The auctioneer started the bid on an old cylindrical grater at $15. and with no bids he dropped to $10. and then to $5. The audience was very still and no bid was forthcoming so the auctioneer made like he covered the mike and said to his helper’s, “You know guys, with a simple tea light these make a fantastic table decoration and they give off some fantastic shadow effects. The grater ended up selling for $27; well above the starting offer of $15.
Moral, and more importantly, the reason behind the story is that a paddling and camping couple friends of ours, Marion and Duane, suggested something from the winter ski season may be of benefit for the summer paddling season.
Goes to show you, it’s not always what you’re looking at….but rather, how you see it!
Thanks to @luv2campingmom



“The only limit to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today.” -Franklin D. Roosevelt.
I was looking through some different things today and laughed out loud at some of the accomplishments made this year. Did I get everything done that I’d planned? Not even close, but year over year, I got a lot more done this year and with a greater variety. Cold tenting in January, Mad River run in the Spring, multiple trips with friends and family, a 50th anniversary trip with a cast of 22 people, three dogs and 8 canoes, and followed up with a mid November tour through several lakes in the south of Algonquin.  Best thing is that this one isn’t close to being over…..!
So a word of caution to 2017… ain’t seen nothin’ yet…!

I would never take sole credit for any of this as it’s just more fun to share the outdoors with others, so thanks to my family, the Millers, for testing most of my limits and still making us smile, @Paddle_In @Some_Eventful @OutdoorsShawn @luv2campingmom @Man_Camping @Swift_Canoe @Canoe_In @christinascheu and special thanks to Izzy, who is just as happy to see me when I come home from work as he is when I come off a trip away.




What would you do with an inheritance? Take a trip, pay off some bills, or just blow the wad and go high on the hog until the money ran out?
My Buddy, Steve, found himself in this very situation and with the support of his wife, Nancy, he decided to do something that would perpetuate the memory of his Grandmother, Jean!
Sure, you could take one trip, or do something else short term to satisfy yourself, but how could you capture and nurture the memory of a loved one and keep that memory alive through your children as they remember you?
Steve has long been a lover of the outdoors and is a “keep it light” freak! As a family paddling companion, it came as no surprise on the day he announced he was going to purchase a canoe, a top notch canoe, and name her Jean, in honour of his Grandmother, so that her name and memory could become an heirloom to Steve and Nancy’s family.
Off we went to Swift Canoe and loaded three different hull designs onto the trailer for a paddle at Hardy Lake. No packs but a typical fall day complete with a stiff breeze to test the best of any canoe.
The choice was made and after a bit, both head’s nodded in acceptance.
Jean’s maiden voyage took place this weekend and she was stellar. A 16′ Swift Keewaydin in carbon fusion and Innegra along with the carbon tech package and tractor seats…..this canoe attracted looks on and off the water.
At 34 pounds, the main concern was having her blow off the truck roof but once in the water this boat made you think you’d actually known Jean…if for no other reason but to help her along.
Once loaded with two big guys, a big, yet gentle dog, and all our gear, we put off the dock and glided down the river chasing the others. Soon we were all facing a strong cross bow wind while we headed for our first campsite as night fell.
Next morning we re-loaded the canoes and headed south amidst an ever changing wind.
Standing 6’4″ and 225 lbs. I sat in the bow position and have not felt more comfortable in any other canoe….Period! This is a finely designed canoe which is rock solid stable, while being nimble and responsive to the paddle.
On the way out we encountered some substantial winds ( +45 km/ph all weekend) that rolled in every direction and this lady took what ever was dished out. We rode 1 and 1/2 foot swells and with the tumblehome Jean provided, all was kept dry and she sat proud in the waterimg_20161111_145625.
The memory of Jean will live long, through Steve and his family and for Steve’s love, respect, and admiration of family.
As a footnote, when we came out, Steve remarked on the fact the canoe and the truck weren’t the same colour. I told him, “You’re gonna have to paint the truck!”
Stay tuned for many more photos!


Saturday was not close to the first time this year that I’ve ventured to to southwest section of the province in search of a new (to me) canoe!  I had a plan set up since Wednesday when I made the call regarding a canoe available for sale.  It’s funny how voices come through the phone and you just know when a deal has been done; few and far between are the deals done by someone’s word, anymore.

I knew it would be the better part of the day before I returned home, so the day started off by taking Izzy for an extra long walk.  I’m certain he knew that it would be a solo trip because he didn’t walk me to the garage door when I left.

Rolling across the 401 at 9:00 AM on a Saturday morning, I was amazed at the volume of traffic right out to the 282 exit where traffic came to an abrupt stop due to construction right up to the 278…..yup, my exit!  Oh well, with a zig here and a zag there I rolled on into Kitchener on Bridge St. headed for HandCrafted Canoes.  I could see the canoes on the rack out front and the wooden sign with the bow paddle bent over in a power stroke, let me know I’d found the right address.

I backed the Ram and trailer into the driveway and headed for the door when I saw the reason for this trip.  A Kevlar Speed River, designed by John Winters, sat right out front and while she showed signs of use, she displayed all the right lines for a quick and stable craft, yet capable of packing some gear.

I walked into the showroom and saw several different craft on display along with an assortment of seats and paddles available for sale.  I saw James fly past the shop door and he waved to make sure I knew that he knew I was there.  Introductions were made and out we went to have a look at the Speed River.  This is an asymmetrical hull with a length of 15’11”, width of 35″, bow rocker of 2.5″, stern rocker of 1.75″, center depth of 14.5″, bow height of 21″, and a stern height of 18.5″.  My mind was made up and James gave me a lift setting her up on the trailer for the trip home.

While speaking with James some great knowledge came to light with regard to their warranties and their building procedures.  While I listened it became clear why these canoes look so great.  In the shop the craftsmen follow a strict format in order to maintain the flow of construction.  Premium components come in and are handled the same way for every canoe that goes out the door.  Speaking of which, a customer took delivery of a gorgeous lime green Speed River as I was fastening down mine.  There’s an old saying, “A place for everything and everything in it’s place.”  That sums up both the showroom and the shop.  I thought to myself that I’d be very comfortable regarding any possible warranty work that someone may come up with due to these work procedures.

While working with composites, workers are subject to VOC’s ( volatile organic compounds) which are flat out bad for humans and have contributed to the ozone problems.  Most of us over the years have become familiar with the smell that instantly identifies fibreglass work being done.  HandCrafted Canoe has been building canoes for 12 years and the booth they use has a series of scrubbers and 12 filters in the venting system.  While lesser efficient systems have to set the height of their vents a minimum level ABOVE neighbouring locations, this system can basically vent down to the ground.  Net result is a concern for their staff and the environment which sure sounds like a “win win” situation to me!

Well, canoes don’t come together on their own so I thanked James for his time and a firm hand shake told me this was a good choice in a great canoe.

Having been born in Guelph I got a bit of a chuckle on the way home as my  Speed River bounced down Eramosa Road and onto the bridge to cross over the Speed River.  The trip home across country and off the 400 series highways made it clear to me that I just love what I do; a  chance to meet some great folks, see more of the country side and be able to paddle a variety of canoe designs and learn more about canoes.



You just have to love the invitation that reads as follows…..” Your company is requested to join us on a late Fall adventure that will entail an easy peasy concoction of 8 lakes, 6 portages over a scant 7780 metres, within two days.  The courtesy of a reply is requested!”

“Hell, YES!”  All I got was the tease of seeing a whole lot of moose over the trip and that was good enough for me.  Again a trip that will put new players, to me, into the equation but what does that matter.  I enjoy making new friends.

So from lighter to a whole bunch lighter yet we go for this one and I’m happy to go for it.  Anyone have a phone number for cab service near Dwight… the bush….in the dark….?That’s what I thought.

Tonight I thought about the weapon of choice because at my age, the canoes don’t get lighter on their own and the portages don’t get any lighter.  So technically speaking I need help from others more qualified;  designers, purveyors, and those with the experience of tripping.  I got in touch with a company who has a John Winters design canoe that comes out at about 42-44 pounds and with the distance I’m looking at travelling, it sure as heck beats out the 72+ pounds I did recently on considerably less travel.

I’m already excited about the trip potential and now I’m getting antsy about trying out, yet, another hull design for possibly a season end trip with the paddle…..!

Season’s end is still “subject to change”