Minnesota August “Must Do”

August 30, 2013 Posted by Deb

We did our August duty. We went to the State Fair, rented a cabin on a lake up north, kayak’d, canoed, skied, watched the Perseid shower, did the Mississippi headwaters, and tubed the Apple River.

The trip north came first and we headed for Iowa to break out a few of the toys for a family reunion at a cabin on Long Lake near Park City. We went a week early and it took all of that because the old ski boat had not only been used as a shelf for 3 years but was buried behind years of debris. There were battery, tire, registration, plate, and trailer issues but most importantly, we splashed the boat in Lake Red Rock just to see if it would still run. All 190 horses fired up pretty quickly, actually, and we took a nostalgia lap of the reservoir (our first date was there about 40 years ago).

We greased up the axles, hooked up a 1996 E150 van and headed north to pick up my brother Bill at the airport from Alaska and rendezvous with sister Barb and Michael from Missouri. We discovered/remembered later that this summer marked the 40th birthday of that old Sea Ray. We threw in the ski gear in the foolish hope that late 50- and 60+-year-old people could still pull that off.

Caravan North

Caravan North

Boat House

Boat House

Main House

Main House

The rental cabin was old but nice and had a newer bunk house that had 3 floors and room for more than a dozen. The neighbor was happy there were only five of us since he just survived about twenty 20 somethings. Brother Bill took over the boat house.

Not a Covered Bridge for Cars but for Party Folks

Not a Covered Bridge for Cars but for Party Folks

Nice to See Clean Water Again -- Fish Hook River

Nice to See Clean Water Again

Fish Hook River

Fish Hook River

Over the Wake

Over the Wake

Which Way's The Boat?

Which Way’s The Boat?

Sea Ray Pulled Through

Sea Ray Pulled Through In Fine Shape

Mississippi Headwater Bike Trip

It was nice to return to old stomping grounds. We did a 20-mile loop of Itasca State Park and did the obligatory headwaters shots.

Wilderness Trail Itasca State Park

Wilderness Trail Itasca State Park

Jumping Over the Mississippi

Jumping Over the Mississippi

Road Trip to Walker, Shingobee Bay, and Our Old Cabin

We picked a gorgeous, wind-free day and drove 30 miles to Walker for the highlight nostalgia tour of Leech Lake, Shingobee Bay, and the cabin we had in the family for 50 years. We believe that this summer marks the 50th year since our family bought it and we often regret selling it. We stopped at the Kaldor’s dock but they weren’t home. We did run into our old long term neighbors, the Davis’, and chatted briefly with them. Cruising by the cabin either by car or boat is tough on all of us so we didn’t stay long.

Our Old Dock on Shingobee from the Kaldor’s

Our Old Dock on Shingobee from the Kaldor’s

The Apple River, Wisconsin

Now a tame, environmentally sound trip but in the old days the river flowed with mooning teenagers and beer cans not to mention beer byproducts. We celebrated the Commiteymoon with our friends who visited us in Trinidad (Bill and Karen) along with Bill and Nancy Kostur from our former employed life.

KarenAppleRiver

KosturAppleRiver

DebAppleRiverMcteer

Wrapping up August

HorsesStateFair

MNStateFair

All the Toys Had to Go Back to Iowa in 100-Degree A/C

All the Toys Had to Go Back to Iowa in 100-Degree A/C

Our Old Dinghy from Sanity Went On To a New Owner … Sad

Our Old Dinghy from Sanity Went On To a New Owner … Sad

Whiteface Reservoir

July 30, 2013 Posted by Deb

We were invited on an annual tradition camping outing that included four of the Cast Iron Canoe couples.

The weather was bad at the Tall Ships show but by the first night up at Whiteface, the temperature plummeted and it started to rain. The rain pretty much didn’t stop all through Saturday but Forest was ready with two huge tarps and several hundred feet (actually several miles but that’s another story) of quarter inch poly line and we strung up a large canopy, stoked the fire, and most of the campers congregated on our site. Great socializing but a bunch of boats were sitting on trailers and we were definitely on plan B for entertainment. The food was incredible as well as exotic. Bacon wrapped olives grilled over a fire was a hit for some.

Whiteface1

Whiteface2

The final day (for some) started out equally ugly but in true MN fashion, everyone went down to the landing and started rigging their boats. The leap of faith paid off as the weather broke and temps made close to 70 when we hit the water. The eight boat fleet consisted of two Hobie 16’s, a two masted daysailer we don’t know the name of, two power boats, two kayaks and a wind surfer.

Whiteface3

CardinalPuff

 

Whiteface4

HobieCatForrestChuck

Tall Ships

July 26, 2013 Posted by Deb

On the way to a camping trip at Whiteface Reservoir, we stopped in Duluth at the Tall Ships gathering.

It was a great show but what was more impressive was the crowd. The turnout was pretty good on a 50-degree windy and rainy day. Duluth people are tough. We saw everything from winter coats to t-shirts. The boats came from all over the world and there were long waiting lines for rides.

TallShips1

TallShips2

TallShips3

TallShips4

TallShps6

TallShips7

Duluth_tall_ships

600 Miles On a Bike

July 22, 2013 Posted by Deb

In the Believe It or Not category, Iowa has the longest paved biking loop in the country at 72 miles. It’s concrete and it is new and it is wide enough for a car. Who has the money to do that these days? We set out to conquer it and got about 25 miles into it when a very nasty storm front came through. We decided to bail on the trip and I blew a tire on the way back. We also discovered our bike pump seals had dried up so Deb rode to the car while I walked a bit over four miles. The storm fizzled and the day turned out great so we have that loop on the list to try again.

Welded Farm Implements -- Perry, Iowa

Welded Farm Implements — Perry, Iowa

Half Way -- Calhoun Lake, Minneapolis

Half Way — Calhoun Lake, Minneapolis

Overlooking St. Paul Approaching the River Rtrail

Overlooking St. Paul Approaching the River Trail

East Mississippi River Trail and the Paddle Boats: St. Paul, Minnesota

East Mississippi River Trail and the Paddle Boats: St. Paul, Minnesota

Normandale Lake -- Bloomington, Minnesota

Normandale Lake — Bloomington, Minnesota

Lanesboro Trail Beyond Preston, Minnesota

Lanesboro Trail Beyond Preston, Minnesota

Canon River Trail and What's Left of Hidden Valley Campground

Canon River Trail and What’s Left of Hidden Valley Campground

Cannon River Overtaking Campground

Cannon River Overtaking Campground

Battle Creek Park -- St. Paul, Minnesota

Battle Creek Park — St. Paul, Minnesota

Indian Mounds -- St. Paul, Minnesota

Indian Mounds — St. Paul, Minnesota

 

Wisconsin River

July 10, 2013 Posted by Deb

This river has long been a family/friend tradition but in recent times we’ve moved on to more challenging canoe trips.

In 2013, it was back to the giant adult sandbox. The river was high so whole islands were gone but we found plenty of sand for tents and lunch stops. We also found plenty of bugs.

A Wisconsin Version of the "Circle of Knowledge"

A Wisconsin Version of the “Circle of Knowledge”

Poison Ivy Front and Center

Poison Ivy Front and Center

Private Island

Private Island

Mosquitoes Arrive in 10 Minutes

Mosquitoes Arrive in 10 Minutes

Not Always Pure Sand

Not Always Pure Sand

Only 3 Made Survived the Mosquitoes To Make The Top

Only 3 Survived the Mosquitoes To Make The Top

She Doesn't Know I'm Only Ruddering

She Doesn’t Know I’m Only Ruddering

Wapauti in Progress

Wapauti in Progress

Late Entries

July 1, 2013 Posted by Deb

Cruising sailors have a “fluid sense of time.” I believe that’s from Tin Cup. Anyway, we sometimes get good pictures well after the fact. Here are our late entries ranging from the transit of the Panama Canal to our final passage of 2013 to Guatemala and the Rio Dulce.

On Her Way to the Pacific Ocean

On Her Way to the Pacific Ocean: Transiting the Panama Canal on Yela

Tough Job -- At Least Use Two Hands

Tough Job — At Least Use Two Hands

There, Two Hands

There, Two Hands

Eric, the Boat Owner, is Now in the Phillipines -- Single Handed All the Way

Eric, the Boat Owner, is Now in the Philippines — Single Handed All the Way

Web cams Just Ahead -- Cindy Caught the Show Mid-Sermon Back Home

Web Cams Just Ahead — Cindy Caught the Show Mid-Sermon Back Home

We Were Late for the Raft Up on Day 2 -- Alone is Better

We Were Late for the Raft Up on Day 2 — Alone is Better

Owner and the Help

Owner and the Help

Professional Line Handlers at Work

Professional Line Handlers at Work

A Bit Larger Than We Are

A Bit Larger Than We Are

Panama City and the End of Our Transit

Panama City and the End of Our Transit

Crossing the Bar at Livingston, Guatemala

Crossing the Bar at Livingston, Guatemala

First Dink in the Water Gets Taxi Duty

First Dink in the Water Gets Taxi Duty

And Again, First Dink Gets Taxi Duty

And Again, First Dink Gets Taxi Duty

Searching for Cash Machines to Pay 3 Government Agencies and 1 Agent

Searching for Cash Machines to Pay 3 Government Agencies and 1 Agent

Neytiri Framed by the Livingston Dock Gates

Neytiri Framed by the Livingston Dock Gates

Up the Gorge

Up the Gorge

The Guys Toasting the Roatan/Guatemala Trip

The Guys Toasting the Roatan/Guatemala Trip

The Women Toasting the Roatan/Guatemal Trip

The Women Toasting the Roatan/Guatemala Trip

And Now ... Cell Phone SIMs for Guatemala

And Now … Cell Phone SIMs for Guatemala

Hauling Aquadesiac

Hauling Aquadesiac

... And Lift

… And Lift

The Water Taxi to the Trivia Contest and Kangaroos, Rio Dulce

The Water Taxi to the Trivia Contest and Kangaroos, Rio Dulce

Aquadesiac and Neytiri Ready to do Trivia Battle

Aquadesiac and Neytiri Ready to do Trivia Battle

Fifteen Beds

June 20, 2013 Posted by Deb

We are mostly done with a calorie positive lap of the middle part of the country from Iowa to Minnesota and recently Colorado. Since leaving the boat at the end of May, we have crashed with relatives, friends, the odd motel, a 1998 van, and a tent. Our bed total is 15 and the food is legendary. The only summary comments we can make so far are that it is good to see friends and relatives again and we have been freezing since the day we got on an air conditioned plane to leave Guatemala. We seem to be moving to colder climates as we acclimate and finished up today (6/19/2013) at 11,000 feet and snow banks everywhere.

Will Work for Food

Will Work for Food

End of the Trail in Waterworks Park in Des Moines

End of the Trail in Waterworks Park in Des Moines

Next Generation of Pizza Eaters at the Checkerboard

Next Generation of Pizza Eaters at the Checkerboard

Testing the New Knee on the Mississippi

Testing the New Knee on the Mississippi

Breckenridge at 10,000 Feet

Breckenridge at 10,000 Feet

Mayflower Gulch Colorado

Mayflower Gulch Colorado

Deb and Barb On the Way Up

Deb and Barb On the Way Up

Tough Place for Cabins

Tough Place for Cabins

Chuck and Ron

Chuck and Ron

11,000 Feet Higher Than Our Boat

11,000 Feet Higher Than Our Boat

Lunch Break

Lunch Break

Last Occupants Late 1800s

Last Occupants Late 1800s

 

Back in the U.S.A.

May 27, 2013 Posted by Deb

Day one of the trip back to the U.S. started with an early morning, 20-plus mile ride in a panga with a 50-horse outboard. El Golfete was flat calm and the air was full of smoke from either Guatemala burning or charcoal making, probably the latter. We thought Guatemala was on fire 18 years ago, and it doesn’t seem to have changed.

elGolfete

We grabbed the bus with at least five minutes to spare. Our memories of the bus trip were that it was hot and long and whenever the bus stopped, cockroaches crawled up the walls. This time it was a modern bus with a movie and nice seats and it only stopped once.

liteguaBus

Once in Guatemala City, we did a small amount of tourist stuff then overnighted at Villa Toscana, a nice little bed and breakfast. They arranged for a cab driver to meet us at the main bus terminal holding up a card with our name.

villa-toscana

VillaToscanaChuckThe next morning it was a short trip to the airport followed by a cold flight and a very cold layover in the Dallas airport with delays due to the Oklahoma City tornado followed by a final cold flight to Des Moines, Iowa. We arrived in Des Moines 36 hours after starting.

Despite a nasty head cold, we kept up the pace to get ready for the Cast Iron Canoe trip and a transition from 100° and 92% humidity to 40° nights in a tent and dry air. We fired up the old van, rounded up old gear, loaded up the old Alumacraft canoe, and headed to Danbury, Wisconsin, and the Namekagon River. After one night in a tent with a bad cold, I had to beg off and leave the group for a day but Deb continued. I hit a motel and did a lot of sleep, hot showers, Jacuzzis, and was able to return to the fleet on day two at the McDowell Landing. We had a great finishing two day canoe and major food and alcohol event followed by a six pound bacon fry on the final morning.

StartNamekogan

NamekagonRiver2

canoesOnHill

NamekagonCamp1

LisaCastIronCook

Cayo Quemado

May 19, 2013 Posted by Deb

RAM Marina informed us literally as we were arriving in Guatemala that our boat was too wide for their travel lift. Our reservation to be stored on land was history but we could get our deposit back. That’s OK, we only cancelled out of Shelter Bay, Panama, and sailed about a thousand miles to hear that.

DebGennaker

Casa del Mar met some folks in Texas Bay or Cayo Quemado who had a new, in-water boat storage operation called SeaKist Services. Chris and Kelly have a great storage package and the bay is almost completely surrounded by land. We got into one of their last slots and moved on down there right after we got both engines running and the alternator fixed.

NeytiriCayoQuemado

For those following the engine battle, this time it was the main power switch to the engine room but both the mechanic and Doug on Aquadesiac said the relays made no sense and were probably another problem. Doug climbed into the engine room one day and started ripping out the relays and rewiring the battery, starter, and alternator leads. After he finished, we had a much simpler wiring diagram and a lot of leftover parts. We’ll see how it performs over time.

We decommissioned the boat in four days, about six days quicker than ever before. We pulled all the sails, shut thru hulls, shut down and covered solar panels, oiled 150 feet of chain, shut down refrigeration, pulled the outboard and stored and greased it, checked and lubed all the hatches, laid out bug poison, gave away food, packed, made travel arrangements, and doubled up lines and chafing gear and that is the short list.

ChuckSailMaker

oilPainter

Fronteras: Rio Dulce Guatemala

May 15, 2013 Posted by Deb

We have fond memories of Fronteras, a small town with only a handful of marinas 18 years ago. Hacienda Tijax was very new back then and Suzanna’s was a great bargain in a nice sheltered area. Now there are marinas everywhere and over 800 boats call the Rio Dulce home.

NeytiriFronteras

We remembered the dueling menus from the restaurants on the morning net and that tradition continues. The activity list has grown as well and we signed up for Trivia night at Hotel Kangaroo y Restaurant. The table of Neytiri and Aquadesiac was getting hammered during the early competition with not a lot of expertise in Western Civilization and “What was the last city liberated in Germany in WWII”, and “Which Russian czar was a priest.” But we moved from last to second on “Which country had 700,000 casualties in the 1500’s and 850,000 casualties in 1976 from earthquakes.”

TriviaNightWe sampled a few restaurants and revisited some old haunts but the bulk of our focus was to get the boat repaired and decommissioned for our trip to the U.S. It was nice to see Bruno’s was still around. Bruno’s was the last real bar fight we’ve been in (18 years ago). We ran down the dock as fast as we could back then and we still had one injury from our table (glass shard to the leg).