Kayak Party!

Last summer I went on my first river trip with the boyfriend and some friends. We decided to go to the Current River for a two day trip, 22 miles with camping on the river overnight. The boyfriend owns a couple of kayaks and we thought it would be fun and cheap to take them out to the river with us. The problem is, we didn’t really have a vehicle to transport them in that also had room for three people. So, tragically, I asked to borrow my dad’s old roof racks from the 70s (he used to do some white water kayaking in a kayak that he made himself–people are just not that hardcore anymore). Obviously, we see where this is heading. The roof racks seemed to fit my car perfectly. I drove my car around for two days with them on it without any issues.

These issues, however, surfaced with the weight of two kayaks on them. I remember telling the guys over and over again, “Are they firmly on there? Check the racks, are they still tight enough? Check the kayaks again!” I was paranoid from the beginning, for good reason. The kayaks seemed rock solid. The racks seemed immobile. We left the boyfriend’s place (across the Mississippi from me, by the way) to park the car at my house for the night before leaving for a very early morning the next day. About 10 miles from the Mississippi, I decided to look up at the kayaks from behind the wheel for the billionth time and thought, “They’ve definitely moved back–OH *EXPLETIVE*!!!! (you can insert whatever word you want there, they all work).” The boyfriend firmly told me  to “CALM DOWN. Pull over. It’s going to be okay.”

That’s how I left my boyfriend sitting on the median of a busy highway with two kayaks at 11 o’clock at night.

There wasn’t much else we could do. He and the friend that was with us darted around the highway, grabbing the kayaks and the back rack that had slid off of my car. We had to leave the boyfriend on the highway while he waited for his brother to pick him up in his truck so that we could get to my house and finish getting everything ready for the weekend. The green kayak, playfully named Wobbles due to its inability to go straight, was hit by several cars and was perfectly fine (go figure, the cheap boat survives the Kayak Apocalypse). The blue Perception, however, wasn’t so lucky.

We still went on our trip and had a great time and some other adventurous/traumatic events occurred. But I’m not here to talk about those times right now, maybe I will on another occasion. Instead, I’d like to share a rough outline of the Perception’s rebirth along with our first kayak outing of the season.

Kayaks don't really work so well on highways, friends.

Kayaks don’t really work so well on highways, friends.

As you can see, the kayak took some damage. It wasn’t anything that totally retired it, but it was put out of commission until April of this year. I gave it a name, the Road Warrior, in the hopes that the event would give it a little mystery when we cross paths with other people. I mean, it fits, right? And would you not be curious if you met someone on the river who claimed their kayak was named the Road Warrior?

The Road Warrior

It got busted up real good.

So the boyfriend was determined to fix the Road Warrior before this summer, which was great news for me. No one really fits in the Road Warrior beside me–so hey, I get to bum a kayak all the time. I helped him find a kayak repair kit that looked promising, and luckily, it worked wonders. The kit that was used was sold by the Urethane Supply Company, and can be found here.

I won’t get too thorough with the details of repairing it, since I only observed and got in everyone’s way so I could take pictures. But these pictures and captions give a rough outline of it. They used a heat gun along with the welder that came with the kit, and I highly recommend that anyone who uses this type of repair kit do the same.

The Road Warrior

The plastic that was a lost cause was cut away, making a clean space for mending.

The Road Warrior

A metal screening was placed over the cracks to provide scaffolding using a small welder from the kayak repair kit.

The Road Warrior

The task of melding the plastic to the kayak begins!

The Road Warrior

The patch, before sanding and smoothing!

The Road Warrior

Ain’t he a beaut?

The Road Warrior turned out pretty fabulous! I’ve been out on him (that’s right him) three times since the repair, and it’s a solid patch.

The Road Warrior

Better than new! I hope people see this beautiful repair and think that I was up to some gnarly kayaking.

We took Wobbles and the Road Warrior out to Silver Lake in Highland, IL, not too long after this repair. A new kayak, one that is much fancier than the others, made this trip as well. The boyfriend bought a 13’6″ Wilderness Tsunami Kayak during the Alpine Shop’s big kayak/canoe sale in the Spring. For half price! A little wear from trial runs is no big deal for that steal. It’s a real nice kayak that I really dislike using because of its size. I’m told that the rudder on it is great, though.

He named it, even though I said it had to earn a name. Big Red. I guess it’s fitting.

Seriously, this thing is too big for me to get in in one shot from the dock.

Seriously, this thing is too big for me to get it in one shot from the dock.

We took our friend out with us, which was his first time on a kayak. He unfortunately has only experienced Wobbles, because, well, Big Red is boyfriend-sized and Road Warrior is me-sized. He has learned to tame the Wobbles quite well, however.

Why does one person need three kayaks? No arguments here, though...

Why does one person need three kayaks? No arguments here, though…

It was a fine day for kayaking, and got me back into the water after the yet unexplained events of last summer.

Road Warrior and Big Red

Big Red

Get out and kayak, folks. I mean it.

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