Wednesday, April 25, 2007

The pup weighed about twelve pounds, and even after he was grown he wouldn't be a very practical dog, but he was company, too - more concrete, perhaps, than memories and feelings.

"Passenger, you watch," I told him. "It's going to be a good trip."

In the firelight he registered disbelief...

p. 16

In a moment a woman, harried-faced, peeked down at me, and I repeated, trying hard not to look like an itinerant rapist but handicapped by three days' beard, that I was harmless. She frowned.

Beside me the pup started barking, tainting my kindly aura. I kicked at him lightly but caught him hard in the ribs. Bellowing, he lit out for camp. The woman disappeared. I picked up my bucket and carried it on, feeling guilty and brutal and grubby.


He was an affable little brute, impractical but comic and good to have with me, philosphical under scolding and the occasional sleepy kicks he got when he wriggled too much in the bottom of the sleeping bag at night.

In a few days he had developed more than in weeks in town, giving up his abject station at my heels to run about the woods on our shore excursions, learning to evade the cold by staying in the tent or by hugging the fire, sitting like a figurehead on the food box in the bow as we slid down the river in the long bright afternoons.

p. 82

Monday, April 23, 2007

Post Navigatio Omni Animale Triste

Is it too soon to think about the fall trip?

Here's the graph showing the water level on the Green. If you think we were lucky to find our 1.25 gravel bars, just be glad we didn't go a week earlier. We would have floated right over Armour Island.

Really enjoyed having the worthy newcomers on this trip:

Roy Dano

Pete Fucking Feldman

The other Roy, who played the stand-up bass on Friday, the hunched-over bass on Saturday, and the sit-down Bass on Sunday, is playing a songwriter's gig Tuesday night at 6:30 pm at Qdoba (corner of West End and 21st Ave). We know he can't be playing his instrument of choice because that's still in the garage stacked full of bloody mary mix and Old Grand-Dad bottles. So is his red glove. But the gig's TOMORROW night (or today depending on when you're reading this) and it would be great to get some RRCC representation there in support. Members who show up drink on Josh.

Of course, there's a lot of gear to be exchanged and that means a post-trip meeting. If we have it Thursday night we can go trailer shopping at 12:01 am, the start of the Tennessee Sales Tax Holiday. But I don't know if we can get the slide show ready by then.


Sunday, April 22, 2007

Friday, April 20, 2007

Eskimos have thirty-seven words for "snow".

In Scotland they have eleven that mean "rain".

In the Commonwealth of Kentucky they have five that mean "ideal for being on a river with a cold beer and a ready-roll."

Time to go.


Monday, April 16, 2007


On Friday we will leave at 4:00 p.m. from Barton Avenue or we will meet you at the designated Friday night spot. Which has changed.

Instead of camping at the "semi-public" put-in, which made some of the more law-abiding members of our club nervous, we will stay in bunks at the Boiling Springs Hunting Lodge which is just five miles from the put-in and two miles from the take out.

Here are the directions:

Take I-65 north to Exit 65 which is "31W - Munfordville"
At the bottom of the exit ramp go LEFT toward Munfordville
Go 1.5 miles to the town square
Turn LEFT at the town square (i.e. in front of the court house) onto Hwy 357
Go 1.8 miles and turn RIGHT onto Hwy 2185 (more of a right fork than a right turn)
Go 7.0 miles to the BOILING SPRINGS HUNTING LODGE on your right.

That's all you need, but just get to the put-in continue past the BS Hunting Lodge another 2.0 miles (a total of 9.0 from the right turn onto Hwy 2185) and turn RIGHT onto Hwy 31E and then a quick left (about 1/4 mile) onto Hwy 566. The put-in is in 3.0 miles but is totally unmarked. It's a steep, 4x4-only gravel pull-down to the river at Lynn Camp Creek.

Sunday: I can't tell you exactly when we'll be back but I can tell you it's a two hour drive back to Nashville (not counting the Sunday shuttle). Beyond that I don't know because I don't know where we will stop on the river. This section is new to me and picking a campsite is going to be stressful. Rivers, by their nature, are pretty much one-way and we'll have to be careful about passing decent campsites in hope of finding a slightly better one.

Having said that, the entire trip is only 12 miles. Assuming we won't begin looking for a campsite until about the half way mark we will never have more than two or three hours paddling to get to the take-out. In fact, our safety net is at the take-out itself. Watkins Island is one giant gravel bar and we could camp there if we get too picky and find ourselves at the bridge Saturday afternoon.

My prediction is we'll get back around 3:00 on Sunday, but that can be affected by all of the above.

Cooks: the lodge should make Friday night cooking even easier. I'm sure they have a grill. You can call the number on the sign. Ask for Brent. Beer guys, this might be a good time for a keg.


Monday, April 09, 2007

Nice Rack

It turns out our #1 challenge on this trip is going to be getting boats to the river.

First, the Chevy Suburan got turned into a Ford pickup. Then we learned that the Vanderbilt canoe trailer won't be available to us the weekend of the 20th-22nd. With those two developments alone we've lost a combined eleven (11) places for carrying canoes.

Since the Brown's meeting we've established that the racks from the Suburban will fit on the new truck. But is it wrong to put canoe racks just on the cab of a pickup?

Let's check The Book....

No, it is not wrong. So that gives us space for two, maybe three canoes and a bed full of gear which is as much or more than we got from the Suburban.

Meanwhile, Mullowney says he has a 16' flat bed trailer he left laying around somewhere so we can pile some boats on that (Frieda, please remind him).

Kirly, what about the trailer from the Derby....?

Also, members: don't forget to respond to Jim with your preferred cut of steak. If the early returns hold up, it will be one filet mignon and fourteen New York strips. How fitting would that be?

Everyone's favorite kitchen helper.


Saturday, April 07, 2007

Brown's for the Green

Things we covered...


Rebel Skip (three canoes, Folbot)
Rebel Rob (canoe, kayak)
Rebel Jim (two canoes)
Rebel Jim (canoe)
Rebel Tim (canoe)
Rebel Josh (canoe)
Rebel Bob (ukelele)
Rebel Rob
Rebel Roy
Rebel Stuart
Rebel Bill
Rebel Mike
Rebel Kirly
Rebel Pete Feldman


Friday dinner: brats and buns
Saturday breakfast: oatmeal, granola, bananas, coffee
Saturday lunch: hot chicken (Prince's or 400-degrees)
Saturday dinner: steak (choose filet mignon or New York strip), Caeser salad with anchovies, potatoes, good red wine (Roy)
Sunday breakfast: same as Saturday plus beer


Beer (case each)
Whiskey (Old Grand-dad, Basil-Hayden)
Afternoon Tea (screwdrivers)


4:00 Friday from Barton Ave.
4:30 from airport


New Guys: $200
Returning members: $150 (firm, no refunds or assessments after)


Before the trip there had been the brief - the much too brief - period of actual preparation. A confused period. Seeing dentists, scrounging gun oil, sending (our one lapse into optimism) luggage home, parrying curiosity about out plans, buying films, buying medicine, buying maps . . .

For me, the scrambled memory of those days is dominated by the silent figures of three old men. They were thin, wrinkled, resigned old men; beggars by profession. They sat on three hard chairs in a small room opening off a laboratory and full of guinea-pigs in cages. Their ragged trousers were rolled up above their knees and to the dwindled calves of each were clamped a number of little shallow boxes. The sides of the boxes which pressed against the flesh were made of gauze or something like it; and each box contained 500 lice. For two hours every day, and for the wage of twelve Chinese dollars a month, the three old men pastured, between them, some 18,000 lice.

Why? For our especial safety. The lice, thus nobly nourished, supplied an anti-typhus serum; and on each of the three occasions that we visited the old men we came away injected with the essence of no less than thirty of the little creatures. Humble, impassive, not even perplexed - hired for petty martyrdom in a cause beyond their comprehension - the old men stood enigmatically at the gateway of our enterprise. Their lacklustre and unregarding eyes reflected the indifference of a continent that we had now to cross.

Apart from a rook rifle, six bottles of brandy, and Macaulay's History of England, we had no equipment or supplies worth mentioning. I felt extremely cheerful nonetheless.

- Peter Fleming, 1936 (News From Tartary)