Intruders!

In a sure sign that summer has arrived, I was walking out to my car and noticed this baby robin hiding out inside the front wheel well of my car.

Seems to approve of the tread on the GO15s as being secure and safe. Obviously just out of the nest and still figuring out the whole flying thing but convinced them to fly over to some nearby bushes for cover.

Beautiful morning on Mississippi Lake (with baby Loons!)

Had a great paddle this morning out on Mississippi Lake. It was very quiet and just a few rain showers in advance of the storms that were arriving around noon. Saw three separate Herons hunting along the shoreline and in also saw a Loon with three babies in tow. Mom was not impressed that I had taken an interest in them and I was careful to keep my distance as I paddled past them.

Managed to cover 8km before the weather started to look dicey and I turned back.

Finally installed the G015 tires

Finally got the Yokohama Geolandar G015 all-road tires installed this morning. They look great mounted on the titanium colored MR502 rims.

Initial impressions on asphalt handling are positive. I’ll have to make sure I take them onto some gravel and mud this weekend and see how they handle forestry roads.

Windy day on Mississippi Lake

Went out Sunday morning on Mississippi Lake in the breezy conditions (40-60km/hr) and it was a beautiful day. Launched from the Loon Lane ramp and went south on the lake for an hour and a half and hopped around the small island chains on the south east side of the lake. Had a few stretches of 2ft waves that the Pungo handled very well. After a short nap in the lee of one of the islands

 

I decided to surf the boat down the lake in the now 2-3ft waves and take advantage of the wind.

The Pungo handled the downwind surfing very well. I was able to catch and ride a few waves for a while and the boat didn’t try to immediately broach. Unfortunately the boat suddenly started to get very sluggish about 2/3 of the way down the lake and was starting to dig the bow in and want to pitch pole. When I got back to the launch ramp there was 10″ of water in the forward hatch. After some investigation it looks like I have a serious leak in the forward hatch so I’m off to Trailhead on Monday to see if they have some replacement seals for the hatch. Otherwise a fantastic day.

New rims have arrived for the Subaru

For those who follow rally racing these rims are legendary. The VT Spec version of this wheel was on a Subaru factory team car that blew a rear tire at the start of a 14mile special stage. The car was able to complete the stage including jumps and stretches over 100mph with the intact (but badly damaged) wheel. These are the famous Method Race Wheels MR502s in 17×8 and the Outback bolt pattern. Since the Outback will be going places this fall where a tow out can be thousands of dollars I figured these were a good choice to go with my new Yokohama Geolandar G015 adventure tires.

East side of James island is closed

In the early spring on the Rideau river you have the choice of following the main channel west of James island or the shallow channel to the east. Unfortunately the weeds grow very fast on the east side and when I looked tonight it would have been difficult to get through.

There were always lots of fish to see along with an eagle’s nest along this side of the island so it is too bad it is impassable but it also reduces the damage from powerboats that you see in other areas of the river.

Mosquitos are upon us

Really beautiful paddle last night, the river is starting to warm up and there is lots of green as the trees start to develop leaves. Unfortunately the warmer weather also means that the mosquitos have arrived in force. Last night was okay since the breeze kept them at bay but the few times the wind dropped of they quickly became outrageous.

This was the first time I’ve had a chance to try the Pungo 140 in a significant breeze and found that it does have a moderate tendency to weathercock. I am going to try moving more weight to the rear cargo compartment to increase the windage on the front and see if it balances out.

One of the calmer moments

Open of the 2017 kayak season

Weather and schedule finally co-operated and the 2017 kayak season has officially started. I took the new Pungo 140 down to the WA Taylor conservation area and got out onto the Rideau river.

This boat has really nice glide and tracking. I was able to travel much faster than my previous kayak with the same amount of effort. The water was still pretty cold and I’m definitely going to stay close to shore for a few more weeks but the season is open.

Gravel road preparation

With the opening of a new kayak and camping season it is time to make sure the Outback is ready for the adventures. The car is very capable from the start and I’m mainly looking at preventing damage from gravel or sticks as opposed to changing the performance.

First step is to improve on the factory roof rack. The built-in load bars are an okay idea but honestly I prefer the low profile rails on the 2017 touring. The factory rails are too soft and not as quiet as they could be. I went with a complete Yakima Jet Stream setup using their awesome landing pad (#15 for the Gen5 Outback) system and a pair of short black Jet Stream load bars. I used my existing Thule Hull-a-port Pros but converted them to c-channel mounting instead of clamps. The resulting system is very solid and quiet. None of the problems I’d had last year with the racks walking around on the load bars. Thanks to Auto Racks for outfitting the system and as always having advice and stock to make it happen.

Second step was to prevent gravel damage to the paint on the side of the car. When I ordered the Outback I’d specified the wheel arch covers to help deflect some of the gravel away but wanted more protection behind the wheels to block gravel and any mud spray. From my days racing rally I knew that polyurethane mud flaps can be very effective. I purchased a set of Rally Armour UR mud flaps and installed them on Saturday. The flaps seem to provide good protection and they even make driving on gravel quieter since there are a lot fewer stones bouncing off the bottom of the car.

Last step is to install a set of Primitive Racing skid plates. These are not full-on rally style skid plates and are not suitable for rock scrambling. They however are good protection for large loose stones like you’d find on the last part of the Trans Taiga or a root or stick that could damage the underside of the car. Lightweight protection for forestry roads and light off-roading.

High water woes

Took a look at some of the launch points along the Rideau this Saturday. The river is running incredibly high, to me it looks like it is within a few inches of the highest spring flood I’ve seen. Here is the launch at the Kars community centre:

The water was moving pretty fast so you could duck under the bridge and get out but you would have a hard time paddling back to the car upstream.

I know alot of people with homes along the rivers in the area are having a hard time. Here’s hoping the rainfall abates and the river levels return to something more normal.