Is it the Loco or the Motion?

I am addicted to transportation. Planes, trains and automobiles are just the start. I love boats and ships, motorcycles, bicycles, trucks, rocket ships, covered wagons and much more. I am loco for locomotion, but I started late. My first bicycle was given to me for Christmas when I was about fourteen. I have done my best to make up for lost time.

I was thrilled when I was finally able to drive a car. The first thing I saved up for when I got my first job was a motorcycle. I had a brief brush with bicycle racing. I have traveled across the country by train. One of my proudest possessions is my pilot’s license. To go from point A to point B is the point of life for me. Of the three basic mediums of travel I like the sea best. And the sky second best. To leave the easy to follow path’s of congealed tar laid down with my tax dollars and yours is a higher calling. The art of navigation is most satisfying when not confined to roads or rails. Although I still love a big steam loco because, heck it’s powered by steam! How cool is that?

My time on the water has been mostly spent under sail. At one time I discounted canoes as being simple little craft pushed along with wide sticks. Going back to college at age forty presented me with the challenge of earning credits in physical education. I am not the athletic type. Fortunately the college catalog offered canoeing as a summer class with all the credits available in one short semester. I figured at least I could spend some quality time in a boat of sorts and beat the heat of a Pennsylvania summer.

What I discovered in that class was a profound respect for paddle driven craft. I had enthusiastic, committed, instructors who where able to build confidence and safe habits while allowing the enjoyment of the sport to rise to the surface. And I got a cool card from the Red Cross certifying that I was less likely to drown in a canoe than at a public pool. Naturally my new found interest awoke me to other possibilities. Sea kayaks were beginning to show up on the boating scene made of inexpensive composite and plastic materials. I didn’t dive head first into them as I was plenty busy with my sailboat and a 1928 Old Town Otca wood and canvas canoe that I rescued from a junk man. Still I got the occasional chance to shimmy into the cockpit of a kayak and take a spin. One more transportation device that I got to dabble in.

These sleek close fitting craft are a natural fit with my preferred ways of getting in touch with nature.  I like the silent conveyance over the bark of powerful exhaust notes.  Sitting in a kayak is like sitting in the water.  In fact you are.  In a whole lined with fiberglass, plastic, wood, or cloth.

When I relocated form Pennsylvania to Washington one of the attractions was that sea kayaking appeared to be thriving in the Pacific Northwest.   Being situated in a region conducive to the sport has it’s advantages.  Of course I still have disadvantage of not actually having a boat or the other gear necessary like a wet suit, a dry suit or a PFD.  Well, all in good time.

The boat builder in me is attracted to the skin on frame Greenland style craft.  I have already tried one of the narrow wooden paddles and liked it very much.  The more natural materials just seem right and fitting for what is an environmentally low impact activity.  This type of boat is much less expensive to build than it is to buy a new kayak in modern manufactured material.  It might make for interesting blog material or a video podcast.

Why do I feel a low grade obsession coming on?  Perhaps the cure is to move ahead and give myself plenty to write about.

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