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Kayak Lifts

I had planned a trip with Bryan and Dave, a two-nighter with the camper. Due to the bee incident that injured my leg three weeks prior, I was uncertain if I would be able to handle this trip or not. But I healed up pretty nicely from that injury, and while I am not back to normal, I am in much better shape than I was three weeks ago. Good thing I am nimble.

Bryan and I departed before 7:00 AM on Friday morning. Dave was driving up on his own. After we arrived and dealt with the normal water filling of the camper and getting lunch, we arrived at the property around noon. Dave arrived about ten minutes after we did.

We set up the camper on the fire lane, and took off to show Dave the building. Bryan had been up mid-July to help install the garage doors, but this was Dave's first glimpse of the new utility building.

We unloaded the truck, and I was able to show off my progress on our first solar system before we got started on the kayak lifts.

We have always planned on installing a solar system on the first building (not including the outhouse!) we erected. So, I felt it was time to dip our toes into the water to see what we can do, and what we might learn.

I had purchased a complete system, from EcoWorthy, that consisted of two solar panels, a battery, a charge controller, an inverter, and all of the wiring. I felt it was better to start with a turn-key system in order to learn the various components and how they are wired. In the weeks between our last visit and this one, I was able to pre-assemble and wire the various components, add inline fuses and ground wires, and be able to just plug in the solar panels once we arrived at the property.

It should be noted that the picture below was before I installed the inline fuse between the battery and charge controller (on the positive lead), and before I installed the grounding wires (negative terminal of battery and grounding screw on inverter).

We did not need to use the solar panels since I had the battery fully charged. We used this all weekend to charge our Dewalt batteries and phones. These hardly used any power, but you would expect that with just re-charging batteries. We knew we needed to load it up more, and would do that later in the weekend.

We demonstrated our inability to read instructions well, so it took us much longer to install the kayak lifts than we thought it would. In fact, the whole process took us both Friday and Saturday to complete.

We did get the brackets installed on Friday. But because we did not perfectly follow the instructions, we needed to get a few items from Scholze's Ace Hardware to complete the work. We like the solution we came up with better than the instructions showed, so it all worked out anyway. But being up on a ladder ten feet in the air, especially with a wounded left calf muscle and tendons, is a challenge. I don't really like heights, but there was no way I was going to ask Dave or Bryan to work up on the ladder; it is something I had to do. But Dave holding the bottom of the ladder for me had me feeling quite comfortable, as much as I could be. And Bryan lending his hands helped things move along quite nicely.

We hauled one of the picnic tables from the camping clearing up to the building so we had a place to cook and eat. Supper was cheddar & jalapeno burgers, hash browns and fruit salad. A night of sitting on the porch and a reversal of normal visits. Normally, Bryan can't sit still, but he was suffering some back issues so did relax a bit for once. It was nice to see. I, on the other hand, could not stay idle and was up and moving more than normal on a campfire night after supper.

It was an early night to bed, and a comfortable night to sleep.

I was up early on Saturday morning, and headed up to the building. Dave was not far behind. Bryan was also up there earlier than normal, which means our breakfast of eggs, bacon, hash browns and toast came earlier than normal.

We had to go into town to get our parts, but Nick (our neighbor) had told me he would be working at his store between 9:00 AM and noon, and that we should stop in. So this was on our agenda, but since we ate our breakfast early we were able to go into town earlier than expected.

Our first stop was Nick's store in Black River Falls, SRE Outdoors. It is a very nice store with quite a selection of high-quality gear. I know Nick started with his focus on safety and rescue equipment, but his inventory also covers camping, hiking and paddling equipment. And ropes..... I've never seen that many different types and sizes of ropes in my life! Nick and Maddox were both there, and we enjoyed our time with them. I even bought a sweatshirt for Lorraine while I was there, and got some hot sauce also. So if you ever get the chance, stop by and see Nick or go online to see if anything trips your trigger.

Scholze's Ace Hardware was our next stop. There we were able to get our kayak lift parts, some pushpins to fix a kayak, and a light.... to give us some sort of light when dark, but also to put more load on the solar generator (the box I made for our solar system).

Back to the property, and up on the ladder again. But we were able to get 'er done, get the green kayak re-outfitted (new seat, re-attach knee pads, etc.), and get them up in the air. But, the combination of our early breakfast, the heat that was building in, and the work we did.... we were hot, tired and weak. We really should have eaten some lunch but failed to do so.

We took a swim in the water to cool off and it felt great, but we were all suffering, a bit, from some heat exhaustion and low blood sugar. We went back up to the building to rest a bit in the shade, but Dave was feeling pretty lousy.

Bryan and I went up to the outhouse to do a deep cleaning/scrubbing. Since I no longer need to use the outhouse to store a couple of chairs and rakes, it was time to give it a good cleaning.

Since Dave did not feel well, we told him not to make his potato concoction. Just too hot for him to stand by heated burners cooking food in cast iron. Instead, we used our leftover hash browns and cooked up some pork chops for sandwiches. We also had some fruit salad to go with it.

Nighttime was hot, but we did have a fire. But we found ourselves, just like the night before, chilling out on the porch with the fire 25' away. Dave was in bed by 8:30, Bryan went to take his shower around 9:00, and I came in around 9:30.

Even though I took a cool shower, I sat in my bed for over one-half hour with the fan blowing on me because I could not get cooled down. It was a rough night for all of us due to the uncomfortable heat. We were all up early, had our breakfast burritos, packed up, and were on the road before 9:00 AM.

I would like to say the trip home was un-eventful, but I missed my turn to Baraboo. You don't want to miss that exit, because the next exit isn't for at least 20 miles and is heading east.... the opposite of where we want to go. So, Bryan and I had to work our way back to Sauk City, but did see some nice scenery in the Driftless Area. And, I was finally able to see Lake Wisconsin, made by the dam in Prairie Du Sac, the sister city to Sauk City. It is really a beautiful lake, and one I would like to visit some time in the future. And, this alternate route would be a nice drive in the fall when the leaves are turning.

A very successful trip. Dave and Bryan are always of great help in moving our vision forward. I don't know what we would do without them!


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