Faces of Folbot: Canoecopia 2014

We hope to see a lot of Faces of Folbot at Canoecopia this year!


Canoecopia, held in Madison, Wisconsin, is the world’s largest paddling expo. Over 20,000 paddlers attend, 200+ manufacturers bring products, and 150 seminars teach and inspire.

We’ll be there! And we’re bringing some Folbots with special show pricing and a new giveaway promotion for March. Stop by to register for the giveaway and see how Folbot fits into a backpack and in your lifestyle.

As always, you can be with us in spirit. Follow us on Twitter for updates from the show!

Road Food

When Bill and I decided to drive all the Folbots to Canoecopia, we knew we would have quite a trip. We also firmly committed to doing our best to find interesting places to eat (meaning non-chain) along the way.

Fortunately, with the assistance of the Urbanspoon app on our phones and the Diners, Drive-ins and Dives website from the Food Network, we were able to identify some great eating places along the way.

On our first day on the road, we had lunch in Asheville, North Carolina at the Tupelo Honey Cafe — which was the city’s top rated restaurant on Urbanspoon.

We even had the premier parking spot!

Bill gave a big thumbs-up to his very impressive Reuben, which used chow chow instead of sauerkraut. I had this great crispy catfish taco with a side of fried okra.

This was a pretty good start to our road food odyssey.

One of the great things about framing the drive around food is that it gave us a goal to shoot for as we tried to cover some long distances. We decided to delay dinner until we got to Indianapolis, so we could try the Tamale Place — which Bill found using Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives (cross-referenced on Urbanspoon, it also got a seriously good rating).

At this unassuming spot in a small strip mall, they take their tamales seriously.

The internet warned us to get their early to have the best menu choices (they only make a certain amount of the tamales every day and count down to how many are left.) Since we got there pretty late, we had a limited choice. I was able to snag the last Chipotle Chicken tamale (spicy!) and one of the final three Cuban tamales (which was a delicious mix of pork and chorizo). These were some of the best tamales I have ever had — the masa was fantastically light and flavorful.

Day 1 of the trip was an eating success.

Once we reached Madison, we were a bit busy at Canoecopia.

While this seriously reduced the time and energy we had to seek out good food (the best thing I ate at the Alliant Energy Center was a very Wisconsin-y “Cheddar Brat”), we still managed to squeeze in some great meals.

Breakfast, both Saturday and Sunday, was at Monty’s Blue Plate Diner. Urbanspoon had it rated as the second best breakfast place in Madison (we had eaten at #1 last year and did not return due to its location next to the Capitol — where 100,000 protestors were expected).

Saturday I had a delicious plate of Huevos Rancheros.

And Sunday it was a fantastic rendition of French Toast.

The setting was pretty classic too.

The food at Monty’s was so good we had to take a half-dozen of their homemade donuts with us to the show each day.

Saturday night we revisited a great Chinese restaurant where we ate last year — Imperial Garden. While I don’t have any photos (I was so tired from the show I forgot to take any), the Sizzling Rice Soup and the Governor’s Chicken were memorably tasty.

Once Canoecopia was over on Sunday, we hit the road again. First stop — Chicago for pizza (well, actually Schaumburg). Our first choice was closed, and we ended up at Giordano’s — where, unfortunately, we didn’t have time for their deep dish pie. But this one did the trick — it was delicious, with an interestingly flakey crust.

After pressing on that night until almost 1:00 AM, we woke up so tired that we didn’t have the energy to eat at the Triple XXX Family Restaurant in West Lafayette, Indiana — which got serious consideration on both Urbanspoon and Diners, Drive-ins and Dives. Ah well, next year.

But lunch was another matter. We soon identified Litton’s Market and Restaurant in Fountain City, Tennessee as our mid-day goal.

Another Urbanspoon favorite, this cool restaurant claims to have East Tennessee’s best burger. While I went for the chicken salad sandwich:

Bill braved the “Thunder Road.”

Yes, that is pimento cheese with whole jalapenos and onions on it.  Here’s another view:

Luckily for Bill, it was my turn to drive after lunch and he could take a nap.

To keep me going, I had this killer chocolate chip cookie from Litton’s bakery which helped me get us over the Great Smokey Mountains.

Our next meal may have been at the best restaurant of all… home.

Well, that’s it. I hope you enjoyed our culinary tour. Hmmm… it’s almost time for lunch.

David A.

Canoecopia 2011 — The Story Behind The Show

Like last year, I thought I would let photos and captions tell the story of our trip to Canoecopia 2011. Rather than fly and meet our kayaks in Madison, Wisconsin, Bill and I decided to drive from Charleston and carry everything with us.

Day One


The journey began with the dismantling of the Folbot showroom. Would it all fit in the Suburban?

Amazing -- fully loaded with 9 kayaks, racks, signage and other display material. And there was room to spare.

Wow... it all did fit in the Suburban.

Day 2.

We hit the road.

We were soon were heading out of the Lowcountry.

We had a great lunch in Asheville, NC.

So far, so good... but that cloud looks a little ominous.

In the Great Smokey Mountains, the weather turned.

In Tennessee and Kentucky we encountered heavy wet snow mixed with driving rain.

The traffic in Louisville was a delight.

After swinging by Indianapolis, we made a run across Indiana and well into Illinois before calling it a day under the cloak of darkness.

Day 3.

Show day!

We must have covered a lot of ground, because we woke up in Peru. Oh... Peru, Illinois.

So this is what we missed while we were driving in the dark.

We arrived in Madison, WI about 8:00 in the morning and 2 months earlier than the weather in Charleston.

Joined by John Burch (known as Flatwater on the Folbot Forum), we dove right into getting the Folbot booth set up.

Assembly of the kayaks got attention, even from the other show exhibitors.

Soon everything was in place and we waited for the doors to open to the Canoecopia crowds.

And here they come. Photo by Rutabaga.

It was easy to spot the Folbot flags in the Canoecopia skyline.

Day 4.

The show continues.

Saturday began with a great breakfast (most important meal of the day!)...

Followed by a swing by the state capitol, where 100,000 protestors would be making their voices heard later in the day...

Unless they were ice-fishing...

Or at Canoecopia.

Day 5.

Last Day of Canoecopia.

With the time change, the show started slowly on Sunday morning.

But things like this caught the show-goers eyes and kept us busy talking about Folbots.

Then it came time to take things apart and pack everything up.

It's amazing how quickly you can pack up 9 Folbots!

One to go!

Then it was time to say goodbye to Canoecopia.

We were tired, but ready to hit the road. David, Bill and John...

Day 6.

Last day!

After driving late into the night on Sunday, we woke near Indianapolis and headed towards Kentucky.

Oh great, more rain. Kentucky... Seattle with horses.

As we entered Tennessee, it got a little cloudy.

The Great Smokey Mountains were a lot prettier this time around.

And then we were home.

What a trip.

Thanks to everyone at Canoecopia for putting on a great show. HUGE thanks to John Burch for his invaluable help and for sharing his knowledge and experience with us and all the visitors to the Folbot booth.

We’ll see you next year Canoecopia. I just hope the weather is better on the drive. And today it’s going to be 72 degrees in Charleston.

David A.

PaddleSports 2011

Next month, following close on the heels of our upcoming trip to Madison, Wisconsin for the wonderful Canoecopia event,

Folbot will be setting up shop at the Jersey Paddler’s PaddleSport Show in Somerset, New Jersey (at the Garden State Exhibit Center) on March 25-27. This is the first time that Folbot will be at this show, which is billed as the largest canoe and kayak show on the East Coast.

We’re really excited to be able to bring the Folbots to the huge crowds in the NY/NJ metropolitan area.  Come see a MetroBoat in its native habitat!

Of course, the rest of the Folbot fleet will be there as well.

We look forward to seeing you in Wisconsin or New Jersey!

David A.

Road Trip

Looking ahead to next month’s Canoecopia, Bill and I have decided to drive to Wisconsin rather than fly this year.  Using our trip to New York for the City of Water Day as a model, we realized that we can haul all our own gear (hey! they are Folbots — we can carry them inside the vehicle), see the country and avoid the pleasures of air travel — all while saving thousands of dollars.

Our route will look something like this:

We’ll get to cross the Smokey Mountains, cruise by Asheville, Knoxville, Louisville and a whole bunch of other ‘villes… we’ll add a few miles but bypass Chicago and its potential for bad traffic… we’ll see the seasons change back from spring to winter… and we’ll eat a whole bunch of interesting road food. Each way will be about 1100 miles.

We’ll tweet pictures and share the sights we see. (And, of course, report from Canoecopia as well.)

We hope to see you at Canoecopia, but if you can’t make it to Madison give us a wave as we drive on by.

David A.