• 23rd October 2009 - By adventuresofben

    “I placed my bare feet onto the white gel coat behind the drive shaft gingerly, slowly brought my other foot up and around the edge of the boat and finally in the hatch and slid down slowly into the cockpit with serviceable efficiency that is still nowhere near graceful.  The tiny craft reminded me simultaneously of a X-wing from Star Wars (without the wings) and the H.L. Hunley, the first submarine to sink a warship in the American Civil War over 140 years ago. I’m not unfamiliar with small spaces, a 29 ft ocean rowboat with four guys on it is very cramped, but a pedal boat, Greg’s Koa, is a completely different animal.  My knees were up to my chin, not serviceable for our round Vancouver pedal but good enough for me to crank the propeller shaft and start to feel what a boat like this could do.

    12 hours earlier Greg picked me up from the airport.  He looked exactly like what I expected in the pictures on the website, with lean healthy features with that slightly starved look that serious cyclists get.   We shook hands, this was the first time we were to meet in person before we planned on teaming up to pedal over 600 miles of water in a boat that the most generous optimist would consider very tiny for one person.   This was a leap of faith, on both our parts.

    We left the airport for beers and a meal.  No fighting yet.  This boded well.  Ken the former aircraft/ floor layer and now builder of oddly shaped boats showed up and I seemed to get along well with him too.  Greg even paid for dinner.  It was official, we were now friends.

    Upon arriving at his house and getting the nickel tour I felt I got to know Greg on a whole new level.  A home says a lot about a person and his is no exception.   Outside it appears to be like several large rectangles and a large cylinder, molded together to form a somewhat postmodern castle like structure.  Inside is lots of big useful space, the predominate shade is a handsome grey but all around are geometrically shaped highlights of bright blues, reds, yellows and oranges.  In the big open basement accessible directly from the front door lay the aerodynamic panels to Critical Power, his record breaking cycling event as well as various types of workout equipment, (customized and regular) and a organized mess of food filled dry bags.  In the garage was a man cave of epic proportions with a 30 foot worktable, a full shop with a massive gear painted into the floor, a second floor above this shop with several drum sets and bikes, lots and lots of bikes.   In other words the 30 foot bright orange boat with the pedal drive train sitting on the plywood bunks was right at home.

    Back in the boat that next morning I began to moved my cramped legs to produce a satisfying sound, not unlike the hum of a small electric engine.  I was still amazed Greg’s leap of faith extended to letting me drive his boat alone my fist time in it without looking over my shoulder.  I wasn’t sure I would have that kind of faith if we switched roles.

    The world moved by through the five small rectangular portholes that accommodated the vision from the pedal seat.  The GPS showed a speed of 3.5 knots, the same speed Greg had gone minutes as a demonstration.  In the box like cabin it felt slower  – until I began to steer.  She handled like a dream, a steel ergonomic lever sat where the palm of my right hands was inclined to rest and with an effortless flick of the wrist I could turn her left or right and she responded gracefully.   Turning around she cruised into the dock with smooth precision, a testament to the coordinated teamwork of Greg, Ken, Stuart and Rick and not my boat handling skills.

    That was two days ago.  My excitement has ebbed and flowed as we have discussed, acted and implemented the changes to the shoes and cranks of the drive shaft to get me to fit.  It seems we have some good solutions – seven hours before we leave Calgary.   I am excited.


    PS:   Greg mentioned a dump truck hit the boat early this morning.   Fortunately Ken is an artist and now it is fixed and does not look like anything ever happened. He is truly talented.   From this point on our forecast looks Garbage Truck free.”

  • 4 Comments to “Jordans first post from the land…”

    • steve nelson on October 23, 2009

      Looking forward to your next post Jordan, good luck guys!

    • Eve Hanssen-Wood on October 24, 2009

      Really happy to hear that adjustments were made to accomodate your long legs. Wouldn’t have liked to hear that you had to cut them off. Sounds like all systems are go. Wish we could have been there to see you off. Have a great (and safe!) adventure. Can’t wait to hear more. We appreciate that Greg &
      Co. have been so gracious. Buena Suerte. We love you, Mom & Dad

    • Andrew Latreille on November 3, 2009

      I’m amazed Greg let you drive that boat big fella.

      I suppose he is trusting in your Scandanavian/Viking gene pool!


    • Dave on February 4, 2010

      I think it’s very cool this will be aired on the Discovery Channel. Thanks for bringing the adventure to our homes! Good luck to you both I can’t wait to follow along on the Blog.

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