Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Hidden Under the Deck

This post and parts of the previous post are mixed up sequentially. We carefully removed the deck from the forms so that we could finish the underside of the deck. The first strip of the deck had been tacked to the forms and occasionally other strips were hot glued to the forms, but it separated quite easily as it was intended.

Eighty grit on the sander made quick work of smoothing the underside of the deck.

Oversize holes were drilled through the deck where the perimeter line was going to pass through it, and then the holes were filled with thickened epoxy tinted black with laser toner. A strip of 17 oz fabric was placed across the center of the areas that would become the hatches for extra strength and then the underside of the deck was glassed with a single layer of 4 oz fabric.

Waterproof passages for the perimeter line were fabricated using appropriate sized surgical tubing with a small bungee in the core to keep the tube from collapsing. The tubing was placed through the pair of deck holes
and then covered with thickened epoxy and fiberglass fabric. The next day, the surgical tubing was pulled out, leaving an epoxy tube under the deck for the perimeter line to pass through. We also placed split PVC tubing to serve as a channel for the perimeter line inside the cockpit. These tubes were glassed in place as well.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Kayak Deck

The last time I blogged about the kayak project, we had just finished applying fiberglass to the outside of the deck.

While I was on the Colorado River trip, the deck remained on the forms while the fiberglass cured completely. This makes life easier since the deck retains it shape better the longer it cures.

While I was gone, Kathy constructed the coaming riser from short pieces of cedar strips, and then sanded and glassed the outside surface and applied resin to the inner surface. The next step was to apply florist foam around the outside of the riser and then apply grey tape over the riser and the foam. The grey tape will form the inside parting surface for the construction of a fiberglass coaming ring.

Since this process has the potential to be a bit sloppy, we created a dam around the area so that resin wouldn't run onto the kayak itself.

I don't have any pictures of the actual layup process. We used strips of 17 oz biaxial cloth like I used on the dory project. We wet them out on a plastic sheet, then rolled them up and applied them to the form. We ended up using four layers, working continuously around the cockpit.

The rough rim came loose from the taped form quite easily the next day. The rim was marked and then the excess was cut off from both edges.

The rim was attached to the riser using thickened resin and left to cure overnight.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

What's Up?

It's been a hectic month since the Grand Canyon trip finished and some of us are already dreaming of doing it again. We've made lots of progress on Kathy's kayak and I'll start reporting on that process any day now. With it starting to push the 100 degree mark in the Phoenix area, it's time for us to head to cooler climates.

I'm scheduled for jury duty on Monday and fighting the first cold I've had in about 3 years. Once we get those both out of the way and some work done on the truck, we'll be loading the Scamp and heading to Washington and Oregon for a while. Hope to enjoy time and another project at Glory Farm, hang out at some of my childhood camping spots, spend time with family, enjoy the Oregon Gathering and a family reunion in July, and then head back to the heat.

Plans are very loose - all I know is that I want to stop by Spokane early in the trip and we have fixed dates for the Oregon Gathering in Bandon in mid-July and family reunion in Mt. Vernon in late July.

I'm toying with the possibility of a northbound route through Nevada if the temperatures are reasonable. I've thought about Grand Teton and/or Yellowstone but doubt we'll go that far east this time. US 395 in California is another option. Maybe we'll just use darts on the map!

Friday, April 25, 2014


Mom - Easter 1948 at Deception Pass
We celebrated Mom's 85th birthday in January. She wasn't as spry as she had been last summer, but was still getting around well and enjoying her family and friends. When I heard in early February that I would be able to go on a month long river trip in March, there was no need for concern, but when I got off the river I had a voice mail from her asking that I change our summer schedule to come visit sooner than planned.

Conversations with her and my sister indicated that visiting sooner would be wise, but even that wasn't as soon as it should have been. She took to her bed on Sunday, the week before Easter and passed away early that Thursday morning.

While the blog posts about the Grand Canyon trip kept automatically posting, I had a sad but wonderful week with my siblings, their spouses, and our extended family at Glory Farm as we took care of Mom's affairs and then took her for her last ride through the Tulip fields in the valley she loved so much.

We even had time to drive out to Deception Pass where my niece stood in for a current photo. While we're sad, we're also confident that Mom celebrated Easter in Heaven this year. Meanwhile, life goes on.

Mom and Dad raised four kids that count our blessings, and are thankful for our heritage and for our friends and family. We are truly blessed.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Day 25 - 279 Mile Camp to Pearce Ferry Ramp

It was the last night on the river and I stayed in my sleeping bag until someone else fired up the blaster for hot water. People were sacked out all over the place, including the kitchen.

There were quite a few on the boats again last night.

Possibly the last time that these three boats will be on the water together.

I couldn't resist a selfie to see how scruffy I was after 24 nights on the river.

It was only a mile and a half to the take-out at the new Pearce Ferry ramp. Family and friends were there to greet us.

The crew from Moenkopi Riverworks was there to collect their rental rafts and equipment. All the frames and hatches came off the rafts, the rafts were washed, and eventually deflated and rolled up for return to Flagstaff.

Speaking of deflated - I think quite a few of us, although looking forward to seeing family and friends, were deflated to leave the river after a wonderful trip.

I'm very thankful that I had the opportunity to join the group and experience the canyon from the inside. I was privileged to team up with a delightful raft captain who shared her knowledge and experience with me. The trip was one of the most memorable experiences of my life.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Day 24 - Mile 264.8 Camp to 279 Mile Camp

March 28th dawned a bit cooler than most of our nights had been. Some people avoided getting up

but everyone greeted the day with a grin, even if it was the last full day on the river.

Those that did get out of bed wasted no time in finding a hot cup of coffee. Helicopters started flying about 7:30 waking even the last stragglers.

The famous Hualapi Skywalk was visible shortly after we started down river.

It's located quite a ways from the river on a small branch canyon.

Like yesterday, there was a lot of boat swapping going on. Elmira rowed the Flavell II while Craig caught up on his rest.

Once he was rested, he restored his energy with Chips Ahoy cookies.

We stopped as close as we could to Columbine Falls. Many of the folks located the trail and walked to the falls. Very different from my visit in 2000 when I was able to paddle the kayak directly to the base of the falls.

While at Columbine, Helen and I decided that the dark shelf paper had been on the inside of Susie Too's splash guard long enough. It came off surprisingly easy, exposing the beauty of the quartersawn oak.

The Grand Wash Cliffs at river mile 277.1 marks the western end of the Grand Canyon.

We made camp on the river bank - a location that would be over 100' under water if the lake was full. One last night together before returning to civilization.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Day 23 - Spencer Canyon to 264.8 Mile Camp

We left Spencer Canyon about 9 a.m. but some of us didn't get far, stopping in an eddy almost directly across the river to look for the Buzz Holmstrom mark from 1939 when his group was one of the last to run Lava Cliff rapid before it was submerged by Lake Mead. It took awhile and most of us had given up, but Greg found it somewhere near the arrow.

After yesterday's wind and threats of rain, the day was looking pretty nice.

We were hoping for a fair amount of distance but also realized that the trip was quickly winding down so there was lots of relaxing by the full trip folks while the Diamond Creek crew rowed.

I was back on Izzy's raft today. Elmira rowed part of the time, I rowed part of the time, as did Izzy.

As we got closer to Quartermaster Canyon, we were passed by the Hualapai snout rigs on their daily whitewater charters from Diamond Creek.

There were lots of shoals and sandbars in this section which we managed to avoid, unlike some of the boats in our group.

I counted 8 helicopters within a one mile area and think I identified at least five separate helipads in the Quartermaster Canyon area. The helicopters are flying tourists from Las Vegas and from the South Rim.

With the level of Lake Mead over 100 feet below "full pool," the river has cut down through layers of silt, looking sort of like a layer cake.

We were last to arrive at camp - what's the rush? The river edge was very muddy and slippery and built up quickly in shoe treads making it tough to keep a clean boat. The kitchen was set up in a clearing on a ledge

while most of the group hung around on the boats, enjoying the end of another fun day on the river. One boat tried to get away but was quickly caught. Its line had been burned through by an ember from the fire.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Day 22 - Separation Canyon to Spencer Canyon

We were able to launch from Separation Canyon by 9 a.m., hoping to get a head start on the forecast winds and rain. We has a pretty strong tailwind for the first 2 1/2 miles.

I rode with Tony on the cataraft. A great seat for taking pictures with nothing in your way.

I wasn't the only one taking pictures.

Most boats had one of the newbies rowing,

and they were doing a good job,

even after we turned the first corner and the wind started to come up.

Eventually, we started getting enough breeze that Natalie decided she'd had enough of paddling her kayak so she got a lift.

When we turned the next corner, we had a strong headwind, making it tough to make any progress. We tied up at Spencer Canyon to see if the wind would change direction or let up so that we could continue. Meanwhile, lots of dust in the air!

Although the clouds started to break, strong wind gusts would blow through. They were strong enough to blow over the only kitchen table that was set up and scatter cans of food and dry bags around. In spite of the forecast, we didn't get any measurable rain. We ended up staying the night, hoping for better weather in the morning.