Monday, April 30, 2007
Saturday morning dawned clear and balmy, almost the exactly the opposite of last years weather. Canoes and kayaks of every shape, form, and condition were sitting on the triangle across from the Midwest Mountaineering store on the West Bank for folks to sit in, measure, heft, and generally fondle. In the bottom picture a noted local paddler is looking with puzzlement at a bloated double "canoeyak" (??), trimmed out nicely with a duct tape flourish. There were definitely some interesting items including a pristine 2000 vintage Chesapeake LT17 kit that the purchaser hadn't gotten around to opening in the last seven years! Good weather and large crowds spelled a sellers market. I saw a couple of good buys but for the most part people got caught up in the competitive auction fever, a disease I'm very familiar with, having contracted it during a land auction in Bayfield County. The difference is they ain't making any more land but they are making plenty of kayaks. There were plenty of new boat owners with smiles on their faces however, so all was well.
It was a tough day to be inside but I did attend a couple of seminars including the always entertaining Cliff Jacobson. I also did a stint at the SKOAC booth. As you can see, one difference from the Canoecopia show is the refreshments. Instead of cereal based $4 hotdogs and $5 128 oz Cokes they were thoughtful enough to have Famous Dave's BBQ and Summit Extra Pale Ale in the refreshment stand, which was located outside in the fresh air and sunshine. Not much opportunity to do that in the Dane County Coliseum (or whatever they call it now) but there could be improvements in the refreshment quality at Canoecopia.
There didn't seem to be too much new stuff at the expo but I still found myself walking out the door with a LittleBug alcohol/wood stove, a Cooke Custom Sewing screen lean to, and sundry books, bottles, and lights. I guess you always seem to have more gear than you need but not as much as you want. Plus a guy needs to upgrade now and then, right?