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We recently purchased kayaks and are having a blast using them. However, there were a few issues that needed some attention. There is a variety of kayak styles but the two major differences are sit-on kayaks and sit-in kayaks. We have sit on kayaks that are designed for use in the ocean. The kayaks are wide, stable, and self bailing. Self bailing kayaks are great because you don’t have to worry about taking on a bunch of water… or do you? If you didn’t load down the boats with people and gear, the scuppers would allow water to flow out of the boat and not allow you to take on water. We are not small people, and there is a bit of gear we have to take with us. The scuppers still do what they are intended for but they allow more water into the boat (This has left us with soggy butts on multiple occasions). A scupper is an opening in the side walls of an open-air structure, for purposes of draining water. They are usually placed at or near ground level, and allow rain or liquids to flow off the side of the open-air structure, instead of pooling within the walls From Wikipedia To remedy the wet butt thing we simply installed some scupper plugs. These little rubber plugs fill the scupper and keep the water out of the boat completely. These plugs are small rubber cones with a pull string integrated into the middle. They can be added or removed as needed. We generally kayak in colder water so keeping that water out is kinda great. The downside to scupper plugs is that now the kayak is no longer self-bailing. Between kids splashing, getting in and out of the boat, and paddle splashing, water inevitably ends up in the boat. Without a self-bailing system we needed a way to clear any water from the boat. There are two good ways to get the water from the kayak. You can use a pump or good old fashioned sponge. If we were using a sit-in kayak I would have opted for a pump because they can gather large volumes of water, quickly. However, the water volume in our kayaks is pretty low so we went with a sponge. I went to harbor freight tools and purchased some cheap sponges, some paracord, a few small carabiners, and a grommet punch. I spent less than $20 for all my supplies. I cut a small hole in the sponged and then punched a grommet through. I then ran a loop of paracord through each sponge. Lastly, I used the carabiner to clip the paracord to the seat clip. The sponges sit behind our feet and collect any water that pools up in the boat. We simply squeeze out the sponge when it gets full and enjoy having dry butts. This is a great way to have a dry boat while not having to worry about losing your sponge. No need to wonder where your sponge is, or worry about littering! Have some great kayak hacks of your own? Share the below! Get up, Get out, and Create an Adventure!
We have rented kayaks a few times and had a blast every time we went out. I have been looking for a good deal on some used kayaks. After months of scouring craigslist and saving up some extra cash, I found a local rental place that was selling some well maintained used kayaks. We purchased two tandem kayaks that have seating for two adults, with a jump seat in the middle for a small child/dog. They are about 14 feet long and weigh 74 pounds each. The rental place was selling the kayaks with padded seats and paddles! Some rental companies in the area sell just the boat for their advertised price. Getting the seats and paddles is a huge value-add! The kayaks be loaded and unloaded on our small jeep by two able-bodied adults… we are getting better at this! Let’s take a look at the pro’s and con’s of having your own boats. Pro’s: Go anywhere (almost), anytime (almost)! Personalize the boats to your liking (eg: stickers, seats, GoPro mounts, etc…) Saves money! Rental fees in our area can exceed $150 per day, per kayak! Not limited to rental companies boundaries. Cons: Kayaks are bulky. At 14 feet and 74 pounds a piece, these can be tricky to get to the water. Storage! You want to keep your kayak(s) out of the sun if possible. You will need a tall place to stand them up, or a place to mount them so they are not laying on the keel. Inspection fees. Here in California we are facing an issue with invasive species of mussels hitchhiking their way into our lakes and streams. You will have to have your kayak(s) inspected each time you take them out. However, the money goes to supporting the parks and is usually only a few bucks for each boat. Even with the cons I would totally recommend getting your own boat. If you love getting out on the water, and experiencing nature from somewhere other than the shoreline, a kayak is for you. We have had ours for a few weeks now and we have been out multiple times. We have seen tons of wildlife, cleaned up garbage, and most importantly we have grown closer as a family. The kids just asked if we are going to kayak on every day off! If you want to know more about our setup leave a comment below or hit us up using our contact page. If you are in Central California and want to go paddling let us know! Whatever your passions are in life remember to Get up, Get Out, and Create an Adventure.
Hey guys I wanted to take a moment to share a great product with you! In full disclosure we are not sponsored by Morsel in any way. The images below and some text were taken straight from their site. I did order 5 of these as a part of a kickstarter and I could not be more happy with them. Take a look! Camping utensils have been a pain point for a while. We started with dollar store cutlery and found them to be too bulky and the metal tasted odd. They were switched out with generic backpacking sporks which functioned, albeit with some compromises. They were pretty flimsy, and I broke a couple with some aggressive cutting action. They were also a bit short, I would often flip to the other side and end up touching the part that had been in my mouth previously. Not a huge issues but it sucked to get food/spit on my hand. So we continued our search for the perfect camping utensil. I was browsing Kickstarter and happened upon a campaign for the Morsel Spork. I was immediately drawn to the design. They sold me and I instantly ordered five. It was cool to follow the process of Morsel becoming a company and bringing a product to life! I counted down the days until I could finally use mine! After spending some time using the Morsel Spork XL I can enthusiastically recommend getting one (or more!). The Morsel Spork XL 5 IN 1 COMBO CUTLERY SET: Morsel is the world’s first part spoon, fork and spatula with a strong knife edge for cutting – resulting in an all-round camping dining tool. The fork as well as the spoon works like conventional cutlery, the spatula helps to enjoy your meal until the very last bite.DESIGNED WITH RUBBER EDGE: Flexible rubber edge helps to scrape your gear completely clean and puts more food in your belly. Thereby it facilitates cleaning and avoids unnecessary waste of water.EXTRA LONG & COMPACT SIZE: Morsel comes in two lengths. XL’s long length is perfect to get deep into food bags and easily scrapes the last bit without getting food all over your hands. The Standard size is the perfect multi utensil tool for having lunch at the office and makes an essential travel accessory. Great for on the go meals, travel, and outdoor adventure. Morsel XL is 10.5″ (265mm) long and weighs in at 0.85 ounces (24 grams).STRONG AND DURABLE: Through its hardly destructible material our Morsel is designed to last. Therewith it is more versatile in comparison to conventional camping cutlery. No matter how you stow it in your backpack, it won’t break.DISHWASHER SAFE AND BPA FREE: With our Morsel you don’t have to worry about anything. It is not made of materials that are hazardous to health and you can put into the dishwasher without any concerns. From Morsel. https://morselspork.com/products/morsel-spork We have one of each color! My family loves the Morsel Spork. The large size is manageable, even for the four year old! The angular spoon is great for cleaning out a food pouch, plate, or bowl. A morsel for each person and a few morsel spoons and you can streamline your utensils in a major way! You can buy a great product and support us by purchasing your Morsel through Amazon. Click here to purchase on Amazon!
While on our road trip this summer we had the opportunity to visit Crater Lake. But we had less than a whole day to see it, we were meeting family for dinner in Bend, Oregon so, we had to be strategic with our time. The first thing we did was head to park headquarters. Where we picked up junior ranger books for the boys and purchased all the souvenirs we collect. We looked over the map and planned our attack. We were traveling with family, some of whom love to hike and others who would need to take it slow. So we chose an easy hike with a pretty destination and some key sight seeing spots to make the most of our day. The hike we chose was to Plaikni Falls. It’s a 2 mile round trip, easy hike. It starts with a path through the redwoods and then the last quarter mile inclines a bit. The hike was INFESTED with mosquitoes but once you get to the falls it’s amazing (we went on the first of July and were later told to avoid the Cascade Mountains until mid July when the mosquitos are less prolific). At the falls, the mosquitos are replaced with butterflies, and the rushing sound of water, and wildflowers. Seriously, it was so dreamy! This hike was easy and rewarding and perfect to squeeze into our short time here. After our hike to the waterfall we went see the lake! None of us had ever been here before so we were in awe, as we turned the last curve in the road, and saw the lake in all its grand blueness! We ate lunch at the Rim Cafe, the food was decent but expensive, typical park food, but it didn’t matter because we were staring out at that big, beautiful lake. After lunch we walked over to the lake and just stood in awe of it’s amazing blue color. We walked along the observation trail and read the informational boards and took photos. Then we walked all around the Rim Village. The boys completed their Junior Ranger books and earned Jr. Ranger badges and they also participated in a junior ranger activity and earned patches! We walked down to the Sinnott Memorial Overlook while we were there too. The overlook provides an amazing view of the lake, like looking at it through a frame, it puts you right on the edge of the lake with nothing to disrupt your view. The overlook also has an information center that describes the blast that created the lake, it’s full of great information. By then we had ran out of time and had to get going. We decided to drive out of the north side of the lake so that gave us the opportunity to take in the views as we drove and stop to snap a few photos on our way. I’m never a fan of rushing or not fully experiencing a place but sometimes all you get is a day. So, if all you have is a day, the things we did will give you a great overview of Crater Lake. But be warned, you will want to go back and explore more, I know we do.
Do you ever have one of those weeks where you just need to get away and reset? This week we all needed a reset so we decided to head down to the central coast for a day of sun and relaxation. Big Sur is about an hour from our house and it makes for a great day trip! We headed over to coast through Monterey and stopped at the Lucky’s in Carmel, stocked up on some lunch items, and made our way down the coast. We were enjoying the drive and planned on heading to Point Lobos for some beach and lunch! As we rounded the corner towards Point Lobos we found a ton of cars parked along the road. We then remembered it is Spring break in most of the area… We kept driving and found a nice large shoulder right before a vista point. There was plenty of room to safely park and enjoy the beautiful expanse of the Pacific Ocean while eating some lunch. We ate some lunch meat, cheese, and fruits & veggies. The weather was great and the view was amazing! We decided to keep on driving and headed down the coast to the Bixby Canyon Bridge. There is a road called Old Coast Road to your left, right before the bridge, when you are heading south on highway 1. This dirt road heads up through the redwoods and gives great views of the Pacific Ocean. You can find more about the road in the Guide to California Backroads & 4-Wheel-Drive Trails. Due to some mudslides and downed trees we were not able to drive the whole road however, the views we got were pretty great! We turned back and then continued down highway 1 to garapatta State Park where we spent the afternoon exploring an awesome beach, and taking pictures of the beautiful wildflowers! There is a small valley cut through the sandstone by a small stream. This valley presents the perfect conditions for a beautiful green valley packed with white lilies. Don’t miss out on this perfect instagram shot, just be careful to leave it looking beautiful for the next visitors! The beach at Garapatta State Park is accessible via a single tracked trail through the coastal vegetation. There are stairs that lead you to a beautiful sandy beach, littered with large rock outcroppings. With the bright blue/green Pacific Ocean in front of you, and the hard packed mud cliffs behind, there is hardly a spot more beautiful. Explore the coastline to the south and make sure to check out all the cool rock outcroppings, including small cave-like cutouts. Keep an eye out for sneaker waves, and make sure to keep track of the tide! After spending time taking pictures of wild lilies, playing in the water, and exploring the rock outcroppings, we packed up and headed back towards home. After a fun afternoon in Big Sur we headed to Monterey to track down some delicious clam chowder and some calamari. We ended up at Scales in Monterey and we filled our bellies before heading home. The sourdough bread bowls are packed full of soup and are easily shareable! The Big Sur area has so much to offer people of all ages and interests. We are blessed to be able to have Big Sur as a day trip. You can stay for a day, or stay for a month, and you will not run out of things to do. Enjoy the beautiful drive along the coast and then let all your stress go in Big Sur.
Every year since I have been a part of my husbands family I have gone with them on their annual family camping trip to the Santa Cruz/Monterey KOA. They have been coming to the same place every year on a church camping trip for years and now we have turned it into an extended family camping trip and it’s so fun. This trip has been my boys first camping trips at around 4 months old for each of them. My kids talk about it all year and we all look forward to our time away together. Every year we go to the same KOA but what we stay in has changed over the years, cabins, lodges, trailers and our own tent (which is what we do now), but it’s always at our beloved KOA. Now I know some people don’t consider this real camping, and it really isn’t, but it is super fun. And it provides a fun family experience for all of us from adults to kids. So let’s talk about all the fun you can have here. This KOA is situated just minutes from Sunset State Beach and Manressa State Beach, though you will have a hard time tearing your kids away from all the activities to get to the beach. There is a big awesome multi slide playground, two jumping pillows, an arcade, a pool and hot tub, rentable bikes, bocce ball court, ladder ball area, corn hole set up, two off leash dog areas and a splash pond for the kids. Plus there are other kid activities through out the day like a little train that runs through the campground, an ice cream bike that delivers ice cream right to your camp site, crafts and scavenger hunts. I haven’t even mentioned the clean bathrooms and free hot showers, plus a convenience store, on site laundry and wonderful staff. Most of all we love our family camping trips for the late night campfires, super S’mores (just add peanut butter!), mid day card games, beach trips, watching nephews and uncles bond, eating all our meals together and conversations through out the day. That family time has created memories for a lifetime and an eagerly awaited trip every year
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