Just Because You Can Do A Thing...

The canoe doesn't overwhelm the car at *all*. No sir, not at all. 

The canoe doesn't overwhelm the car at *all*. No sir, not at all. 

As discussed a few weeks ago, we are in the habit of using our cars in the place of the traditional pickup truck. This generally works quite nicely, but it seems only fair to mention the exceptions when they occur.

Before we moved out to the Homestead we lived in Rockford which, among other things, offers a number of park-related recreational activities. To capitalize on this, some fourteen years ago or so I bought a canoe. I enjoy canoeing, enjoy the different perspective one gets on the landscape from the water, and the fact that the wildlife will often tolerate the presence of a person in a canoe for far longer than they will a hiker or biker on land. I adventured with this canoe many times on the waterways in the Rockford region - at Pierce Lake at Rock Cut State Park, as well as trips on the Kishwaukee River, the Sugar River, and even made at least one passage down the Rock River.

Sadly, my canoe hasn't seen water for several years. I'd like to blame this on our move to the Homestead - after all, waterways wide enough to accommodate a 15'7"canoe are a rare commodity on the prairie. However, the last of those trips occurred well before we moved. If I'm being honest, the overwhelming majority of my canoe trips occurred during the times that we owned either a pickup truck or an SUV.

It's not that one cannot carry a canoe on a compact car - this is a task I've done multiple times in the past, carrying rented boats on the roof of my old Honda Civic Si. But this canoe, well...

It's possible that I did not us the wisest of judgement when I selected this particular canoe. And by "selected" I mean bought on a whim at Sam's Club.

One look at it will tell you that it is a pretty nice conveyance. It's got three seats, the middle of which contains a cooler. It's got three cup holders molded into the side of the center seat. It's got a dry well for storing your wallet and phone safely on the trip. It's made of resin, so it's extremely durable.

One look will tell you these things. One attempt to lift it will demonstrate the problem. It's far too heavy and awkward for one person - or at least one me - to lift overhead in a fashion that gets it safely on to a vehicle. They make canoes of this size that a single person can easily lift and carry. This is not one of those, and those are not priced to be impulse buys at a large warehouse store.

When I purchased this behemoth I owned an old Toyota pickup with a rack on the bed. It was a simple matter to lean one end of the canoe up on the back portion of the rack, and slide the whole deal across until it rested securely on the rack. It was simple because a: there was no sheet metal in the way to hit; and b: I didn't really care all that much if I scratched the truck. It was much more challenging putting it on the roof of a vehicle when one cares about the appearance of said vehicle.

Because of this, the only relationship the canoe has had with water since coming to the Homestead was to act as a partial roof blocking rain over the dog pen.

My Dad, perhaps recognizing this, suggested we bring the canoe up to their place on the lake in Wisconsin. On first blush this feels a little akin to sending your beloved dog out to stay on "a farm", but on second blush it makes perfect sense; it puts the canoe somewhere it can actually be used.

But we had to get it up there.

We have a roof rack for the Hondas. We have tow hooks to use as tie-down points. This is all relatively straightforward. The challenge, of course, was getting the beast on to the top of the car.

With the help of LB we tackled getting it up on the roof. LB is young, but strong, and the canoe is really more awkward than heavy. Or so I told myself.

It's possible I was wrong.

Ultimately, getting the canoe on the roof took three tries and the help of a stepladder for balance.

The first try was aborted.

The second try dropped the canoe down the side of the car. This resulted a sizeable scar down the driver's side D-pillar and, perhaps, a tiny bit of swearing.

Of course, in retrospect I should have started with the stepladder and perhaps skipped the swearing.

Things would be so much easier in life if one could perhaps do less learning from mistakes...