Wednesday, June 22, 2016

From the Nose of Our Kayak: Chapter 4 "Come On Dad, It'll Be Fun!"

Hello and welcome to the JLB Creatives Blog, where you'll find an array of creative features from a hand-picked group of creative geniuses. 

Wednesdays on the JLB Creatives Blog are set aside for our blog book, "From the Nose of Our Kayak." JLB Creatives CEO, Janet Beasley, and her husband, Don, have been kayaking for nearly 10 years. Together they are excited to share with you, their awesome experiences that they have encountered. In this Wednesday feature you'll find kayaking stories, scenic nature photography from their outings, and some helpful tips when it comes to maneuvering your "butt sleds" (aka kayaks) on your journeys.

So if this is a topic that interests you, you'll want to be sure and become a follower of the JLB Creatives Blog, and stop in on Wednesdays each week for the latest chapter in Don & Janet Beasley's adventure blog book, "From the Nose of Our Kayak." 

Previous chapters can be found in our blog archives, we began the series on June 1, 2016.


From the Nose of Our Kayak
Don & Janet Beasley
Chapter 4 Come On Dad, It'll Be Fun!

It's nice to catch up on life in general with family or friends, and for us, there's no better place to do that than in a kayak. It can also be a time of peace and quiet for adult family members (moms, dads, grand-parents, great-grand parents, and grown-up kids) to have time to bond.

Sharing our kayak adventures with others is a passion for Don and myself. We love to take friends and family kayaking to expose them to the beauty of Florida's best nature spots for viewing, and/or capturing photographs of mesmerizing scenes of nature and wildlife of a lifetime! 

Kayaking with kids is also a great way to spend time together outdoors. Nature has so much offer, and it makes a super, educational homeschooling outing for your students interested in science or ecology.  

We are excited that From the Nose of Our Kayak will come to pass not only as a blog book, but also a real life interactive experience for many, in the future, but keep in mind that quality takes time. Don and I hope to some day be able to turn our experiences, expertise, and knowledge that we've developed while kayaking, toward building a privately guided, pristine kayak touring adventure for adults. The adventure will lend itself to being educational, provide outstanding photography opportunities, and/or just give people a chance to get away from it all.

IT WASN'T LONG AFTER WE had started kayaking on a regular basis that Don's mom and dad came for a visit. Of course we had to take them kayaking...I mean they had always gone canoeing in Ohio, surely they'd love to kayak, right?

Dad and Don unloading at Ray's Wayside Park
Don's dad was ready to go! Mom, not so much. She had never been in a kayak, and was not comfortable going. No big deal...that meant she and I were going shopping while the boys were out (wink wink).

The guys had decided they wanted to try another leg of the Silver River...the run that branches off into the Ocklawaha River. 

So we loaded up the kayak on mom and dad's van. Don and his dad took the van while mom and I drove a separate vehicle. We went to the finish point first, which was Gore's Landing, and parked one vehicle there. Before we left Gore's Landing Don entered a way-point into the handheld GPS. Thanks to technology, handheld GPS devices as well as navigation apps on our smart phones, we are able to track where we've been and where we're going without the worry of "drowning" our paper maps. Plus if disorientation sets in, it's quite the handy device to have on hand.

Taking care of business
We all piled into the van with the kayak on top and headed to the starting point, which was Ray's Wayside Park...where you don't have to portage 1/2 mile to launch!

Don and his dad began unpacking the van, unloading the kayak, and adjusting the kayak seating. Mom enjoyed the view, and wished she'd have packed a picnic lunch for all of us!

One thing we really appreciate about Ray's Wayside Park is that the parking is only $5 per vehicle, the launch area is inviting, has plenty of parking, AND there is a  modern restroom facility onsite. It's nice to be able to "take care of business" either before and/or after a long day on the water. 

I should have packed a picnic lunch!
Before long Don and his dad were ready to launch and head down the channel to the main river where this time they would take a left toward the Ocklawaha River, instead of a right onto Silver River which leads to the spring head. It was going to be uncharted territory for both of them, as Don and I had never done this leg before.

Mom and I watched until they disappeared out of view. I had mixed emotions by this point...I was nervous that the GPS's batteries might go dead before the guys found their way to Gore's Landing. On one hand I couldn't wait to hear their stories upon their return, yet on the other hand I was bummed that I was not in the kayak with them to get my own stories. I had so come to love the sport, I felt the kayak was literally calling to me (though shopping with my mother-in-law runs a really close second on my "fun things to do" list as she is a real bargain hunter, and together we find some of the best deals around). 

Pork BBQ fries, jalapeno`s, and sweet tea
We had made plans to hook up at a local BBQ restaurant once they returned. I was glad when my text notification let me know that the guys were back safe and sound, and would be on their way to the restaurant once the kayak was loaded.

We enjoyed our ginormous plate of BBQ fries (with jalapeno`s of course), sweet teas, and some nanner puddin' while the guys talked about how they were graced with beautiful sights. Unfortunately, they 
didn't snap any photos along the way, but for good reason; they were paying more attention to where they were and the winding bends of the river. 

Don assured me it was just as scenic as the part with which we were already familiar, but brought up the fact that the wildlife was not nearly as abundant as on the Silver River branch. In the end he was definitely OK with the fact that he had gotten to kayak that serene portion with his dad, sharing first time experiences together.

It ended up being a great day and evening for all four of us, spent both on the river and off.


Kayaking tip of the week: If someone doesn't want to go kayaking, don't force them. No need to make their life miserable as well as your's.  

Adjusting Dad's seating
with Mom opting out

Dad looks eager to get going

Launch time!

Shoving off

Entering the canal to the river
"We'll see you for dinner!"

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JLB Creatives Editor Dar Bagby (L) and JLB Creatives CEO Janet Beasley (R)