Tuesday, May 26, 2009

There being no further pre-trip business, the RRCC stands adjuorned until we meet in Chicago.


"The Rebel Rivers Canoe Club? Never heard of it, but we were Roy's waitresses at the Twisted Spoke last night and you're in
our seats..."


The most famous address in Chicago

We'll be there, and many other places, so here is a list of all the relevant addresses and phone numbers for the weekend. Click the drop-down menu called "More" to print it...

Thursday, May 21, 2009

The water cooler is officially mounted on the trailer and it looks good.

There are still a few more things on the list for the Long Ranger before we take it on its first long trip.

1. We need to cut and burn new ropes for tie-downs. The ones we used on the Sequatchie trip were about a foot too short and it made it hard to tie all those Trucker's Hitches. And took twice as long as it should.

2. Upon further review, we should probably leave the 10-place extensions at home if we can. It will make a big difference to have them off on a 16 hour round trip. And some of those 'L' underpasses are pretty low in Chicago. Besides, we'll only need extra space when we're on the shuttle itself (just a few city miles) so we can put whatever extra kayaks we have to haul on the lowest racks even though we won't be able to get to the cargo boxes temporarily. That's why it's called an 8-place trailer afterall. So add "remove 10-place extensions" to the list.

3. Install the Truck Balls.

4. Wash the trailer.

5. We got a set of four "same key" padlocks that need to go on the four clasps on the cargo boxes.

We will definitely need these since we'll be parking the trailer on the street in Chicago, but we'll need to figure out where we can keep the keys secure. The safest plan is probably as follows. Key #1: on the key chain of whoever's truck is pulling the trailer. Key #2: in the Chuck Box. Key #3: in a magnetic Hide-a-key under the trailer. Key #4: up Tim's hairy, Mediterranean ass Papillon style.

It appears that most of these tasks can be accomplished at Brown's if anybody wants to schedule a pre-trip next week. We can also run the trailer over to a manual car wash. If you're interested, put it in a Comment below and we'll meet. We can look over some maps of Chicago, too, just out of respect for tradition.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Chicago Vanderbears

Our Townhouse location just gets better and better.

On Saturday morning before the canoe trip we can walk two blocks south to eat at Kitsch'n, a groovy, Quentin Tarantino kind of breakfast place that sells all those good midwestern beers we can't get at home like Hamm's and Old Style and Hudepohl (Hu-Dey Gold!).

On the other hand, we might want to go for a Grand Slam breakfast at Denny's and see if we can run into a former Vandy football player.
See: http://www.suntimes.com/sports/football/bears/1555624,CST-SPT-bear03.article ("Earl Bennett took Moore and Smith to Denny's...").

Which is not that hard to do in Chicago these days.
See: http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/football/bears/chi-03-haugh-bears-chicago-may03,0,455596.column ("The Bears have more Vanderbilt alums than a Nashville law firm").

If we do see them, we'll get Earl and Jay Cutler to sign the Washtub Bass.

Tell them about how we were sick for three weeks when we jumped in the river after they completed that last touchdown pass.

Teach D.J. some new moves.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Canoe Trip

Lest we forget. The real reason for the trip is to paddle a river, even if it's not one of the Rest of Them Rebel Rivers. So here are all the details of the Saturday morning float on the Chicago River.

For those of you paying attention at The Palm dinner last fall, the original plan was to put in way up north where the North Branch of the Chicago River meets the Chicago River canal. It was going to be a 10+ mile trip with a take-out south of downtown. There was also a time when we considered a round trip strategy, just paddling around downtown and taking out where we put in - to avoid a shuttle and to solve all of the access problems we were running into. Since then, there have been two major developments that solved all of the above and have set up what we think is the perfect urban canoe trip.

The first major development. We thought that 10 miles with a hangover and no current was going to make it hard to get to a 3:00 Cubs game. So through satellite imagery we found what looked like a good put-in 6 miles north of downtown. We had no idea what it was or who owned it, but the aerial view looked promising:

When Stuart went to scout it out, here is the sign that he found:


Should we even use an access that is this easy? Most of our favorite put-ins you have to pass your canoes over some farmer's fence and hack your way through the brush, so we were hoping there would at least be some razor wire to get past. And we don't even get the thrill of trespassing. They not only allow canoe launching here, they actively encourage it. Very disorienting for the RRCC.

The second major development. Josh happens to have a friend in Chicago who is in the kayak rental business. Josh's friend's kayak rental business has a shop right on the river with a dock. That alone would be great news. But Josh's friend's kayak rental shop happens to be IN THE SAME BUILDING as the Townhouse we are staying in. In other words: our take-out is our house. Think about that. Of all the places we could have rented in Chicago...

By the way, Josh's friend is Chas and he'll be joining us for at least the canoe trip portion.

So here is the whole trip from about Addison (the same street Wrigley Field is on) to downtown, then back upstream a short distance to the Townhouse.

Here is an aerial view (click for a better picture).

We will have 13 paddlers which means at least seven boats so we'll need to take the 10-place extensions on the trailer. Correction...we will get to take the 10-place extensions on the trailer. So we can drive it all over Chicago in its full glory.

We probably won't eat lunch on the river, although it's possible. But we may want to seriously consider catching dinner aerial bowfishing for some Chicago River asian carp.

At least there may be an opportunity to climb over the wall and get a beer the Somali pirate way.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

We Have an Itinerary

Never could spell that word, but everything has fallen into place and this is what the schedule looks like. It's a good one.

Thursday, May 28

6:30 pm. Mike and Jim's flight arrives in Chicago (even though flying to a canoe trip is borderline EPL).

8:00 pm. Kirly arrives. Mike, Jim and Kirk will get the key from the landlord and check in. They are staying at the Townhouse a night early at a reduced rate.

8:30 pm. Stuart comes over to drink and talk while other people unload.

Friday, May 29

7:30 am. Rob, Greg and Skip depart Nashville with the trailer (Roy is flying now).

2:00 pm. Roy arrives in Chicago. Josh arrives...?

3:00 pm. Ian arrives at Amtrak Union Station. Stuart picks Ian up and heads north to Chicagoland Canoe Base.

4:00 pm. Trailer crew arrives in Chicago and meets the rest of the group at CCB for tour and to meet Ralph Frese.

6:00 pm. Polish beers with Ralph.

8:00 pm. Dinner at .::TWISTED SPOKE::.

Why are we having dinner at a biker bar?

First, there's the Bloody Marys. The garnish alone has about a pound of meat on it.

The burgers:

Then there's the whole "Smut and Eggs" thing - breakfast and 70s porn after midnight ("not of the 'soft core' variety that your girlfriend might find erotic").

And the Twisted Spoke is the only place in the world we know of that serves Jim Beam...on tap.

That's why we're eating at a biker bar.

Saturday, May 30

8:00 am. Head north to the put-in with the trailer. Breakfast on the way.

9:00 am. Run the shuttle and take the 'L' back to the put-in. Editors note: Even though it's short for "Elevated," the Chicago Transit Authority says there's no "e" in 'L' just like George Dickel says there's no "e" in Whisky and that's good enough for the Rebl Rivrs.

9:30 am. On the river (probably wishful thinking).

1:00 pm. Take out.

2:00 pm. Take the 'L' to Wrigley.

3:00 pm. Cubs game.

6:00 pm. Hit a couple of bars in Wrigleyville on our way back.

8:00 pm. Mike has volunteered to run the grill. So Saturday night we'll be dining on one of our many decks at the Townhouse. Picking guitars and leaning over the rail smoking ready-rolls. Watching the river flow.


Thursday, May 07, 2009

Travel Plans

Here is the breakdown of transportation to Chicago as we know it:

Planes: Jim, Josh, Mike, Kirly

Trains: Ian

Automobiles: Greg, Rob, Roy, Skip

Plus Stuart makes 10, but it looks like we will only need one vehicle and the trailer for the drive up. Rob, we could take the pickup instead of the Suburban if you want. Stuart, can you pick Ian up at the Amtrak station and come straight up to Chicagoland Canoe Base? We're going to try to be at CCB by 4:00 Friday (7:30 departure plus 8.5 hours). Here's the train table.

Now is the time for everyone to get their $$$ to Josh. The total for hard costs is $300, which covers two nights lodging and your Cubs ticket. Send your check payable to Oshjay Aymay (we're using the secret RRCC code so Josh doesn't get his identity stolen, but his last name is the same as the fifth month of the year) at 4418 Wayland Dr. Ashvillenay, Ennesseetay 37215. Wayland is actually the real name of the street - which should really throw the hackers off.

All other expenses (pretty much just food and drink) will be cash on your own.

Your other tasks between now and the trip are to listen to Billy Joe Shaver, read James Joyce, and find a real life jacket. The club bought a bunch of orange Mae Wests one time just to have them in the boat in case we ran into a TWRA officer, but nobody had any intention of actually wearing one. However, we will all need to have on a vest style life jacket when we're on the Chicago River. Not that it will help when you're underneath a tour boat.


Friday, May 01, 2009

Everybody Loves Ralph

Here's an interesting coincidence - and a preview of our meeting with Mr. Canoe. The Wooden Canoe Heritage Association had the exact same idea:

Here's the on-line discussion after their visit. Be sure to click on the link to the photos (about seven posts down).

Did not realize that Ralph keeps his canoes squirreled away in multiple secret locations around Chicago. We may need to put a limit on the number of warehouses we visit.

Roy has the Cubs tickets.