Monday, April 01, 2019

Trip Week

Rivermen:  let's meet at my house at 7:30 am Friday.  If anyone wants to meet at the put-in instead just let me know.  The directions are as follows:

1.  Go to Readyville, Tennessee.


We will eat Friday lunch at the Readyville Mill restaurant after we run the shuttle.  All other meals will be handled by the kitchen crew on the river.  Each riverman needs to bring his own plate, utensils and drinking vessels.  And also a BOWL this time (see menu).  Beer and water are BYO.  No disposable plastic water bottles.  Per usual, Tim is in charge of first-stop cocktails each day.  Josh and I will be shaking up martinis, dirty and dry, for that magic hour just before sunset when the fire is made and everybody is in dry clothes.


Friday Lunch:  Readyville Mill "Eatery"

Friday Dinner:  Pete's Riverman Fish Chowder plus "Accompaniments Which You Will Find Pleasing."

Saturday Breakfast:  Lowrybread, coffee, tobacco 

Saturday Lunch:  Muffalettas

Saturday Dinner:  Occo Bucco and more A.W.Y.W.F.P.s.

Sunday Breakfast:  See Saturday Breakfast


A few roster changes.

Vernon has been upgraded to probable.  Kirly has been downgraded to unlikely.  Rob Cannon is also in play now, although that was before Auburn got in the Final Four.  Hoping he decides to come catch a bunch of radioactive fish and listen on the radio.  There is precedent for this.

FYI there are no real options for joining us later in the day on Friday, but if it helps anybody I can definitely get you on or off the river Saturday morning for a one-nighter (either night).


From the Central Procurement Office:

Acquisition 1.  Last trip we lucked in to two big, pre-cut logs to use for the Grumman when it was in kitchen counter mode.

Remember how nice it was to have it up off the ground and you didn't have to lean over for meal prep or to find your ready-rolls in the dark?

It was so nice, in fact, that we have decided not to leave that to chance any more.  We're going to try out these folding saw horses.  If they work we might get another pair for the fall trip and double the counter space.

Acquisitions 2 through 12... 

For the aforementioned magic cocktail hour.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

2nd Half Plan

Ok, the last time we talked we had made it to McKnight Branch five miles down the river.  That will be Campsite #1.

Here's the map for the second half of the trip (still paddling right to left on your screen).

Given our more "mature" approach to river miles, and the fact this will be two nights instead of one, it seemed unlikely we could camp at the big gravel bar island again.  But it turns out that for the very same reasons we may end up in that general vicinity the second night. Not making any promises, but that could be Campsite #2.  It's definitely a good one:

Here is the current roster based on the info I have:

Pete F. Feldman
Dave Coviello
David Fox

Vernon is a maybe.  Mullowney will be out of the country

And here is a Public Service Announcement:

Of course, this only applies if we catch enough fish to make a dinner so...

Friday, March 15, 2019

Stones River Plans - Part I

Ok got the logistics worked out I think.  Our total trip will be right around 20 miles.

In 2004 we put in at Goochie Ford which was a low-water bridge. The locals called it "The Slab."    Zoom in on the map in Mullowney's hand at our Brown's Diner planning session and you can see all the notes for that trip.

Apparently we paddled 13 miles to the big gravel bar island campsite.  And since that was our first (and last) one-nighter, that means we also drove from Nashville and ran the shuttle that day.  Adult sized serving!

We are older and wiser now and will probably do our river miles something like 5-10-5, Friday, Saturday, Sunday. 

Since 2004 , there have been two interesting developments that make it likely we will put in about a mile upstream from Goochie Ford at Readyville (pronounced REEDY-ville). 

First reason: The Slab at Goochie Ford is not a slab anymore. It's actually a low bridge now, which is different from a low-water bridge.  The former you can paddle under (appealing), the latter you portage over or around (less appealing, and probably why we put in there last time).

New Goochie Ford Bridge

The second positive development is the mill at Readyville.
Click on history.  Since we were there last it was purchased, restored, and reopened as an operating grist mill. Just like the glory days of Rat McFerrin.  They open at 9:00 am on Saturdays so we can buy our dry goods that morning. 

Bonus fact from the history of the mill:  the Stones River did not get its name from the stones in the river, or from The Stones, but from Uriah Stone.  Uriah did have some big stones though.  He was not afraid of creditors or Indians:

Actually maybe he was afraid of Indians:

Bonus reasons for putting in at the mill:  they have given us actual permission to launch there, and we don't have to clamber over all that rip-rap at Goochie Ford with our heavy canoes and cast iron.  Really the only reason we won't is if the water is too high to get the canoes under the bridge at Goochie Ford.

Either way our first night will be somewhere after the confluence with McKnight Branch (traveling right to left on this map):

I'll preview the second half of the trip next week.

Thursday, March 07, 2019

Spring 2019

Spring trip gonna be April 5 - 7.  That's pretty soon fellas.  One month from tomorrow, in fact.

Our hopeful/probable destination is the East Fork of the Stones River.  In Rutherford County just on the other side of Murfreesboro.

Depending on how you measure it, the Stones was the first river that we did as a real canoe club.  Exactly 15 years ago in the Spring of 2004.  That was the trip of the first Osso Bucco and the beer pigs, and led to the adoption of some of the first RRCC regulations, especially new rules on medical marijuana and concealed carry.

It also had one of the best gravel bar islands we've ever camped on...

We can't guarantee it will work out to stop there again because river access points have changed in the last 15 years and we have not been able to scout them because of high water and flooding.  But there are many good gravel bars like it along the way.  We will for sure stop and have a toast.

We will also pass the old site where Brown's Mill used to be.  When we did it in 2004 the mill was gone but the remains of the dam were still there which created some excitement for us getting through.

Below is a surprisingly in-depth video about the mill and the removal of that dam in 2014.  It's excellent and is mandatory viewing if you're even thinking about going on this trip.

Basically, they blew up the dam just for us.  So the least we can do is go float it again.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

2018 Fall Trip

The fall trip will be the weekend of October 19 - 21.

We're going to do the section of the Duck River that was planned for the spring trip before we diverted to the Buffalo because of high water. 


This will be a two-nighter, so we will not do the entire distance originally planned for three nights in the spring.  We'll put in at Milltown (RM 179) and, paddling right to left on your screen, will take out at Carpenter's Bridge Road which is between RM 164 and RM 165.  All on the first map.

Here are the pictures from the spring trip to get you in the mood to start laying out gear:

Monday, April 16, 2018

Mother Nature called and said to keep making all those detailed plans. 

She thinks it's funny.

Two long skeins of big birds flapped across the grayness toward the south - sandhill cranes, grating out their castle-gate croak - and I knew what the air's muggy edge meant.  Geese confirmed it, the first I'd seen, four snows in a little disciplined V, winging solemnly and soundlessly south.  The wind on the river died, and paddling I began to sweat.  It was the kind of day that usually, in the Texas fall, is full of a kind of waiting; things are moving, the year is changing, a norther is coming....

There is less talk of "northers" these days.  People sit softly at ten fifteen in the evening and watch while a bacon vender points to highs and lows and fronts on a chart, and then they go to the wall to twirl their thermostats, and perhaps the windows rattle a little in the night, but that's about all....In the country, though, a front is a fact still.  There it's a blue line along the horizon, and a waiting, sweaty hush, and a hit like a moving wall, and all of life scurrying for the southern lee of things. There it's a battening down, an opening of hydrant valves, a checking of young and valuable stock, a walking across the swept lots with a flashlight, a leaning against the hard-shoving cold, a shuddering and creaking of old, tall, frame houses.  Therefore I had little doubt about the exhilaration that lumped in my chest while I watched the cranes and the geese.

The women affirmed what the cranes and geese had told me; the television said that weather was on the way.  They hadn't paid much mind to how bad it was to be, or when it was to  hit.  In the end, I had to argue out of an invitation to lunch two hours thence, when McKee would have returned; I said I had to get on down the river.  It was true; if weather was to come, I wanted to be set for it.

Near the Oakes crossing, the sky seemed about to clear, then did not.  the wind veered about from the east, and then back from the south, while the north side of me itched in expectation of that thrust which did not come.  Finally it did come, or seemed to, a cool push from the northeast behind me as I tooled down into the long ingoing stretch of the Village Bend on smooth-flowing water over shallow sand and gravel.  Then it stopped, and the air was hot again.  I gave up weather prognostication.

I paddled on down a mile and, having time, picked a good campsite on a Berumda flat ten or twelve feet above the water with a wide, clean, sand beach below it and brush sheltering it behind, on the north.  Goats had cropped the grass like a lawn and had done the passenger the favor of eating up all the burrs, which the perversely like.  Good solid driftwood was lodged among the brush from the spring floods.  I pitched the tent tail-north, the stakes solid in good turf, dug a pit for the fire before it, and, liking the looks of the whole business, decided I'd stay there until the norther had come and blown and show the length of its teeth. I could hold out, there.  Except it didn't come. 

Prognosticating despite myself, I decided that the cold front must have slowed to a stop somewhere to the north, so I loaded up early in the afternoon and pushed on under a blue sky pierced high by yellow thunderheads.  But back on the river, swirling high currents swept the thunderheads out of the sky like minor actors exiting before the stars show up onstage. For thirty minutes a hot hush hung...

Finally, from the northwest, an arched crescent of blue-dun cloud, sky-wide, rolled hugely high and fast down at us, the atmosphere clear before it and clear behind.  Not having prognosticated worth a damn, I scuttled for the flatter shore and had the tent up lopsided but solid under a half-dead elm by the time the first big slam of cold hit, with a sweep of leaves and sand and the fresh uplift of body and spirit, probably barometric, that they always carry even when you don't want them.

From the southeast, rearing to meet the blue-dun cloud's charge, a white roll of exactly similar shape moved up.  In the dusk, when I'd finished setting up and was squatting in the tent opening by a good fire, they met with thunder and the last red tints of sundown flame-edged their fight.  Big drops of rain spatted down diagonally through the violent air, and the old elm in the fire hissed and spewed and stank and radiated, lightning took over the sun's work and made the early night for a time flickeringly white, and loud with thunder.

I baked a slab of biscuit bread, dry and toast-tasting, beside the fire, ate it with thick slices of broiled bacon, and went to bed.  The rain thickened, then slacked, then came down again in floods; the night crackled and roared with change and iron cold.  Drunk with coziness, the pup wallowed beside me and groaned, and I remember wondering, before I slept, a little more about the relation of storms to man.... If, being animal, we ring like guitar strings to nature's furies, what hope can there be for our ultimate, planned peacefulness?

But night questions don't have answers. 

Goodbye to a River, pp. 108-110.