Monday, June 20, 2011

#5 Report; Find a Shuttle Vehicle

The search for a motorcycle begins. I had owned two others over the time that I needed them. They had been sold when I thought I was done canoeing. Used small street bikes are hard to find. When the original owner gives up on them, others take the lights off and use them for dirt bikes. I looked at one of those. It was cleaned up and all of the lights were in a box. A close look at the machine revealed that it had gone through hell and back. There has to be a better bike out there.  The cycle has to be light enough that one end at a time can be lifted up into a bumper rack. There are a lot of big bikes for sale, but that would require a trailer for transport. The only old bikes still in dependable service are motorscooters which are hauled around on motorhomes. I looked at a few of those.
One 1987 Honda Elite 80cc looked very good. Only 1500 miles on it. Seller did not have the title. It had been owned by a relative who came from Virginia. Seller kept it at his place of business in Philadelphia. He tried to get the title and was told that they do not keep dormant paper around more than five years. His granddaughter rode it around his property, so it had little use. Price was cheap at $150.00. Seller said I could take sales receipt to notary and they would get a title. I wasn't sure of that procedure, so I told him I would get back to him. Notary said, owner must get the title, then he can sell it. I gave up on the sweet deal.
Found another Honda Elite 1989 model.It had 9000miles on it. Seller hauled it on a motorhome.I paid $300.00 for it. It may have been better for something this old to have been run more frequently. I thought that I might buy the first one for parts, so I called the owner and it was sold. I hope the buyer knew what he was doing.
This Honda has smooth street tires, like the kind that you see on crouch rockets. One lineal groove around the circumference with single grooves radiating out from center to the edge of  the tread. The remainder of the tread is very smooth. I don't want to be on wet or snowy roads with those, so I ordered a knobby for the back. I saw the tire patern in the CycleMax dealers catalog. I told the parts man that that design would work good on snow for me. He promptly said I cannot ride this on snowy roads! I did not engage him in debate on it. A lot of back country roads are posted "no winter maintenance", so chains go on the truck to get in there. On return with the cycle I keep both hardsole boots on the slippery surface and go slow, with a quick disengage on the hand clutch if the wheel starts to let lose. Again, that is another reason the bike must be small.
My son gave me a full face helmet with a lot of features on it. He had used it to race Mustangs at Maple Grove, but now has a better one. My only concern about this bike is that it doesn't have a manual clutch, but a centrifugal one with automatic transmission. I am hoping that rapid down-turn of the throttle will disengage quick enough to spare me a spill. Will take it slower than usual, if it comes to icy conditions, to learn its ways.
On the internet, details of the 17 creeks are noted. Degree of difficulty, Put-in, take-out, hazzards, gauge points. It is clear that I will use both of my solo canoes. A Mohawk Challenger model, 14 feet long,30 inches wide, and an Old Town H2Pro model whitewater model 13'8" long by 29inches wide. Both are ready to go since they had been taken out earlier. I can forget about boats until January.
November 2010, I got on the scale.Good God! I weigh 210 lbs. Decide to make it a goal to lose ten lbs. Immediately switched to half piece of toast, cereal, one egg for breakfast. Gave up sweet iced tea altogether, and replaced it with water. Lunch was three plain rice cakes dipped in water. Damn things taste like wet newspaper. The surprising thing is that I did not miss the iced tea which I drink must of the time. The hardest thing is avoiding sweets which around holidays seem to come in abundance. I lost five pounds after the first two weeks, then it was very slow going on the numbers. Finally the scale responded with lower numbers. It took two and a half months to see 198 lbs on the scale the end of January. Now to keep it there. I don't know if this is physiological, but I feel that I can move quicker, or am less sluggish, maybe even more physical, although I am not doing strenthening activities, just cross country skiing and walking our Golden Retriever on a three mile round trip to the store. All I can say about dieting is that it does not take expensive programs, just old fashioned will power. January 2011 turned into an artic type winter with snow every week, so I kept on skiing. This is good for my legs which I know I'll be wet hiking and protaging definitely on some of these creeks.
While having lunch with a group of ski, bike, canoe friends, a fellow I have paddled and skied with many times mentioned that he might like to do that type of creek search. Out of  the corner of my eye, I caught the expression on his wife's face, which was not good, although she did not say anything. He has Friday afternoons off at work,  so I told him I would keep him informed as the plan evolves. Later, I was thinking about having a second person preparing for a last minute phone call Thursday night or Friday morning. I wondered if anyone could act on short notice, almost like a fire drill to go for a long weekend, let alone for a week. That person may be thinking of this as an adventure or leisure travel, but for me it is more like a business trip. I just want to claim these creeks.
I thought it would be wise to enter an itinerary on Mitch's E-mail, so he would have some idea what to expect. Following is what was posted:  Hi Mitch; You expressed an interest in my hectic canoe schedule, so I thought I would lay it out roughly for you, incase you still want to try this venture.I expect to start at Pittsburgh heading north, or Smeltport heading west. I think Pittsburgh north may have best early weather chances. Two or three Feb.-March weekend runs will be followed by a week-long run in March or as late as early April. I would leave home Fri. afternoon, motel north of Pittsburgh, up at 5:30AM,breakfast local diner, back to motel, into wetsuits, drive to Bull Creek. Check it out, drop MC, go to headwater, paddle down, cycle back, get canoe.( I don't know if you simply want to scout to see how it is done or paddle, but I don't want you on this creek- a degree III rapid) Next, drive to East Brady, check out Sugar Creek, set up and run it in the afternoon. You can run this degree I, if you have that in mind. Then drive south to Kittanning, get a motel. We have to plan to be off the water by 3:00PM in the winter months. Thats why the early starts. Nap, shower, wash wetsuits, organize for Sundays venture, dinner locally, study tommorows maps. Sunday, up at 5:30AM, breakfast, back to motel, wetsuits on, drive to Pine Creek near Dora, check it out, run it. This is degree I water, You can make your decision on this one.Sunday noon, head for home. If Saturday, Bull Creek has iced in shoreline, I turn around and head for home, no scouting, or paddling. Will try another weekend. Things to check on the internet: Google -Canoeing Guide to Western Pennsylvania and Northern West Virginia. Sign in on "agree" line and pull up Bull Creek, Sugar Creek, Pine Creek. Careful- there are many Sugar and Pine Creeks. Look for Rt.839-Pine Crk. Need any details, e-mail questions. -Bill
All of my equipment is showing signs of wear, but I am not going into expense just to do 17 creeks of short length. All three wetsuits fit. One drysuit is OK. I don't use this where frequent portages are expected because one poke from a sharp stick can render it useless and me vulnerable to hypothermia. It may be used on two wider creeks, Coon and South Branch Kinzua, both of which end on lakes which may still be partly frozen. Dry suit offers best protection- if it is air tight.  Two double blade paddles are put together with screws. My ice blade is still tight. This is a heavy, thick of shaft and blade area with tile paste spreader trowels screwed onto both sides of it with the teeth extending down a quarter inch below bottom of the blade. I use this as a spare on places like Coon or S.Br., incase  the canoe has to be driven up onto the ice. It is neccessary to move far enough onto the good ice before getting out of the boat. My primary use paddle is the double blade. 1/11 Got out motel guides to determine which towns have them. Will use their numbers for on location info.
2/17/11 Have been skiing almost every weekend.Pittsburgh expecting 65degree weather Thurs, and Fri. Rapid snow melt should occur this weekend. Calling around I found out that they did not get as much snow out there as we had here. Another problem; on Sunday their weather is to take a turn for the worst. It is not worth it to run out there for one day of paddling.To continue further north would be heading into a snow zone. I think I'll bide my time and pass on this weekend.
Have been watching the weather channel for a break in winter, but it is not happening. It is either very cold continuously meaning iced in shoreline, or snowing, or flooding conditions. Eight four foot lengths of cord wood have been loaded in my truck, a long handled steel shovel, a snow shovel, chain saw, two cables one ten foot, and one fifty foot, a come-a-long, and 100 feet of half inch rope. All of this is for those back roads. I also have chains to go on over my snow tires. I learned all this in past history. I never got an answer from Mitch. I know the E-mail went through. I think his E-mail got censored. Anyway the plan rolls along. I don't think it will be much longer before the time is right. -Bill

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