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Lifetime Zenith Kayak Review

I recently bought my first kayak. Normally before shelling out my hard earned cash, I do copious amounts of research, but the one model that caught my eye had no real reviews, and I’ve only been able to find it for sale at one store. My ultimate goal was to get something affordable that would allow me to test the waters as it were. I hadn’t been on the water since I was a kid using my grandparent’s row boat. After spending a few days researching, I decided to just head down to the store and see the kayaks in person. I settled on the Lifetime Zenith. It hit the affordable mark, being $180, and had all the features I could think I would want when floating around on a lake or river. It has a covered storage area in the back, a large cockpit with feet rests and an adjustable seat back. The only thing really missing was a cup holder, but I can add that later.

Since purchasing a few weeks ago, I’ve gotten out on the water at least once a week and I’ve had a blast every time. The boat tracks well, and does what it’s supposed to do. It’s stable with wakes, and has even handled a few light rapids well, though I wouldn’t recommend taking it out in anything remotely extreme.

Paired up with a kayak specific life vest, a paddle, and an assortment of dry bags, I’ve already gotten my moneys worth. It’s perfect for a casual weekday float, or 7 mile trip down a fairly busy river.

First Float

A few weeks ago I decided to purchase a kayak. I wanted something that would get me outdoors more and to explore some of Nashville’s waterways. The added bonus of being almost 100% free of technology is fantastic as well. Being out in nature is a great way to clear your head and to really get away from it all.

The first float was better than I could hope for. We launched right into Old Hickory Lake and just paddled around the fishing area, and I almost immediately found a cove where a heron was hanging out. I tried to get as close as possible for a good photo opportunity, but the heron decided he wanted to be somewhere else.

I wanted to share the video I snagged of that. I can’t wait to get back on the water again.

Why I stopped trying to manage my own server.

Over the years I’ve had many projects, one of my favorites, and most time intensive has been Scoot Nashville. I started with the idea of a user created social network to plan rides and events involving the scooter community in my hometown. I started with a WordPress blog, but later added Buddypress. The idea was to set up message boards and groups so the community could organize their own events in addition to 2 or more events that I would organize. I didn’t have a full grasp over the resources my little community of a hundred users would take. Eventually, my shared host started throttling my account because my project was straining the other sites on that machine. This of course was less than ideal. It would take seconds to load pages, and minutes to actually post anything. In short, my site wasn’t user friendly. It was barely usable.

I tried caching plugins, but those didn’t work too well with user created posts. A cached blog post is one thing, waiting for the cache to clear out when someone added a comment to a thread was something completely different. I started looking for a new solution, and learned about VPS servers. This would allow me to have dedicated resources and a lot more control over certain aspects of the system. For example, I use Gsuite for the email for that domain, so using resources on an email server was wasted. I found some great deals on Low End Box that made my shared hosting costs seem like a fortune and quickly purchased a VPS.

This started a learning curve with using Terminal to login, install and configure an OS, and installing a control panel to easily manage my server. That snowballed into sleepless nights of tweaking settings, worrying about resources, and finally settling on the realization that being a system admin in addition to my daily work was more than I wanted to handle. Having control and learning is great and all, but it was almost turning into a full time job.

Since then, I’ve migrated all of my projects, including this one back to shared hosting of one type or another, and haven’t looked back. The additional monthly costs have far outweighed the time loss and stress of that extra control.

5 Lessons My Vintage Vespa Has Taught Me.

Back in 2009 I made a decision to move from modern scooters to vintage. I started my research to find the “right” bike for me. I wanted something that looked like it could be on an album cover from The Who, something that would be reliable, and would be easy to maintain. I finally settled on a 1980 Vespa P200 and started on an endless journey of trial and error and valuable life lessons. Here are some of my favorites.

  1. Plan for the breakdown, not the ride. You never know when that relaxed Sunday ride will turn into a nerve wracking breakdown in shoulder that’s barely big enough for you and your bike. Carry tools and spare parts. Swapping out a fuel line on the side of the road is better than waiting on a tow, or bugging your buddies to come bail you out.
  2. Take time to enjoy the ride. One of my favorite parts about being on two wheels is the complete lack of technology. You have to be completely focused on the road, and other drivers. It’s a great way to unplug and get back to basics.
  3. Gear up. Similar to number one, falling off hurts. Falling off when you’re wearing a pair of shorts, or worse some flip flops hurts even more. It’s not worth having a less than sympathetic nurse clean out road rash. Trust me on this one.
  4. Don’t forget preventative maintenance. Riding a scooter or motorcycle is dangerous. You know that. Taking some simple steps will go a long way in keeping your bike on the road, rubber side down. Remember your tires and brakes are two of the most important pieces of equipment on your bike. Your engine and gear box needs oil changes to keep ticking along. A little bit of work will keep you and your bike happy.
  5. Let it go. This is the biggest lesson I’ve learned, and still struggle with sometimes. When you’re on two wheels, you are exposed. You don’t have airbags or a steel cage to protect you if things go awry. You’re bound to run into a few drivers who are careless. Near misses are going to happen, but it’s important to take a moment and a deep breath and let it go. Holding on to that anger won’t do you any favors, and can put you in a bad position as you continue to ride. Often, I’ll have to pull over and collect myself before continuing on.

These are just a few of my favorite lessons that I’ve learned, and every day I go for another ride, I learn even more. I hope you’ve picked up something valuable here. If you ride, stay safe out there. If you don’t, keep an eye out for people on two wheels.