The Tale of Three Kayaks

Earlier this month my Rooster and I went on vacation.  Our favorite kind of vacation, a Road Trip.  Yep, we packed my Jeep, loaded the kayaks on top and headed southeast.

Destination:  Chickenhawk Farms in Salt Lake City.

The Jeep you ask?  Honestly, the Jeep was chosen last minute, first we were going to take the truck with some working gear and paint Gary’s House.  But Gary nixed that idea, asking that we come to Salt Lake City and relax, not work.

Then we were going to ride the Street Glide down, it’s the perfect time of year.  But that would have forced us to leave our kayaks at home and to become a travelling Ikea bike, which was cool and all back in the day, but we are creatures of comfort now.

Not to mention that my Jeep gets 28 mpg, to the truck’s 14.

We headed out on a Monday and since my Rooster has been working nights, I took the first driving shift while he napped.

We had gone barely 100 miles of our 980 mile (one way) trip, when I started to hear a funny whistling coming from on top of the Jeep.  My Rooster continued to snore away into the ages while I wondered about the whistle for a while, contemplating an unscheduled stop to check on the kayaks.

We were zipping along in the fast lane doing about 75 as I thought it through.

The beast awoke from his fitful sleep just then, perhaps because of the whistle, perhaps because of the powerful noise coming from my mind as I struggled with stopping or not.

I explained why I wanted to pull over and he agreed that it was the best plan.

Just then, we heard a snap and right as “What was that?” came out of my mouth, his kayak went spinning from atop my Jeep and onto I-5, right at the sign for the Three Rivers Mall.

It bounced once and then thankfully went left and into the cable barrier, where it stopped.  Normally in a situation like this, I would panic.   Much to my surprise, instead of panicking, I found myself giggling.

“What’s so funny?  You have to pull over!” my Rooster crowed.

“It’s funny, because that was YOUR kayak”, I answered.  (How rude of me, it was almost like an out of body experience.)

He wanted me to pull off to the left, but there wasn’t room, so I pulled off on the right hand side as soon as I could, perhaps 1/4 mile up the road.  We could see where his kayak sat in the cable barrier, and after he quickly checked the strap on my kayak we were back on the road, headed to the next exit.  We would have to go the other direction to get it back from where it lay in the median.

The strap that had held the lost kayak was sheared away at the buckle.

Great straps you sell with your racks Amazon!

Sidebar:  While searching Amazon for that link, I just realized that the racks (and thus the straps right?) have a lifetime warranty, Amazon may be paying for a new kayak.

Of course, my Rooster decided that he would be driving now, and off the very next exit we went.  Then what to our wondering eyes did appear?  (Hint: Not 8 flying reindeer)

A Tractor Supply, into which we flew to gather some ratchet straps.  We weren’t in the store for five minutes and it was back onto I-5 to retrieve our (his) errant kayak.

My Rooster flew back down I-5 slowing near the mall and turned the flashers on.  Unlike me, he doesn’t mind slowing to 30 mph in the fast lane while searching for kayaks.  🙂

We circled a five mile stretch of I-5 from both the north and southbound directions for over an hour.  We did that loop four times, and never did we ever lay eyes on his kayak again.

“Keep looking babe, it’s tan, the same color as the weeds, we may have missed it last time around”, he kept saying to me.

“It’s ten feet long”, I kept replying.

Someone…….. someone in that ten minute stretch of time.  Someone with an empty bed of a pickup truck perhaps, stopped and got themselves a free kayak.  Someone out there needed a kayak, an oar and a fishing pole more than we did.  🙁

PSA:  We recommend using at least 500 lb ratchet straps based on experience.


Nevertheless, we were on a destination road trip, and there were more kayaks to be had in the world.  Our next stop was Portland, where we searched at Costco and then Walmart for a new (tax free) Kayak for my Rooster.  We were determined that such a crazy loss wasn’t going to stop the two of us from paddling our way around in Oregon, in Idaho and in Utah during our trip.

We finally replenished our kayak supply in Boise, Idaho at Dick’s Sporting Goods.  $157 is a great deal for a sit-in Field and Stream kayak, especially one with fancy colors.  One that my Rooster likes even more than the lost, tan, free-for-all kayak.

And so our adventure continued, mostly unscathed, but for the financial and emotional scars of the story so far.

We ended up kayaking on the Snake River below the Wolcott Dam near Heyburn, Idaho, which was a beautiful paddle around.  There was an exciting thunder storm and a lightening fire that we got to witness too, during that first water adventure with the new kayak and my old trusty one.

The next day we kayaked at Phillips Lake, near Baker City, Oregon.  Another beautiful day on a beautiful body of water.  We crossed the lake and did a little exploring on the uninhabited “other side”.

Neither of which would have been found without our trusty kayak app.

Of course, our little kayaking side trips were extended both coming and going by the multitude of straps that now held the kayaks on the Jeep, they took half an hour to take on an off.  Two straps over each kayak individually, one over the center of both of them and finally one joining the two together that strapped down to the front of the Jeep.

We learned that you just can’t be too careful.  We were lucky that the flying kayak didn’t hit and/or hurt another vehicle, we won’t be taking that chance again.

We did spend much of the remainder of the road trip critiquing the kayak racks and tie downs on other vehicles, and searching the side of the road for free kayaks.  🙂

In case you were wondering, I didn’t get to drive again for the entire 2000 mile trip, even though the loss of the kayak was a strap problem, not a driver problem.

Moral of the story:  Secure your load, and be prepared to replace it.

We had a good trip.  I absolutely recommend that you get some kayaks and enjoy some waterbound adventures.

Now for some useful information for our friends with kayaks, who like to go to new places…

There is a phone app that you can download for free that works with Google Maps, knows your location, etc, just for kayakers.  It tells you where good kayaking waters are and it is totally user friendly and comprehensive.

We used it the whole rest of the trip.  It’s called “Go Paddling” and gives not only directions, but information about things like launches, parking (free or not), restroom availability, campsites, food availability, whether or not there are use fees, picnic tables or any hazards.  You can upload your own comments and photos to share with other users.

My favorite thing about the app (I am easily amused) is the opening screen 🙂

Here’s the link to download it,  “Go Paddling“!



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