Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Sunday! Sunday! Sunday!

Originally uploaded by jayalbionheath
The ground is not already shaking, but the annual South Dakota Canoe Association paddling fair kicks off at 1 p.m. sharp Sunday, June 1, 2008, at Lake Alvin. Bring a buddy, bring a boat, bring a smile, because we plan on making hay while the sun shines, people.

This annual event is a showcase for boats, paddlers, paddles, anything and everything paddling, and we hope to entertain you.

SDCA members will bring as many boats as they can haul, then allow curious public, or other members, to try different craft. If weather allows, we hope to sponsor a couple of demonstrations, including an assisted rescue.

This image I posted is SDCA board member Pete Larsen executing a roll at the 2007 event. There had been several 80-degree days that year, so it's hard to say if Pete will be rolling this year.

Regardless, the event is free, and we'll gather at the northwestern edge of Lake Alvin, where there's a dock and parking area, even a vault toilet, so please come out.

If you know anyone who paddles or who is a member of the SDCA who does not visit this site regularly, call them and remind them or invite them, please.

To get to Lake Alvin, drive to Harrisburg, then take the main road (273rd St.) out of town to the east. You'll approach the southwestern tip of the lake, there's a gravel road there going north (479th Ave.) so take it, then follow the road until you see the parking area, it's on the right/lakeside of this gravel road.

Do not use the main entry to the park that is on Highway 135. If you come that way, continue south to 273rd, turn right, and drive about one mile to the gravel road, which is marked as 479th Ave. Then follow above directions.

SDCA president Eugene Preston and board member ShaRon Kelly will serve as "beach masters" and assist any and all who need it. Both will bring canoes, so anyone interested in learning a few strokes or techniques, come with questions for them.

Bring friends who have asked about kayaking or canoes and want to take a test drive. Ask to borrow someone's boat. It's a fair, after all.

But flotation devices are required for anyone on the water, and we recommend children younger than 16 come with an adult.

We're due some break in this unpleasant spring weather, and forecasts call for sun and high 70s that day, so we'll see you out there, it will be fun.

Who knows, perhaps we'll all be rolling, catching fish, and taking photos. See you Sunday.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Pool training session rollin' good time

Originally uploaded by Iron Bieso
About 10 kayakers showed up at the YWCA today for two hours time on the controlled, warm waters of the pool. Much was learned, and Pete Larsen was the event MVP, patiently teaching roll techniques to those who sought 'em.

Others practiced exits and self-rescues, assisted rescues, and various other moves. It was a workout! I know I left with a few scrapes and bruises from fighting my way back into my boat.

It was certainly a good first-time event, and we will set another session date soon. We will have it in the newsletter, and we'll post about it here, but if you know any paddlers who might not be on the Net much, pass the word.

We are hoping to get 10 or more new paddlers to the next session, i.e., we'll only have those individuals who paddled May 17 back if we have room, to share the water time.

With luck, we hope to plant a twice-monthly regular YWCA event for paddlers through the winter. Keep coming back here for more info on the next session.



Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Pool Session Details

What: SDCKA Pool Session
When: Saturday, May 17th @ 11:30am
Where: Downtown YWCA in Sioux Falls
Why: To practice safety techniques, wet exits and rolling

What to bring:
  • Clean (inside & out) kayak
  • PFD
  • Paddle
  • Spray skirt (if you have one)
  • Dry clothes / Water clothes
  • goggles, nose plugs or any other underwater device that you prefer

Please park on Dakota Avenue (see map below) and enter through the back alley door (also see map). Jarett or I will be at the YWCA around 11:15 to make sure that the door is open. If you'd like to drop your boat off next to the door and then park, that is fine with the Y. There is open swim/lessons until noon, but we'll want to maximize our two hours by getting boats-on-deck as that ends.
Parking along the street is free on weekends.

Due to the tiles around the pool area, metal/aluminum canoes are not allowed.

The pool is very large and will easily fit 5 + boats in the water at a time. Everyone will get plenty of time to practice up.

The pool temp is currently at 85 degrees - and it slopes from 4 feet to 10 feet. We will have 4 lanes to work in.

Signed up for this event so far is:

  1. Jarett
  2. Laura
  3. Jay
  4. Mark H.
  5. Bruce W.
  6. Rick J.
  7. Shel B.
  8. Steven D.
  9. Pete L.
  10. Mary F.
  11. Mike Z.
  12. Ed H.
  13. Kay H.

If you have not signed up yet - please email me at dahlmeis@hotmail.com to RSVP. We are limiting this session to 15 paddlers.

Please let me know if you have any questions. Thanks.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Nine into the rain: wet but worth it


The second in the series of SDCA monthly cruises went down May 10 with rain and a group of nine kaykers on the Missouri River, but a hoot was had across the board, and save for some bitter winds at the end of the event, it was a worthy endeavor and one the club will consider returning to in June and July. Hopefully, on a 72-degree day with mostly sunny conditions.

But even with 50-degree temps and a steady drizzle, the cruise reminded us all again and again that it is a living, untamed entity. The views at the start rocked. My buddy Jim and I made a mental list of "things on the cruise we are glad we didn't end up paddling over" as there are mean-looking stumps, trunks, and debris everywhere.
Our put-in spot is the Myron Grove Recreation Area, aka "High Lines," and as you can see, it has ample parking and a nice dock. The water levels were down quite a bit, but will soon rise when the Corps does their thing.

After we put in, we hugged the Nebraska shore, but soon found the 120-foot long steamship skeleton. P5100051Basically all of the stuff sticking out of the water behind the paddlers in this photo here are hull ribs, rudders, and wreckage. The current moves over the wreck, so it was hard to get great images, but I think Steven Dahlmeier may add some.P5100052

Our group dressed for the elements. It wasn't too bad, on the cruise, but the rain was continuous, and it certainly wasn't warm. P5100050We took a break at a sand bar and stretched our legs.

P5100080Cruise leader Rick Johns did a great job organizing this trip. We met at Holmes Welding as planned, loaded boats to a trailer, and P5100029
combined cars to go up (and to the bottom) with grace. Rick's knowledge of the river, along with Larry Braaten's riversmarts, really kept us in the channel and off the sandbar shallows, for the most part. In the rain, this was greatly appreciated. It felt good on this big water knowing Rick knew our way, and he wasn't too far away.


You here can see the rain, our constant companion. We did have a few other guests: geese, naturally, a few well-wishing humans who called out good luck from the Nebraska shore, the piping plover were abundant over some of the sandbars, darting and diving in the wind, and we saw at least three eagles, including this poor photo that roughly shows a yearling we saw on the ground, near the water. In the photo, there's a goose-colored mass, and that's him, I do apologize for the low-quality image, but I didn't want to get up on him and the current was not exactly permissive.
Godspeed, little eagle.

After the break, I think no one felt like lounging down the river, as it was simply unfriendly that day, rain-wise. There was little chit-chat or meeting up as we all just chugged downriver. The bridge was a charlatan image, we saw it and thought it'd be dry cars in no time, but alas, it was still 40 minutes (or more) distant.

Yes, that is an eagle is this telephoto-challenged image of my friend, Jim, who joined me on the trip.P5100088

This photo shows another "dot" that is an eagle. Of course, the weather pry kept a dozen eagles and ospreys from showing off for us.P5100085

At the end, we all pitched in to get the boats from the sand up the bank. Then we executed our shuttle plan and that's when the winds came up.

A high-winds warning was actually issued for Clay County near Vermillion at 4 p.m. and we were off the water about 3:15. So, in the middle of carrying and tying down, we were all in a 40 mph screamer, but we got 'em loaded and got out of there.

I know our "in list" for this trip was nearly 20 before the forecast became so grim, so I think the SDCA should seek to set a June date to revisit this stretch. In good weather, with some friends, it'd be even better than it as was on Saturday.

Post a comment, or contact Jarett or Rick, perhaps we can start kicking around "do-over" dates.

Big thanks to the eight aggressive, team-minded kayakers who jumped in and saw the river at its honest value during this cruise, and as mentioned, to Rick for his oversight. We had a safe, effective trip, and until we control the weather, that's pretty darn good.


Friday, May 9, 2008

Use the 50 Bypass to Polaris factory

Traffic cone
Originally uploaded by stupz

If you're coming into Vermillion from the east, on 50, there is a nasty rash of road construction just as you enter town. It's nasty.

Take the 50 Bypass around that mess, but make sure you turn left at the Polaris plant, then go back to Cherry Street and continue west.

If you don't turn left, you'll continue towards Yankton and have to backtrack further than you'll want to.

The traffic was one-lane, either way, and it was cones everywhere.

On a brighter note it is not raining now, and the hospitality in Vermillion is excellent.

Also, gas in town here was $3.49; in Sioux Falls at the Flying J it as $3.63, fyi.

See you tomorrow, 11 a.m.


Thursday, May 8, 2008

Waters downstream ... May 31 Big Sioux River trip

Here's some news on an upcoming event.

The Siouxland Heritage Museums will host their second Big Sioux River Fur Trade Canoe Trip on May 31. The 14-mile downstream trip goes from the Big Sioux Recreation Area near Brandon to the Grandview Road boat ramp, near Lake Alvin.

Museum staff provide history of the fur trade in South Dakota and the role of the Big Sioux in the industry in the Midwest.

From their Web site, "Admission for the day will be $22 for adults and $15 for kids 12-17 accompanied by an adult."

It's a bring-your-own-boat event. But they say:

"Rentals can be acquired based upon availability of the suppliers. Space is limited for this unique river tour. Call (605) 367-4210 to register."

I assume this means byob, i.e., the fee does not include a boat rental. Just to clarify. But call 'em up, we had members who did this trip last year and enjoyed it.

Did you take part in this event last year? If so, post to the comments and tell people if it's worth the price, if you would be so kind.



Two days out: This won't be us

But it will probably rain, most recent National Weather Service forecast for Vermillion:

Saturday: Occasional rain, mainly after 1 p.m. High near 54. East winds between 10 and 15 mph. Chance of precipitation is 80 percent.

The cruise is still a green-light GO, so pack rain gear, extra hat, a spare towel, anything you might like to have for a less-than-ideal-conditions paddle.

Rick Johns said paddling the route in the rain, mild rain, often is very relaxing. As we used to say in the marines, "If it ain't raining, we ain't training."

But this is no training session or "mission," it's a cruise, so we apologize in advance if we all arrive and the conditions are hopeless.

Please come out if the May rain is not a buzzkill for you.

Originally uploaded by munki.me

Bring rain gear, and call or e-mail Rick or me if you have questions.

See you Saturday!


Missouri River Cruise
11 a.m. May 10
Holmes Welding and Manufacturing parking lot, at the junction of Timber Road and Highways 50 (Biz) and 19, just west of Vermillion, take Cherry St. through town.

Honcho: Rick Johns, rick.d.johns@gmail.com

More info: Jarett Bies, 605-941-4940, jbies0341@hotmail.com.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Time changed for May 17 pool event

Originally uploaded by chaffneue
Just got off the phone with the YWCA. They have swimming lessons at the time agreed to earlier, so we're moving our event back two hours. It will still be in the same pool, same date.

May 17
YWCA Pool, Sioux Falls
11:30 a.m., set-up time and bring in first set of boats
Noon: We're on the water until 2 p.m., when open swim begins.

Call or e-mail Jarett, jbies0341@hotmail.com, or Steven Dahlmeier, dahlmeis@hotmail.com, to reserve a spot or get more information.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Details on the May 10th Missouri River trip

Note: maps removed to save load time

The map above shows the rendezvous point, Holmes Welding and Manufacturing, at the junction of Timber Road and Highways 19 & 50. We're aiming to meet there about 11 a.m.

This map shows the put-in point. It is a little tricky to find the right gravel road to this spot, that's why we're meeting at an easier spot to find, then shuttling. Remember, it's 454th Ave. that goes to our launch spot. As you can see, there's a nice dock there, as well as a decent parking area.

This one shows the take-out, but it's an overview. When we cross the river bridge, we'll have to continue into Nebraska about one mile to get to the road that loops back to the shore.

Here is one with more detail of the take-out point itself.

Here's an overview map. Remember, our start is at the left edge (454th Ave.) of this map. The ending is just past the 19 bridge in the lower right corner.

If you are planning to join this cruise, please e-mail Rick Johns or Jarett Bies, so we can organize our needs, shuttle-wise.

Jarett: jbies0341@hotmail.com

Rick: rick.d.johns@gmail.com

The extended forecast has highs in the 70s and sun. Let's hope that holds up. Remember, this is a longer cruise than the one on Earth Day weekend. It could be up to five hours long. BUT - there are spots aplenty to stop and rest, stretch legs, and just take in the beauty of the Missouri River, so don't rule it out because it sounds like too much work.

Hope to see you on the water (or at the meet-up, first!)

Thursday, May 1, 2008

This could be you - May 17

Originally uploaded by

Big thank yous to the chaffneue flickr stream, images courtesy of chaffneue.

RSVP today to dahlmeis@hotmail.com!

First SDCA Pool Session May 17

Originally uploaded by chaffneue

Are you ready to dump your boat, but this time because you meant to?

Or to try a roll? Or an assisted re-entry? Or feel the sand-like weight of a swamped canoe? Does that paddle float you bought really work?

On Saturday, May 17, 2008, we have four lanes of the six-lane Sioux Falls YWCA pool from 10 a.m. to noon. Two lanes are set aside for lap swimmers.

The YWCA in Sioux Falls is located at 300 W 11th St., Sioux Falls, SD 57104, (605) 336-3660; http://www.ywca-sf.org/.

It's downtown off Minnesota Ave. Just a half-block east on 11th.

We have a contract with the YWCA for the time, and hope we can fill a class of about 15 people for the event. The pool rental is $50 per hour, and the SDCA will cover the cost.

But the catch is we must have a certified lifeguard present during the training. Any member who fits the bill, or who knows someone who might help us out (we'll pay them) please e-mail Jarett.

No one wants to roll or get wet in some unfamiliar craft, so we encourage everyone to bring their own (just one) watercraft. If the pool area holds 50 scuba divers with gear, as described, we should be able to bring six to eight boats in, then swap those out for the other half of the class.

Of course any member of SDCA who is also a member of the YWCA, please let us know what that pool is like, I myself have not been there. I would assume they would let us shuck our wet duds and change clothes in their locker rooms, but here's to hoping the weather is sunny and warm.

I do believe the event will be a hoot, especially if we each get to work in our own boats. We hope to give ample time to each person there, and we hope the date fits Pete Larsen's schedule so we can learn from someone who does roll well. Other rollers, step up. Teach us who need it.

E-mail any board member to confirm a spot in the session on 5/17. Remember, it's one week after the Missouri River trip with Rick Johns.

For that trip new information (including complete sat-maps of the route, water and shuttle)here in 48 hours, give or take.

Please reserve your spot today by emailing Steven at dahlmeis@hotmail.com. We will notify the blog once we get to our maximum capacity.