Long drive....long kayak/s

Sounds like a good plan and you’ve got the common sense to know when not to drive.

FYI. the local NWS office just advised that while the remainder of January will be a bit warmer than average; February will be colder. With the Great Lakes not frozen yet, cold air over warm lakes can set up some interesting snow scenarios.

Of course, it’s all just a guess as the Michigan mantra is that if you don’t like the weather, wait 24 hours and it will change.

Happy trails!

They told me that the first time I drove across Texas. I thought they were nuts… sure enough by nightfall the bridges were frozen…

That can be scary, especially if there’s black ice covering them. I usually take my foot off the gas pedal when driving over bridges in the winter. Did they have warning signs in Texas? They do here.

Check your route, and if you’ll be on any toll roads, get one of those passes that let you just drive on by/through the toll booths.

I was leaving Mardi Gras and stopped at a tourist info at the Texas border. It was 80 degrees and I had my A/C on. The lady said “Watch out for the bridges near Austin” . I asked “What’s wrong with the bridges?” She said that they freeze first…
This was my first time in Texas and thought there was something wrong with them…
Sure enough there was 5" of snow when I got to Austin.

My team met up at the Holiday Inn that evening and the bartender was serving us whiskey and snow.

The electronic transponders really are nice. We have EZpass for northeastern states. At first my wife said “I don’t want that thing…”, but now you would have to pry “that thing” from her clenched hand to take it away. Unfortunately, Florida to Michigan would require devices from two different networks (Epass and EZpass).

At first they made you feel like you were in a presidential motorcade if you had one. Now all our toll plazas are gone. One piece of technology that made a positive difference.

Thanks. Waiting closer to March seems like I might have better windows of opportunity.:crossed_fingers:t3:

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I’ll echo kayakhank, V-bars are ideal for long boat/short car setups. I’ve used both Goodboy and Kayakpro, personally prefer the latter, but both are well-engineered and work well.


Also, Vbars are the best way to fit two boats on narrow roof, far superior to J-racks.

These v-bars seem to be being presented as a solution for a narrow spread of crossbars.
What is the primary concern regarding a narrow spread of crossbars? From the perspective of rack limitations, it is rack failure. When the rack installation instructions list a minimum spread between crossbars, they are considering rack failure.
The wider distance between the V’s on the V rack will change the placement and degree of pressure on your hull itself. But these v-bars appear to be u-bolted to the crossbars. As such, wouldn’t they simply add a little weight to the connections at the crossbars, and make rack failure just a little more likely, and not a little less?
In other words, if racks don’t fail, and you’re simply worried about hull damage against a secure rack, these v-bars should be good. On my car with a narrow spread between crossbars, u-bolting these to those same narrow crossbars just adds weight to the same setup as far as rack failure is concerned.
Is this correct? I have a short roof on my car, and I’m not sure how this could possibly lend itself to higher rack capacity tolerances.

Ollies has car top racks for $15.00. I haul my 17 dagger on it.

If you have a trailer hitch on your car I suggest purchasing a T-bar. Bought mine at Harbor Freight for $65 but seen used ones on Clist for half the price.

CapeFear, per your last sentence, this setup doesn’t increase rack capacity, but it does effectively prevent unwanted movement which will tend to lead to rack/boat/fastener failure over time.

My initial choice of V-bars was to accommodate a long boat with no attachment points at bow and stern. Once in the cradles, I attach tie-downs to the ends of the carriers, and loop them around the boat.

On regular boats with attachment points, the 8 or 9 ft separation of the cradles still effectively restrains bow and stern from moving sideways on the car. I use a bow tie down attached to the boats, but only one is needed. Its function is to prevent aerodynamic uplift at the bow, since lateral movement doesn’t happen. The whole thing is extremely stable, especially with two V-bars which create a frame when attached to the cross bars.

It is true that the location of the cradles is adjustable, so they can be located near bulkheads and put less stress on the hull. Also, the long central bar flexes vertically and acts as a shock absorber, allowing the boat to move vertically a bit, reducing jolting to the hull (in the manner of a leaf spring). This is easy to see through the sunroof while driving on a bumpy road and is a significant benefit in my opinion.

Totally agree with you about the Goodboy Kayak V-Bars. Nothing comes close and I have hauled a 21’ long tandem with only a 28" spread with no bow or stern tie downs as they are not needed. The V-Bars have support 8’ apart…and they are SOLID and there is no wiggle of the boat at high speed or following/passing semi trucks. They are are very reasonably priced and Cliff will work with you to give you the best hardware for your particular rack. Scott L

Rookie gives great advice! The only thing I would add pertains to freezing rain. Pay attention to your front tie downs as they are always in view. If you see ice heavily coating them, it is coating your yaks as well. There have been two fatalities in Michigan in the past week due to ice coming off vehicles in front and piercing or shattering windows on the car behind. You don’t want to cause one of these. Besides the extra weight affects mileage. Actually, if it’s building up, it may be a good time to get off the highway entirely. Allow plenty of time and enjoy the road!

Celia, you gave some great advice but the boat sticking over the walkway is not one of them and dont put the fault on the pedestrian. The walkway is built for the pedestrian and not your kayak. Risking injury over loss doesn’t equate. I use a cable lock and I have ask the desk especially if visible to leave my car parked right at the front doors. A late check-in increases the odds of this being permitted.

You have received some great advice in the reply. I drive a full size SUV as it fits my lifestyle. Small cars are much more affected by the weather. A cross wind in a sub compact with kayaks on slippery roads is certainly something to consider. The rookie advice about changing out windshield washer fluid should be taken seriously (lived in Charlevoix for 5 years). Empty the washer fluid completely before filling with the new. I learned a lot from the northern experience. By the way it is a shame you aren’t heading there in the summer. It is one of the most beautiful areas of the country and phenomenal kayaking. good luck, Wayne

Great advice! Like I said, I’m certainly holding out for a better forecast and unless I’m totally caught by surprise I’ll not drive in crap conditions!

Not sure if you meant Grand Rapids is one of the most beautiful areas in the country (not), but Northern Michigan sure is.

Hey Rookie, I lived in Charlevoix as stated above. No where in the country is there a more beautiful area of the country. Rivers everywhere, Lake Michigan and all the interior lakes. And we both know the summer days in Charlevoix are the best…