*to Hanlon's razor: Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

July Freedom

The wife takes the kids to Tokyo for most of July, from Toronto.  I get out of going to that armpit climate, because I can claim I am saving us money: almost $2K for the ticket in summer, and up to another $1K for various expenses there.

So, what do I do instead?  I'm not sitting in fucking Toronto when I have a month to be anywhere else.  My idea is I can justify anything that costs no more.  What do I do with my time?

Probably not, since it's not my thing, and much less fun alone, especially as I am long in the tooth and short in patience to do the 'backpacker' thing; and the rest costs too much money.  It's also more the thing she'd like to do with me, and the kids.  The other thing is the cost of flights to anywhere I'd do it in summer (Northern Europe): fuck no.

I do have a road and a touring bike, and can and have done tours alone, albeit not long ones previously.  Thing is, besides the risk of getting hit, I get to hear fucking cars blast by me more or less frequently... for weeks on end.  Not so appealing now.  Or I can go somewhere more remote, but has enough of a road for my touring bike, which means I die in a 'Third World' country.

I could buy a fourth bike, and lose my wife.  Anyway, the off-road bike wouldn't work for a long tour, mainly because there are no long off-road tours rough enough to stop cars, smooth enough to ride bike, where all wheeled traffic isn't banned.  Too bad.

Well, none of my friends have the right combination of time, fitness and interest, so I'm alone again.  Bit of a theme there...  Nixes the mountaineering, but leaves the hiking.  Hmm.  Something where the flight is not more than a grand: Iceland or 'the West Coast Trail'.  Not the Canadian Rockies again, as all the good views are technical.  I don't do America.

Canoeing or Kayaking
Finally something that Ontario has!  I have done no little bit of both, and of them the canoeing of rivers appeals more.  The Great Lakes can get too ugly for a little boat fast, and it's not wise to be on them alone anymore, as I have kids to live for.  Besides, I'll get a wee yacht to do that in a few years.  Canoeing is a partner-sport, but it is possible alone with the right boat.  Oh... I don't have one.
That's not the biggest problem: getting one small enough to solo, but big enough to explain away as a family purchase is.  More, something that I can move without a car, and store without a garage.  That's impossible!  There is no canoe that's narrow enough to solo, wide enough for kids; sturdy enough for river tours, but light and foldable enough to pack in a bag.  It would have to be like a skin-on-frame kayak, but have a way to alter the frame to widen the beam.

PakCanoe 165 is a smaller wilderness tripper. It works well for two moderate size paddlers and gear for 2 or 3 weeks. The 165 is narrower than the 170 and makes a nice expedition solo. Wider cross ribs can be installed for greater stability.


  1. Why the hell would anyone go to Tokyo in July? I guess that's when most of North America has long hols, right and your wife has friends and family back there but that's insane. I would happily never go to the Northern hemisphere in July again in my life.

    1. Quite. Only August is worse. "I would happily never go to the Northern hemisphere in July again in my life."? July in Canada, America's New England, or Northern Europe, perfect.

  2. A medium-length kayak that can go on lakes, big rivers and the ocean (near shore) suited me back in Oregon. I would (sometimes solo) go the length of the Columbia river from Portland to the Pacific, stopping at campsites along the way. Sea Kaying in the Puget Sound was nice; probably very good in the waters off British Columbia too, I imagine.

    1. It's impossible to have one boat do everything, of course. Ontario's better rivers include many rapids, so anything like a 'sea-kayak' wouldn't maneuver well enough, and portage for shit for the ones I can't/won't shoot. Something like a Pyranha Fusion would store gear for a week, but my trips may be longer, it's still unpleasant to portage, and needless to say takes no other passengers. A canoe is the best thing for my needs, anyway.

  3. The hubs went to Sapporo last July/August.... and he said it was hot and humid. I wonder how he would have felt about Tokyo during that time. I am set to visit Tokyo next year in late October/early November. I probably should read up on proper attire for the weather. Living here, it's always the same.... mild.
    I tried kayaking once, in the ocean... I sucked at it and it frightened me. Since then I have learned to swim and was keep to try it in Mexico but I got a no-go from the guide because the waves were too rough. There is always next time! I didn't know kayaks even has skins, I have only ever seen the hard plastic ones used around here for the ocean.

    1. October/November is completely ideal for the better part of the archipelago. The only season to compete is March/April for cherry blossoms, but also allergy season for some of us, and not as warm as October/November. If Tokyo, get to Nikko and Kamakura for the autumn leaves, but MID-WEEK, because crowds on weekends. In Japan, as many places, cities on weekends, countryside on weekdays.

      Yeah, not being able to swim and kayak equals a big deal, even with a life-jacket frightening if not dangerous. Some ethnicities commonly don't get trained to swim. Most odd for this Anglo.