have to be a “fishing“ kayak. I’m pretty sure that any model kayak can be used for fishing. Some differences may be stability, size etc., but it is totally up to the individual. Use whatever Kayak is most comfortable for you. Although I’m not a pro, I have learned some things through trial and error. For instance, in my opinion, and in my experience, the more comfortable you are, the more likely it is that you will be successful. Now unlike some sportsman, I don’t seek the most expensive fishing gear available. Although I am pretty sure that sometimes better equipment can mean more success, I simply cannot afford it. So, I stick with my favorite rod and reel which is the Zebco closed faced reel and rod combo. There are many models and sizes to choose from. Once again it is totally up to you. When I choose tackle once again I keep it inexpensive. Depending on whether I am going freshwater fishing or saltwater fishing determines what gear I choose for the trip. That’s right… Saltwater fishing in a kayak! I have seen lots of video footage of people catching very large saltwater game fish from a simple small kayak! The same can be said for all freshwater game fish as well. Personally, I have caught a variety of fish right out of my own little kayak including everything from Bream, Catfish, Largemouth Bass, Gar, and Mudfish. The list goes on, and I could not be happier with my own results. I highly recommend kayak fishing to anyone who enjoys nature, the great outdoors and adventure.

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Traveling Gluten Free

Adversity: Food Allergies AKA I am hungry, but I don’t want to get sick. Lunch was delicious and very Costa Rican. This is where having a concierge/guide/driver/translator comes in handy….

Adversity: Food Allergies

AKA I am hungry, but I don’t want to get sick.

Lunch was delicious and very Costa Rican. This is where having a concierge/guide/driver/translator comes in handy. I hired a wonderful Costa Rican gentleman named Jose who runs Passport Adventures.

Jose, Passport Adventure

I have to be careful whenever I eat because I have Celiac disease and get sick when I eat anything with gluten in it. Jose explained my issue with the waiter who brought over the manager who took me to meet the chef. The chef is his Momma. I love this place. The bottom line: the food tasted great and I didn’t get sick. Jose has looked out for me before and he has done the same for my daughter and granddaughter (both have Celiac). I really enjoy Latin style food and I often eat at places which are referred to as typical, rustico, cafe’, etc.. It is easy to find good food in Costa Rica. Since I have Celiac I have to avoid gluten, wheat protein. It isn’t all that hard. I avoid wheat flour and fried foods (the grease gets contaminated by frying goods with flour batter). I eat fresh fruits and veggies. There are lots of interesting and delicious foods to try. When in doubt I suggest you go with the local stuff. I always try to eat clean and simple. I avoid processed foods, casseroles, and sauces because the more complicated the recipe the more likely that there is something hidden in the dish that will make me ill. You should always ask lots of questions and don’t assume that they know what ‘gluten free’ (substitute your food allergy/sensitivity here) means. When in doubt eat simple foods and avoid things that were deep fried. If you do that you should be just fine.

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Handling Adversity When Traveling

What a beautiful day! I am back in Costa Rica. This trip will be unique because my wife and I are taking her parents to Costa Rica to celebrate their…

What a beautiful day! I am back in Costa Rica. This trip will be unique because my wife and I are taking her parents to Costa Rica to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary. There will be paddling (whitewater and ocean) as well as hiking and zip lining, birdwatching, flowers, wildlife, and volcanos. There will be Pacific sunsets, spa time, and delicious food. This first day is about airports, great food, a coffee farm tour, and a beautiful lodge.

Adversity: Traversing the airports

Travel = Stress
For many the stress of travel is just too much. Some just don’t travel or they avoid it. Others medicate and over pack. I cannot tell you that I don’t feel stress. I do, but I work hard to reduce it as much as possible. Here are some tips that help to reduce adverse experiences when traveling. We had a great first day. Everything related to the airport experience went very smoothly, and it wasn’t by chance. This family knows how to pack!

TIP #1

Everyone got all their clothing and such into two bags each. We all have one carry-on bag that went into the overhead bin and a backpack that stowed under the seat. Traveling light and small alleviates so much stress and I travel in part to reduce stress not to make more.

TIP #2

Stephanie checked us in online and got everyone’s boarding passes the day before our flight. We found out then that we had gotten the coveted TSA Pre-check that gets you through security screening quickly.

TIP #3

Empty your pockets and try to avoid wearing or carrying anything metal. Even my belt buckle is made of plastic.

TIP #4

Check the monitors that list departing flights. You need to make sure there have been no changes in your departure time or gate number. I hope all of you have the good fortune we did today. We got there plenty early and had no problems.

Pura Vida!

 

Photo: Stephanie’s parents Jan and Steve – celebrating their 50th Anniversary!

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And now from Wisconsin: Canoecopia 2018!

You may be asking, “What is this Florida guy who spends so much time in Costa Rica doing in Wisconsin?” I am here for Canoecopia 2018  It has been described…

You may be asking, “What is this Florida guy who spends so much time in Costa Rica doing in Wisconsin?” I am here for Canoecopia 2018  It has been described as the “the largest paddlesports consumer event in the world.”.Now I like big, so I am especially attracted to the world’s largest. So here I am in sunny, icy, cold Wisconsin to experience “more than 250,000 square feet of kayaks, canoes, stand up paddleboards, outdoor equipment, and clothing.” If there is one thing I love more than playing on the water it is looking at gear, stuff, and toys. There will be three days of presentations, and exhibits. This is a stretch for me. I have gone to a place that I do not know to meet people I do not know. I am so excited!

Here are the details: The show is being held at Alliant Energy Center, 1919 Alliant Energy Way, Madison, Wisconsin. Canoecopia goes on from March 9 – 11, 2018. It hours are Friday 4:00-9:00; Saturday 9:00 – 6:00; and Sunday 10:00 – 5:00. Tickets cost $15 per day or $25 for a weekend pass. Anyone 17 or under is free. There are more than 180 seminars and clinics scheduled. I want to make sure I mention that Canoecopia is presented by Rutabaga Paddlesports. I am sure that I will have lots to report about them as the weekend goes on.

BTW I am new to this. I have never attended a Paddlesports Expo before anywhere. Many years ago when I worked for Allen’s Trail and Aquatic Center in Gainesville, FL I attended the National Sporting Goods Association show in Chicago. That was a wholesaler tradeshow event and consumers were not allowed in. This is a totally different animal.

I am also new to Wisconsin. Everyone I have met has been wonderfully hospitable. Last night I was introduced to a local beer called Spotted Cow, very nice. I also got my first taste of Cheese Curds. The waitress told me they were pretty good and by Madison, WI standards they are at about a 75%. I know that my Mac and Cheese eating friend, Jacob would go hog wild over a plate of these fried cheese nuggets. Mine even came with a beer and cheese dipping sauce. This weekend I am in search of the best Cheese Curds in Madison.

My goal for this trip is to find a lot of great content for this blog. I hope to meet a lot of great people and learn their stories. I want to tell you about places and equipment that may be new to you. I hope to find some funny stuff to report and maybe something that will make you stop and think. I am looking forward to meeting some of the people who make the boats and gear that I love.

Otter Out!

Photo Credit: Canoecopia 

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New Year

How will you remember New Year’s Day 2018? I won’t have any trouble remembering that day. My beautiful wife and I were in Costa Rica. We had already spent a…

How will you remember New Year’s Day 2018? I won’t have any trouble remembering that day. My beautiful wife and I were in Costa Rica. We had already spent a few days in Monteverde where Stephanie discovered the love of bird watching. I paddled a new river (leaving that for its own post) and we settled in Jaco to enjoy the New Year’s Eve festivities at the Croc Hotel. They put on a great party with a wonderful firework show. The next morning wife and I are heading out to do some kayaking/bird watching around Damas Island. As we prepared I went out on the balcony to fetch our water shoes. We were staying at the Crocs Hotel and Casino. The owners put in a pool with two crocodiles in it for the visitors to see. My room was on the third floor directly above the crocodile pool. I grabbed my phone and took a few pictures. I was very careful because I had taken the protective cover off my IPhone just a couple of days earlier and now it was slippery and easy to drop. No, I didn’t drop it into the Crocodile Pool while snapping pictures. I set the phone down on a chair. Then when I picked up the shoes I bumped the chair and the phone fell onto the balcony floor where it seemed to pick up speed as it flew off the edge of my third story platform and plunk it landed in the water with said crocodiles. The big male that was basking on the island jumped in immediately to chase down my shiny phone, but I guess it was too thin for him to grab once it settled on the bottom of his lair. It might surprise you but none of the maintenance guys was interested in retrieving my phone. I was told I would have to wait until the Crocodile guy came into work the following day. That next day when I walked by the front desk all of the reception clerks were smiling. They had my phone and the darned thing still worked.  My phone was recovered from the crocodile pool. It still works! This is the last pic I took before I dropped it!

 

Pura Vida!

 

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