Sunday, October 28, 2007

Trip Week

Pay attention.

There is some non-frivolous information about the trip here. In lieu of another meeting, all the logistics are set out out below. If you don't read the whole thing you won't know where to meet. And you could end up in "The Whirl."


#1 Even though this trip was advertised as a one-nighter, there is a movement to camp at the put-in on Friday night. It's still fine to meet up with us Saturday morning, but if it's anything like the Stones River in '04 you'll spend the rest of the trip hearing all about the difference between "Friday Guys" and "Saturday Guys."

The put-in is just off I-40 at Exit 143/"Hurricane Mills," about an hour west of Nashville. From Nashville, turn left off the interstate onto Highway 13 and go a mile south. Turn right onto Cuba Landing Road at Hot Rods & Cadillacs (more on this later). Go down the hill, take your first left and you'll see the bridge. Easy.


#2 Here is a close up of the put-in (and Friday campsite) at Blue Hole Bridge. I-40 is a mile north up that black and white road. We'll be camping right under the "idge" of "Blue Hole Bridge."

The owner of the land also owns "Hot Rods and Cadillacs," a friendly biker bar just up the road. You'll pass it on the way to the bridge. If we're not at the campsite, we'll be at HR&C. In fact, you might want to just stop there first.

You can't miss it.


#3 We will meet for breakfast Saturday morning at 8:00 am at Loretta Lynn's Country Kitchen back on the interstate (same exit). We're eating at her kitchen so we don't have to unpack ours. If you're camping Friday night, you're on your own for dinner. If you're not camping Friday night, better be at Loretta Lynn's on time Saturday morning.

Here's a map that shows all three places:

1. Put-in/first camp (Friday night)
2. Hot Rods & Cadillacs (Friday night - Saturday morning)
3. Loretta Lynn's Country Kitchen (Saturday morning, 8:00)


#4. On the river Saturday morning, we'll have 9.5 miles to get to our Saturday campsite. Perfect distance! As mentioned earlier, it will require some paddling through the big slow pools, but there are some riffles as well. The first major landmark will be going under the interstate itself. Remember, we're traveling south to north on these maps.


#5. Continuing north, we'll pass through Cherry Bottom.

No comment.


#6. Our Saturday night campsite is on river right just above Wherry Lake. We are going to have at least fifteen boats on this trip and there's a good chance we'll get stretched out on the river. So if you are out in front and get to the campsite first, set up on the downstream end of the gravel bar (the highest point).

There is always the possibility that our spot will be occupied. Big bars like this one are an attractive nuisance to the locals on Saturday nights. They may even be under the impression that it belongs to them. If someone's on it, go around the bend and wait for the rest of us at the next nice place to pull over. We will make a decision when we're all together. There are lots of other good gravel bars downstream. In fact, there's even one or two with nice riffles in front of them that we might like better.


#7 Sunday morning is a four mile paddle. Also perfect! The first major landmark is "The Whirl." You can just think about that for awhile Saturday night and learn what it means all by your hungover self on Sunday.


#8. Surprisingly, for the last two miles or so the Buffalo will be zipping right along in a continuous series of riffles. Then we'll hit the confluence with the Duck River. Paddling through a confluence is kind of an awe inspiring thing thing to do in a small boat and the Duck is huge at this point. We will be only a few miles above where it runs into the Tennessee River and it (the Duck) will have 200 miles worth of water behind it.

Here's the tricky part. When we hit the Duck we will turn UP stream to get to our bridge. So turn right, not left. Repeat: upstream = bridge; downsteam = Gulf of Mexico.

Now you know why all the rain last week was not necessarily a good thing. It's only about a half mile paddle from the mouth of the Buffalo up to the bridge, but the operative word is still "up." If the Duck is flooded it'll be sugar for sugar and salt for salt.

The Mighty Duck (bridge is visible if you click on the picture)


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