Big East Fork of the West Fork of the Big Pigeon…No its not a joke.

September 25, 2009
Big East Fork!  

     This trip started on Monday with a classic Asheville drive session looking for something low enough to run. The funny thing is that when we left the house we knew it was going to be like that. It felt like it rained 97 inches over the weekend and it almost did in some parts of the south. Sometimes this can turn into a frustrating proposition but we had an awesome crew that was just interested in getting on the water and not worried about finding the absolute perfect thing. We focused on one watershed for the most part, the Big Pigeon area near Canton, North Carolina. We started with a quick run down the Little East Fork of the Big West Fork of the Big Pigeon. I know, I know, sounds like a joke, but its real. It’s a hike up section that starts with a bang and ends with a fast paced continuous class 3-4 race back to the cars. With a closer inspection during the hike we saw lots of wood and very very high water for the top part. That’s where the humility kicked in. “Wow that looks high!”, we thought amongst ourselves.  The word comes down from the upper reaches…”its really high!” “Hey do you guys want to put in here below the big stuff?” “Sounds good to me”.

Driving

and Driving

We went on to do a short stretch of the Middle Prong of the Big West Fork of the Big Pigeon and paddled on into the Big West Fork that same day. More of the same put on below the big rapids and bounce and smile down fluffy class 3 and 4…without any eddies.

You don’t necessarily ever come away from a day like that feeling like a hero but a little wood removal and some hiking with boats makes you feel like you have done something.

Put In at Skinny Dip Falls 

     Tuesday on the other hand was set up ideally.  We knew that rivers would be dropping into perfect levels all over western North Carolina so we drove up higher into the Big Pigeon watershed to look at the Big East Fork. After a short conference with some other paddlers we decided it was a great level and off we went. I love the fact that we start this paddle off of the Blue Ridge Parkway and probably start actually paddling above 4,000 feet which in the southeast is pretty high altitude. The put in parking lot has great views of the Blue Ridge and a nice granite dome called Looking Glass. From there we hike in along a lush trail crossing a small stream and the fork at the put in Skinny Dip Falls.

 

The first part of the run is small and a little manky. There is a trail down to the first confluence which cuts out the shallow stuff makes the river much kinder but walking into the falls the put in are nice enough to endure the 1/4 mile of mankdom. On my first time down this part of the run was high enough that this section was moving right along. It made for an exciting but manageable day on the high side of good.

Once we gained the water of a couple side creeks the volume was enough to float most of the time and at the first significant rapids we were psyched with the water levels.

This run is a lot like other stuff in the Smokies, its very continuous, with small eddies, and fun technical rapids thrown in all the time.  Throughout the run we probably scouted 5 times with lots of buddy beta scouting to keep the group moving along.  The complete run from car to car was 4 1/2 – 5 hours.

Lil A Hole
Adriene had a fun little surf in this hole.  I think I will call this the Lil A hole. It was a sweet little rapid.  You come down from an eddie above the first drop in the background of this photo which is a little boofy boogie water then get river right for this sweet slide drop into a fairly stout hole that is pocketed out.  Lil A came in angled and the drop stopped her quickly.  I took time to get a couple shots at the beginning of the surf but it was looking a little rough so I reached down and pulled her out. That was fun.

Real Purty and Continuous
This place is beautiful

This is one of the cooler drops on the run.  At the top of this rapid you came around a couple big rocks, big enough that you couldn’t see anything and then dropped through a series of small drops and then down this technical section.  Adriene had jumped out to scout and we ran on her beta so it was a fun way to roll into this rapid.

 First Drop of Triple Drop

Gabriel is entering the biggest drop on the run in this shot.  The rapid is called Triple Drop and comes in just after Greasy Cove Prong comes in on river left.  This rapid is really sweet because of the different moves that are entailed.  The first drop above is a tight bouncing drop.  With a decision to follow immediately afterwards.  Go left and deal with some power or nice boof on the right that is a little touchy to get to.

Second Drop of Triple Drop
This is the right side of the second drop.  You can see the left side opposite of Gabe.  You land in a moving pool just above the final drop which is about an 8 foot drop with major consequences over on river right which is very much in play because a good portion of the river is pushing right.
After Triple drops the run continues steeply for the next mile plus with very continuous boulder garden drops that for the most part could be run by eddie scouting and read and run but with the thoughts of all the wood we found the other day we scouted pretty much anything we couldn’t clearly see completely.   This section was probably my favorite of the day because the one right after the other the drops were coming at us constantly and we would take turns jumping out and giving beta, and that gave me the chance to take a bunch of photos.
 
Rapid Transitish Rapid

Nice entrance to Fan Rock Rapid

I call this one “In Over Your Head”
 
Lil’ Gorilla
The Tunnel at the Take Out

I can’t imagine a better day to be on this river.  It takes so much water to get this thing running you pretty much have to be there when its raining but this day we had blue skies and crystal clear water because it had been running for several days.

Here is the slide show of all the shots I took that day.   Later Shane


2009 Overnighter on the Chattooga

August 4, 2009
Packing the Remix XP
My bro and other friends rolled into town not too long ago and we did another awesome Chattooga overnight trip.  We started up on section 2 where my brother and I pretty much learned how to paddle.  Its cool to see his kids start getting into it in the same place that we did.    Section 2 is pretty mellow with  few nice easy rapids that are perfect for learning to catch eddies and make moves in rapids. I remember cruising up to “Big Shoals” rapid when it was one of my first rapids with a name. It was very cool to see Pete and his son Otter scouting it and deciding how he wanted to run the rapid and remembering us being there.
Lunch before putting on the river
Scouting, “the big one”
Stylin it
We made this a fun easy short trip at the lower water level by putting in on section 2, camping near the put in for section 3 near Earl’s Ford, and then only running the first 3 miles of section 3 to Sandy Ford. We had all types of craft on this trip. We had a raft and duckies for the kids that weren’t kayaking on their own yet and my brother and I paddled Remix XPs. Between the small raft and the two XPs we were able to pack plenty of stuff for the whole gang which numbered 6 adults and 6 kids.
Future Kayakers
Kids lovin’ it
Syncronized father son paddling
I remember my first overnighters and how cool it was to be out in the wilderness. Then, I thought we were in the middle of no where and we were having a big crazy adventures.   Now, I know the trail to the road isn’t far away and normally I wouldn’t take chocolate chips or pancakes for that matter on a paddling trip but the adventures are still big they just take on a different style sometimes.
Mmm chocolate chip pancakes

Here is the slideshow of all the photos from the trip.
Shane



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Liquidlogic Kayaks and the Outdoor Retail Show 2009

July 28, 2009
From 2009 Outdoor Retailer Show
The Outdoor Retail show is the biggest week of my year as far as work goes.  Its this week that all my projects from the year need to be ready for all our dealers to see.  This year I was busy.  I noticed I hadn’t posted in several months and its this show that has kept me as busy as I could possibly be.
This year I did three new designs, which isn’t a huge number.  All three designs were boats I had never done on my own before.  I designed two sit on top kayaks, a stand up paddle board design, and we developed all the accesories for those boats as well as a new throw rope that is really cool. 
From 2009 Outdoor Retailer Show
This is the stand up paddle board called the Versa Board.  Its a cross between a sit on top and a stand up board.  Its so stable anyone can jump on it and go and it is a great platform for all kinds of fun.  The fishermen are stoked on it because you can trick it out for fishing.  Including a swivel seat that rotates 360 degrees.  I am stoked because I am going to go out and paddle with a dog or two on it with me.
From 2009 Outdoor Retailer Show
This is the sit on top called the Coupe.  Its a 10 foot sit on top with handling characteristics of the Remix XP.  So its just as at home on the lake as it is in class 2 whitewater.  It has a drop down skeg that tracks it out nicely and a Remix XP hull to deal with a little whitewater.
From 2009 Outdoor Retailer Show
This is the tandem version of the Coupe 10.  Its called the Deuce Coupe.  Again its based on the Remix XP but in a tandem version.  Its a very easy tandem to paddle.  Most tandems are tough to turn or handle in tighter spots but this one is very maneuverable with the skeg up.  Then all you have to do is drop the skeg and it tracks like a dream for longer flat water travel.
From 2009 Outdoor Retailer Show
This is a really nice touring boat that Native designs came out with.  Its called the Inuit.  There are three sizes fitting a wide range of paddler sizes and skill levels.  The 12.5 is great as an entry level light touring boat and the 13.5 and 14.5 are sized models of a slightly higher performance light touring boat.
The way the show works is the first day is a demo on the beach so all the different retail shops can try out all the new product or familiarize themselves with a line they may pick up.  It is total chaos.  At the demo there were something like 30 or more different boat or board companies.  The beach was packed and the water was covered with people trying everything out.  Its actually pretty hilarious.  Not everyone came away dry I will just leave it at that.  With that many people on the water at the same time someone was bound to crash.
The next four days is full of meetings and presentations of new and existing product to current dealers and future hopeful dealers.  Its a cool show for me because this is the one chance I get to meet all the dealers that sell our stuff.  They all come through to check it out and I get to talk with them about the concepts and ideas behind all the designs.
From 2009 Outdoor Retailer Show
Here is the entrance to our room.  Kind of fancy.  Especially after I have been spending most of the last couple months in the shop completely covered in dust.
From 2009 Outdoor Retailer Show
Folks checking out the new Liquidlogic Stuff.  Including the new Liquidlogic throw bag.  We are calling it the speed loader.  Its the first throw bag that opens up like this to make it super easy to load.  Then it compresses down to a small packing size that still throws while compressed.  Simple design but it works and makes it all sooo much easier to deal with.
From 2009 Outdoor Retailer Show
From 2009 Outdoor Retailer Show
This is the Mariner series.  Its a sit on top that can actually be paddled, peddled, motored or sailed.
Not recommended for running waterfalls though.  If you goose the motor or peddle too hard you may land flat off of tall drops.
From 2009 Outdoor Retailer Show
The new Inuit series was a big hit with the dealers.  They had been looking for us to do a day touring  boat for a while and I think we nailed it on this one.  We also fitted it out with outfitting like the whitewater boats so they are all day comfortable.
We had an awesome show with lots of excitement for the coming year.  We don’t have any more info up on the new product yet on our webpage but we will.  I will try to fill you in more as well.
Keep your eyes open at http://liquidlogickayaks.com for news on all our stuff.
Cheers
Shane


The Liquidlogic Weekend Tour: Biscuits, Playboat Creeking, and Raft Carnage

May 5, 2009

Mefford Williams rockin’ the Biscuit and sporting his winning Jerry’s Baddle Number!
What an awesome weekend! A big group of us headed over to the Ocoee to get our playboatin’ on. It was Adriene, Maria, Juliette,Yonton, John Grace, Will Lyons, and a couple random Brits that we picked up on the side of the road. Everyone was jacked up to get out in the Biscuits and everyone came away psyched.
Adriene and Maria were paddling the 45 and really happy with how they could throw it around. They both were able to get flat water ends working. Maria later told me that the thing she liked the most about the boat was how loose it was and that she felt like she could move it around really easily. Adriene was starting to stick loops in the hole at staging eddie which is not an easy spot to set up let alone stick a loop. I was just happy because to be out on the Ocoee. It really had been almost 2 years since I had paddled there.
It was an awesome day out there with an eddie load of friends.
Lil’ A gettin’ some pop at Hell Hole.


Yonton, Grace, and Mefford getting ready to taste the Biscuits

You can check out the rest of the shots from this day by clicking this link.

From Liquidlogic Biscuits at High Water Hell Hole



Yours Truly, Biscuit boofing the first drop of the Cascades called “The Horns”



When you boof in a playboat you don’t necessarily stay on the surface.

We stayed the night in the area and it rained most of the night. Only thing is we didn’t have our creek boats, but we knew there was going to be some extra fun out there. On Sunday morning we jumped up and headed up to the Cascades on the Upper Nantahala before heading back to the Ocoee. Its not far above the normal put in for the Nantahala run but its a completely different thing if you haven’t seen it before. The steep section is only a half mile long but its really fun, with a handful of nice rapid nuggets. Mefford and I knew it well enough that we thought it would be fun to take the Biscuits down.

The biggest rapid on the Cascades called “Big Kahuna”.
Mefford coming up from seeing “Chinese Feet”.

Click the link below to see more photos from our trip on the Cascades.
From Biscuits on the Cascades section of the Nantahala

After paddling all day on the Cascades and then jamming down the Ocoee we came across this at the Put-In. I don’t know how to explain this other than we had a feeling something was going to happen when we watched these guys putting on the river as it was rising rapidly. They looked fairly together and they had a couple of guidely type folks at the helm but for some reason we decided to walk down and see how the run through Entrance went for them.

“Water seems a little high?”

I was guessing the flow to be around 3 or 4 thousand but it was hard to tell because it was coming up by the minute. The scene on the put in ramp was a tell tale sign. In this photo if you know the spot it makes sense but if you haven’t seen the put in ramp before this photo might look normal. The spot where they are standing in the water is 30 feet from where you normally put in. There usually isn’t a standing wave where you might normally put your skirt on and the river isn’t usually going through the hand rail.

We watched them slide the boats in the water and immediately get pushed against the river right bank. This I thought was going to be their saving grace. If they had only managed to scrape down the right bank they would have been fine but unfortunately they made it out into the main current where within the first 3 waves they nearly flipped and then found them selves staring into the pit of Grumpy’s Ledge.


Raft Guide just gets back up from nearly flipping to see where they are going.

From this point on it was total chaos. If you have raft guided before you know what happens to the guide at this moment; either he holds on or he flies into the front of the boat like a sack of potatoes. Believe me I know I have landed in a heap with the bow paddlers. I have actually completely cleared the front of the boat right here at Entrance rapid.


No time to brace himself before impact.


Shouting commands from the middle of the raft. It is easier for them to hear.

This raft proceeded to get a 3-4 minute pounding in the hole. The guide was trying to keep people high siding but it was all happening too fast. First a couple folks fell out then one by one it was down to just the guide and one person who wasn’t stoked. The folks that fell out seemed to go for one recirc and then flush out of the hole. Some, unfortunately, had a brief under the raft experience. In the end everyone was fine. There were some rattled nerves but it seemed as though folks were dealing. All I know is I wouldn’t want to be in there.


The beating begins


Notice the hand on the right


Emerging from the depths

“Noooooooo not again!”

In the end the guide pulls it out and calls it a perfect ride. The “Dump Truck”.

For the whole slideshow of the action click the link below.
From High Water Raft Carnage on the Ocoee


Take care folks and remember we are all inbetween swims.

Shane


2009 Jerry’s Baddle

April 28, 2009
Jerry with friends

This past weekend was as nice as we have seen yet this year. Clear skies and 80 degree weather made a great weekend for Jerry’s Baddle. The first thing most folks ask is, “Whats Jerry’s Battle”? First its a Baddle Bike/Paddle and here is the description of what Jerry’s Baddle is from the JB Website. “Jerry’s Baddle is a dual sport race that began in 2006 to honor a good friend, Jerry Beckwith, who had been diagnosed with ALS. The race was born out of a desire to keep his spirit and passion alive by raising money to help fight the disease that took his life and to foster the community he loved.


Daniel slicking Go Left during the paddling segment

From that comes an event that is at the core of the paddling community around the Green River.
The Baddle is a very unique event because it combines two very different events, road biking, and class 5 kayaking. I am not sure how many entrants there were but the fact that there were somewhere around 50 people that could both paddle the narrows and ride a bike 26 miles is a pretty cool combination of skills.

Adam Herzog has been the reigning champion of this event for a while and he came into this one no different. The man is a living endurance machine. He has done things that I want to do in a lifetime in a single day. He has run across the Sahara desert and paddled the across the ocean as far as I am concerned and it didn’t look any different at the beginning of this race. Adam was charging right away as was evident in his duel with Green Race Champ Andrew Holcombe. The two traded places a few times during the paddling section. So that meant that Zog was ripping down the paddling course.


Zog making the pass on Holcombe at Sunshine

Mefford Williams had been training tough on the bike for the last several months to get ready for this race and it showed as he powered up the switch backs of the Green Take Out road. Most folks don’t know that he actually used to compete on the road bike before he was famous for floundering around in the mud for Vacation to Hell commercials. He is a regular for the Green Race so his paddling was solid as well. There was also another fast competitor Paul Stamilio. Let me just say that Paul f%$&*#@ flew on the bike and was chasing Mefford down the entire paddling course.


Mefford taking the “Glass Elevator”


Meff powering up the switchbacks

After the paddle everyone had kept their places. Zog was first off the beach, Holcombe was looking good in second but the bike was not a strong point, Mefford had held off Stamilio and they were headed into the heinous climb up the 18 switchbacks of Green River Road. This is where things started to change drastically.


The amphibian transition

This was shaping up to be a good Baddle. Nate and I jumped on my motorcycle to follow the bike action and we were thirsty by the time we got to the top of the hill I can’t imagine what these guys were feeling. Things were changing quickly on the hill.
Zog the dominator was taken down by a flat tire that he changed quickly, Holcombe said mid climb, “I am dying”, but Stamilio was still going hard, as was Mefford. While these guys were giving their all Nate and I stopped for a Gatorade, stalled my bike, and then couldn’t get it started so we had to roll start it. I actually started to sweat after that.


Zog didn’t want to chat


Uh Yeah the Roll Start

After the switch backs up the hill its a long down hill that was scarier than the Green to me. I dropped the bike back a gear and watched as Stamilio passed me like I was standing still. It was a little embarrassing but he was fricking flying. This is where his luck ended and his chain jumped gears, snapped, and broke. Then he threw his bike into the woods.

Stamilio passing me on my motorcycle during the race

Mefford pulling away

To the winner comes the spoils PBR on the head

Here is a link to an interview by LVM with Mefford Williams 2009 Jerry’s Baddle Champ
Click Here

In the end Liquidlogic had an awesome day winning all three categories.
Mefford Williams winning the Solo Baddle
Jennifer Cribbs winning the women’s Solo Baddle
Clayton Gar and Jed Hinkley Winning the Team Baddle
and Adriene Levknecht and Bob High taking third in the Team Baddle.

Here is a link to all the results.
2009 Jerry’s Baddle Results

Jerry’s Baddle, this year has raised more than $5000 dollars and still counting for the fight against ALS.

Congratulations ya’ll!

After a great day of racing we had a few beverages listened to live music at the festival and then went up to The Purple Onion in Saluda for more music and dancing. A good time was had by all.
Thanks again to everyone that helped put on the Baddle. Its an awesome event.

Oh heres the video.

Jerry’s Baddle 2009 from Shaneslogic on Vimeo.

The music from the video was all recorded live.

Thanks to:

The Scoot Pittman Trio
Red Dirt Floor
and
M.C. Suntan Lotion

Take it easy folks

Shane


Spring is here. Time to get the Biscuits cooking.

April 24, 2009

Adriene checking out the outfitting in her Biscuit

 
Spring is here.  The Ocoee is running.  The Cheoah is running.  It hasn’t snowed in days.   So Adriene and I grabbed a Biscuit 45 and 65 and headed out for the weekend.  Its actually been a while since I have really paddled one of these babies hard and it was a pleasure to get it out on the water.   We went to the Ocoee on Saturday.  It was a perfect day 70 degrees and blue skys.  I have to admit that I haven’t been on the Ocoee in close to 3 years.  It is a good 4 hours drive from the Green river, I am not making excuses.  I swear.

Oh I almost forgot.  I have a new toy.  Its my integral shuttle system.  Roll the Motorcycle into the Van and a couple boats and you have a self contained mission.  Saturday morning we loaded it all up.
A couple Biscuit kayaks.  One Biscuit dog and a Tater dog. The ramp to ride the bike up into the van.
Some sleeping stuff.  Adriene just needs Pop Tarts and I just need a decent coffee in the morning.
So here is my added toy inserted in the van with multiple Biscuit options.

The Aqua Scout Fully Loaded with Integral Shuttle and various Biscuits

I don’t know when the first time I ran the Ocoee was.  I think it was ’82 or ’83 maybe.   I need to dig up some old photos.  I have a few that are pretty funny.  Uh yeah maybe not.  The iconic spot on the Ocoee is the dam to me because when you first start running this river its the dam that scares the crap out of you.  Its loud, and there are tons of people running around, rafts putting in constantly, and the ever present wind and mist blowing.  There have been lots of paddlers who put in swam in the first rapid and got out of the river.  Once you get used to the dam and Entrance rapid its just a pretty cool scene.

Adriene calls me dad.  I am not sure how I feel about that.


 Wheeling below Slice N’ Dice
There is just a subtle difference between wheeling and getting wheeled.


Thats me trying to remember how this cartwheel thing works.
The Biscuit loves to wheel.

Adriene working the shoulder at Double Trouble.  
The waves are sweet all three are in fine form right now.

Adriene said, “oh my god, this boat is soooo loose.”

The day on the Ocoee was awesome.  We hardly saw anyone out there and all the playspots were good as always and some seem to be better than I remember since the last time I was there. After the day on the Ocoee we headed over to the Cheoah to stay the night and get on fairly early so Adriene could make it to work the next afternoon.  Sunday was a much more dreary day.  It drizzled all day and we were pretty much on our own out there.  The Cheoah can be a little pushy in a play boat in places but it is damn rewarding as well.
Adriene hamming it up in the one I call, “You know the hole on the left”.
This is a sweet hole you should check it out sometime.

A sweet boof line off the Bear.
From Biscuit Weekend on the Ocoee and Cheoah
This is the wave at Topoco lodge.  It is sweet.  Nice blunts, loops, etc… You go Adriene.
It was a great weekend and its great to have the Biscuits working in all features and run the river so comfortably.  Have I said how bad ass the outfitting is now.

Don’t forget Jerry’s Baddle this weekend.
Later
Shane


The Blizzard of 2009 :) Here in the land of Liquidlogic.

March 1, 2009

Before

Sweet!! We finally got some snow. I have been waiting for some real snow and now we got it. Its not much if you are used to snow but this is a real storm around these parts. I happened to take a couple shots just as it was starting and then just as it was getting dark.


During



After

Once again all the bread, milk, and bottled water is gone from the shelves at the grocery stores. I thought about heading to town to hang out with folks in the snow but I was too scared of the North Carolina drivers. They don’t have any clue how to drive in snow.
Maybe we should go sledding tomorrow.
Later
Shane



Steep Creek Skills wins at The National Paddling Film Festival

February 25, 2009

We got some cool news the other day. The video that John Grace, Penstock Productions, Liquidlogic and I put together, Steep Creek Skills, won the Best Instructional Video category at the National Paddling Film Festival. Pretty Cool. I am psyched. It was a fun project that we had been talking about doing for a long time. The Penstock crew did a great job of bringing together all the footage, and audio. John also had to organize a group of kayakers. We all know how that goes. The best part of the whole thing was that we got to spend a bunch of time on the home river with a bunch of friends. In fact I think we had two days in a row where it took us 5 hours to get down the Green which usually takes us a little more than an hour.

The DVD not only has the Steep Creek Skills video it also has a full Green River Guide which includes shots of most of the different lines through almost every rapid on the river. There are also a few other extras including a top ten from Tommy and the highlights of the Green Race this past year. All in all its a packed DVD with instruction, beta on the green, and just plain old entertainment. Here is a sampling of what is on the instructional portion of the video.

Whitewater Instruction Steep Creek Skills from Lunch Video Magazine on Vimeo.

Buy the video at the LVM Store by clicking Here and look for more instruction at Liquidlogic’s instructional page Here. We will be updating that site regularly with instruction tips of all types. In fact send us some ideas and we will try our best to cover them.

Take it easy
Shane


All 3 sizes of Biscuits are running now at Liquidlogic

January 21, 2009

Today we started running the largest Biscuit. So now we have all three sizes up and running. The largest was the last to come on line. Its cool to see all three sizes next to each other. Of course these photos don’t really show everything and the lighting is terrible to show the hull so I hope to have better hull photos up soon.


The Three Side By Side


Up the Line


I just jumped in the Biscuit 65 with my shoes on.
That make me thing big comfortable loops.


Marlow Left His Boat Out in the Snow.

But He Still Paddles Pretty Well.
Thanks to Jeremy Laucks for this photo.

The Original BIscuit
From First Biscuit

Later Shane

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All 3 sizes of Biscuits are running now at Liquidlogic

January 21, 2009

Today we started running the largest Biscuit. So now we have all three sizes up and running. The largest was the last to come on line. Its cool to see all three sizes next to each other. Of course these photos don’t really show everything and the lighting is terrible to show the hull so I hope to have better hull photos up soon.


The Three Side By Side


Up the Line


I just jumped in the Biscuit 65 with my shoes on.
That make me thing big comfortable loops.


Marlow Left His Boat Out in the Snow.

But He Still Paddles Pretty Well.
Thanks to Jeremy Laucks for this photo.

The Original BIscuit
From First Biscuit

Later Shane

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