Friday, October 27, 2006

North Fork American River

During this winter, watch the flow charts for the popular North Fork American Class 4+ run after a storm or heavy rain. You'll see the flows come up and you'll also see the kayakers arrive. I came across a very cool blog site from a Japanese paddler that lives in Davis, California. Check out his North Fork description with his kayak pictures.

I just love surfing the net for blogs and news items about rafting.north fork american paddlers It keeps me close to the action when the season is over. California Whitewater Rafting is a description site full of info on California rivers. Check out Kevsmom for a recent description about a "Mystery Run." These are true blue lovers of rivers. Even when the commercial rafting scene is over, everyone who paddles still comes out whenever there's a drop or a rapid to negotiate. It's a habit and an addiction. Also, check out CaCreeks' website for general river descriptions for kayakers and paddlers. Lots to check out here and lots of pictures to see.

New rafting sites pop up everyday, but, I have a tendency to use the ones mentioned on a regular basis. W.E.T. River Trips' rafting news has become popular as well as their company rafting blog for California rafting information and updates.

Over at the American River website, the well-known forum was finally "done-in" by the nasty spammers. But, in its demise, comes a beautiful news page with lots of updates on the South Fork American and the American River in general. So many talented bloggers, news agents, webdesigners and webmasters are creating great resources for our industry. The more, the better in order to promote rafting, kayaking, and paddling for our California whitewater industry.
Post by iBetty Networks

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Get Out and VOTE!

As we put away our rafts and paddles for the winter, we encourage you to get out there and vote next month. This election is critical. There are several candidates and propositions that will impact all of our lives. From the govenor's race to your local campaigns, get off the couch and vote. For those of you who love rivers as much as we do, we ask you to pay close attention to candidates who have a history of voting for the environment. This is not an issue of right or left or Democrat or Republican. It is not "radical" to vote for the environment; au contraire, it is actually a conservative decision.

Definition of Conservative: favoring or adhering to a restrained style or opinion; to conserve or preserve; favoring traditional views and values; moderate and cautious. Conservative people think about the future. Conservative people saw what happened with high gasoline prices and gas guzzling vehicles. It is the Conservative who understands that our resources are few and it is a conservative approach to try and handle these resources properly to ensure their availability for the future. That's conservative.

Pay attention: it's about your future and your children's lives. We all need to breathe, we all need to eat and we all need to get from one place to another. It is up to us to vote intelligently without thinking of our own pocketbook. Vote as if you cared about your fellow human beings and this planet. And if you belong to a particular religious affliation, pray to your God and ask if it is truely right to vote for money. Or is it better to vote with the poor, the downtrodden (sounds like our Statue of Liberty!) and the weak. Your answer and your vote will impact many lives. And I pray that you do the right thing and vote with your heart.
W.E.T. River Trips

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Raft/Kayak Infrastructure Integration

Current technology is demanding that the auto industry create smart cars to help navigate the roadways of America. The buzz word is VII known to techies as Vehicle Infrastructure Integration. A fancy term for smart cars. GPS navigation systems, internet access, voice controls, iPod and satellite radio, and onboard devices to communicate with other vehicles and sources help to navigate the roadways and obstacles are already here. Soon everyone's car will have the same technology...

I was wondering... what if kayaks and rafts had this same technology? Think... navigate the toughest river using a navigation system that you could program based on your own skill set. If you are a novice kayaker or rafter, you could program your boat to run conservatively with no possible flips or wraps. Or you could run like Tao with drops and rad moves through the rapids. Imagine being able to run an unknown, virgin river run without scouting! The GPS would do that for you. You could communicate downstream with other rafts or kayaks to find out if there was trouble ahead that the navigation system didn't pick-up. Or you could just have a conversation comparing your runs.

See it. The smart car takes you to the river without you having any knowledge of the run. The car drives you there knowing which washed-out road lies ahead. At the put-in, the car offloads all your equipment without any labor on your part. And then the same technology pumps up your raft or rigs your kayak. All the while, you are slipping into your wetsuit and lifejacket without a single moment wasted in preparing your equipment. As the raft self inflates or the kayak rigs its own foot mounts, you slide in when ready. You then push a few buttons on your paddle and the craft proceeds downstream. In front of you is a navigation screen with speech recognition. Over the din of the whitewater, you shout "Class 4." The boat then gives you all the Class 4 techniques to run any rapid. You paddle; but the boat corrects any errors on your part. This leaves you with plenty of opportunity to take photographs or just enjoy the view. The tunnel vision view of navigating a river disappears as you no longer worry about the safety aspect of paddling any river.

Then on shore, the smart cooler with its high tech refrigeration system operates so well that ice cream could be served on day 12 of a Grand Canyon trip. On the inside of the cooler is a screen telling you what items are perishing or still eatable. And on the same screen, the river menus pop-up suggesting ways to cook what's still left in the cooler. No thinking or planning involved. Then over to the kitchen set-up where the stove quickly cooks any meal with no fuel; just a solar source. We're talking the simplest food scene in the history of rafting or boating. No more arguing about meals on river trips!

On the side of the river, monitoring stations allowing WiFi access allowing all the systems on your boat to communicate with a source to allow you to have a stress-free time on the river. Think of the porta-potty system that could be developed. No mess, no stink... wow! Everything recycled on the spot and broken down into its most simplest form.

So Kayak or Raft Infrastructure Integration or K/RII may be coming soon... and we can't wait until it's here... NOT!
Silly post from the bored: W.E.T. office staff...

Monday, October 02, 2006

Team Building Sessions

School's giving way too much work. This goon would rather not work so hard. The incoming students look so young and blissful... unaware that SAT's are just around the corner. It's the end of the rafting season and October is peeking its scarey cold head around the corner. Like a jack-o-lantern, it can make you smile or it can put the fear of God in you. I've seen October hot for 25 days, and I've experienced it when the snow fell and buried the summit. No sooner do you put away the summer clothes, then to have the weather change again back into the high 80's. The cool breeze and muted light tells us Fall is approaching.

A few rafting companies are out there on the South Fork American, enjoying solitude with whitewater rapids. Seems like a lot of corporate groups are out doing their team-building thing. What's that anyway? You got to work as a team when you're paddling together. It's obvious. What better way to teach and create a cooperative group?

Team building is based on experiential training. The philosophy is one of comparative teaching as it is applied to business and education training. Why sit in an office with your "team" talking about "working together," creating a cohesive working group with the sole purpose to successfully implement a goal or project when you can demonstrate that focus by rafting or climbing or hiking in wilderness areas. How better to show that training by paddling together and successfully running a rapid without flipping? That's real team building training! And that's why so many corperate groups are out right now doing just that.