Thursday, April 03, 2008

A few random updates on things that have come up while getting ready for the trip...

Smoke on the Water

First, we have another no-cost Club acquisition. This gift has been accepted by the RRCC because it meets all of our equipment criteria (large, metal, awkward to carry). And it's such a classic old-school smoker.

The instructions that came with it have the obligatory "favorite recipes" section with corny names from Old Smokey Marketing like "Have-To-Have Hamburgers" and "Show Stopping Steaks." The second half of the instructions is the spanish translation of the first half and the Hot Dog recipe reads: "Perros Caliente Hot Diggity!" (exclamation in original). That is good stuff! So even though it may look like we're eating gourmet brats and sausage Friday night in Livingston, that's not what we'll be calling them.


You should really check out the aerial views of this river. There's a link on the right to the Acme Mapper (under "Aerials and Topos") because on ACME you can switch back and forth between the maps, satellite photos and the official USGS topos. But you can use Google Earth too. Either way, type in "Condra, Tennessee" and scroll about three farmers' fields to the southeast.

Normally, the best satellite pictures available on the internet are urban areas like San Francisco and Washington, D.C. For some reason, NASA or whoever must have decided our campsite is some international place of interest because the pictures are incredibly clear. Look at the areas upstream of Hwy. 127 and downstream of the take-out - they're such poor quality you can't zoom in at all. But on our section of the river you can see the pecker on a Pileated.

Some fun things to look for:

- The grass drug-runner airstrip directly across the river from our campsite.

- The Sequatchie was high and muddy when the images were taken. All of the riffles are washed out and you can see the water up to its banks.

- Note that even though the river is flooded, our campsite is high and dry (this may become important).

- The oxbow lake right by our field is full and has reconnected with the river. At normal water levels neither is true. In these pictures you can see the trees that have grown up in the oxbow as it was cut off from the main channel and filled in.

The Saw

The update on the saw is nothing but good news and sweet serendipity. Our saw is the feel-good story of 2008.

Think about this. Crosscut saws come in every imaginable size and style. The saw that Roy dug out of his garage is a "5-1/2 foot Western-style two-man crosscut" - EXACTLY the same as the one we were going to buy from Jim's Crosscut Saws in Oregon. Just check our old post from last month if you don't believe it. (Western-style means toothed all the way to the ends).

And it could have been a mere M-tooth saw or, worse, "Plain tooth". But it's a Champion.

Roy had a perfect opportunity to throw it away when he moved last year, and almost did, but he kept it without really knowing why. This is a Saw of Destiny.

More proof: when we asked around about getting it sharpened, everyone said there's only one person in Tennessee who can do it - Tom Housewright in Knoxville. As it happens, we were going to Knoxville the very next day to see a client. When we arrived, the man's shop was in a barn about three blocks from the client's business. And Housewright was coming to Nashville the following week so it has already been hand-delivered to us all shiny and sharp. Total cost: $50.

You also need to know that Roy is an avid golfer and almost backed out of the spring trip because the Masters is the same weekend. Mr. Housewright, our two-man crosscut saw sharpener, is the official scorer on the 7th hole of the Masters. This is true.

7th Hole - Augusta National Golf Club

Tom Housewright's shop is not in an ordinary barn. It's a huge, nineteenth-century dairy barn:

Special two-man crosscut saw sharpening machines.

But the best thing about the saw is that it was handed down to Roy from some lumberjack ancestor. So, like the Chuck Box - this saw is "hereditary."

By heaven! cried my father, springing out of his chair, as he swore, - I have not one appointment belonging to me, which I set so much store by, as I do by these jack-boots, -they were our great-grandfather's, brother Toby, -they were hereditary.
Goodbye to a River, p.2 (Chapter quote)

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