Thursday, October 16, 2008

River Paddling is Best at Sunrise and Sunset

Autumn is here and we are finally seeing some more rain here in Northeastern, Oklahoma!

This is my favorite season for river kayaking and lake paddling. Fall often ends quickly in Oklahoma, so now is the time to hit the rivers. The Illinois River around Tahlequah, Oklahoma and the Kiamichi River near Antlers, Oklahoma are both lovely in the Fall. They also require a bit of recent rainfall for the best float trips. Summer is the big paddling season, but you can bet on seeing much more wildlife and much fewer boats on any of Oklahoma's scenic rivers in the Fall, once the rains have begun.

Over in North Arkansas, The Ouachita River is flowing and there a many parts of The Buffalo National River at the optimal level for river kayaking or canoe trips.

In Southern Arkansas, I see the Caddo River above Degray Lake is up to around 6 feet deep. You can head to Glenwood, Arkansas, not too far from Hot Springs, and visit Caddo River Camping & Canoe Rental.

Starting November 1st they will be having their Big Annual Canoe & Kayak Sale. They sell off their fleet each year in the Fall, in order to provide new boats for floaters next season. The best level to float the Caddo River is from five and half to six and half foot deep, so check the Caddo River water level before planning a trip. Caddo River kayak outfitters and lodging providers.

My kayaks are starting to show their age, so I have been looking at some new kayak prices lately. The idea of being a used model sounds good, but I rarely see an outfitter using a model I like.

The Oklahoma Flatwater Paddlers have another Broken Bow trip planned. If you haven't paddled the Lower Mt. Fork River yet, this is a great chance to kayak down the funest four miles in Oklahoma.

See you on the water!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Bowling and Paddling in Oklahoma

Riverlanes in Tulsa
Originally uploaded by FreeWine
Surf and Turf - Style

Dianne and I have been spending a lot more time bowling lately. Bowling is a great lifelong sport that really compliments our particular brand of recreational river and lake kayaking. Like kayaking, bowling can be enjoyed alone, with friends or with the whole family. High tech and personalized bowling gear is easy to find and fairly affordable online or at Pro Shops everywhere. Bowling centers can be found in every area we travel to and they make a great side trip or alternative when the weather doesn't favor paddling trips. When paddling the LMF River we can bowl in Idabel and when paddling the Illinois River we can bowl in Tahlequah.

Our favorite bowling centers in Oklahoma are RiverLanes Bowling in Tulsa and Henryetta Lanes in Henryetta, Oklahoma. River Lanes is a large, full featured bowling center with all of the frills. Henryetta Lanes is about thirty minutes closer to our house and MUCH more affordable. Sadly, they have no automated score keeping system, which forces me to do math on the weekend. The Henryetta bowling center is small, but friendly...currently open weekends only.

Sahoma Lanes in Sapulpa is another local favorite. Like RiverLanes, they are a large bowling center with a big arcade, bar, glo-bowling, automatic score-keeping, etc. and a good Pro Shop. Bowling at big centers like these is fun early in the afternoon until late into the evening. It is a rewarding sport for couples as long as you can compete with each other in a friendly way.

Tips for new bowlers:

  • Buy yourself some bowling shoes quickly. They are cheap, so it won't take you many trips to the bowling alley to save the money you spent on them.

  • Bowling is more fun if you buy your own bowling ball. It also hurts less. Dianne and I bought a couple of Ebonite Tornado bowling balls. That model is for novice bowlers hoping to learn more advanced bowling techniques.

  • Bowling games take awhile, so plan accordingly. Dianne and I find that we can bowl about three games per hour. Of course, with more players each game takes longer. When we bowl with our Son and Dianne's Mother, the games take twice as long. No matter how fast you throw them, it takes awhile for the pins to reset and the ball to return. If you want to speed things up...throw more strikes.

  • Try to find off-prime days and times to bowl. Bowling Centers usually offer reduced pricing on weekdays or late at night. Planning your weekly bowling night on a Thursday might save you a bundle.

  • Watch some of the old PBA Bowling Tournaments they show on ESPN Classic on weekday mornings. They offer loads of tips on becoming a better bowler. Also, it is amazing to see the wide range of body shapes that make up Pro Bowling. Whatever you look like, there is likely to be a Pro Bowler who looks like you...but bowls the occasional Perfect Game.

  • Search the web for nearby bowling centers before heading out on any road trips. Bowling makes a great addition to any paddling trip.
    ...More info on bowling centers in Oklahoma.