Wednesday, September 30, 2009

UKC Update 25

VIP parking or handing out tickets... to close to call.

A quick game of bumper boats or pile up?

Janet Bradford Reports 7:10pm EST

This is it! A ten minute nap on a grassy knoll! Bob and Mike are going straight through the night. They're in night time paddling clothes and pulling hard. Word on the river is they are going straight through to the finish.

There was a lag in SPOT as it kicked off for some reason, but all is well, their back at it.

The Captain Reporting

UKC Update 24

Dan prepare an evening meal
Mark Reports - 7:00pm EST

Man what a great day of paddling. Everyone is feeling stronger as we go. What a great surprise to have the welcoming party paddle with us today. We appreciate all the support!

Mark was digging on a near full moon with clear skies when he called. It's going to get down in the teens tonight. Spirits are high and everyone is really enjoying the trip.

Quoting Chuck Amboy - "Hope they brought their woolys"

UKC Update 23

Yeah I know what your thinking... Way too many Sea Winds for the Tres Amigos!! The welcoming party arrives with fresh stories and fresh muscles. What a great day for the Tres Amigos as Jeff Kolka (notice the butchering of the name in previous posts) and Mr. Kirchen (sp) join in.

I don't know who this handsome man is, but his hair goatee and glasses remind me of someone equally as handsome - I think it is Jack?

Ah yes the 5 gallon bucket.... good to see!! Please view the following video - Click here! This is what paddling with the Kruger Clan will do to you.

Lunch break I assume - A big THANKS to Jeff Kolka for the pics!! Also the mystery man that took in Janet last night was Jeff, not some random citizen, thought I better clarify that.

UKC Update 22

Chuck Amboy takes on the media.

Big shout out to Chuck Amboy - KCA media relations director self appointed for all of his hard work writing up releases and getting them to the news outlets!!

You da man, Chuck!!!

Look for it at:
Crawford County Avalanche

And on:
WWTV & Wwup TV 9 & 10 News
Gannon Broadcasting Systems

Fingers crossed they pick up on it!! - The Captain Reporting

UKC Update 21

Janet Bradford reports 10:36am EST

Bob and Mike made it to Grayling at 3:00am this morning, caught some zzzzz's till 7:30am.

Now on the M72 hump to the Manistee River, enroute they where able to join the Coca's Kitchen's and Crozier's for breakfast at the Westside Diner.

Looks like we have a gallery of onlookers taking advantage of the nice weather. - How cool is that.

Note: Sorry if I hacked the names (sp)

The Captain Reporting

UKC Update 20

Jack tak'n in a pre-dawn morning fire
Mark reports 6:55am EST

Great camp site last night, raging fire lots of firewood. Everyone slept great after the slog in the wind yesterday.

Looking forward to warmer temps today an some sunshine. (They put their order in).

Plan is to get up river just east of Mio and camp. They're averaging around 2 miles an hour in a swift current.

A little bit of head scratching going on with the pending 8.74 mile trudge from mile 10 bridge to Parmalee Bridge. (Bob Bradford reported he and Mike walked that section do to the low water.)


The Captain Reporting

UKC Update 19

Janet Bradford Reports 9-29 9:09 pm
Bob and Mike will paddle till they get to Grayling. (Looks like they made it by SPOT report). Tough day for all as the wind was brutal.
Note: Passer bys -(locals) saw Janet perched down by the bridge, showed some concern and invited her in to wait for Bob and Mike in the warmth and comfort of their home.
That Midwestern hospitality gets me every time - Everyone, participants and onlookers alike are just so darn supportive; events like these bring the best out of people.
OK, I've seen it elsewhere too, hate to admit it: Texas, Illinois, Missouri, Florida, North Carolina... yeah TEXAS!!: Some pretty awesome people huddled under the sage sporting life jackets and paddles down there. Who'd a thought!! :-)
- The Captain Reporting

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

UKC Update 18

Mark Reports 8:23pm
The Tres Amigos had a long hard paddle into swift water (probably the emptying of Mio Pond) and to add a bit more of a challenge, high wind on the nose all day.
Pretty tired, but they are on schedule to be at the campground by Friday for the festivities and the start of the Kruger 100.
Plan is to push from shore around 7:30am EST. and keep it moving.
The Captain Reporting

UKC Update 17

Janet Bradford reports 4:17pm EST

They have run out of highway. The water ended abruptly.

Bob and Mike were out of the boat at Camp 10 Road and were walking the boat for some time, exact mileage unknown.

Pretty slow going as water levels dropped significantly after the DNR pulled the cork at the Mio Dam a day ago. (Some nonsense about working on the dam; don't they know there is a challenge going on here?)

They're back in navigable water now up by Luzerne and are on the move.

Still no word from the Tres Amigos, - The Captain Reporting

UKC Update 16

Bird's eye view of the Acona Dam and pond the tres amigos will be approaching today. No, Kruger Canoes does not have a helicopter, but we do have a guy that will pillage and plunder pics from the web!! Thanks Aerial Graphics!!

Cool to see the Au Sable from this view.

The Captain Reporting

UKC Update 15

A look back... above the Mio dam

Janet Bradford Reports 11:30am EST

Bob and Mike have cleared Mio Dam... A bit of a walk to deep water but paddling. They have come 71.6 miles thus far... (Oscoda to Mio 71.6 miles)

UKC Update 14

Chuck Amboy reports 11:03am EST

If you want to join in on the Kruger 100 campfest on Friday night, here are the directions:

The M-72 campground is a Michigan State Forest Campground, named Manistee River Bridge, in Crawford County 8 miles W of Grayling, right on the Manistee River just N of the M-72 bridge. 23 sites, river access, canoeing and fishing. It is in the Au Sable State Forest. 989-826-3211 in the Mio field office.

Also there is Harvest Fest going on in Grayling this weekend.

You wanted entertainment, you got it!!

- The Captain Reporting

UKC Update 13

9:11am EST

Rendezvous point for the Von Bradford Express looks to be at the Mio / Au Sable River Hwy 33 bridge. Janet is making her way there now, then to report in. She is a good 45 minutes away.

If anyone viewing wants to meet up, that's where they will be.

The Captain Reporting

UKC Update 12

Carl Cole our man in the field reports 8:22am EST
Cell phone coverage where the boys are was almost nonexistent until you got to Alcona pond. Can't chase canoes today, have to go back to work tomorrow....
Janet Bradford after a quick run back home for clothes and foul weather gear will return as our Lady in the field. expecting a phone from her shortly.
The Captain Reporting

UKC Update 11

7:57am EST -

Tres Amigos on the move. No message or phone call this morning. Drizzle and 46 degrees F are making for some challenging conditions. Packing up damp gear with a chill in the air is less then favorable conditions.

Tomorrow looks to blue Sky's a high of 54 degrees F.

The river narrows substantially up to Alcona Dam. They'll have their work cut out for them today.

The Captain Reporting

UKC Update 10

Loud Hydroelectric Dam is one of four hydroelectric dams owned by Consumers Energy and adjacent to River Road. The dam creates a large impoundment which has enhanced fishing, sailing, and boating along the Au Sable River.

These dams create wonderful recreational spots, but slow the tres amigos down considerably. Janet states that Bob and Mike packed light and fast but for such a journey are still doing two haul carries on the portages.

The tres amigos are in a different situation. They packed to camp so their gear load is substantial. Janet reports that it is slow going. On some of the long portages where the wheels are being used it is a 3 haul carry, gear and canoes individually on the wheels.
The Von Bradford Express will make Mio Pond today, or I should say Mio mud bath as the water is being lowered to accommodate repairs to the Mio dam.
They have stopped south at SPOT will show, they may be planning their next move. There are plenty of access points as this area is public land.
6:07 am EST - The Von Bradford Express has activated their SPOT, so they will be on the move shortly.
Looks like the three bears, Dan, Jack and Mark are sound asleep with visions of sugar plums dancing in their heads. No SPOT activation as of this posting,
Sleep well my tired Boo Bears.
The Captain Reporting

Monday, September 28, 2009

Where's the Love?

Like a red headed stepchild, left wondering.... "Where's the Love?"

One can only surmise that cell coverage is non-existent as the Capt'n received no evening message on the days events from the tres amigos.

I'm sure the boys are all tucked in to their jammies and enjoying some glacier sipp'n water after a hard days paddle into a brisk wind.

Janet did say that Bob and Mike contrary to their original plan, will camp and sleep tonight. They are paddling hard in big weather and wind.

The Captain Reporting

UKC Update 9

In the field report, by Carl Cole 3:13pm EST

The wind started picking up just before Sea Winds got to Foote Dam, blowing pretty steady now. Bradfords portaged Foote about 45 minutes behind them. Started raining about 11:30 hard at times.

I've got the photos uploaded now. They're from either the Bradford start or at the bottom of Foote dam. After I get home I'll try to label some.

Great pics of everyone making their way up river, there are some outstanding shots of the Sea Winds picking their line up river using the shadow of the bank to stay in the slack water.

Janet reports that the Von Bradford Express is soaked, cold but in great spirits; cleared the channel 5 dam at 2:05pm EST. It's pouring now.

UKC Update 8

The sleek and shiny - Pic from

The Captain Reports 12:25 EST

The Von Bradford Express has surpassed expectations and has been tearing up the Au Sable in their custom built Crozier Adventure Racing Canoe known as the Bushwhacker.

I like to call the boat "Black Magic" as a paddler of "BIG Medicine II" a Kruger Cruiser, those Bradford's are crafty like sorcer's out there on the water.
Looks like they passed Team Kruger who are meticulously working their way up river. (great river sense using the shore to their advantage) Look at pics in Update 9.

School's in session on the Au Sable; admission, a small entry fee; join in on the 100 miler next weekend - The Capt'n Reporting

UKC Update 7

Mark Reports 9:49 am EST
They're at the Foote dam, Dan takes on the first of many portages to come.
Bob and Mike are on fire, check out their SPOT, remember they started at 8:00am EST. Oh My... They're tearing it up out there!!
Adventure on -The Captain Reporting

UKC Update 6

Mark reports 9:10am EST

Self portrait! That's Jack right behind Mark.

A look up river on the Au Sable; Dan ahead blazing trail

Looks like blue skies and calm water to me you duffer's. - The Captain Reporting

UKC Update 5

Janet Bradford Reports 8:08am EST
Bob and Mike during the 2009 running of the Bushwhacker

Mike and Bob are off at exactly 8:00am EST - I'll try to send some pics via my phone I am at the Au Sable bridge waiting for them to come by. - JB

You can track Team Kruger and the Von Bradford Express by heading to the left side of the screen and clicking on their SPOT tracker.

Las Vegas Casinos have odds that the Bushwhackers will have Team Kruger in their sites by 2:00pm. the under pays out 3:1

We got ourselves a challenge!! - The Captain Reporting

UKC Update 4

Mark reports 7:20am EST

Rained hard all night long, nobody really slept with the high winds rain and excitement of the trip starting.

Pushing off from shore in 20 minutes or so; rain has subsided. We're looking at high winds and a couple of portages to keep us company.

The Captain Reporting

UKC Update 3

Lets talk about the weather:

Today: Windy with showers and thundershowers likely. High 53F. Winds W at 20 to 30 mph. Chance of rain 70%. Winds could occasionally gust over 40 mph.

Tonight: Rain showers along with windy conditions. Low 46F. Winds NW at 25 to 35 mph. Chance of rain 70%. Winds could occasionally gust over 40 mph.

Tomorrow: Windy with rain showers. High 49F. Winds NW at 20 to 30 mph. Chance of rain 60%. Winds could occasionally gust over 40 mph.

Tomorrow night: Showers early becoming less numerous late. Low 36F. Winds NNW at 10 to 20 mph. Chance of rain 50%.

Wednesday: Showers ending by midday. Highs in the mid 50s and lows in the upper 20s.

Thursday: Partly cloudy. Highs in the upper 50s and lows in the low 30s.

Friday: Occasional showers possible. Highs in the mid 50s and lows in the mid 30s.

"We would love it if we could get a huge turnout for camping at the M-72 campground on Friday night, even if you don't plan on paddling the 100 come on out and enjoy Northern Michigan at it's finest. Somebody bring some firewood!" - Mark

The wind and pelting rain right on the nose - Go get'm boys - The Captain Reporting

Sunday, September 27, 2009

UKC Update 2

Mark reports 7:15pm EST

Pulling off the river for the night to set camp; all is well.

NOTE: Bob scouted Mio Pond - already down 3'

Looks like we'll have a boat drag and portage shortly - The Captain Reporting

UKC Update 1

Daily Quotes -

"Wind out of the south, with my good friends Jack and Mark; just don't get better then this!" - Dan

"Couldn't be in better hands; anxious to get these boats wet!" - Jack

"Hey Brian Bob Bradford here; just saw three bums on the river with these smiles on their faces; the plan is to paddle an hour more then camp. I bet they get around the bend and paddle all night!" - Bob

Tres Amigos

Dan Jack and Mark at the start of the UKC 2009

Wave one of the UKC, Jack Dan and Mark are off! The plan is to get up river set camp just before dark ( hoping to find a high and dry place to set) as the weather is going to blow in and blow in hard.

We are getting what they will get in a few short hours on the other side of the large pond we call Lake Michigan, heavy thunder storms, high winds and pelting rain.

The bushwhacker's Bob and Mike to put in tomorrow at 8am...

Here we go! - The Captain reporting

About to

get underway... let the adventure begin!

"We have had a few small changes in our start times. Dan Smith, Jack Murgatroid(sp?) and myself are getting a start today, Sunday afternoon around 4 pm at the Au Sable river mouth.

Bob Bradford and his son Mike are starting tomorrow morning, Monday at about 8am. We all will be at the Marathon racers memorial on the south bank at 2pm today for the annual ceremony they do there every year. If you will be in the area this is a great event to witness. "

Paddle paddle, Mark

These events

are not without there challenges.

Scouting reports by Bob and Mike Bradford have proven to be interesting. It would appear that the Michigan DNR at Mio Pond have decided to lower the water level 2' a day for the next few days lowering it by 8' when all is said and done.

This is going to create havoc for the challengers, as Mio Pond would be a mud bath leaving them no other alternative but to portage this section.

Bob estimates that the portage around is 5.4 miles.

Pack your wheels boys, you're taking your canoe for a walk. - The Captain Reporting.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Send in the Clowns

Dumber then a pail of hammers, I've been reading up on plug ins, gadgets and html code for hours.

I got the map feature off and google earth on with its interactive features, but I am not sure how to code in the individual SPOT messengers to show up on Google Earth. So if anyone can pull together a short tutorial for the Capt'n it would be most helpful.

We do have two SPOT messenger links on the left side bar, but I was hoping to embed it in the google earth interface.

Webmasters are laughing from all corners of the world, who sent in this clown? - The Captain Reporting

Friday, September 25, 2009

As a test...

Mark and I have been playing around with sending pics via the air waves during the Ultimate Kruger Challenge. Our hopes are to get them to you the viewers as quickly as possible. Yep we're going mobile!!

As a test; Here is a shot of a fresh baked Sea Wind right out of the oven at the Kruger Bakery. You can almost smell the resin from here!!

Hey Toby, this is your friends new ride to adventure!! - The Captain Reporting

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The boys are back in town....

and so are the girls!

Kruger Canoe Adventures - Cast of Players:

Jack Murgittroyd - paddled the Bushwhacker two times... quite a story. First time around he just showed up, borrowed a boat and off he went! I think he has been bitten by the paddling bug. He will be paddling Roxane Smiths Sea Wind.

Mark Przedwojewski - Needs no introduction, he really hasn't done much paddling or has any appreciation for the outdoors - wup wup gottcha!

Dan Smith - See below

Mike and Bob Bradford - See below

Brian Keel is doing the whole down river stretch of the Manistee, he also did the Bush Whacker two times. (Great name)

Bruce Barton and his daughter, Rebeca and Connie Cannon and Bill Brundage are doing the 24 hour 100 miler. Ya the pro boaters have arrived!!

Rumors abound of Toby Nipper and new a Sea Wind owner coming up from the balmy shores of Fla for the 100 miler. They're doing the route over a couple of days to take in the fall colors and all that is the Manistee River.

A cast of characters for sure, but all players in the running of the Kruger Challenges!!

The Capt'n Reporting

What about the little brother..

Had a great conversation with Dan Smith yesterday as I made my way up to Token Creek ( as I was driving up to a Mad City Paddlers Wednesday evening paddle). Dan reminded me that the Kruger Challenge - one hundred miles in 24 hours starts on October 3rd. So just to let everyone know, we'll have coverage as best we can on that event too.

The Kruger Challenge is an "O" Dark 30 paddle. Starts before the dawn and ends in the wee hours of the following morning. The twists and turns sweepers, sieves, boulders and logs make this quite the challenge in the dark. This event has seen freezing rain and ice encrusted paddles.

Now Dan is one of those ole school paddlers. forget about listing accomplishments - cause the blog ain't long enough; but when you think paddle camping, think Dan Smith. (Many many trips with Verlen)

Two years ago when we did a 125 miler on the Manistee, Dan was out on the river as well. Put in a day a head of us taking family and friends on a leisurely three day paddle. We by stroke of the paddle met up one evening and were treated to an on river banquet. A full 5 star meal and adventure stories to boot.

Then a year later we did a winter paddle and stayed at famed Deer Camp Island, where we had a big ass bonfire and venison kabobs to die for. I'm tell'n ya, these Michigan paddlers got it figured out. You guessed it Chef Dan again.

Cell coverage was weak, but I distinctly heard/smelled barbecue ribs over the phone... dang!

Anyway, just to let everyone know, we'll be tracking the little brother; the Kruger Challenge too.

See ya down river, rib bib optional - The Capt'n Reporting

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Getting Giddy...

Another Kruger Canoe Adventure is just days away. A handful of hard core Michigan paddlers will once again traverse the State of Michigan. This time around, the northern route, up the Au Sable and down the Manistee.

The Au Sable River runs approximately 129 miles through the northern Lower Peninsula, through the towns of Grayling and Mio, and enters Lake Huron at Oscoda.
The Manistee River runs approximately 232 miles through the northern Lower Peninsula, through the villages of Sharon, Smithville, Mesick, and enters Lake Michigan at Manistee.
They'll do it all with a 7 mile portage to boot. Pack light and travel fast. Check it out on Google Earth - Click here

I spoke with Bob Bradford who will be paddling with his son Mike.

"Mike and I plan on doing this at a fairly fast pace. Our plan is to do it in less than 4 days. If this is possible then we would be back at the Manistee camp ground on Friday afternoon in time to see all of our friends before they take off on the 100 mile Kruger Challenge which takes off Sat morning. It looks like Mike and I will be starting for sure on Monday Sept. 28th at 8:00AM."

You can follow their adventure - They will be using SPOT - Click here

The apple doesn't roll far from the tree, Mike Bradford a seasoned paddler is well versed with this route. He has completed it 6 times before.

"The Bushwacker"

Last time Mike and Bob did the route it took them 7 days... they slept every night and they were not in a custom built canoe like - "The Bushwacker" that they will be paddling this time.
Mark P. and Dan S. will be participating as well. They will be in Kruger Sea Winds, taking their time and cruising the challenge. I know there are more participating, I'll post the roster as soon as I hear back from Mark P. I will also post a link to his SPOT as well.
The Capt'n Reporting