Monday, June 22, 2015

Father's Day Paddling

We spent another hour at Lake Jericho with the kayaks on Father's Day. This was our second trip out and we both did much better than the first time out.  We are quickly adjusting to the Sea Eagle kayaks.  Before I loaded up any gear in mine I took it out and tried to tip it over just to see how much it really took to tip. I can tip it, but I have to try really, really hard to get it to dump me into the water.  Knowing that helped me relax a little more with the wobble since now I know it will only go so far before the pontoons catch the boat from flipping over.  With that being known, I had a much more comfortable paddle this time. Jason also did much better after making some seat adjustments from the last trip out.

Jason Paddling in Front of Me
We only did an hour again, but it is so fun!  We ended up buying an annual pass for Lake Jericho for $50 (otherwise it costs $6/person each trip).  Since it's only a couple of miles up the street we figure we'll go there the most and when we only plan to get an hour or so of paddling in.

On this outing we once again saw many Great Blue Herons. They actually let you get fairly close to them before they fly down the bank to resume fishing.  We saw one spear a fish and eat it about 10 feet away from us. We saw a baby snapping turtle sunning on a log in the water.  We paddled into a shallow cove and saw a huge carp eating algae. He was in such shallow water his back was out of the water.  He was a good foot and a half long and zoomed right past my kayak when I startled him.  We also saw a very large snake.  Jericho is known for having lots of water snakes so we're always careful to be on the lookout.  I'm not sure what kind of snake it was, likely a water moccasin, but we did't get close enough to find out. Once I spotted him I went the other way.

I wish I had photos of all of these sightings, but still being a newbie I'm afraid to keep my phone with me in case it gets wet.  But today we have waterproof cases being delivered so I'll hopefully be able to capture some of these sightings.  Once I get really comfortable I'll get brave enough to bring my actual camera with the zoom lens that I can keep in the dry bag until I need it.  For now phone photos will have to do!  We're going back out tonight so hopefully I'll get to try out the new case and actually be able to snag some pics of all of the wildlife we see on our kayak adventures!

Last night Jason bought us some more accessories for our trips, including a kayak anchor. This will be great for parking in the shade for a rest or for when I want to lounge in the sun or take a dip in the water to cool off.  We also added a mini flashlight, some flat bungee cords, hand sanitizer and a few other miscellaneous items that may come in handy.

The photo below is a partial view of the inside of my kayak.  I actually have a lot more room than this because the dry bags and cooler you see in front of me are usually pushed way up into the front of the boat, but I had just gotten into the bag to get my phone out for a photo.  I also have quite a bit of storage room behind my seat since the seat goes in just past the middle of the boat.  Plenty of room to load up for a day trip!
My Sitting "Space"

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Maiden Kayak Voyage

I've been wanting to try kayaking for quite some time now and Jason got on board with me recently. Now that we are camping more, and usually near lakes, we decided to bite the bullet and give kayaking a try.  At first we were looking at beginner hard shell kayaks. Wow, there are so many to choose from!  From sit-ins to sit-ons, cheap to extremely expensive, recreational to touring.  After joining a few kayak groups on Facebook we were informed about Sea Eagle inflatable kayaks. So we did some research and watched some YouTube videos and decided that would be the best route for us to go so we purchased two of the SE 330 Pro Solo Kayaks.

We chose the inflatables for several reasons:
  1. They get great reviews and many people prefer them over hard shells.
  2. They are extremely portable (it was going to cost us around $1000 to have a roof rack and kayak mount installed on Big Nasty that would work while pulling the fifth wheel).
  3. They only weigh 26 pounds and fold up to fit in a bag so no need to have 2 people to get it off the truck. A simple foot pump will have it ready to go in about 10 minutes.
  4. The model we chose was almost half the price of the hard shell one we were looking at.
  5. We figured these would be a great starter boat for us to see how much we like it before we put more money into a hard shell (if we do choose to go that route down the road).
The kayaks arrived yesterday so we inflated them in the house to check them out.  We were going to go on our maiden float that evening, but it rained all evening.  So instead we hit up the sporting goods aisle at Wal-Mart and purchased some accessories - dry bags, lunch coolers, gear clips, rope, etc.

Today was nice and overcast and storms weren't supposed to come in until this afternoon.  So we took an extended lunch break and headed up to Lake Jericho a few miles up the road from us.  There is a boat ramp there or a dock that we can launch from.  We used the boat ramp today, but I think the dock would be easier - my exit was not very graceful!

We had a great first time out. We only paddled for an hour, but I can feel it in my arms and torso already.  What a great upper body and core workout this is going to be!  And the nature! We saw several Great Blue Herons, many water turtles, a few fish and what we think was a wood duck. 

The Sea Eagles were pretty awesome.  They seemed wobbly but I think that's just because we aren't used to them.  They are supposed to be fairly difficult to tip over, but we didn't push our luck trying. (They kind of give you the same feeling you get when you lean back too far in a swivel office chair and when you get so far back you think you're going to fall backwards, but you don't.) We got the hang of paddling and turning around pretty quickly, but being out of shape and never kayaing before, we tired out pretty quickly.  Arms and abs will be sore tomorrow!  But I can see this being a great time and a great workout all in one!  Once I get the hang of it a little better and get more comfortable with the boat I'll start bringing a camera with me - I'll probably purchase a waterproof digital camera at some point - but for now I was only brave enough to pull my phone out of the dry bag for one quick shot while on the water just off the boat ramp.  More adventures in kayaking to come!

Inflating the Kayaks in our Living Room - Buddy is confused

Preparing to Launch

The View from my Kayak

My Setup and New Sun Hat  ;)

Friday, June 12, 2015

Dale Hollow Lake Camping Trip

See the entire Dale Hollow photo album

May 17 - 21, 2015 was our annual spring camping vacation.  We had a group of five - Jason and me, Christina & Charlie, and Beth. This year we decided to go to Dale Hollow Lake in Burkesville, Ky since none of us had ever been before.

The day we left Charlie and Christina left a few hours before us.  We met up with Beth so she could follow us since she was driving solo. Upon meeting up with her, we realized her tail lights were not working. So we drove up to Auto Zone to get some parts. Jason spent a couple of hours working with the electrical wiring before they figured out it was all due to a blown fuse in the truck. Problem solved! But alas, our truck, Big Nasty, was leaking anti-freeze and fast.  After a phone call it was determined that Big Nasty should not attempt to make the three hour trip. So after some discussion and contemplating, Jason took the truck and the dogs back home and I continued to the campground with Beth and bunked with her, my gracious hostess, for the week.

Jason & Beth working on Beth's Camper

We stayed in the state park campground with full hookups. Since we were there during the week and school was still in session the park was almost empty. We had one other camper in our loop besides us and we barely saw them the entire week.  The park is very nice with sites arranged in several cul-de-sac loops. This made it so you didn't look directly at the back of your neighbors camper and instead looked into some dense woods, which was a nice change of scenery.

Empty Camping Loop

You can't see the lake from this campground, but it's a short drive away to the marina. We saw a campground on the Tennessee side right at the water's edge that we plan to go back to sometime.  We saw this campground the day that we rented a pontoon boat to go swimming and fishing for the afternoon. We brought lunch with us and had a pair of mallard ducks begging for handouts, which they received. They then proceeded to follow us everywhere we went while on the lake.

Our Feathered Friends
The lake had a ton of islands that you can camp on or just dock up to and go explore. We stuck to the water, but it would be very neat to explore some of the primitive woods out there.  The water was so clear we could easily see our toes and probably a good 15 feet below that while swimming. The water is also a beautiful blue green color, not the muddy brown that a lot of lakes tend to be.
Tiny Island

We didn't see any eagles on the lake but we did see a Green Heron, which was a new sight for me. I've seen plenty of Great Blue Herons, but never a green one.

Another day we decided to do a short hike up to a bluff outlook called Eagle's Nest.  It was a short hike but a very steep hike!  But it was 1000% worth the effort. The view was spectacular and stunning. We stayed up there just looking around for probably close to an hour before we headed back down to the campground.  While we were up there Christina got dive bombed by a brave humming bird and I found an eagle feather, which I kept as a souvenir.

View from Eagle's Nest

On the way back down the hiking trail it occurred to me that there were probably many geocache sites around the area. Sure enough there was one up on the cliff but we were already half way back down the trail so we chose another one near the parking lot. Charlie and I foraged into the woods for a good while and finally found the ammo box inside a fallen tree.  This was the first cache I've found that actually has items to trade out. So we signed the logbook and took a green glow-stick and replaced it with a pink breast cancer cause bracelet.  I also got the last geocache coin that was left in the box (it started out with 50).  There was also a baseball, a miniature frisbee, some pens, business cards and other small trinkets in the cache box.

Geocache Contents

The rest of our time was spent hanging around the campsites and enjoying the perfect weather. We had campfires, music, brews, good food and a great time. There were many banged heads on awning bars, Charlie stuck his tongue on the bug zapper, and beer bonging lessons went around until everyone was a natural. ;)

It was a fantastic trip. The only thing that would have made it better is for Jason to have been able to join us. But now Big Nasty is fixed and we just purchased two kayaks, so our next trip is sure to be just as fun!  Next stop - Taylorsville Lake!

See the entire Dale Hollow photo album

Monday, June 8, 2015

Crock Pot Chicken Curry & Veggies

This is a very delicious and easy low carb slow cooker recipe my husband throws together. It is not induction friendly due to the cream of chicken, but is fine for anything after the induction phase.


  • 6 - 8 Chicken Thighs or Breasts
  • 1 package of Frozen Onion & Pepper mix
  • 1 package of Frozen Broccoli
  • 1 can of Cream of Chicken soup
  • 1 1/2 Tbs of Curry Powder (or to taste)
  • Black Pepper to taste


  1. Put all ingredients in the crock pot / slow cooker.
  2. Cook on low for 8 hours.
  3. Stir up and enjoy!
Serve alone or with riced cauliflower.