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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

But you'll look sweet upon the seat of an Advanced Elements Inflatable Kayak built for two

From June 6 through June 12, Matt and I kayaked nearly 113 miles on the Schuylkill River Sojourn, paddling by day and camping by night, and eating VAST amounts of delicious food provided by the organizers at least three times a day. Along the way, we saw egrets, snakes, turtles, raccoons and bald eagles. Occasionally we saw the ill effects of human beings on the river environment - such as a fairly sickening gasoline spill all over the water at Reading.

Pictures speak louder than words, and there are links to a bunch of pictures below by the sojourn photographer, Cody Goddard, but if there are any words to be said about our awesome adventure, I should probably spend them on our kayak, which almost monopolized our conversations with other kayakers. When we showed up at the crack of dawn on day one with our Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame inflatable kayak (in tandem mode, though it converts to a single) in the back of the hatchback, we were met with skepticism by the sojourn organizers. "An inflatable? That won't do. We had some sojourners with an inflatable kayak once. They swapped it out before lunchtime on the first day." But we argued our way onto the water and proved them wrong.

On every day of the sojourn, we were at or near the front of the pack, and we didn't feel the wind affected our kayak any more than any of the others. The boat never sprang a leak, and the hull remained sound despite traveling through class two rapids and being stuck on jagged river rocks several times. We did benefit from an unusually wet season leaving the river quite high -- I probably wouldn't have been comfortable dragging our boat over rocks as frequently as the veteran sojourners said the trip required in drier years. But by the end of the trip, just by virtue of being there, we had worked wonders for the reputation of inflatable kayaks in the minds of every paddler on the river.

Seriously, Advanced Elements should just pay people to go on these sojourns. Best marketing for them ever. We did write to the company to tell them of our success, and they sent us some swag. But ... Advanced Elements, if you're reading this, seriously, pay us to go on future sojourns! People were remarking as we reached Philadelphia that they wouldn't be surprised to see more inflatables on next year's paddle because of our example. They only need to see them perform to become believers.

And now ... photos! We are still deciding which of these to buy (photographer's gotta earn bread.)