Zooming north on I-35 with a stand-up paddleboard atop your Subaru Outback, with the securing straps humming in the wind, is not the time to first search youtube.com for videos about how to secure a board to your car roof. I'm the travel editor; I should know better. I should have prepared. But, well, there were so many other details to attend to before departing on our long trip Up North that I overlooked that little -- okay, vital -- item. So in the morning, I strapped on the board the same way I do for the five-block trip to Lake Harriet and took off. Who knew that 65 miles per hour could prove so much more harrowing than 20 mph. The straps screamed in a high-pitched tune, occasionally slapping at the car roof. We pulled off, considered returning the board to our garage, then instead tightened it up and gingerly headed north. That's when I used my phone to log onto youtube, outwardly calm but inwardly frantic.
It seemed I had done a fairly good job of it, though the fin should have been at the front in case the board slipped backward (it would have been caught by the first strap in that case). By the time we stopped in Duluth for a break, I felt confident. And indeed, we made it to our destination and home again, though by the time we turned off the engine back in Minneapolis, that nice relaxed feeling you go on vacation to achieve had been stripped away as we nervously eyed the board through the sunroof all the way home.
True, the paddleboard was a boon to our vacation. We used it nearly every day. And we'll take it with us again. Next time, though, we'll be truly prepared. Last week I finally did what I should have done before the trip. I went to REI, asked the pros, and bought a cheap set of foam pads for our car rack and a Yakima SUP brah (I know, makes you think of a different support item, right?) that secures the bow and stern to the front and back of the car. We're geared up right, brah!