Friday, August 07, 2009

Kayaking the Yazoo River, August 2nd

We paddled up the Yazoo River on Sunday afternoon. Oh man, it was really hard!

The difficulty started before we even reached the river. Chip has an FJ Cruiser, and although it is a shorter/lighter SUV, it is still tall. Getting our two kayaks on top of Chip's FJ was tough. We lifted from the ground up to our shoulders, and then Chip lifted the boat up the rest of the way. I was proud of us! Ok, proud of Chip because I just kinda stood there and pushed up at the right time.
The FJ is a great vehicle for hauling the boats. Once you get over the height, the rest of the truck seems built for loading things on top. The gate opens horizontally like a door, so you can still get in the back once the boats are loaded. There are strong hooks on the trailer hitch and strong tow hooks on the front.

Chip got the Yakima BowDown boat holders. So far we a pleased with them. I give them a 6 out of 10 because I do have a couple of complaints. #1 - While not in use and "bowed down" on the truck, they make a pretty annoying whistling noise. Not enought to drive me crazy, but annoying. #2 - To secure the boats, you thread a strap through a large loop at the top of the BowDown cradle. For some unknown reason, there is a 1-inch space in the bottom of the loop. While we were loading the boats the strap fell through the space in the loop multiple times and we had a difficult time wriggling it back up into the loop. That was enough to make me want to seal off the space in the loop with duck tape.

Our paddle up the Yazoo was tough. It was hot - upper 90s - and the current was strong from all the rain we'd been getting. This paddle was seriously hard for a newbie like me. If I stopped even for a few seconds to wipe the sweat off my face, then I would be pushed back 3 to 6 feet by the current. Not fun. But I did it, and it felt good! We paddled up river for 2 miles up to a pretty oxbow-type lake off the main river. I didn't bring my digital camera with me, but I will on one of my future paddles. From the lake we could see Fort Hill in the Vicksburg Military Park. I can't wait to go back and do this paddle when the current is not so strong.

We are planning on going out on the reservoir on Sunday to continue our training. I want to do a long paddle in the AM before it gets too hot. I will definitely take my camera.


Ginger said...

That sounds TOUGH!! I'm impressed!

I hope you have a waterproof shell for your camera!

Leah Maria said...

Glad y'all finally got to go out on the water! Can't wait to hear more about it and see pictures.

Jenni said...

Hi, Lisa! It's Jenni Thompson from CHS! My boyfriend and I just bought kayaks, and looking for local info, I stumbled on your blog. Fortuitous! I would love to chat with you about what you've discovered thus far.

We are in the process of figuring out how to load two kayaks on top of my SUV, and this looks like a good option. Question: does this Yakima model require your roof rack to have crossbars? I just have the rails that run parallel the length of the vehicle, and it LOOKS like you have the same scenario. Thoughts?

Great to "see" you, and hope you're doing well!

Lisa Blair said...

Hey there, Jenni! How are you?! It's been a long time!

The Yakima BowDown does require crossbars to be added to the rails of the roof rack. My husband's FJ has the Toyota factory-installed crossbars on the rack, but Chip has mentioned a few times that he thinks the Yakima crossbars would probably work better with the BowDowns.

Our boats are around 48 pounds each. For us, the most difficult part of getting the boats on the truck is the height. Chip is 5'8", but that truck is TALL. We got a Thule StepUp (step that attaches to the truck tire), but I think any sturdy step latter would work just as well.

You can comment here (I get all comments emailed to me), or you can email me at lisablair7[at]yahoo[dot]com if you have any other questions.

Good luck!