Sunday, October 5, 2008

#35 Virgin waters and Happy Halloween!!!

It was about 2 years ago when Dan and Kent took a trip on the West branch and they ran out of river (see pictures and story "July 8, 2007 Hot, sunny and non existent" 2007 ".

Ensured the river was again flowing they ventured out to Winfield and used the canoe launch on Beecher St. (previously only used once prior by Dan and Pat way before the streak started and using a borrowed canoe). Total distance from Beecher st. to Mach road is 4.33 miles. Although the water was not real high or fast,we could see the improvements that were made to create a more interesting paddling experience. We are looking forward to making this run with some better water to battle the rapids.

Kent and Dan made a few additional trips in October, all looking for the elusive fall color extravaganza. Mr. Killjoy Perry, would have nothing of it. "The trees along a river are typically not hardwoods and therefore will not produce the colors that you so long to see". Although this may provide an explanation as to why we are always disappointed by the lack of an autumnal splash of color, we will continue to search for a stretch of river that provides the sensory satisfaction that we so desire.

Now for the pictures....the weekend before Halloween Kent and I did the downtown Naperville route. Inspired by the Santa float from a year ago, Dan donned a scary mask. This got multiple interesting comments and reaction, often responded to by Kent with "That's what happens when plastic surgery goes bad".

Editors note: The no mention of Pat has more to do with his lack of participation than any sort of a snub. As in a previous entry, Pat claims to have completed an unvalidated lake paddle during October to keep his string alive. The title of Duper Boy is one not given out easily and is earned by paddling on the DuPage river. The board of directors may need to hold a special meeting to review the case.

Pray for rain.....NO more rain!!! (month 34)

Consecutive month 34 saw the August drought continue and the rivers were at an almost impassible level. Would our streak be in danger? Of course not but we need some drama every once in awhile. In the 1st week of September we finally got a nice rain mid week which kept the river high enough to warrant a trip down to Shorewood (picture 1) with Dan, Pat and Kent. Pat got to experience the "tasty waves" for the first time that makes the trip worthwhile.

All that praying for rain backfired the next weekend as the Chicago area got trenched with double digit rain totals over the weekend of the 14th. The "normal" level of the Naperville gauge is around 5 feet and the river swelled to over 12 feet!! Kent and an unnamed partner (I hope you used protection) took a trip down the east branch with the river at a dangerously high level. Dan and Mark, taking on the role of civil servants, paddled through the flooded Community park (picture 2) to rescue a pitching machine that was in danger of being ruined by the flood. As the waters finally got down to a manageable level over the next weekend, Dan and Pat did the Centennial beach to 95th street run, completing it in just over an hour (picture 3, big tree in Naperville). The next day, Paul (a Duper virgin) and Cole took one tandem (picture 5), Dan and Perry took the other tandem and Kent went solo (just like Fridays when Tracy is at work!!). This trip was the same as the day before except we went the additional distance down to Knoch Knolls park where we enjoyed smoked salmon prepared by Dan (picture 4, caught the previous Monday).

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Florida,drougnt....consecutive month 33

A little delinquent on the updates but better late than never, right? In August Dan and the family headed south to beautiful Marco Island. The condo we stayed at had free kayaks and sailboats for anyone that was staying there. Needless to say, we took advantage of both. The three of us took out a tandem and a solo ocean kayak. Both Steven and Lisa got a little queasy but I though thought it was great, the waves crashing over the bow. It was fun and qualified for month 33.

The next weekend, Kent and Dan (despite a month with no rain) headed unto the East Branch. Luckily Dan's shortened route suggestion turned out to be a godsend. We got stuck so many times on what is almost always a pure joy of a trip that the struggles took away from the enjoyment. Although the river conditions were not ideal, it is always fun to spend some time with Kent. Maybe we should have gone bike riding!!!
Pictures: The sailboat Steven and I went on, ocean kayaks we used, Steven with a fish, and Mr. Pelican who was always looking fro a free meal when we fished on the pier.

Friday, July 25, 2008


.....the familiar greeting from Kent came across my cell phone...."Did I want to go for a trip down the Dupe?" Of course the answer is always "yes", its just a matter of previous plans and if all the "honeydos" have been completed. With a recent rain the river was up and we put in at old reliable...Community Park. Pat had borrowed my solo 'yak for a little family trip so it was back to the good'ole times....Dan and Kent cuddled up in the tandem. You know the phrase, "It's better on top"? Well I have always prescribed to the "It's better in the back" when it comes to tandem kayaking but Kent begged to be the captain and we reversed roles. At least we didn't have to experience the loneliness of a masturyak. Check out my entry in the Urban Dictionary. Maybe it will make it to Webster's sometime.

The rapids were good and as always we had a good time. We did explore back into the Seven Bridges lakes prior to our takeout at the condos.
The previous week Lisa and I did this same route and she seemed to really enjoy it. Will she become an outdoors women after all? Probably not but I love her just the same. We need to get the ladies out again for a couple's trip.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Months 31 and 32 in the books

The first weekend in June Dan participated in a river sweep in Community Park. Quite a good crowd showed up and we took a lot of crap out of the river. Not only did it get month 31 completed it was a nice community service project.
In Mid June we made our annual trip to Door County. Jim M., Pat, Tom and Dan took an extended trip around Green Bay. At one point we saw numerous large carp swimming in the shallows. Jim's shorts tightened as he gazed into the glistening water and whispered slowly of his desire to plunge an arrow deep into the side of one of God's creatures.
Double click on the 2nd picture of a native tepee built by the ancient tribe of Nicolet warriors. I am not sure why Pat is on his knees in front of Jim but Jim sure seems interested in what (or who) is going down!! Maybe he was still thinking of the Pirate fantasy / lovegame he had just told us about.

On July 5th (month 32) we had our largest group of kayaks venturing down the Duper as well as the 1st ever 4 brothers trip. Larry, Ben, Pat, Jim M. and Dan were in solo yaks and Tom and Joe were in the tandem. That's 6 kayaks and 7 people. Speaking of tightening shorts, everyone speculated I was in heaven with such a large group. The water level was very low but we only got stuck a few times. Some wildlife highlights for the newbies were a beaver/gopher swimming on the side of the river, multiple fish sitings and a large deer walking in the river about 75 yards ahead of us.
A closer inspection of picture 3 and you may notice that Ben is in the Duper not on the Duper. A little miscalculation under a fallen tree and over he went. Once back in the boat Ben declared: "That's the first time I have ever been dumped out of anything". Not missing a beat, Uncle Tom questioned his nephew: "How'd that work out for you?". This gave us all a good chuckle. The last 2 pictures are of the group (less the author/ photographer). It was a good trip boys.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day 2008 -

Memorial Day 2008 (could a consecutive streak be started?) and Kent, Pat and Dan headed out for a familiar trip with a twist. We put in at the familiar Hidden Lake location but this time to the north of the bridge (see 3rd picture). The recent storms from the night before gave us a nice little moving water start under the bridge. What a way to honor our soldiers with a trip on the Duper.
Thru the Arboretum we had a couple nice spots of moving water which always elevates the enjoyment. This enjoyment was temporarily capsized as we had a major portage around work at I-88. We were soon back on the river telling stories of great culinary masterpieces, bar tending wizardry and dreams of a Deliverance-like trip that seems to never come to fruition.
All of this culminated with the 7 Bridges whitewater (see pictures 1 and 2...trying some new techniques). We also had a new take out spot, paddling up stream at Hobson back into the apartments / townhouse areas new the golf course. I am pretty sure this is trespassing but it never seems too bother the others. Next week June is here and month 31 should be accomplished soon.
As always, double click on pictures for a larger view.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

You're going yaking and you'll like it!!!

A father and son outing for Kent and Cole as the 3 of us headed down to Shorewood for some "whitewater" action. This is the 3rd time I have done this section. The 1st time I felt like I was going down class IV rapids...pure exhilaration. The 2nd time the water was low and it was not much more than the "action" in downtown Naperville. This trip was somewhere in the middle. As a reference point, the Shorewood guage was at 3.25 feet. Anything less than that and it is not worth the trip, anything above it would be worth the trip.

This also marked the Duper boys' 30th consecutive month of kayaking. Are you impressed? The 3 pictures are a posed pre-trip picture taken by a 4 toothed woman, Kent and Cole working hard (or hardly working) and some members of the kayak club working the river. Note: Double click on the pictures for a larger view. The 2nd one you will be able to see Cole's amazed look as he gazes upon my pasty white shoulders. Keep your eyes in your head, boy, this meat is spoken for!

Friday, May 2, 2008

My three sons....or is it my three Duper boys?

Last summer it was a trip with my oldest brother Larry (see blog entry"Larry does the limbo"). This past Saturday it was initiation day for brother number 2, Tom (pictured above in the blue yak). Brother number 3, Pat, of course is one of the original Duper boys and is part of the current 29 month streak. EDITORS NOTE: Pat claims an unvalidated "masteryak" that took place on May 1 to extend his streak to 30 months.

Although a little cool and windy, the sun was out and we had a good time paddling upstream to just past the Great Western trail (picture above is just north of the trail). Tom seemed to enjoy himself (especially the Duper Virgin rite of passage initiation ritual administered flawlessly by Pat). In order to protect the sanctity of the club's secret ritual, I again refused to document this procedure photographically. I think any of our future presidential aspirations will be thankful that pictures do not exist.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Duper boys, Jim...not the Polar Bear club!

April 2008. Kent got month 29 completed in Captiva Fl and Dan took advantage of the 60 degree weather last weekend. Pat, however, had not kept his streak up so out we went into a dreary, dank, drizzly 40 degree day. This would also give Pat the opportunity to christen his newly received yak. Jim, a one time Duper veteran from years ago, scurried out to Dick's and bought a matching cute! Did you get the "lover's discount"?
The 1st photo shows Pat daintily entering his kayak while Jim (notice the light blue jeans) awaits his turn. Jim, so anxious to join in the fun with Kent and Pat in the river, attempted to enter his kayak much like one would plop down into their favorite recliner or a bean bag chair. You guessed it..... DOH!!! Holy SH&T!!! Like a bull in a china shop, Jim plunged headlong into the icy cold Duper. I know the effects of the ice cold Duper on my frozen digits. I can only imagine the frightened turtle-like experience that must have been taking place within Jim's soaked jeans (notice the dark blue jeans in photo 2). I am pretty sure Pat's hysterical laughter didn't make Jim feel any better as sat on his ass in the middle to the river.
To Jim's credit, he went home, changed and joined us for the majority of the trip. The cocky, confident attitude was a little subdued but he stuck it out nonetheless. Other than the exciting beginning and our 1st ever 4 solo yak voyage, nothing too exciting to report. A couple hawks, some deer and our friend the owl (yes an owl in the daylight) were the wildlife highlights. Oh, yes, the last photo? A rare picture of the author and photographer with a smirk that seems to say: "Damn, rookie!"

Saturday, April 5, 2008 it wrong?

Masturyak: Noun The act of giving oneself pleasure via a solo kayak trip.

Kent did it with himself a couple of weeks ago (and called me while doing it!) and he said he has never experienced anything like it. So with the weather giving us the year's first glimpse of spring I decided to give masturyaking a try. Down to Churchill Woods Forest preserve and the up stream paddle on the east branch. Not only did I extend my consecutive kayak streak to 29 months, I was able to do something I have not done for a long time.....paddle wearing only a t-shirt and no gloves. Now I am pretty sure while Kent was masturyaking he was not man enough to only wear a t-shirt (no one can see your legs anyway).

The freedom the sunny 60 degree weather gave me inspired me to go further than I have gone before....into virgin territory as it were. Now here was my dilemma. I know the initiation ritual for Duper virgins (I helped come up with the routine, for crying out loud!) but how do you handle virgin territory on the river? Well I took it upon myself and since I was masturyaking anyway, I administered the initiation ritual to myself. I know, you are probably mumbling to yourself right now: "how could you possibly pull that off?" Let's just say I may not be able to sit down for a while and I heard some noises coming out of me that I never would have believed were possible.

Let's hope spring has sprung and the Duper boys can be reunited for some more exciting trips on the river we affectionately call "the Duper."

Friday, March 14, 2008

Do not fear, the streak still lives!!

A little computer issue that lasted longer then expected does not negate the fact that the Duper boys did get out in February to hit consecutive month 27. Dan and Kent took out the two solos in one outing and Dan and Pat took out big blue tandem in another outing.

Kent ventured away from the core team the first weekend in March and made the downtown Naperville run with his 2 brother in laws, one being a Duper virgin. I have not confirmed this but I assume Kent took care of the usual initiation rites in my absence. The following weekend Pat and Dan did the same run, both experiencing a case of the frozen digits even though it was not unusually cold. As always with the winter kayaking, if we could only solve, with 100% success, the cold finger issue we would be set for years to come. Of course, despite this occasional inconvenience, the Duper boys are committed for a long run keeping the streak alive.

April, with warmer weather I hope, is just around the corner and month #29 will be put in the books.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

3rd annual New Year's Day float (26 consecutive months)

The Duper boys headed out for the 3rd annual New Year's day float greeted by fresh falling snow. As you can see from the pictures it was absolutely gorgeous paddling through the Arboretum. Kent and Pat took out the tandem and Dan followed behind in the single. Is it wrong for 3 men to go out in the woods together and enjoy the magnificent scenes that only a few others dare to enjoy? Of course it is not wrong, we can not help that so many others lead such sheltered lives!

Not only was this our 3rd annual New Year's day float it extended our consecutive month streak to 26. I suppose when it is 126 or 226 this number will sound trivial but you've got to document it and you must hit 26 before you can get to 126.

On Wednesday, 1/9/08, Dan had to go to Bonita Beach Florida for a conference. Always looking to squeeze as much in to the trip and to take advantage of being in another part fo the country, Dan rented a kayak and explored the mangrove lined Estero Bay. Although it was 80 and sunny, this solo trip was not nearly as fun as the ones shared with my Duper brethren.