Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Treasure Trove

Have to follow up on the blog discussed below. It could rival the legendary Bushwings All-Pilots canoe trip on the Brazos for the inspiration it provides to the RRCC.

So....if you are reading this, pop a Tesla disc in your CD player and post your favorite quote from in the Comments section below. Next Thursday, we'll inscribe our favorite on the Washtub Bass at the post-trip meeting. Vote early and often.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Phil has been making a a strong case for Rookie of the Year.

First he showed up for the departure on Friday with that day's page ripped from his calendar:

An ominous sign as we were preparing to drive over Rob Daniels' bridge later that afternoon.

Then he brought our attention to which is way more interesting than

It is singular in more ways than one. Start with River Adventures so you can get the Canoe Primer and browse the "Statements": the Hackey Sack Statement, the Fishing Statement, the Frisbee Statement, etc. (“Frisbee is good for my soul. When it floats to me I feel the orbit of one thousand planets. When I release it the torque of big gravity tugs me.”)

Don't skip the Journal and the Archives, though. The man is prolific and crazy - always a fun combination. Has he found the Grandmother Water Spider?

Most important, Phil got us one step closer to our coveted canoe trailer by solving the storage problem. Warehouse space in Brentwood!

Doing a New Guy's job in the kitchen.

But Vernon got some votes from the kitchen staff, too, the way he wore that Loretta Lynn hat like a veteran.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Post-Trip Meeting and the GBB

We will have our Post-Trip Meeting Thursday, May 8 upstairs at Savarino's. This is a lot quicker than most post-trip meetings, but somebody's got my tent and it was packed up wet.

There was enough talk among the musicians, out on Thunder Island, to get together in the off season that we're going to try to have a regular time to meet. So as a side project, the Gravel Bar Band will meet the first Thursday of every month upstairs at Savarino's for an informal guitar pull. This is for the benefit of the pickers, but you can still come if you're just a grinner.

The G.B.B., with The Dixie Dicks on backup for "Desolation Row," has had more lineup changes than Skynyrd.


Monday, April 21, 2008

The Politics of Bush

They say some topics should never be discussed at a party. Here's a recap:

Hillary's landing strip incident in Bosnia has become a hairy issue for her and as much of a lighting rod as Hitler's moustache but Bush has had plenty of close shaves, too, and in any case the bologna rose pretty high from both parties.

Who do you love?

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Anouncing the RRCC Investment Manager.

We may need an RRCC Hypnotist, too, but you need to send all of your money to this man. He is going to the dogtrack and coming back with a canoe trailer.

Here is another tip. If you want to have a guitar all to yourself, tune it down to Open D about 5:00 Saturday afternoon after Tim has poured the screwdrivers.

Everyone is afraid if they pick it up they'll be the incapacited guy who has to retune it. For Rob, that rule applies on Sunday. Instead of taking it home with him, he gave a big speech in the driveway about how "everyone should have a river guitar," then he set it on a pile of Duluth Packs and sped off down the alley in the Vigor.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The RRCC has rehydrated and it's time to to start following up on the excellent trip we just went on.

First of all, it has to be said that the island was a success. Possibly too much of a success judging by the number of times we heard someone muttering, from a camp chair, on the edge of the water, with a drink in his hand, in a British accent..."I like Plan B....I like Plan B."

Don't get used to it. We're still going on rivers every time we can. But still, that launch site sure was nice...

Not even counting the lake travel there were so many innovations in Spring '08 it's hard to say which one was the best. Here are a just few:

- Old Smokey
- The canoe sail
- The Barn (capitalization intentional)
- ATVs wearing the dogs out before they even get in a canoe
- A bona-fide lead guitar player
- Cobbler
- Cobbler in the morning

But it was the 2X-XCut Saw that rose above the rest. It's not only as cool as we hoped it would be, the fact is, we would have been in a full firewood crisis without it. The Big Daddy Skillet should be feeling very nervous right now.

In fact, the saw is no longer even in the same category as our other stuff because someone or something got metaphysical on our ass. It's more like the Shroud of Turin or the Nun Bun than a piece of camping equipment because, when the ceremonial first cut was made, a mysterious writing appeared in the cross section. Then the crowd gasped and drew back when the writing clearly spelled out a man's name...

Monday, April 14, 2008

Thursday, April 10, 2008

No Brainer

Our worst fear was that it would be a close call and we wouldn't know whether to get on the river or not. This is not a close call. It rained hard last night and we are not in the mood for a Bold Trip. So we'll be standing by peaceful waters on the banks of ol' Lake Dale Hollow. This means bring your deep-water lures, no limit on guitars, and we can sleep in a little Saturday morning.

It also means we don't have to get any federal citations:

Time to head out. We'll see everybody around 1:30 unless you're meeting us at the farm.

Standing there at the low bridge after we'd loaded the canoe, I doubted the dark sky, and the bite of the wind and its ruffle on the water; and under that grayness even the rapids below, rolling now with the two gates open above, looked sullen and dangerous.

But rivers tend to look that way when you start a trip, and so does the ocean when you clear the breakwaters and hit the gray swells, headed out on a cruise . . . They say our protoplasm, the salt of its juices the same still as sea water's, yearns back toward that liquid that brewed it, and I guess that may be so, but the air-breathing, land-walking structure the protoplasm molded itself into sometimes argues otherwise. Familiarity helps, as the skin divers know, and living beside the sea you lose the caution and can swim out daily a half-mile or more to float bobbing for hours with the slow rise and fall of the big, smooth-crested waves. I've done that, and then have left the sea for a few months, and, returning, have found the fear there again to be fought down again.

It's the same with a rolling, roaring river. I didn't want a bold journey; I wanted the quiet October Brazos, and it wasn't there. . .

Goodbye to a River, pages 13 - 14.

10:00 pm. Rebel Rivers Eve.

Should be packing, but had to sit down, wash a glass, and watch the storm come.

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. There it's a norther, and there someone always, inevitably, rightly, cracks the old one about there being nothing between West Texas and the Pole except a bob-wire fence.

Goodbye to a River, p. 99


Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Times A-Changing

We don't need to be at the airport until 2:20 Friday instead of 1:20. Probably shouldn't have even said anything to improve the chances of Tim being on time.

So what that means is if you are riding out with the group, we will leave from Barton Ave. no later than 2:00. Plan accordingly. If you are meeting us at the farm that afternoon, copy and print the directions posted here on April 1. You should probably do that even if you think you're riding out with someone...

Water level is officially a problem. It is right at 5-feet now which is floatable but on the high side. Unfortunately it rained today and there is more rain coming. So be like Mike. Don't forget to pack your Youth Size Extra-small poncho and thin white t-shirt.

With the rivers rising, there is a real possibility we will also be changing our destination plans and do some flatwater canoeing on this trip. Nothing wrong with that. One of the prettiest lakes in Tennessee, Dale Hollow, is just north of Livingston.

It has primitive campsites that can only be reached by water. We are not giving up on the Sequatchie, but we've reserved the primitive site called "Jackson Creek Island" (#30 on the map) just in case.

Dale Hollow is the lake where the world record smallmouth bass was caught. You may want to think hard about a fishing license this year. Dale Hollow may also have Candirus. How else can you explain the last paragraph in: "WARNING: Primitive Camping not for Everyone"? Good thing Josh has been working on some new techniques in the off-season.

If some of you object and say we are not the Rebel Lakes Canoe Club, remember that Dale Hollow Lake isn't really a lake, it's a reservoir, which means it's really a river. Or used to be. In fact, it was once two rivers (the Wolf and the Obey).

Goodbye to a River, pages 8-9

While all the rivers may continue to flow to the sea, those who represent us in such matters will at least slow down the process by transforming them from rivers into bead strings of placid reservoirs behind concrete dams . . .

Bitterness? No, ma'am . . . In this region, scorched to begin with, alternating between floods and droughts, its absorbent cities quarupling their censuses every few years, electrical power and flood control and moisture conservation and water skiing are praiseworthy projects. More than that, they are essential. We river-minded ones can't say much against them - nor, probably, should we want to. Nor, mostly, do we . . .

But if you are built like me, neither the certainty of change, nor the need for it, nor any wry philosophy will keep you from feeling a certain enrgaged awe when you hear that a river that you've known always, and that all men of that place have known always back into the red dawn of men, will shortly not exist. When someone official dreams up a dam, it generally goes in. Dams are ipso facto good all by themselves, like mothers and flags. Maybe you save a Dinosaur Monument from time to time, but in-between such salvations you lose ten Brazoses. . .

It was not my fight. I knew, though, that it might be years again before I got back with time enough on my hands to make the trip, and what I wanted to do was to wrap it up, the river, before what I had known ended up down yonder under all the Criss-Crafts and the tinkle of portable radios.