Lake-spanking map and pictures

Lake Conroe has been persistently naughty. Since nobody else seemed to be taking responsibility for its misbehavior, we took matters into our own hands yesterday and gave it a good spanking. I paddled it until I got blisters.

I think this will need to be done much more often, since I don’t think the lake has learned its lesson yet. On the other hand, I learned a few – interactive photo-map and details below…

All told, we paddled nearly 9 miles (the return trip isn’t on the map). We’re using a handsome wooden tandem kayak that my father built, which doesn’t suck. Some random things I learned:

  • Though “untrained” and somewhat out of shape, I can comfortably maintain a speed of about 3.5mph for long periods of time.
  • With the help of my Lovely Assistant paddling in front, we can “sprint” at up to around 6.5mph
  • I can paddle for longer than I thought I’d be able to and I’m not as sore today as I was afraid I’d be, so I guess I haven’t gotten totally sedentary. It still felt like good exercise, though.
  • Exploring is fun. (Actually, I knew this already but it’s nice to be reminded once in a while).
  • It’s easier to get in and out of the kayak off of a dock than I was afraid it would be, which is good since most of the area seems to be bulkheaded (i.e. no nice smooth shore to pull up or push off from).
  • Next time, bring a lot more to drink, as well as plenty of snack food so as to prevent discomfort due to too much blood in my sugarstream.
  • Paddling from one part of the lake to another, especially towards the southern end of the lake, will take longer than expected due to the need to stay nearer the shore to avoid getting in the path of partying speedboaters and jetskiers (this is probably less of an issue if one goes north into the National Forest area of the lake).
  • I need to do this more often.

I may need to Do Something about the seat so my butt doesn’t fall asleep on longer excursions. I also need to rig up pockets on my lifejacket, and maybe consider adding some kind of flag or something to the kayak, just to improve its visibility to motorboats. We didn’t actually have any problems with motorboats at all this time around – I’m just thinking ahead. In any case, at least I also got to play a bit with mapping and photography while I was busy exploring and exercising.

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The Author is (currently) an autodidactic student of Industrial and Environmental microbiology, who is sick of people assuming all microbiology should be medical in nature, and who would really like to be allowed to go to graduate school one of these days now that he's finished his BS in Microbiology (with a bonus AS in Chemistry). He also enjoys exploring the Big Room (the one with the really high blue ceiling and big light that tracks from one side to the other every day) and looking at its contents from unusual mental angles.

13 thoughts on “Lake-spanking map and pictures”

  1. I got the map, but wasn’t able to get any photos. Did I misunderstand when it said maps and pictures? I am glad to hear that you are using the kayak. I really enjoyed paddling it. I’m just too old to comfortably get into and out of it. Try using bicycling gloves to paddle with to cushion the hands. You’ll have to call and talk to your Dad about the rub rail for your boat. I hope that you aren’t trying to put a single piece of wood there. Ours has a long scarf joint to allow it to bend.


  2. The photos are actually IN the map – I’m still playing around with Google Maps’ capabilities. If you click on one of the marked locations in the map, there should be a little “thumbnail” picture in the description that pops up. If you click on that picture, a separate window where you can get the full-sized image (hosted at should open up.

    I’ve actually got some nice paddling gloves, and they worked quite well – we were out there for almost 4 hours, but I only really got one single small blister on my left hand. I suspect I might not have even gotten that if my paddling technique had been better. I obviously need more practice.

    The rub rails are actually two pieces for each side – we just need to get each two pieces connected to each other such that they don’t pull apart again when it comes time to bend them around the sides of the boat.

  3. For the rub rails we also used 2 pieces for each side. We cut a long scarf joint and epoxied them together and clamped them to let them set up. We haven’t had them come apart or even threaten to come apart.

    I’ll try the pictures again.

  4. Ok.. I loved this virtual tour. I was able to access the pictures.. spank the lake..and not get my feet wet. That’s the good news. The bad news is that I have not a clue what a rub rail is.

    I am thinking for the Kayac knowlege impaired.. ‘twould be nice to see a kayac boat pic ..up close and we could rub rails..and get to know each other. Maybe there is one. My puter crashed on my last tour.

    I also had to pan out almost to Jupiter to see what state you lived in. I recognized Dayton as being in I’m risking a guess.

    Thanks for the fun trip. Funny poop linkage also. I guess that is what happens when suburbia clashes with nature. The perp probably felt there were park rangers on poop patrol who picked that stuff up for him/her. On the other hand she could have handed the bad to someone to carry who dropped the bag so to speak. (grin)

    The Stupid Web does not have a web-meister visible that I could see . Did he think it dangerous to reveal himself?

  5. The Rub Rails go around the outer edge of the boat, to protect it from bumping or scraping against things (like a dock, or another boat). Poking around with a Google Image Search turns up a bunch of rubber ones, but I cheated and found an image from the site where we got OUR boat kit and added the labels. (I need to figure out how to overlay locally-hosted transparent images atop hotlinked images from another site…)

    I plan to do a heck of a lot more exploring around Lake Conroe (about 45 miles north of Houston, TX on [coincidentally enough] Interstate 45). I should be able to get a lot of incidental exercise in the process of paddling around. At any rate, I’m seriously considering setting up a permanent “page” on the blog here where I keep the ever-growing “Stuff on Lake Conroe accessible by paddle” map.

    I keep trying to figure out how someone would arrive at the conclusion that they should pick up after their dog but then dump the bag of feces by the side of the trail ANYWAY. I’m forced to concur with the other website – it’s Just Stupid®.

    As for web-anonymity…well, you never know when they might be watching. Can’t be too careful…

  6. We were pretty pleased with how that kayak turned out. Maybe you should think about posting a picture of it.

  7. Er..uh so there is a Dayton Texas? oops!

    You all built your own boat? That’s fantastic. I agree with your Mom.

    Very nice of you to put up a picture. I swear, as a former Mississippi mud rat, I am totally unfamiliar with that type of boat and I fear it would be way too fragile for the Mississippi. I envisioned one of those things seen on PBS that looks like one wears while shooting the rapids.

  8. Well, the boat we’re using now (the kayak) was built by my father. We are also currently working on building a boat ourselves (a pirogue – that’s what’s in the “Rub Rails” picture up there) which to me seems like a kind of hybrid canoe/kayak thing (except with a flat bottom).

    There will of course have to be some pictures of the as-yet-unnamed kayak soon…

  9. Thank you for the additional boat info. I have, with a boatload of fellow girl scouts paddled a good sized canoe in the Mississippi, but on the whole I think it safer with the dangerous current we have, to use an outboard. I wonder if some of our early trappers didn’t use these in our area? Along with the “Jolly Flatboatmen”, we might have had peppy Pirogue people.

    How neat! Your father built a Kayak, and mine build a Kayot long ago. “Kayot” was the brand-name of the pontoon boat popular in Hannibal at one time. Dad built a home-made version, using empty oil-drums welded together for pontoons. It’s best feature was its size. One could putt putt down (or up) the Mississippi and friends would tether boats to the back, climb on board, and join the party. Wish they had taken pictures or not lost the photos of the ones they took.

  10. “Dad built a home-made version, using empty oil-drums welded together for pontoons.”

    I keep wondering if one could do something similar with emptied 2-Liter soda bottles.

  11. Sounds promising but you might have some difficulty with melting points and welding. (grin)

  12. Actually, if I remember correctly, plastic grocery bags are made from high-density polyethylene and could hypothetically be heat-formed around plastic bottles to hold them together…

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