Showing posts with label Travel Tips. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Travel Tips. Show all posts

Friday, June 17, 2022

Canoe The Caney, Silver Point, TN, Canoe and Kayak Tips

If you are near the Caney Fork River located in East Tennessee, then you may be familiar with the bright yellow canoes and kayaks floating down the river. These vessels are property of Canoe the Caney, an outfitter located in Silver Point, TN. They offer several trips with varying lengths, they also provide kayaks, canoes, tandems, even floating cooler carriers.

We recently went camping in East Tennessee and we decided to spend one of our days enjoying the Caney Fork River. Continue reading to hear our experience with Canoe the Caney as well as some helpful tips based on our personal experience. 

We showed up at the outfitters the morning of our trip. Everyone that we interacted with was helpful and the check-in process was quick and easy. After everyone on our trip had arrived, we sat through a short safety briefing and made our way onto an old black school bus. After a short ride to the drop point, we were on the river. Once on the river, there isn't much left to say regarding the outfitter. There's lots of floating, paddling, and making stops to hangout, picnic, skip rocks, fish, and make rock sculptures. At the end of your trip, Canoe the Caney will be there to provide transportation back to your vehicle. After nine hours on the river, the old black school bus resembled a golden chariot sent down from the heavens. 
The Caney Fork River is a nice river that can speed up or slow down depending on the dam. We had heard that when the generators are on at Center Hill Dam the shorter trips seem to be over too quickly. For that reason, we opted for the longer, nine-mile trip. The only problem is that you won't know the generators are on until the morning of your arrival. With no generating, the Caney becomes still water and requires a lot of paddling. On the morning of our trip, the dam generated from around 9:30 -11:00. This means that we had some current to help push us along for the first couple of miles, but no help for the remaining seven miles.

Below are some lessons learned from our experience with Canoe the Caney and the Caney Fork River. Please feel free to add to the list in the comments and share your experience.

Canoe and Kayak Tips - Things we wish we had known!

Plan a Shorter Trip - Unless you canoe or kayak all the time, then you really do not appreciate how long nine miles in a kayak can be. 

Manage Your Time - Since you are choosing the shorter trip, you will have plenty of time to enjoy the journey down the river. You can extend the trip by making extra stops or speed the trip up by staying in the canoe and making progress downstream.

Choose the Right Transportation - For our family of three, with one 9-year-old at the time, we should have gotten one canoe and one single kayak. The canoe allows you to carry items more efficiently, this is important when you're the one doing the paddling.

Do not get a cooler carrier - Putting things inside the canoe will be much easier than dragging a heavy tube behind a kayak.

Bring a Medium Size Cooler - We packed a full sized lunchable and a couple of granola bars for each of us. For the 9-hour trip we should have packed a few more snacks.  

Bring a couple of Bungee Cords - If you chose to disregard my advice, and you rented the kayak over the canoe, then be warned that the tandem or kayak is extremely limited on space. Please do not make the mistake of renting the cooler carrier. If you do decide to get a tandem or kayak, you need to bring a couple of small bungee cords to help hold things in the small storage compartment.

Always Wear Your Life Jacket - Things can get dangerous quickly and with little or no warning. On our trip, my son and I got hung on a down tree and got dumped out of the kayak. Thankfully, he had a life jacket on. I did not have a life jacket on, but I will not make that mistake again.
Wear Water Shoes - Any of the stops along the river will be covered with rocks. Some are smooth from tumbling in the river, but most are very sharp. You will be thankful to have a pair of water shoes with a hard sole. On our trip I was lucky enough to find a real arrowhead!

Safety First - In addition to wearing your life jacket, kids under twelve with little or no kayaking experience should not kayak alone. If a child were to get dumped out of the kayak, they could panic and not know what to do. We made this mistake as well, thank God that he was with me when we did get dumped.

Bring Toilet Paper - I am only going to say that there are no rest stops or portable potties along the river. In addition to "TP", you may consider bringing a small pack of wipes to wash your hand. 

Don't Forget your Fishing Poles or Magnets - We like to fish and magnet fish from time to time. This would be a wonderful opportunity for both. We decided not to take the extra gear since we did not know beforehand how much room we would have in the kayaks. Get at least one canoe for a family trip and you should have plenty of room for a few extras.

Monday, December 28, 2020

Road Trip Games with Kids, Scavenger Hunt, I Spy, Punch Bug, and More!

As our winter road trip approaches, I am looking forward to the fun times we will have while traveling. Over the years, we have become quite good at passing the time by playing silly road-trip games. 

Playing games while traveling is a great alternative to spending time on your phones, tablets, and gaming devices. By choosing to play interactive games over electronics, you will lower your overall screen time as a family. You will also spend more time laughing, enjoying each other's company, and making memories.

I Spy

This is a classic game that many parents have played with their children. I Spy is a really simple game that can be fun for all age groups and is easy to play when confined to a small area. I will give the description below, but seriously, who hasn’t played I spy? 

How to play:
Youngest goes first by saying “I spy with my little eye, something…”, complete the sentence with a color. The other passengers then start to guess what the object is until one person guesses correctly. The person who guesses correctly then gets a turn to spy something and give everyone else a chance to guess.

I Spy Animal Edition

For this version of the classic I Spy game, the spy does not need to see the animal but only think about it. The possibilities are limitless but for younger players the animal variety may be slightly smaller. This becomes a great teaching moment by simply showing them a picture of the animal on your phone or tablet. 

How to play:
Youngest goes first by saying “I spy in my mind's eye, an animal that is…”, complete the sentence with the color of the animal. The other passengers then start to guess what animal the person is thinking of until one person guesses correctly. The spy usually gives fun clues along the way until one person guesses. The person who guesses gets a turn to spy something and give everyone else a chance to guess.

Road-side Scavenger Hunt

This has quickly become one of our favorite games to play when traveling backroads or side roads. This fun and easy travel game allows us to really focus on the world around us and find some really interesting things. Not to mention we get to take a break from the near-sited tablet and give our eyes some much needed far-sighted exercise.

How To Play:
Simply make a verbal or written list of things to look for as you drive. Some of our favorites are, green mail box, barn with red roof, pink house, yellow car/truck, a tractor, etc. Keep in mind that it is fun to put some wierd but fun things on the list. At some point along the way, trust me, you will find it. Each time that someone does spot an item on the list, everyone celebrates like crazy. Everyone except the driver of course. 

The License Plate Game

This is a great way to pass the time while driving. By the end of your trip, you may be surprised by how many other travelers you share the road with. 

How to play:
Each passenger will look at the license plate of passing cars. Each new plate is written down by a family member. At the end of the trip, you can tally them up to see how many states were represented on your trip. This is also a good game to play when stopping at rest stops, gas stations, and restaurants. 

Create a playlist

This started a few years back when my wife and I were planning our wedding playlist. Since then, this has become a sort of a road trip tradition. To do this, we simply start a Spotify playlist or modify an existing one. We each name songs that we like or have recently heard and after listening to each one we add it to the list. This is fun because we all have different tastes in music but we tend to like all genres. Our playlist will typically be filled with bluegrass, country, rock, and pop. Yes, we are a slighty weird family. 

How to play: 
Press play.

Dot to Dot Cheaters Addition

Dot to Dot is a game that my mom taught me when I was around 7 years old. It is a lot of fun when traveling because the sheet typically gets passed from the front seat to the back seat. Inevitably, my son will begin to make an extra line or two to get a couple of extra spaces. It is no surprise that his favorite game is Monopoly Cheaters addition. This game usually turns into a lot of laughs, but rarely it turns to huge argument. But in my opinion, every road trip needs a good argument.

How to play:
Simply make dots on a page, or print out several pages to take with you. Each person connects one line segment anywhere on the board. Eventually, boxes will be formed and whoever makes the box puts their initials in that box. The person with the most initials on the page wins the game.

Travel Bingo

This idea expands on the earlier mentioned license plate game. For our upcoming road trip I created travel bingo boards. The boards take on the appearance of classic bingo accept each square is filled with a state. Each time we see a license plate with that state we will each mark it off on the sheet. The first person to get 5 in a row wins. Whoever is in the passenger seat always helps the driver.

Punch Bug 

This is a classic game that my family has played for years. We generally don’t “punch” each other as much as tap, but we keep score to see who wins. We have made up some additional rules such as, 2 points for a vintage bug. We also add bonus points for things like convertibles or less common colors. To further complicate things there are made up penalties that causes the game to get completely silly. Needless to say, there is never a clear winner. 

How to play:
Each time you see a Volkswagen bug, tap the person next to you and say bunch bug. Only one tap if it’s a newer model, two taps if it’s vintage, if it’s pink then you get a third tap or maybe more. Be careful though, if that pink is a debatable shade of purple you could get a penalty and lose a stroke. On a side note, pictures of VW beetles shown on billboards or in magazine ads count too.


This vintage, multi-collor bug, with read wheel, a sunshine and flowers painted on it, should be would at least 5 points!   


Thank you for reading, please add your favorite road trip games or ideas in the comments!