Seriously, what they're offering won't make you fat,
won't expose you to artificial sweeteners, and it's good for your heart.
Of course you might get some sun, so bring your best hat and sunscreen.
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you...
the kayak vending machine!!!
Today is not April 1st and I'm not making this up.
Their facebook post that went up yesterday reads as follows:
WE'RE OFFICIALLY OPEN AND HAVE OUR FIRST RESERVATIONS!
THE FIRST OF A KIND PADDLE SHARE SYSTEM IN A NATIONAL PARK IS READY TO GO! THE DECISION WAS MADE AT 10:00 AM TODAY, THURSDAY, AUGUST 25, 2016, JUST IN TIME FOR THE NATIONAL PARK SERVICE CENTENNIAL (CURRENTLY BEING CELEBRATED AROUND THE COUNTRY AT OVER 400 NATIONAL PARKS).
WOOHOOOOOOO! HAPPY BIRTHDAY NPS! 🎉 🎈💥 GO CELEBRATE AND PADDLE YOUR NATIONAL PARK!
ANNOUNCEMENT COMING SOON ABOUT A GRAND OPENING CELEBRATION WITH ALL OUR PARTNERS. IN THE MEANTIME . . . . . . . . . . GO PADDLE!
16 kayaks are currently available at North Mississippi River Regional Park in North Minneapolis. 16 more are coming soon to the Mississippi Watershed Management Organization Stormwater Park. The return stations are at Boom Island Park.
To reserve a kayak go to: www.paddleshare.org and follow the instructions.
It's very simple:
1. Choose your location (North Mississippi Regional Park for now)
2. Select # of kayaks
3. Pay by credit card
4. Receive a code (via email) to unlock your equipment in a specific locker.
5. Remove your pfd, paddle, and unlock your boat.
6. Shut locker
7. Go paddle
You must have some experience and be 18 or older. All boats must be returned to the Boom Island Return station 3.9 miles downstream.
Make your reservation today!
The Mississippi River Paddle Share is a self-serve kayak rental system where you can paddle a 4 mile stretch of river in your national park: Mississippi National River and Recreation Area (Twin Cities Metro Area).
Of course you've got to give the kayak back when you're done with it,
so it's not quite the same as dropping a few quarters
and getting a Snickers bar, but this is fantastic.
Leave it to those crazy Minnesotans to do something like this.
I did some checking, and it appears that this is not technically the first vending machine to spit out a kayak. A few years back there was a fun promotion that took place in San Francisco, where a huge vending machine distributed bikes, kayaks, and other items related to outdoor tourism in British Columbia.
You can read more about it and watch a fun video at this link:
This kayak vending machine is in Minneapolis, and it got me thinking...
if they were to stock that rig with gondolas in October
(right around the time when we're competing at Nationals),
they'd be sold out for sure!
To learn more, see http://www.paddleshare.org
or search them on facebook for fresh updates.