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Our first kayak was a small fiberglas Klepper Minor, made for a person up to 100 pounds. The seat was removed so Ev could fit in it. Then we learned to make fiberglas kayaks with a canoe club and our daughters made two. After a kayaking accident in 1980 when one of the kayaks was lost, we joined several other canoe clubs as a safety factor. At one time we belonged to four clubs.

four kayaks
Four Kayaks

Three Phoenix Appalachians and one custom-made kayak, all fiberglas construction. The blue kayak was the first one made in early spring 1977 by a small canoeing club in Illinois, using a mold from a discontinued Sawyer model. It was tested on a lake on the way to Florida and it leaked like a sieve. We mixed some resin, applied it to the bottom to successfully fill the pinholes in the gel coat, and continued our trip. This was one of the boats Valerie helped make, and she still uses it.

Mazon River
Mazon River

Ev is using the Appalachian in the Mazon River in Illinois. This boat is quite fast and tracks well and yet has sufficient maneuverability for use in difficult white water.

Des Plaines River

John using the kayak on the Des Plaines River in Illinois. The Appalachian is in the middle of the performance spectrum with a compromise of maneuverability and tracking. It is 13 feet 9 inches long and weighs about 33 pounds. It has large volume in the bow and stern making it exceptionally good for large people as well as for carrying large quantities of camping gear and handling heavy white water. This kayak feels very stable, but is still capable of rolling over.

John Kayaking



Sometimes a kayak is not necessary to have fun in rushing water. We found this fast flowing creek in Texas. These streams do not always have water; sometimes they are completely dry.


Put-ins are not always these convenient. This was one of the Illinois rivers where there is easy access - after carrying the boats some distance from the parking lot to the river. Some put-ins and portages actually require acrobatic ability.

duPage River

Paddle Award

This paddle was awarded by one canoe club to Ev in 1989 for the most mileage paddled in one season. One day of paddling with the club equals ten miles or ten points, whether we paddle three miles or twenty-three. Double mileage is awarded for river clean-ups. A sew-on patch is awarded each paddler for 100 or more miles in a season.


kayak by kayak by kayak by kayak by

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