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Borrego Springs, CA

Monday, November 3, 2014

Something new to think about

Remember when I had those brown water problems at Tamarac last summer?  When I left there, I thought my water problems were over.  Then in Casa Grande, I struggled to figure out my lack of water pressure.  It turned out to be broken brand new pressure gauge.  In the meantime, I bought a new hose.  Fast forward to Imperial NWR, and I thought I was safe in the water department.  Ha!  That miserably bumpy entrance road not only broke one of my drawer latches, but once again I have a leak in the fresh water tank.

I just can’t fully close the valve that operates the empty tank thingy.  I push it in as far as I can, but it just won’t shut all the way, so the fresh water in the tank slowly leaks out.  I think maybe it’s a problem with the cable, but who knows?  Wasn’t a real problem until there was a power surge yesterday which means the refuge water pump goes out.  It took a while to get someone to reset the pump, and in the meantime, I, of course, had no water left in the tank.  What a pain in the neck!

Anyway, I finally did get the bugs washed off of the front of the rig from my journey here before the power surge yesterday.  As I was finishing up with that, several of the other volunteers asked if I’d like to go with them to Meer’s Point on the refuge.

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They are all kayakers, and Meer’s Point has access to the Colorado River.  I hadn’t been there before so I jumped at the chance.

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There’s also a very nice picnic area with bathrooms that is maintained by the refuge (volunteers) at the access area.  It was another beautiful blue sky day with cooler temps.  A great day for a paddle.

I used to have an inflatable canoe/kayak, but I gave that away to John and Bridget at Tamarac.  I was never very comfortable in it, and figured I’d never use it again.  It was hard for me to maneuver, and any slight breeze just blew me around.

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Norma and Doug have what I think are called sit upon kayaks, and Gail and Greg have kayaks you sit down in.  As you can tell, I don’t know anything about kayaks.  I just came along to watch.

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The next thing I knew, Gail suggested I try her kayak.  Cool beans!  I’ve never paddled a real kayak before!  I was nervous and much less than graceful getting into it, but get into it I did.  Wahoo!

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                               Here’s a pic that Greg took to prove I actually made it out onto the water. 

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It was so quiet and peaceful as I glided along.  I’ve been a canoe person all my life, but I think I liked this better.  I didn’t want to bite into their time on the river too much, so I soon headed back to the launch site.

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That’s when Norma headed into shore too, and suggested I try her kayak to see the difference between the two different kinds.  How cool is that? 

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As you can see, I’m more up on top in this kind of a kayak, and there are foot braces.  It’s also a heck of a lot easier to get into and out of for an old fart like me.  I just really had a good time.

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It’s like I was at one with the coot. (Can you find him?)  So the thing I’m thinking about is whether or not I could haul a kayak myself.  Sherry, can you get yours up on top of Ruby by yourself?  I’d also like input on the pros and cons of both types from any of you experienced kayakers.

I’m looking forward to some more possible time out on the water as two gentlemen that volunteered here last year have left their kayaks at the volunteer village.  They will be managing one of the RV parks in Yuma (for money) this winter, and have left their kayaks here to use when they come to visit.  Not much kayaking in town I guess.  Winking smile  They have also said that other volunteers, like me, are free to use them when they are not here.  How lucky can I get?

Thanks for stopping by… talk to you later,  Judy

39 comments:

  1. How cool is that that you got to try out both kayaks! Which one did you feel safer in?

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  2. Sit On Top kayaks are a lot easier to get on and off for me too. I gave up Sit In Kayaks when I started to have to roll them on their side and crawl out in the mud because my knees would not straighten out to get out of the cockpit. Both are good designs with good points and less good points. I have been paddling boats for over 50 years.

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  3. I haven't ridden in a sit upon kayak but have been in many different kinds of ride in kayaks. I currently have inflatables called advanced elements. It doesn't track as well as a hard kayak but it loads a lot better :) There are pros and cons each way but there is nothing like a quiet day on the water. ENJOY!!

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  4. I have never been in a kayak...sure looks like fun! And like a great way to enjoy the water! I had today catch up and just red your last post too...I will for sure be signing up for the Sunday morning tour of the ponds.

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  5. You look so cool in those kayaks! You go girl. I have only been in the sit high type. Last week we rented and were out for about four hours, so much fun.

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  6. Well, Judy, sadly with kayaks, you get what you pay for. We have sit-in, and have rented sit on tops as well, but love the protection of the sit-ins. I wouldn't paddle alligator waters with a sit on top actually. As far as hoisting a kayak on top your car, there are some super super duper cool kayak racks that are hydraulic. Mo's brother has them. They are amazing, and if we could no longer lift our boats, or if one of us didn't have the other around, this would be the way to go. Any good kayak shop will know about them. We also bit the bullet a few years back and paid the bigger bucks for lighter boats, Kevlar. I can carry my boat alone if I need to at only 39 pounds for 13.5 feet. The other thing, our boats have big cockpits, easy in and out for older knees. Adirondacks from Swift Kayak and Canoe Company in Canada. I know money doesn't grow on trees, but a good strong lightweight sit in kayak with one of those hydraulic lifter thingies would give you joy for the rest of your life.

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  7. You are really lucky to have been able to try out two different types of kayak. During the past year I have thought a lot about trying out a kayak, but really don't know where to start. I doubt if I'd want to spend the money for one though -

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  8. Bought a sit-on last year and love it! I can carry it on my head/back. It weighs 45 lbs. I am 69 with back problems. It is easier to get in and out of and it will not sink if you tip it over. I can hold onto it and use it to kick my way to shore. Sit-ons sink or, at least, will become half submerged and hard to drag to shore. Tested it to check all this out. Have never tipped it over yet. We live on a lake, but have waves from boats and skiers.

    No way would I go into alligator infested waters! Lived in Fl for a while. Do you know they eat you??? LOL

    There are kayaks that come in two or three pieces, which might be lighter for you to carry. My friend paid just over $600 for hers, but it is much easier for her to handle. Just "Google" 2 piece kayaks.

    Ann M

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  9. Gosh Judy, what great feedback.....I have learned a lot reading the great, thoughtful comments from the EXPERTS !!!! The minute I read your post, I thought about Sue and Mo.... I was hoping Sue would read your post and comment because I have enjoyed the times they have shared their kayak adventures...They even took their dear Abby out with them .... So glad Sue came through along with everyone else....and Sherry she will have some great info, I'm sure.....Isn't one of the greatest parts of blogging the sharing aspect ? On another note hope the water tank can find a fix..... A nice pat for Emma

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  10. Oh, neato to have access to a kayak, how lucky are you!!! BUT careful, those sit on top of ones are like I fell out of and had to be towed back to shore with me flopping along beside, as there was NO way to get into it in deep water :) just beware....

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  11. We used to have hard kayaks that were the sit on top type. We think they are easier to get in and out, and they also won't fill up with water and sink you. Ours were Wilderness Tarpon brand and weighed 70 pounds each. Not easy to load and unload, and hard to carry to the water, even with two people. They were good quality kayaks though and paddled easily. Cheap kayaks don't track properly, get blown around in the wind and are probably like the inflatable you gave away. Don't go cheap, or you probably won't be happy.

    When we started living in the motor home, we decided to sell them and buy the inflatable Sea Eagle kayaks. I was very, very skeptical about an inflatable kayak, but had read very good reviews about them. Unfortunately, we were never able to actually see or try out the one we wanted, so we bought them sight unseen. Sea Eagle sells many different types of kayaks, starting with the most basic and going to ones you can use with a motor. Here is the link for the blog post when I did when we got the kayaks. It shows how to inflate, the size and how sturdy they are. http://florida-georgiacamping.blogspot.com/2011/03/sea-eagle-saga.html

    We wanted an inflatable that would be comparable to our hard sided kayaks in how they paddled. We chose the Sea Eagle Fast Track 385's. They have a hard bottom and floor, and you can actually stand up in them. They have a skeg on the back which helps with steering. We have NO problem getting blown around. They track straight, which means when you paddle on the left side, you don't go right, and vice versa. They are more comfortable than the hard ones, because the seat is also inflatable and you can adjust the inflation to your likes. They are more trouble to deflate than the basic Sea Eagle models, because of the floor in the bottom. You have to make sure to dry under the floor before rolling it up. They weigh about 34 pounds, I think, but Sea Eagle has revamped the 385's and they are different now. I'm not sure how the new model compares to ours, but we're very happy with our old style Fast Track 385's.

    The down side to an inflatable is that even with the hard bottom, you still have to be a little more careful where you paddle. Oyster beds are a definite no. It's not fun deflating them, but they are also out of sight and mind when you go for long spells when you aren't using them.

    The hard sided kayaks are made differently now and some of them are pretty light. We considered buying a Hurricane Kayak. It was hard sided but only weighed about 35 pounds as I recall. It paddled very nice. We loved it, but needed something we could pack away.

    Oh, if you choose a hard sided kayak, they have mounting systems from Thule and Yakima that have what they call an hullivator lift. It drops down by the side of the vehicle and then lifts the kayak up to the roof of the car. They are expensive though. http://www.prolineracks.com/thule-897xt-hullavator-kayak-rack.html

    We have roof racks on the truck and with our Fast Tracks, we are able to carry them fully inflated on the roof of the truck. We do that when we're using them a lot, like in the Keys. The basic Sea EAgles wouldn't be able to be carried on the roof, I don't think.

    Oh, and you can get back into ours, or at least Al can. He went scuba diving out of his and was able to flop back in.

    We do love kayaking. You really get up close and personal with wild life. Do you remember the picture I posted of two deer swimming in front of us while we were kayaking? Not likely to see that often!

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  12. Kudos to you. My one time in a kayak (I'm a very restless sitter) and I made it 20' from shore before ending bottom up in the water. First thing out of the water was my camera -- but still had to dry it out and replace the lens. Never going back...

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  13. Whatever you choose, enjoy! We love being on the water.

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  14. Hope your fresh water tank problems are minor and easily fixed.
    You are sure getting lots of good advice on the kayaks. We have a Sea Eagle Paddle Ski which is a larger 2 person pontoon style kayak that we can put a motor on if we want. We like it but I've heard the hard kayaks are wonderful to paddle. Lucky you to be able to borrow one until you decide what you want to do.

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  15. Kudos to you Judy for getting out there and trying the kayaks!! We have a folding aluminum frame Folbot kayak with a rubberized canvas covering--16 feet long, seats two down in and is way too heavy and cumbersome for one person to carry--with that said, we love it! It tracks well and is easy to paddle, I haven't fallen out yet but it is a little tricky for these two old farts to get into! :)) We take Emmi along too. We never take the kayak to Arizona due to the lack of water, we may have to reconsider!

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  16. I too enjoy kayaking...it's great to have a place supply them!!!

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  17. Well you sure engendered the lengthy comments with this post. It took longer to read them than you blog but I didn't want to repeat what anyone else said. Here's my 2 cents from over 15 years of kayaking. You will not turn over in a sit in kayak if you do not do white water or have a very long narrow boat. You would not want a very long narrow boat since they are for touring/camping or racing. I have NEVER turned over in my sit in. I prefer it to a sit on because I don't particularly want to get wet and I do want to be able to kayak with alligators. The chances of them eating you are about 1%. You are too big but I suppose they could get mad during mating season which I avoid. I can carry my kayak but it is a bit heavy for me now as I age so I have a cart and can pull it. It is a Wilderness Cape Lookout 13.5 with a relatively flat bottom which makes it more stable for getting in and out of. It also has a rudder which makes it easier on windy days and enables me to hold the kayak in place while I use my camera or binoculars. David has a 12.5 Necky which tracks really well. They are wonderful kayaks. As for getting it on the car. I have used it for solo kayaking for years. David didn't get one until we went on the road. At first I had what is called an assist bar. I would prop the kayak up on it and just slide it onto the rack. Then a couple of years ago Santa brought me one of the hydraulic hullevator lifts. Be very careful with those. They are fabulous if you have a station wagon, an SUV or a truck. But if you have a regular sedan they come down so close to the ground when they lower that you have to squat down to lift them up. I wouldn't have purchased it if I had been able to find this information out before I did. There will come a time when I will not be able to do this and will go back to my assist bar. One more thing. You do get what you pay for. I spent nearly $1000 years ago for the racks, the assist bar, the kayak, the PFD and the paddles. It was the best $1000 I ever spent. But I did it after attending "Kayak days" at a really good kayak specialty store. They exist all over the country in any place that has kayaking possibilities. Once a year or more they have a day when you can come out and try any of the kayaks they have at a lake where they hold it. Many times the manufacturers are there too. David chose his this way after trying out a long sleep narrow bottomed boat and turning it over. Short boats are too hard to track, long boats are too hard to turn. Get something in the middle and try to find a kayak days if you can. Sorry my advice is so long.

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  18. Just give me a boat so Dennis can go with me...I'm not a lover of water where I cannot see the bottom..We have done some canoeing ...I prefer that..But in the end, I do prefer a regular small boat.(and a motor, just in case)

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  19. It looks very peaceful and relaxing.

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  20. Great question and great answers! I'm so happy you started this, we've been looking into getting a kayak or canoe too and it's hard to make a choice. I'd love to go to one of those trial days Sherry mentioned, will look out for that.

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  21. Wow, kayaks to use. You are so fortunate. We have been looking at them. John has an inflatable and gets wet! yuck. The sit upon looks like one that I might be able to get in and out of fairly easy. Looking forward to seeing which you purchase (if you do purchase).

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  22. That water tank problem is a real poser...hope you get it fixed soon!

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  23. Finally catching up on my reading and on your settling in. I hope that you can resolve your water issue - all plumbing sucks! I chuckled about your inflatable kayak, I started with one of those too and once on the water in even a slight breeze and I sold it to a youngster that wanted to white water with it. The sit on tops are great but you don't have much room to stash many things but are light and great. I have sit in and once you figure out the momentum to get out they aren't too bad (just take your time). Even for an old fart like me! LOL

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  24. Great to see you out on the water trying out kayaks, Judy. I'm not a kayaker so I can't help you with that.

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  25. We kicked around the idea of buying kayak's too but decided it would be easier to just rent them than to haul them around all the time.
    Hope you get water problem fixed soon.
    Teri
    markteri.blogspot.com

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  26. Judy, I'm sorry to hear that you can't hold your water... :cO

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  27. Looks like you had fun. We gave away our inflatable Sea Eagle to our son because we just were not using it enough and he spends time on the river in the summer. Looks like you got lots of opinions and info to mull over.

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  28. I have an 11 foot Old Town Loon 111 sit in kayak. It has a larger -18" by 55" - cockpit which I need because my hips and knees need room to flex or I cramp up. It weighs 47 lbs.It is very stable but my experience is mostly in flat water lakes and rivers.. I have a small two wheeled fold up cart thing from REI so I don't have to carry it. I am able to lift it onto our ford ranger truck with racks by setting the front end on the rack and then lefting and swinging the rear up. It is easier when my husband and I both kayak because we can lift the kayaks easily.When we camp we tow the truck behins the motor home. I find having a kayak really enhances our RV adventures.

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  29. Looks like you had fun, Judy. And of course you can have your own kayak. Just haul it on the car on racks. You will also need at least a loader - a rod that pulls out from the front bar that lets you set your kayak on an angle with the front on the bar and the back on the ground. Then you pick up the back end and put it in the kayak holder on the rack. Then go put the front in the front kayak holder. If you use j-racks, you can probably just lift the kayak to them. All this depends on the height of your car plus racks, the weight of the kayak, and your height and strength. There are also mechanical lifts to help load your kayak. You'll probably want a plastic shell instead of a sit-on-top - I never could load them and they are the devil to paddle more than a few miles. (But they are fun to use to play in the surf or for white water paddles.)

    With my two bad wrists and shoulders, I have problems getting out of a kayak. But you are supposed to put you doubleblade behind the cockpit, with most of the paddle laying on the shore beside the kayak. Then your hold the blade AND the cockpit in your outside hand and sit on the shaft/cockpit while you stick your feet in the boat, keeping your weight on the side of the boat the paddle is holding up. But your feet in and slide in after them. Reverse this to get out.

    Sunday, I got in early enough that I'm sure there are no pictures of me rolling out of my kayak onto grass at the restaurant. I did a really poor job or exiting. because I can neither hold my shaft/cockpit or lift up on my arms to reach the place just behind the cockpit on my way out. I was ahead of everyone so stuck my leg out, kneeled and came out. The kayak rolled over behind me and then I had to get the water out. I know you can do better than this. But get a light lay-up - and at least a 13-15' boat and you'll be able to paddle in swamps, lakes and streams and for miles without tiring.

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  30. You've had quite a time with water, good luck with that.

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  31. First your water issue- Have you looked at your water pump and connections? On our Suncruiser- I once thought my valve was leaking and it turned out to be a connection on the pump and where it dripped out of the compartment was right by the cut off valve. If it is actually coming from the the drain valve, you should be able to get a PVC cap that will fit that size pipe as a temporary fix for a slow drip- it should hold pretty tight even without glue- or you could put a wine cork in in :).

    Kayaks- We have had inflatable, sit in and now we have sit on. I prefer the sit in- you don't get as wet. I would paddle any of them with Gators- Gators go the other way when a kayak of any type approaches. I am too cheap to buy a lift to get the Kayak on the car but I could do it by putting a towel down on the trunk placing the front of the boat on the towel and pushing from the back of the boat. The boat will slide right up on to the rack- However, if the towel slips you can scratch your car -but my cars are usually scratched anyway. Our Kayak was heavy- a tandem that was about 70 pounds and it worked for us.

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  32. Our last coach fresh water drain valve was in the middle of the bottom of the coach and would stick partly open. this was partly because I used it so rarely and never lubricated the moving parts. I finally had to replace the valve. After that, I tried to lube it regularly.

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  33. Wow. Lots of information here. I've been thinking about a kayak too..for our lake house..and/or for me to travel with...am glad of the information from your readers.

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  34. We have a sit in kayak, I can count on getting wet either getting in or out...but once I am seated it is a wonderful ride. I don't take my good camera:)

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  37. Nice Post.Thanks for Sharing this in your Blog

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