Thursday, October 13, 2011

Kayaks Earn Real Interest, Saving Barely Earns Money

Kayak Oklahoma Logo by FreeWine
Kayak Oklahoma Logo, a photo by FreeWine on Flickr.
Oklahoma Kayaking News

Recent rains have raised the Washita River in Southern Oklahoma to paddling level. So, check your local river gauges for kayaking conditions. Other outdoor fun available to Okies this week include festivals & fun all over.

The latest Oklahoma Paddle Sports Association newsletter is out.
Get in on a Kayaking Roll class this Sunday!

Two Oklahoma Wine Festivals will be held this weekend. Tres Suenos Vineyards & Winery in Luther, Oklahoma and Stone Bluff Cellars in Haskell, Oklahoma are both hosting events. There is also a festival being held in Slick, Oklahoma on Saturday.  Nuyaka Creek Winery will be there pouring Oklahoma wine tastings.

Convertibles &  Kayaks Earn Real Interest, Savings Barely Earn Money

Maybe it is just my mid-life crisis talking here, but lately I feel like my toys are preserving my true wealth more effectively than my so-called investments. Example: we recently sold our old motor boat for nearly enough money to buy a cute little Miata ragtop. Once our Burgman scooter sells, we should own the little car free-and-clear. Meanwhile, my 401K plan sends out an annual report that begins with "abandon hope, ye who enter' and the so-called 'interest' my bank savings earn is anything BUT interesting!

Real Assets Give You Options

Many years ago, my wife and I decided to risk a bit of credit and buy some stuff to improve the quality of our lives. These toys encouraged us to get out and live life a little fuller and they even manage to hold some value. Sometimes the toys succeed and sometimes they fail. When the toys no longer inspire, I find I can often trade my old dream toy for someone else's toy...or the rent!

Real Assets Help You Experience Life

I need to increase many things in my life. My faith, my friends and my forgiveness are areas more worthy of my efforts than simply pursuing higher net worth. That is why I plan to pursue more Pies and fewer Pie Charts.

See you under the sun!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Lower Mountain Fork River Kayaking

Kayaking on the Lower Mountain Fork River with Greg & Dianne This Saturday my wife and I decided to ignore the rain in the forecast and head to Broken Bow, Oklahoma for some kayaking. It has been too long since we last paddled this fun few miles in southeastern Oklahoma. I love this river!

My buddy Yakker joined my Wife and I on this river trip, so we were able to self-shuttle for a change. I like to self-shuttle... not so much to save money (I'm not sure it does), but in order to get on the water earlier. This sort of worked because we did arrive at the put-in before any of the outfitters starting dropping off paddlers. Sadly, it was raining buckets at the time!

This part of Oklahoma has not gotten enough rain to even settle the dust this summer, but they made an exception for us. As usual around Nine o'clock the outfitters started dropping off paddlers. Some had rain gear, others only had their high hopes of improving conditions.

We decided to burn another hour before launching, figuring it couldn't rain for long. We were quickly rewarded with a cloudy but rainless sky and it just got sunnier all day after that. As always, I had a ball weaving through the rocks, slipping down the chute and splashing down the tiny waterfalls. The light was not all I hoped for, but at least I made it on an off the river with my camera still in functional!

Launching as late as we did on a Saturday means you get to enjoy a lot more company on the water. Picking your line through the Rock Garden or The Chute requires dodging many canoe paddlers struggling to rescue their water filled boats. For added fun, stop and help from time to time. However, pace yourself you cannot help them all!

Here's are a few free tips for first time paddlers on the Mountain Fork River:

  • Paddle a SOT kayak alone. Sharing a canoe with another novice paddler is just about the worst choice you can make.
  • Bring nothing with you but sunscreen... and even the sunscreen needs to be waterproof!
  • Towels, wallets, dry clothes & electronics stay in the vehicle, not in the canoe.
  • Reserve your boats in advance with one of the LMF River paddling outfitters.
  • To rescue your canoe with your friend: move the canoe out of the current, grab it by the ends and lift it out of the water while you rotate it 360 degrees.

For the most part the boat will find its own way downriver, if you keep the nose pointed down river. Even backwards is OK. However, IF your boat turns sideways to current, it is likely to fill with water the minute it hits an obstacle. Because canoes are usually around 16 feet will hit just about any obstacle in the area.

Renting a SOT kayak puts you in a 9 foot long boat that can turn on a dime and WON'T fill up with water. First time paddlers on this river find more success by renting a sit-on-top kayak and even if you do run into a problem, they are much easier to self-rescue.

Fall starts this week. Summer is the most popular time for trying out kayaking, but experienced paddlers usually prefer the Spring & Fall months due to better water levels, fewer crowds and cooler weather. Check out some of the paddling locations described on the website and plan a kayaking trip soon!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Moonlight Paddle Trip with Oklahoma City Riversport

Take a kayak trip on a local OKC lake or river to enjoy the sunset just as the full moon is rising. You’ll enjoy great scenery, majestic views and a unique kayaking experience.

The event is weather dependent and takes place two to three evenings per month from May to September. Price for ages 16+ is $25 or $12.50 for RIVERSPORT Row/Kayak pass holders. While you are there learn all about the Oklahoma Regatta Festival October 1-2, 2011.

Check the OKC Riversport website for details at:

Also remember, the Illinois River in Tahlequah, OK is still running at a great level for paddling trips!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Summer Fun on Oklahoma Waters

Kiamichi River Spring by FreeWine
Kiamichi River Spring, a photo by FreeWine on Flickr.
Summer is here and Oklahoma is actually getting some rain from time to time. In fact, the Illinois River is at a great level for kayaking now. I won't be able to hit that lovely river this weekend, as I had a trip already planned. (Testing out my new Teardrop Travel Trailer)

But don't let that stop you from kayaking the Illinois River this weekend! The new Oklahoma Paddle Sports Association has an Illinois River Kayaking Trip planned (non-members allowed). Checkout their website at: if you would like to join them. You can even see my devoted spouse in their most recent newsletter!

FYI - The 12th Annual Okie Noodling Tournament is July 9, 2011 and the sign-up form is online now deadline for registration is July 6, 2011. Join in or just attend and check out the massive catfish they catch at this Pauls Valley, Oklahoma Summer event.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Thousand Acre Lake -a Brief Return to DFWR

White Oak Area of DFWR by FreeWine
White Oak Area of DFWR, a photo by FreeWine on Flickr.
Recent rains in the Okmulgee, Oklahoma area have brought the Deep Fork River out of its banks and re-flooded the normally dry 'Thousand Acre Lake'. We went kayaking here after work yesterday.  It was a bit breezy, but very fun paddling between the thorn bushes and pecan trees.  We saw many large fish.

Finding the Elusive Thousand Acre Lake

From Highway 75, Take 20th Street, in Okmulgee, West until you reach the first STOP sign at the Okmulgee Coke Plant. Continue to folow that road west, it is now called Sharp Road. Thousand acre lake is a mile or two down Sharp Road.

Look for a parking area on the left with signs identifying it as the Deep Fork Wildlife Refuge - White Oak area. Folks are likely to be sitting there fishing. If you reach the Deep Fork River bridge on Sharp went too far.

Thousand Acre Lake is not my favorite Okmulgee County kayaking spot, but it is the most rare. It offers that 'flooded forest' vibe that makes Caddo Lake so attractive to me. I am not sure how long the water will remain, but there was plenty of water for paddling and fishing on Thursday evening.
Kayaking Thousand Acre Lake in Spring 2011

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Spring Kayaking Around Oklahoma and Arkansas

Earth Day Eve Kayaking by FreeWine
Earth Day Eve Kayaking, a photo by FreeWine on Flickr.
A couple Oklahoma rivers are up, but conditions are still very dry here in the Sooner State.

However, the Spring waters are flowing well in Arkansas these days. Great Ozark scenic rivers like the Buffalo River and the Ouachita River are flowing well for kayaking trips. Thrilling whitewater favorites like the Cossatot River and the Mulberry River are also runnable these days.
  • Tulsa area kayak fishermen are meeting up this weekend at Sequoyah State Park.- CANCELED
  • The Oklahoma Paddle Sports Association is hosting a Camping / Paddling get together at Lake Thunderbird’s West Hog Creek Campground.

As usual, Spring brings a number of great paddling events like the OGAR.

The Ozark Greenways Adventure Race will be held on Saturday, May 21, 2011.

The Ozark Greenways Adventure Race (OGAR) is a sprint adventure race (8-14 hours) which features running, trekking, mountain biking, orienteering and paddling. The Ozark Mountain Paddlers will be providing safety support for the paddling leg of this event. Learn more about the race at

Paddle On, Friends!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Kayak Fishing and Whitewater Paddling

Kayak fishing season is in full swing here in Oklahoma. Don't let the parched conditions fool you. In fact, this is a great time to get to know the shoreline cover around your favorite lake...because it is probably exposed.

The Kings River in Eureka Springs, Arkansas is up at a nice level for float trips this week.

Big whitewater is running on the Mulberry River in Ozark, Arkansas.

NEOKA Club Meeting: April 23, 2011 - Fort Gibson
The next Northeastern Oklahoma Kayak Anglers Club meeting will be April 23rd at Fort Gibson lake at Sequoyah State Park. The crappie spawn should still be going strong, and Ft Gibson offers a variety of other species such as Large Mouth, Wiper, and Catfish as well! Lunch will be provided for those that RSVP by via the NEOKA Facebook group.

These meetups are the perfect place to check out a vast array of recreational kayaks and kayak fishing gear. We fell in love with the new Coosa fishing kayak at a NEOKA event.

Monday, April 04, 2011

Coosa Kayak Catfishing and Blue Hole Returns

What an excellent weekend! We paddled our kayaks on the Deep Fork River both Saturday & Sunday. Dianne set some lines and brought home some very nice-sized catfish. Between runs, we made a quick trip to visit Dave Lindo at OKC Kayak to stock up on kayaking t-shirts and other goodies.

OKC Kayaks has an amazingly wide selection of kayaks and kayaking gear. You can test paddle kayaks in countless sizes, styles and brand names. OKC Kayak is quite close to the Oklahoma River, but we didn't bother test paddling any kayaks. Dave had sent me a Facebook message announcing the arrival of the vivid yellow Jackson Kayak Coosa we asked for. The Jackson Kayak Coosa is a sit-on-top kayak designed for river fishing. It is made-in-America by a cool family of paddlers and offers a wealth of unexpected features. We moved fast to grab one!

The Coosa provides a real dry ride, loads of storage and moves through the water pretty well for a SOT. We also picked up an extra-long Werner Skagit paddle that really speeds things up. Dianne immediately put the Coosa to the test by landing two very large flathead catfish this weekend. The stand-and-fish stability of the Coosa must be seen to be believed. I was standing in this kayak during my first demo of the boat and I am as clumsy as a hog on ice.

The good folks at OKC Kayak also helped me out by installing a new Skwoosh Pro Angler Supreme Kayak Seat in my old Perception Swifty kayak. The seat has a back rest with adjustable side wings, a rod holder and a gel seat pad. My old kayak is now better than new!

Spring River Paddling News

Planning a float trip on Oklahoma's scenic Spring River? Good News paddlers: Chet Brewington has Blue Hole Canoe Floats back in business for 2011! More info on the Spring River & Blue Hole Floats at:

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Kayak Fishing Meetup March 19 at Okmulgee State Park

Oklahoma has been blessed with some beautiful weather lately. Kayak fishing season is on! Load of the kayaks and head to Okmulgee State Park to meetup with some other Oklahoma kayak anglers. The place is Hickory Point Boat ramp at 7am Saturday morning. Kayak fishing is not really a team sport, but it is fun to get together and see how everyone customizes their boat. No special permits are needed for paddling on the two lakes at the State Park, just make sure you have your boat registered and your fishing license handy.

Kayak fishing for Bass is a great way to get outdoors and have some low cost fun. Okmulgee State Park offers to excellent lakes for paddling and fishing. For shady, peaceful paddling with friends try finding the put-in at the top of Salt Creek and paddling down to the Hickory Point Campground. If you like kayaking between the trees and chasing trophy Bass launch onto Dripping Springs Lake from the boat ramp at Clovis Point Campground.

See you on the water!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Caddo Lake Winter Kayaking

We had record snowfall leading up to our 17th anniversary celebration trip to Caddo Lake. Thankfully, we were blessed with shockingly great weather right afterwards. The great weather was throughout the region too, not just at our cabin in Uncertain, Texas. The northeastern part of the massive Caddo Lake is about five hours from our home in Okmulgee, Oklahoma. We picked up a fishing license for Dianne at the Wal-Mart in Marshall, Texas but you can save some money by just doing your fishing at the nearby Caddo State Park. It has a two dollar entrance fee, but no license is required for fishing there.

This time of year, Caddo Lake is popular among Bass and Crappie fishing enthusiasts. However, we arrived a bit early for the kickoff of the spawning season. This lake is so full of fish that Dianne actually caught a Bass on her limb lines last summer. Bass normally require a bit more finesse than the oiled twine and massive hook of a catfish set, but I suppose they are just a bit more eager in these parts. If you can't catch your own, try the River Bend Restaurant for waterfront views plus catfish & gator with all the trimmings. We were surprised at the quality of food and wine at this hidden jewel in Uncertain, Texas.

Dianne did catch catfish on this trip, but we spent most of the time exploring Caddo Lake in our kayaks and driving around the 'Ark-La-Tex' as they call it around here. If you visit Caddo Lake, I highly recommend you make a quick side trip to Jefferson, Texas. Grab a breakfast that just can't be beat at The Bakery restaurant in downtown Jefferson. There is also history to learn and shopping to do in Jefferson, but we were there for the grub. While we were walking around, we noticed a big old free boat ramp right there in town. When we return next time, we will definitely be using that boat ramp for a quick paddling trip on Big Cypress Bayou! Like most of Caddo, it appears to be narrow, shady and curvy...just the way I like 'em! Perfect for paddling or kayak fishing in any season.

Speaking of kayak fishing, we had breakfast at Crip's Camp (another Caddo Lake lodging operator) one morning and got a tip from the owner. He said the locals all use hot dogs for catfish bait. Dianne had never tried fishing with weenies, so she set four hooks out with some leftover Mt. Pleasant Meat Market jalapeƱo cheddar sausage. Sure enough, she caught a small flathead the next morning. That tip turned out to be as sweet as the homemade Mayhaw Jelly Crip's Camp serves with breakfast. (Yes, we ate breakfast everywhere...that's what makes it a holiday!)

A couple of the mornings started out quite cold this vacation weekend. My first day of paddling, I launched before dawn to catch that great early morning light. The season had stripped the bald cypress trees of their color, but the Spanish Moss that drapes their limbs was unchanged by winter's icy embrace. Caddo Lake has a gloomy beauty that is still present in February, but it is much diminished. More Caddo Lake pictures to come, watch our Flickr photostream.

Spatterdock, the cabin we rented, offers a lovely view of the bayou from a large screened porch. Canoes and bicycles are provided with the cabin rental, plus there is a boat ramp just a few steps away. The cabin can sleep as many as nine and is just one of four cabins that Billy and Dottie Carter operate on Caddo Lake. You can also hire Billy for a guided boat tour of Caddo Lake: A guided boat tour is great idea, if you want to see the biggest, oldest, most impressive Cypress trees on the lake. They also teach you quite a bit about the local history. During the warmer months your tour includes boating through a sea of lily pads and lotus blooms. It is breathtaking.

Winter kayaking on Caddo Lake is not as colorful, but it is more solitary. Since it is the off-season you enjoy lower rates and no waiting in town. On the water, the maze-like corridors of tall Cypress trees provide countless miles of great exploring and paddling. Moving quietly through the shadows allows you to slip-up on wildlife for close observation. If kayak photography is your thing, Caddo Lake is unbeatable. Even on a windy day, you will find the sheltered lanes offer calm water and amazing light filtered through the treetops and moss. Caddo Lake even sounds strange. The tops of the Cypress trees rub together when the wind blows, creating random squeaks and moans that echo across the water.

Caddo Lake is a kayaking experience too uniquely wonderful to be missed.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Sunset Kayaking on a Warm Winter Day in Oklahoma!

Saturday was perfect for kayaking in Oklahoma. I hope you got outside. Dianne, Greg and I took the plastic navy to Dripping Springs Lake. They were kayak fishing while I was busy watching the skies for some of our local fishing birds. I spotted two Bald Eagles and had a great day in the sun paddling. More pics on Flickr, as usual.

The water level is still very low on Dripping Springs Lake. It has been a wickedly dry year. The Deep Fork River is not even red because Oklahoma has been dry for so long. Although the air was warm today, we realize that the water was still very cold. It is important to wear quick drying synthetics or waterproof clothes when you are doing any winter kayaking in Oklahoma.

The nylon strap that supports the seatback on my Perception Swifty just broke on this trip. It has been a tough kayak, this will be my first repair for the Swifty. Hopefully, I can grab some good pictures to share with you in February. Dianne and I are planning a trip back to Caddo Lake to see how it looks in the winter and hopefully do some kayak fishing.

I'm told the Bass fishing on Caddo Lake is excellent from Jaunary through May, so we should be right on time. It would be great to have more weather like today for our trip.
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