Just the day before I was up north cross country skiing with friends. We had a great time, even though I was fighting with my skis. I bought mine online for a steal, but they are wax skis, which I didn't quite understand til now. I took them in to be waxed and they asked me if I had kick wax...what? Apparently you need kick wax so you actually get a good kick and glide going. No wonder I was struggling so much and couldn't keep up with my friends on a previous outing!
On Saturday we headed to Black Mountain in Onaway, Michigan and we were the first ones on the trail. I did much better with the wax, but I still didn't feel like I was getting enough kick most of the time. Me thinks my technique could be suspect. However after about an hour or so things started to warm up and the snow started sticking to my skis. Nothing I did could get my glide back and keep the snow off. I ended up taking the skis off and walking back about a mile, which was not easy in ski boots. I came across a couple different people who kindly stopped, smiled and tried to offer advice. Turns out I needed the purple wax, which could have been added on top of the red when the weather warmed up. There's always next year and maybe I'll have waxless skis by then.
But then, last year I lost my roll, don't ask me where it went, it certainly wasn't with me in the kayak. Thus I was a little worried that it had fled me once again this year. Especially since I hadn't been in my kayak since October. Us krazy kayakers get together and rent a pool in the winter months to practice rolling, rescues and other skills. Happily I found my roll was still with me, so I moved on to side sculling, which was a little rough, but I was encouraged enough to work on the static brace. I managed to land two static braces before the pool session ended.
I planned to have pictures of me in the pool illustrating the different skills, after all I have a brand new waterproof digital camera. However I'm having so much fun in the pool that I keep forgetting to ask someone to take pictures. I did however capture Amiee rolling, you should take a look and notice she stuck with the euro blade while I did not.
When I moved to Michigan 16 years ago for work, I didn't really know anyone living here . What I did know was that it was a great job and I was lucky to be working for a TV Station in a Top 10 market. I joined the Union and started work in June of '94. Not long after starting work the contract between the union and the company was up and we were in a fight for benefits, working conditions and my job.
I didn't even stop to think twice about what I'd do, I stepped right up and joined the action. I've never been one to stand down from any challenge, often thriving in such an environment. There followed a bit of a long, drawn out fight with the company, but we eventually won a fair contract. It hasn't been easy, but I've enjoyed the challenge of being an active Union member ever since. Last year was my third time being part of the union negotiating committee, something I had come to enjoy. However, that all changed last February when I learned of changes and layoffs coming to my workplace. This was knowledge I had to keep to myself, not even able to share with my closest friend who was a co-worker.
My skin on frame building buddies came to my rescue and let me vent and offered advice when we went out at the end of the night for a beer or two. It took me longer than expected, but my qajaq did get skinned and has been out on the water a few times. It even made it to Michigan's Greenland Training Camp last year, where I proudly showed off all my hard work.
The qajaq isn't perfect, it needs some fine tuning, but until then I'm enjoying it. Just last week I took it to a pool session to practice my rolls. It was a nice, relaxing break from the stress of my impending layoff. Hopefully by picking back up where I left off on my blogging will also help. At the very least it will get my creative juices flowing again and I can channel them into learning new skills that will help me land an even better job this summer. Hopefully one that will allow me to continue kayaking!
Then I took it over to Chuck and he shrink wrapped it for me.
But it would have to wait a week while I went to Florida for a little Relaxation and Sunshine!
I was originally going to go to a pool session, but that didn't work out. So Allan and I decided to take our kayaks to Metro Beach for the test. When we got to our usual launch it was full of ice chunks. So we went over to the boat ramp and found some open water.There was still ice out there so I just had a narrow space to go back and forth in front of the launch.
It didn't take me too long to get comfortable and want to do more. Since the ice seemed thin I decided to cross the channel and break up the ice. Such a bad idea. Did you notice I'm not wearing gloves? Forgot them at home. I also forgot how fragile the shrink wrap is. Didn't take long for the ice to rip holes right into it.
The plate has to be carefully pegged into place. I finally hit a snag here when one of the pegs came out the side of the gunwale. It broke the stem plate and a piece out of the gunwale. At first I was really upset, as I was running out of scraps of cedar that were deep enough to fill the area that I had cut out for the stem plates. But then I remembered how well I had done at pegging the deck beams into place. Many people had problems with that step when I didn't.
This is a view of the bow stem plate pegged into place.
So what I have left to do is:
- Place and lash the chines
- Fit & peg the Masik
- Need one more curved deck beam between masik and footrest
- Deck stringers cut, pegged and shaped forward and aft of the cockpit
- Seal the wood frame
- Stretch the nylon
- Sew it onto the kayak
- Add cockpit coaming
- Stain the skin
- Seal the skin
Wow! That's alot to do yet. Wish me luck.