Sorry for the lack of posts the past few days, but I’ve been quite busy. But I did get out this weekend to do some fun outdoorsy-type activities. In fact, on Monday (the 4th) I went caneoing!
You see, my friend Tom has a canoe that he was willing to let me borrow for the day. So I stopped by his house around 11, and we took a look at my car to figure out how to put it on the top. Now, as you may or may not know, the Outlander has what I call a “decorative” roof rack – it’s got the side bars, but no cross-beams. So there’s nothing to secure the canoe – or anything else – to. But, being the geeks that we are, we decided we could make something!
So we ventured into Tom’s basement, where (after taking a few measurements and spending some time looking for tools) we fashioned some cross-braces out of 2×4 wood beams. We even cut circular bits out of them so they would sit tightly against the tubular roof-rack. Amazingly, this makeshift system worked extraordinarily well! So we put the canoe on and set out to go canoing.
We had decided beforehand that we wanted to go down a river – lakes are too boring; with a river, at least you go somewhere. I decided to try out the Squannacook River, in Sterling (I think). The spot I had found for putting in was below a dam, and the riverbanks were very steep, so getting the canoe in was a bit of a challenge. However, with some grunting & groaning, we managed to get it in. The river was not deep – which turned out to be a problem – and it was a bit fast-flowing for the aluminum canoe we were in (which has a small “keel” underneath, which tends to catch the current and makes it hard to turn). There were small rapids which were difficult to cross, given the shallow water, and after about a half mile we came to an impasse and decided to turn back. In the end, we had to get out & carry the canoe back to the car (which was HARD); the river had defeated us. In retrospect, it probably wasn’t a good river – but hey, live and learn, right?
So we set out back towards Tom’s house in the hopes of putting in again somewhere, maybe in a lake, just so we could paddle around a bit. There is a lake in Ashburnham, but unfortunately there’s no public access to it – anywhere. But we tried! We actually ended up “Outlanding” all around the lake, on back roads & dirt trails – all with a big aluminum canoe strapped to the roof! It was quite amusing!
In the end we could not find a place to go, and since it was getting late, we returned the canoe – but we have the roof racks now, so we can borrow it again some other weekend. And in the meantime, I’ve located a few more places to put it in – mostly along the Nashua river. There’s one spot on 119, and another on 117. Both seem to be well-used (the one on 117 even has a sign indicating that it’s a boat ramp), and the Nashua in those places is much wider, deeper, and slower – so it should be fun. Next time, I’ll try to remember to take a picture of the car with the canoe on top – just to prove that I actually use my SUV for outdoor-type activities (unlike so many other SUV owners).
After getting home, we got some ice cream and settled down to watch Pops goes the 4th (or, the “Boston Pops 4th of July Fireworks Extravaganza,” as it was officially known). So all in all, it was a good day.