Friday, November 13, 2009


Washtub bass repair: check
Big Daddy bolts: check
Old Smokey bolts: check
Bottle opener on trailer: check, check
WTB string: check
Guitar strings: check
Gunwales: check
Trailer light: check
New padlocks: check

We'll take the trailer to Nashville Spring Service to weld on the new safety chains and trailer jack. After that the only thing we couldn't accomplish was fixing the Coleman lantern, now known as the Coleman canoe anchor.

Nice job everybody.

Video evidence of real work being done!

Break Room


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Reminder: 6:30 pm at the Sportsman's Lodge tomorrow (Thursday).

Preparing for a work day is almost as much fun as getting ready for a canoe trip. And you don't have to worry about weather or water levels.

We will bring the leftover beers from the river for the warehouse part of the evening (in your cooler, Jim, which you can take home). We'll lock Tim and Jeff in a separate room with the Lite Beers and they can't come out until they're gone.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

To Do

As we prepare to head into the wilderness of Brentwood on Thursday, here are more details on the things that will need attention at the work session.

1. Trailer Safety Chains

First, we need to get rid of those terrible quick link attachments:

They don't fit through the holes on the side of the hitch and would never stop a runaway trailer anyway.

As you can see in the picture, one of them is missing and the other we tried to supplement with a wimpy S-hook that is now bent. We need to just replace the chains with a new set that has built in hooks. The current chains are too short, too light-duty and decent S-hooks won't fit through them. As a bonus, we'll get to light our ready-rolls with a welding torch.

This is the kind we need:

2. Trailer Bumper Light

One of our side lights is prolapsed like a Russian weightlifter. It will require surgery.

3. Trailer Cargo Latches

Two or three of them have been bent and you can't run a padlock through without having another person pushing the clasp down with their boot. Unacceptable.

4. Trailer Bottle Opener

This is a going to be a new addition. We need sheet metal screws or bolts and washers and maybe a metal plate behind it to keep it from pulling through the wall of the cargo box. We anticipate heavy use.

5. Fire Grate

Need new screws or bolts on all four corners.

6. Guitar Strings

Some people think we need to replace all of them, but those strings were fine when they came with the guitar from the pawn shop two years and four rivers ago.

7. Big Daddy

The bolts and wing nuts attaching the handle are stripped out.

8. First Aid Kit

It needs an inventory. Anesthesia and euthanasia are about the only things we're equipped to do well right now.

9. Lantern

This Club owns a vintage white gas Coleman lantern that won't ever do the things it oughter. We have a box full of replacement parts so we should be able to get it going again.

10. Washtub Bass

Dang! Was Kirk driving this thing?

As you can see, we have plenty to do after the post-trip dinner. And the above does not count all the miscellaneous jobs like sharpening the kitchen knives and the machete; putting a new string on the washtub bass, canoe maintenance, Old Smokey, etc.

Someday we'll get a whole crosscut saw sharpening kit and do that too. But we have to go to Montana to learn how first.

Don't laugh. That's where the Blackfoot River is. The one in "A River Runs Through It."


When camping for a time is the way of one's life, one tries to improve his style.

One resolves on changes for future trips - a tiny and exactly fitted cook box; a contour-cut tarp over the canoe hooking to catches beneath the gunwales; no peaches in the mixed dried fruit. . . . One experiments and invents, and ends up, for instance, with a perfect aluminum-foil reflector for baking that agreeable, lumpy, biscuit-mixed bread that the Mexicans call "pan ranchero" and the northwoods writers "bannock" and other people undoubtedly other names.

One way or the other, it all generally turns out to be work.

Goodbye to a River, p. 170.

Thursday, November 05, 2009


If we told you before the trip that Stuart was going to miss the canoe trip but come to Nashville for a work session afterward, you'd never believe it. But it's true.

Of course, he's only coming to help Tim supervise.

"Ha, Ha! Look at all those guys scrubbing the dutch
ovens and gathering firewood and stuff...!"


He'd put out a trotline, a quarter-inch nylon cord from shore to shore with maybe twenty hooks, baited variously. The big cats bite most willingly in a rising muddy stream. I'd helped him set it, fighting the brown shove of the river and watching for the drifting logs that can toss a boat end over end, but had told him that if he wanted to run it during the night not to wake me. Now, restless, he emptied his cup and took the lantern, loud and functional again with white gas he'd bought, and went down to check it alone, absorbed in the bow of the canoe, pulling himself across hand over hand and examining the stagings as he went. Against the night the lantern made a clear bright circular picture of Hale and the canoe's curving bow and the hard-rushing brown water. I wrapped potatoes and stuck them in the fire and got the grill ready to use. Hale came back grinning, the lantern in one hand and his stringer in the other, with a six-pound channel cat and a couple of others that looked to be maybe three pounds each.

"My breakfast," he said. "Them as works, eats."

Goodbye to a River, p. 184.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

RRCC Fall 2009 Dinner and Equipment Repair Party

The post-trip meeting will be next Thursday, November 12. We'll gather at the bar at the Sportsman's Lodge in Cool Springs at 6:30 p.m., dinner will be at 7:00 in front of their awesome, RRCC-worthy fireplace.

After that we'll go across the Interstate to Phil's magical, messy warehouse where the real meeting will begin. Which will involve real work.

We've been on at least a dozen official Rebel Rivers canoe trips over a period of six years without ever bothering to repair or maintain any of our gear. Most of which is high quality and expensive. So after dinner next Thursday we'll be conducting a maintenance clinic to get everything back in good shape and ready for Spring.

Kirly will direct all equipment repair projects so you have to do exactly what he says. No grab-ass, towel snapping or goofing around. We have things to accomplish, like fixing the bent latches on the trailer cargo boxes, replacing the broken safety chains and S-hooks, and some additional trailer improvements and add-ons. The washtub bass, which was used as a sawhorse last trip, needs to be banged out. It didn't look good on the river and it looks a lot worse back in the city by the light of day. Roy's going to put a whole new set of strings on Old Glory and Rob and Jim have a long list of kitchen equipment that needs fixing.

Also, bring your canoes. We'll have sandpaper and Watco oil for those of you who have neglected your wood gunwales - you know who you are - and it will be a perfect time to install a couple of Drink-A-Longs. The only way to know where to hang a Drink-A-Long is to sit in your canoe with a paddle making a drinking motion and practice repeatedly returning the can to the holder (back straight, arm extended but relaxed). There will be plenty of wareshouse space and leftover Camo Busch cans to get it just right next Thursday. Phil probably even has a water tank to simulate river beer drinking conditions.

And if we finish all our work in time...then, and only then, will we watch the Yellow Creek slide show.


I stopped there in the middle of a quiet bright afternoon and made a solid camp on flat gravel under willows, eight feet above the water but only a few nearly vertical steps from the canoe. I was tired and my gear needed tending, and it looked like the kind of place I'd been waiting for to spend a couple of nights and to loaf through a little of what the abstractly alliterative military schedules used to call "matériel maintenance."
. . .

The swing and the chocking bite of the ax were pleasant; the pup chased chips as they flew, and I kept cutting until I had twice as many billets as I would need. Then I stacked them for later hauling and went to camp to use up the afternoon puttering with broken tent loops and ripped tarps and sprung hinges on boxes, throwing sticks for the passenger, looking in a book for the differences among small streaked finches, airing my bed, sweeping with a willow branch the sandy gravel all through a camp I'd leave the next day. . . .

Goodbye to a River, pp. 149-50.

Sunday, November 01, 2009


Some of you were asking where you could get the canoe cup holder that we installed and tried for the first time on this trip. It was this one:

It's the best canoeing accessory since the paddle. And after using it on Yellow Creek, we might do without the paddle if we had to choose. It swings both left to right and back and forth like a good set of truck balls so even a misbehaving dog can't spill your beer.

You can order them on-line, but they are cheaper at Bass Pro Shop plus there's no shipping. Although that does mean you have to go to Opry Mills which is kind of the opposite of the Brazos River. Bass Pro calls it the Handi-man Marine Drink-A-Long Drink Holder

Note: We are not mailing it in on the post-trip dinner this time. Watch this space because we're going to get together soon, hopefully within the next couple of weeks before Bob discovers all the leftover RRCC beers in the garage.