The Houston Canoe Club
is a Paddle America Club
Link to ACA
Introduction by John Rich:
In late September, four paddling buddies headed up to Minnesota to spend a week canoeing in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area, a national park covering one million acres of land, 1,000 lakes and 1,500 miles of canoe trails. The four participants were Ken Anderson, Joe Coker, Dana Enos and John Rich.
Upon my return from that trip I posted some pictures of myself on Facebook paddling a tiny little canoe on a lake, and those images invoked a lot of amazed response from people, both paddlers and otherwise. Everyone wanted to know where we got our hands on that miniature bonsai canoe. So what follows is that story, as told by the proud new owner, Ken Anderson.
John poses with
Ken's new canoe
From Ken Anderson:
On the way to the Boundary Waters we walked into the Duluth Pack Store in Duluth, Minnesota, and noticed a "cooler" identical
to the one pictured above, except it's green. The sales people told us it was
one-of-a-kind, made especially for them by Wenonah. They were quite clear it
wasn't for sale.
Two+ weeks later we're in another canoeing-oriented store, where, guess what, we see a cooler identical to the one in the Duluth Pack
store, except it's red. Both the Duluth Pack's cooler and this store's cooler contained discounted sale items. Essentially both are used to
display sale items rather than as coolers; we suspected their real mission
in life was as coolers because of a drain plug.
Joe Coker left us at
this point for Houston and missed the "action" which followed.
and I left the retail store and went into their used-item store next door where
we found, on its side bearing the marks of a very used cooler, yet another
"one of a kind" baby-canoe. The cashier said it wasn't for sale. Me, being
the sensitive south-side Chicagoan that I am, said; "Says who?" She promptly
phoned her boss only to find it was the store owner's personal cooler and
wasn't for sale. I told the cashier the owner was the decision maker here (his wife was
out of town) so I asked her where the owner was.
Another call to her
boss. Turns out he'd gone home for the day. Her boss told her to tell me
yet again it wasn't for sale. I told her I'd be back tomorrow.
day, different cashier, a bit more assertive than yesterday's. She phoned her
boss to find out if the cooler was for sale and, if so, how much the owner wanted
for it. An offer came back, I accepted, and the deal was struck, EXCEPT I
told the cashier I wanted to switch the green cooler in the used-item store
(it looked like it ran Cottonseed rapid once or twice) for the red one in the
store. I told her a switch was necessary because the green one was without a
drain plug. She phoned her boss and told her we were coming over to switch
In the retail store we walked to the pristine, red cooler,
took the sale items out, took it off its rack, put the green one on the rack,
dusted it off as best one could, and began putting the sale items back into
it. We even asked some of the sales staff to help. The store manager came
over, wanted to know what was going on, we told her we'd bought a cooler and
were simply replacing the red one (the one with a drain plug) with the
green one (the one without a drain plug). I told her as proof of the
transaction I had a sales receipt. She looked at me, at her staff switching
things out, and asked to see the sales receipt. She looked at the sales
receipt, looked at the somewhat experienced cooler now replacing the pristine
cooler, looked sternly at me, and said: "Does (the owner) know about this?" To
which I said: "Of course!" Then she said: "Well, OK!"
And we got the
hell out of there with a cool cooler made specially for me by Wenonah... it's
one of a kind you know.
John tested it as soon as we got back to camp
(therefore the pictures). After "Richly" testing it we concluded it does not
work as a canoe. He made me promise to leave it to him in my will.
Post script by John Rich:
Regarding the testing of this bonsai canoe, I'd like to tell you it's lightweight, fast and nimble. Unfortunately, of all those attributes, all I can say is that it's lightweight. I made three attempts to get afloat in this miniature Wenonah, and it was extremely unstable - I tipped over immediately and got wet every time. In the photos, above, I'm upright only because the hull is resting on the gravel bottom of the lake from my weight!
I think perhaps Ken should issue an open challenge to anyone who thinks they can stay upright in this 6-foot boat. Succeed, and you'll be the envy of the entire Houston Canoe Club!
This thing is like a puppy - it's impossible not to fall in love with it.