Thursday, April 10, 2014

Index of States Kayaked by Charlene Swankie

This is a work in progress… I am adding the last few states (of lower 48) and will also add elevations.  (updated 4/10/2014)
Alabama 46 10/23/12 Justins Bay, AL (solo)  
Alaska 49 8/20/2013 Holgate Glacier, Holgate Arm near Seward, AK  
Arizona 2 06/2009 Watson Lake / Vickie Walker; Cibola NWR (N.P.)  
Arkansas 43 10/7/12 Beaver Lake (solo)  
1 3/2008


1) Monterey Bay(many times)
2) Morro Bay (fb)
3) Spooners Cove @ Montano de Oro State Park (fb)
4) Elkhorn Slough
5) Gold Lake (fb)
6) West Shore of Lake Tahoe(*maiden voyage) / Elle Beals (fb)
Colorado 39 10/11/11 and

Summer 2012
Jackson Lake State Park nr Orchard (solo) (*Pelicans)

Meadow Creek Lake nr Rifle (solo)
Connecticut 20 10/25/10 Put in @ Westerly, RI and paddled back and forth from CT-RI down to Little Narragansett Bay. (solo) (*Swans)  
Delaware 23 11/02/10 Cape Henlopen @ Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge-put in @ Boat Ramp Access Rd. (solo)  
Florida 29 11/26/10



1) Santa Fe River @ Columbia State Park, High Springs / Judy Luke family
2) Cedar Kay /Gary Lepak
3) Ichetucknee Springs State Park/Gary Lepak
4)   (solo)
Georgia 28 11/16/10 Tybee Island (solo)  
Hawaii 50 abt 5/2014 undetermined at this time  
Idaho 6 10/18/09 Upper and Lower Priest Lakes (solo), Priest River, ID Moose Family Video
Illinois 36 09/23/11 Lake Shelbyville (solo)  
Indiana 35 08/19/11 Lake Monroe @very large boat launching area off Hwy 446 (solo)  
Iowa 37 09/28/11 Clear Lake @ McIntosh Woods State Park (43.12237,-93.45856) (solo)  
Kansas 41 10/02/12 Wilson Lake @ Wilson State Park – Otoe Launch (solo)  
Kentucky 34 08/18/11 Fredericks Landing, Wilder, KY Boat Launch (solo)  
Louisiana 47 10/25/12 Small unnamed pond/marsh nr Hwy 190 and Hwy 90(Chef Menteur Hwy) east of Slidell (solo)  
Maine 17 10/12/10 Long Pond on Mount Desert Island, Arcadia National Park (solo)  
Maryland/DC 24 11/02/10 Put in @ Ocean City Municipal Airport on Sinepuxent Bay… near Mystic Harbor & paddled across to Assateague State Park/Island (solo)  
Massachusetts 19 10/21/10 Secret Lake in Athol / Kay Gleason  
Michigan 14 08/31/10

1) Thunder Bay Marine Sanctuary @ Alpena (solo)
2) Launched @ Gross Isle (solo)
Minnesota 12 08/03/10

1) St. Louis River @ Floodwood (solo)
2) Ely – Boundary Waters Canoe Area (solo) (write up BWCA)
Mississippi 45 10/12/12

1) Sardis Lake @ Engineer Point Public Use Area
2) Pearlton
Missouri 44 10/09/12 Coombs Ferry Public Use Area, Blue Eye, MO (solo)  
Montana 7 10/19/09 Flathead Lake (solo), Lakeside, MT  
Nebraska 38 10/10/11 Lake McConaughy, Ogallala (solo)  
Nevada 3 08/25/09

1) Cave Rock, NV (solo)
2) Callville Bay Marina @ Lake Mead (solo) fb
New Hampshire 16 10/19/10 Harriman Reservoir in S.W. corner of state. Rt. 9, Molly Stark Trail.  
New Jersey 22 10/27/10 Sandy Hook nr Fort Hancock @ Gateway National Recreation Area (solo)  
New Mexico 40 10/15/11 Lake Caballo nr Truth or Consequences  on Rio Grande River (solo)  
New York 15 09/25/10 Grand Island @ Beaver Point / Matt Beals  
North Carolina 26 11/10/10 Jordan Lake / Judith Sookne  
North Dakota 11 07/28/10 Langlier’s Bay on Lake Oahe (solo)  
Ohio 33 07/28-29/11 1) Mad River / Cheryl and David Simmons (6.5 miles) (fb)
2) Buck Creek State Park lake (solo)
Oklahoma 42 10/06/12 Robert S. Kerr Reservoir @ Sallisaw Creek Park (Cherokee Nation) (solo)  
Oregon 4 08/31/09 Siltcoos Lake, OR (solo)  
Pennsylvania 32 07/24/11 Loyalhanna Lake. Camped @ Bush Recreation Area (solo)  
Rhode Island 21 10/25/10 Put in @ Westerly, RI and paddled back and forth from CT-RI down to Little Narragansett Bay. (solo)  
South Carolina 27 or 28? 11/13/10 Folly Beach (solo)  
South Dakota 10 07/28/10 Missouri River on Lake Oahe @ Mobridge (solo)  
Tennessee 30 07/18/11 French Broad River to Nolichucky River nr Newport / Leadvale @ Rankin Bottoms. (solo)  
Texas 48 10/30/12 Mountain Lake nr Grand Prairie (fb)  
Utah 8 11/02/09 Quail Creek Reservoir nr St.
George (solo)
Vermont 18 10/19/10 get location from SPOT  
Virginia 25 11/05/10 Kayaked here. First Landing State Park @ Broad Bay N.W of Virginia Beach .(solo)  
Washington 5




1) Elliott Bay @ Alki Point  (solo)
2) Wenatchee – Turtle Island @ Lincoln Rock State Park (solo)
4) Port Angeles / Gary Lepak
5) Port Townsend /Gary Lepak (fb)
5) Port Angeles / Gary Lepak
West Virginia 31 07/23/11 Sutton Lake (solo)  
Wisconsin 13 08/14/10 Apostle Islands National Lake Shore, north of Bayfield, WI (solo)  
Wyoming 9 07/23 or 25?/10 Big Horn Canyon Recreation Area @ Horseshoe Bend Lake(solo)  

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Charlene's Birthday Party–May 16, 2014 (b. 1944)

My flight is booked, I AM going to Hawaii. I won't eat for the next two weeks, until my next payday 2/19, but I AM going to Hawaii and will be staying at Kahana Beach Resort, 4221 Lower Honoapiilani Highway, Maui part of the time.

My 70th Birthday is May 16, 2014. Please join me for this epic event. The only reason this event is epic is that I was shopping for a wheelchair in 2006 because I could not walk and weighed 300 pound. Since then I got new knees thanks to David Swankie and a boat… than a new life and have kayaked 49 states, only leaving Hawaii to kayak, our 50th state, my 50th state to kayak and on my 70th Birthday.  No I don’t feel 70.  I feel better than when I was 40 and that truly amazes even me.


The maiden voyage of my new Kayak was on Lake Tahoe in the company of Ellie Beals who paddled with me that day in 2009.

There is time if you care to join us... to make your own arrangements.
Hope you can join me to celebrate this great day and great achievement.

My Schedule:

5/13 - 8am depart San Jose, CA, arrive in Kahului, HI at 10:20am
5/13-15 staying with Matt and Cherrish
5/16- at Kahana Beach Resort, 4221 Lower Honoapiilani Highway, Maui
5/16 - KAYAK HAWAII - my last of 50 States to Kayak
5/17 - at Kahana Beach Resort, 4221 Lower Honoapiilani Highway, Maui
5/18 - at Kahana Beach Resort, 4221 Lower Honoapiilani Highway, Maui
5/19 - check out from Kahana Beach Resort, 4221 Lower Honoapiilani Highway, Maui
5/19 - staying with Matt and Cherrish
5/20 - depart HI at 12:30pm and arrive back to San Jose, CA at 8:30pm

Paddling with me will be son Richard Bailey, Matt and Cherrish Beals, and hopefully others.

CREAM of the Crop… L-R: Richard Bailey, Elle Beals, Matt Beals, Chris Bailey, and Andy Beals.  (Their initials spell CREAM).  Beals children are children of my best friend of 40plus years, Betsy Beals Stafford.

It's gonna be a grand party. A once in a life-time happening.  I sure wish all five could be with me, but 2/5 of the gang will be swell.

Can’t go, but want to help????

Anyone who helps will receive a post card from Hawaii after the paddle and I hope it will be a photo of me in the kayak, if I can arrange that there.  If you donate, order art work or buy from my store and want a post card, be sure to send me your mailing address to


Wishing everyone I love could be there with me
for my 70th birthday party.

By helping a friend, Possum Hunter, out after he lost all he had Christmas night in an apartment fire, and having a front tooth break off and needing to have it extracted and an implant in last week, I am very very low on funds.  I could sure use some help making this dream come true and in accomplishing the goal I set out on in 2009, of kayaking all 50 states. See Index of States KayakedClick on the donate button in the upper right corner of this site, if you can help a little bit, even if only a dollar or two.  Or click on the Art Work tab above if you would like to commission me to do some Art Work for you. All art work will be completed before I go to Hawaii.

You could also help by buying through my Amazon Store
- a portion of your Amazon purchase will go to supporting my kayaking
adventure or for my next adventure, hiking the Arizona Trail in 2015 (820 miles from Mexico to Utah).

Thank you for your support and Aloha
Charlene Beaty Bailey Swankie

"It's not the destination that is important, it is the journey. It doesn't
get any better than that, until tomorrow." Swankie

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

A Treasure Chest for Vandwellers


This little web site written by a friend of mine, sees very little traffic. ALL the information there for vehicle dwellers and homeless people, including the Vandwellers guide
(, Homeless Guide
( and the 2-page "living in your vehicle flyer"
( is free.

Please help get the word out by sharing the link - on your blog or Facebook page.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Websites/Blogs for Facebook Vandwellers (a test post)

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Back On The River Again (not the Road Again)

My apologies to my followers, I have been remiss in keeping up my kayaking adventures, by being sidetracked by Quartzsite, dental work and my need to help a friend who lost everything Christmas night in a fire.  I put aside my own goals of saving or earning money for my Hawaii paddle to help him instead.  But let’s catch up now.


You may remember that I won a solar oven in a photo contest held by Sun Ovens International, Inc.… and I got a lot of you to vote for my photo with the promise I would then raffle off the old sun oven at the Winter RTR (Rubber Tramp Rendezvous).  I was going to put the proceeds toward kayaking Hawaii, the last of the 50 states, for my 70th birthday in May 2014.  I was moved instead to help the friend who lost everything in the fire.  I held the raffle as planned and was able to raise a bit of money to help him out.  It felt good to be able to do that.

More info on friend Doug Begley’s web site -

Now I am not sure I can financially swing going to Hawaii this year, but I have faith and believe in good Karma, and besides those closest to me that love me the most all say “You ARE going to Hawaii.” 

In January, I was off to Mexico to get this darned tooth fixed.  First hurt the tooth when I feel in Monterey CA back in 2007 and took a bite out of the sidewalk.  That one and others broken, along with my nose, jaw, and lip.  Broke two new crowns off then.  Have spent thousands of dollars on my mouth since that fall.


Had that fixed, then kayaking in IL (Sept 2011 – Lake Shelbyville), I broke one of those crowns off and had to have a root canal, and temp crown.  Last winter I had a perm crown put on in Mexico and in November 2013, that one broke off.  So that called for an extraction and an implant.  On the recommendation of a friend, I went to see Dr. Sabas Magana Ambriz in Los Algodones, B.C. Mexico.


I was met at the border by Manuel who escorted me to the dentist office and none of the annoying little street vendors and beggars even looked at me.  After a full mouth x-ray ($50), the dentist determined that I would need to get the tooth pulled but I needed to be on antibiotics for five days first, the jaw had an infection in it as did the sinus.  So Manuel walked me to the pharmacy to get the meds and then back to the border.  I paid $100 down but they would have taken less.  I returned to Quartzsite.


Five days later and another $150 and I walked away with the tooth pulled, the implant put right in immediately afterwards, and the small temp bridge tooth placed in my mouth.  He didn’t even hurt me.  I love this guy.   I need to pay another $250 now through his brother who works at the P.O. in Quartzsite, all the ATMs were broken in Mexico… and I had not taken enough cash.  When the bone heals and I return for the final tooth, I will pay the balance of $450.  It’s a lot of money and I might have been able to bargain them down, but it was such a relief to find a good dentist who did exactly what I wanted done, that I am fine with the total price of $1,000. I have dental insurance and will get it all back anyway.

So NOW, it was time to have some fun and to get back on the water.  I needed my water fix.  After a couple of days of rest and scouting out the area around Imperial Dam, I had a plan.  Hooray.


Looking Eastward from the Squaw Lake Day Use Area. Those are American Coots on the water.


After the tooth was pulled, I rested near the camps of my friends, Doug Begley and Rachel Smith... and later in the day scouted places to kayak in the area. Found this Squaw Lake between the Senator Wash Reservoir and the Imperial Dam. Decided to wait another day to kayak.  Nice areas in the Imperial Dam LTVA.  Lots more exploring to do.


Whenever I find a motley group of ducks or geese, I feel right at home, like this is where I belong... and there they were... some looked like regular Mallards, some like mixed up crosses between a domestic duck and a Mallard and one had a strange topknot.


Regular looking Mallards.


The Motley Crew... I just love them.  More on the motley birds of my past.


I told you... he had a strange top knot!!


Don’t you love the color?


Way up on the hillside overlooking Squaw Lake were these rock formations. There are really very large.


The Day Use Area at Squaw Lake, note the shadow in the lower left of the photo, that's Old SwankieWheels with the kayak on top. (I did not plan this photo, just a happy accident)


I stayed to enjoy the beautiful sunset and then moved to a place to camp for the night with the intent of returning to launch very early in the morning.


Got underway about 7am next morning.


Here I am approaching the exit from Squaw Lake onto the Colorado River. Exciting, I have never kayaked the Colorado River and was actually somewhat afraid to do it. I love the way the mountains look off to the East.


Yes, I am a happy camper (erhhh Kayaker)... and love the new temporary tooth bridge I got in Mexico, and under all that is my first implant, busy healing.  More about kayaking this area.


When I got on the river, I decided to paddle toward the Imperial Dam (south) a little ways, until I saw this sign and as I was trying to get a photo, I felt the currents pulling me... and so I didn't get the shot before the grasses got in the way, then I was busy regaining control of the kayak to turn it around and head away from there. THAT sign needs to be much larger so you can read if before you get that close. I never was able to read the smaller words… I was too busy.


Heading north now, and away from the Treacherous Currents sign... I began to feel like I was paddling up the Nile River.


During the entire paddle, a few motor boats went by, sending small wakes toward me, but nothing that impressed my kayak. Piece of cake.


Once before, when kayaking out into the Puget Sound to find Glass Beach, I had this feeling come over me... like, ahha, yes, this is where I belong, on the water. I love the feeling of peace and serenity that I get on still water like this. I feel my mind clearing as I paddle along.

This is the way a Palm tree naturally looks, not the skinny trimmed trunks you see in urban areas. And wait... there is something sticking out of it on the right side. Paddle closer Swankie.


Look at that! And he just sat there and watched me. Someone posted on FB here that it is a Red-Tailed Hawk. He was certainly beautiful and I watched him a long time. Nice perch, huh? sticking out of the palm frons like that.


I found a rock shoreline, and pulled in between the reeds and the rock and had an orange for breakfast. I sat there thinking of the Nile again, like this is were baby Moses would have been found. I have not idea why that thought came to mind, I'm not as especially religious.


There is the rock and I was pulled off into the reeds on the left side of photo. I walked to the top of the rock... it is white with salt, and beyond the crest is a nice level place to camp and totally private. Room back there for a couple of kayaks to be out of view... and I can see staying there for a couple nights sometime.


Buoy says “All Backwater” “NO WAKE”

I continued up river about a mile, and took a couple of side inlets... one in to a nice little round pond area... nice just to spend the day in there floating around and fishing???? I fantasize a lot on the water.


Went up this a little ways and realized there was no outlet on the other end... at least not within a mile, so I returned to begin making my way back. I crossed back and forth across the river from CA to AZ to CA to AZ. Kinda a fun silly thing to do.



The passageway back to the river.


Sorry the lens is dirty, but the small lower black dot is a helicopter that flew over me, twice... the second time very low. I guess they patrol the river. I waved.


I loved this group of Palm trees, four clustered tightly together in the in the middle it looked like there was a smaller one growing up, sheltered and protected by the mature trees..



After about three hours, I returned to Squaw Lake, and all the squawking little American Coots.


They seem to be displaying mating behavior and chasing one another and making a lot of noise. I have not observed that before with Coots.


This one was carrying a twig to shore.


This bad boy was really acting out.   American Coots can make a wide variety of noises, from grunting to clucking, as a means of communication, between each other and to threatening predators. There are two times a coot will splash: during mating season to attract attention and to discourage predators. American Coots also use their good sense of vision to communicate.   Well, it’s not mating season, so I don’t know what is going on!


And after my paddle, I had a nice long hot shower at the Restroom/Bathhouse there for $1.50. I drove to the military base and got a snack and then on back to Quartzsite and my Home Camp. News on the radio called for high winds and rain, so I quickly took my tent and canopy down, and put away all things cloth so I don't have to deal with wet stuff. I will have to pull it all back out and fold things up and pack them away properly, but at least they will be dry when I do. And when I finished, I turned to see this sunset.


Wow, what a day this has been, I kayaked the Colorado River, and returned to camp to begin breaking camp and then got rewarded with this awesome sunset. It has been a totally glorious and divine day for me. And having about six Gigabytes of internet to use up in the next two days, I watched all the January episodes of Revolution and two of the Blacklist. When I finally dozed off, it was one of the best night's rest I have had... the worry gone about the tooth, and I kayaked a River this day. It just can't get any better than that until tomorrow.


There it is, my SwankieKayak in the setting sun of the Arizona Desert.


Did you ever see anything so beautiful. The lights of Quartzsite in the background, on the West end of town.

New Goal… kayak from Ehrenberg, AZ (at I-10 near the AZ/CA border down to Squaw Lake.  My Bucket List grows longer.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Seasonal Employment Opportunities (Employers @ the Big Tent Show in Quartzsite, AZ 2014)

Someone asked me which seasonal workkamper type employers were present at the Big Tent Show.  Here is a list.

Hoodoo – Crescent Lake Resort, Crescent Lake, Oregon

Hoodoo's Crescent Lake Resort

Contact: Jen@ or 541-338-7869

OR and WA jobs or 541-338-7869


California Land Management (CLM)

CLM Staff

CLM Services Corporation
675 Gilman Street
Palo Alto, CA  94301


Thousand Trails Management Service

Photo 4 of 14

PO Box 6123
Federal Way

(253) 946-5264  (to apply for camphost job)


America Land and Leisure

What's left after Quartzite?

What's left after Quartzite?

January 29, 2014/ Jo Leach

We had a great time in Quartzite last week!  We met lots of nice people and filled 27 jobs.

Thanks to everyone who helped in the booth.  We couldn't have done it without you!

We know a lot of our east coast workampers don't make the trek to Quartzite.

Although most of our jobs are in the western states, we also have great jobs in Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky, Florida and Michigan.

So see what's left here:  Current Job Openings

If you're interested in working for American Land & Leisure, please contact Gary at 1-800-342-2267

Who is Swankie?

My Photo
Anywhere, USA, Full-Time USA traveler, United States
Kayaked the Holgate Glacier in Alaska, Aug 2013... only amazing considering it was the 49th state I have kayaked in four years and that in 2006 I was shopping for a wheelchair. By 2007 I had new knees, better health and by 2008 a kayak. Thank you for following along and won't you join me in May 2014 to kayak Hawaii, my 50th state, and celebrate my 70th Birthday, the finale to the wonderful adventure of Kayaking America? Next up... Hiking the Arizona Trail, 820 miles in 2015.