I will be paddling an Eddyline Shasta kayak on my expedition. Andy Bugh and Bob Bellingham both paddled a Shasta down the Missouri River and loved it. I bought my boat from Bob Bellingham before he returned to Australia. I will rechristen the boat, “Blue Moon.” Likely, there will be a party surrounding the ceremony :).
Eddyline asked me to send them a “wish list” for items they would provide, since I bought Bob’s boat rather than purchasing a new boat at cost. (Always good to “reduce, reuse, recycle”!) They have graciously agreed to send me a brand new blue Swift (ultra-light) paddle, fix or replace the cockpit cover, and send out a skid strip to protect the keel.
I am very pleased to have Eddyline as a supporter. They are a family-run grass roots company and put out a great product. You can find Bob Bellingham and Andy Bugh’s Shasta testimonial here, just scroll down the page below the photo gallery.
My daughter, Haley Rose, came with me to St. Louis yesterday to pick up my Shasta kayak that I bought from Australian Bob Wellington in September. Bob paddled from Three Forks, Montana, to St. Louis last summer in 89 days. Following the principle of “reuse,” I bought his boat and gear as he had no desire to ship it all back to Australia. It was a win-win deal (right, Bob? :)).
Michael Clark of Big Muddy Adventures was nice enough to store the boat for me over the fall semester while I finished my degree. After some great conversation about interactive teaching from the river, which is what Michael does with Skype, writing curriculum, and redirecting at-risk youth towards the River, among other cool things, we threw all the gear in the back of the van and tied the Barbara May on to the top. Haley snapped a photo of me and Michael and the Barbara May.
We stopped and visited with my niece, Rene Freels, and her funny husband, Kyle, and son, Sam, and had a wonderful lunch and good time laughing and talking about the expedition. We talked about the Kickstarter program (Rene was the first to suggest Kickstarter to me), making T-shirts, social media, sponsorship, donation gift ideas like stickers, signed photos, bumper stickers, boat rides, etc. etc. Promoting myself does not come naturally. I welcome any suggestions. Oh, and we talked about bears.
Although I like the name Barbara May, and I am confident that Bob’s wife is a very sweet woman, I HAVE to rechristen the boat with a new name. Yes, some people say a boat’s name should bear some special significance to the owner. Frankly, I have not found warm and fuzzy in a name yet. “Easy Rider” is my race name in the Race to the Dome paddling race. I like that name, but mostly for the theme song that goes with it. You remember the Ballad of Easy Rider by the Byrds, right? Give a listen:
Haley and I tossed around some names on the ride home from STL but came up virtually empty-handed. Here are the names we have thus far: Easy Rider, Rio Oso (river bear, my dog’s name), and Blue Moon. I’d like to have Pepper in the name somewhere, but can’t get anything to flow.
Pepper was my cat, also my very best friend, who went missing on the 4th of July, 2011, one week after moving into my new home. Still not over it.
So, I am looking for suggestions as to what to name my boat. Please comment on my blog, or go to my Facebook Page: LoveYourBigMuddy Expedition, “like” the page, if you have not already, and throw out some suggestions for me. You never know what might strike the harmonious chord.
I am having a conversation with Eddyline regarding their Shasta kayak, my boat of choice for the trip. They’ve also offered discounted gear.
I will meet with Bob Bellingham this week when he paddles by Cooper’s Landing. Hoping to pick his brain regarding his trip which began at Three Forks, Montana. He is headed for St. Louis. We will also discuss the possibility of me purchasing his Shasta kayak, which he would keep for himself if he didn’t have to fly the boat home to Australia.
My dear niece, Rene Freels from St. Louis, mentioned creating a promotional video for the expedition, and a kick-starter campaign. Sounds like a good idea.
Discussing ideas with Charlotte Overby, beloved in our river community, and currently River Coordinator for Conservation Lands Foundation.
Researching GPS possibilities. Is SPOT a form of GPS, or a different system altogether? Is it enough? Suggestions welcome.
Student teaching is now pulling on my right hand while expedition planning is pulling on my left.
The more I learn, the greater my vision.
May seems so far away, yet so close. I long to begin the trip with all of its uncertainties. The thrill of adventure beckons me.
I will sleep when I get old.
live fast ~ paddle slow
Here is a short clip on what to expect on the lakes regularly:
Dave Miller’s book, The Complete Paddler, offers detailed planning information, which relieves me of unnecessary anxiety. I am currently absorbed in the section entitled: Clothing, Gear, Hardware, Water, Food, and Shelter. Yep, that about covers my interests right now because I need to know what I need in order to compose and mail off my sponsorship requests.
Although I just purchased a sea kayak recently, I have my heart set on the Eddyline Shasta. Andy Bugh paddled a Shasta on his Expedition4Educationtrek of the same route (all the way to the Gulf), and loved it. Bob Bellingham is currently on the river in the same boat, and likes it as well. Sea kayaks have a smaller cockpit and are quite confining.
The Shasta is a tandem kayak that can be adapted to a single seat, converting the boat into a more spacious craft for a three month solo journey. Eddyline is a family run outfit in Seattle. They recycle their scrap plastic! I am hoping they respond to my request. In the meantime, I will need to mail many more letters to kayak companies who offer a similar design.
Aside from the clothing, i.e., paddling jacket, pants, shorts, sandals, hats, shirts, and under wear, etc., Dave offers a list of gear that is extensive, but essential. From his list I will be able to direct my letters to specific potential sponsors requesting needed items for the expedition. The list is long, but kind of interesting to look at, at least for me.
Plastic tarp for use as inside tent liner
Bivy bag (optional)
Extra nylon parachute cord and tent stakes
Small tube of seam sealer
Lightweight fleece bag (to be used as a liner or alone on warm nights)
Self-inflating pad with repair kit
Cook kit: nesting pots
Flashlight with extra batteries
Water purifier with extra filters
Small plastic shovel or toilet trowel
Small pruning shears or small machete
Clothespins and line
Water bags and bottles
Collapsible water bucket
Seasonings, pump-spray margarine, and small bottle of olive oil
I accomplished two major milestones in my planning yesterday: I mailed off my first of many sponsorship proposal letters (this one to Eddyline Kayaks-I hope they like it), and I announced the trip to my Facebook friends after two weeks of serious consideration, and numerous questions emailed to Norm Miller (thank you again, Norm).
It is almost a relief to commit to the project, and then announce it. Once you announce your plan, doubts and worries transform into direction and details. I have passed the point of no return. Going for it is the only option.
Today, I feel great. Not so much because of these two accomplishments, but more so because I am NOT racing in the MR340 race (340 miles from Kansas City to St. Charles) today, tomorrow, and the next day in triple digit heat. Now THAT’s extreme paddling!