Monday, April 26, 2010

Happy Hours

We need another one.

Post-trip meeting will be Thursday, May 6 at 7:00 pm. Upstairs at Savarino's.


Thursday, April 22, 2010

Memo to File

We've decided to leave the following items locked in the trailer and stored at Phil's year-round. If anybody needs something between trips, we'll give you the key to the warehouse and you can go dig through all that expensive engineering equipment that turns contaminated water into a strawberry daiquiri.

Washtub Bass
Big Daddy Skillet
Grub cooler
Kitchen tripod
Machetes (x2)
Sports bag
Short shovel
Long shovel
LTD hood ornament
Trailer balls
Water cooler cups
Lifejackets (10)
Canoe seatbacks (4)
Greg's canoe


"F.Kirk" is the winner of the Spring rebus contest.

1. Smoke...
2. On the water...
3. And fire in the sky
(Buh, buh, BUH. Buh, buh, BUH, BUH. Buh, buh, BUH. BUH. BUH).

Although "BrerBear" should get some kind of consolation prize for "I'm a joker, I'm a smoker, I'm a midnight toker."

F.Kirk, here's one for Catherine so the whole family can enjoy Blue Ribbons this weekend.

The entire chorus of a classic rock song in just one picture.


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Spring Rebus

A rebus is a puzzle that uses pictures for words or parts of words.

See if you can solve the Spring 2010 RRCC Rebus.
Hint: it's the entire chorus of a classic rock song:




Whoever is first to post the correct answer in the Comments section wins the...


Monday, April 19, 2010

Right-click and select "Save as [Rock] Wallpaper"


Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Last Word

Until this week, nobody thought we had pictures from the original RRCC trip on the Buffalo ten years ago. But they just turned up.

Real, 35 mm film pictures from a different era when canoes were aluminum and paddles were plastic and just in time for the Club's aluminum anniversary return to the same river.

Some folks say it wasn't really an official RRCC trip. But it sure looks official.

See you down there.


Tuesday, April 13, 2010


Phil, did you find the Heckometer we left on your desk? Just wanted to make sure you knew we got the trailer out of the warehouse.

Everyone with a canoe that needs to go on the trailer go ahead and bring it by. Just leave it in the driveway. The trailer is currently at Nashville Spring Service getting groomed for its twice-a-year moment of glory (new safety chains and a heavy duty trailer jack among other things). The welder said that safety chain placement is "all about the dangle" and he didn't even know about our trailer balls.

If you are meeting up on Friday to ride down with the trailer (or follow it) the gathering place has changed. We're meeting in Brown's parking lot at 1:00 Friday unless you are riding down separately. If you are driving down on your own and you weren't at the Pre-Trip meeting, let us know and we'll send you the maps.

The most direct and scenic route is down the Natchez Trace.
Warning: the Natchez Trace Parkway is owned and patrolled by the National Park Service. For those of you who get all Ruby Ridge about federal officers, the alternate route is down I-65 through Columbia, Tennessee.

Likewise, if you are offended by the government regulating your right to take fish and game in the wild, you can skip getting a license. Otherwise, go get one at Friedman's because fishing on the Buffalo is outstanding.

This is Mike fishing on Dale Hollow Lake on the Spring 08 trip:

This is the 50 lb. Musky that Mike almost caught on Dale Hollow Lake but somebody else caught just last week:

The article says he landed it off Goat Island which is only a mile or so by sail canoe from Jackson Creek Island where we were camped. We would have needed a Bigger Daddy Skillet.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

What the Cooks Have Created

Friday Night

Sheboygan Bratwurst and Hard Rolls
Gaucho-style Buffalo Hangar Steak with Chimichurri Sauce

Saturday Night

Artisanal cured meats and cheeses (cocktail hour)
Grilled Magret Duck with Black Truffle Butter Sauce
Hand-delivered Minnesota Wild Rice with Wild Mushrooms and balsamic-marinated roasted Red Pepper
Sauteed Rapini with garlic
Black Skillet Cornbread
Dutch Oven Peach Cobbler

Sunday Breakfast

"Pigs in a Poor Girl's Pashmina"
(Sourdough Beercakes & Sausage)

It looks like we're going to set a new attendance record so we really need a firm head count for the cooks. If you want to eat Duck on the Buffalo with a Fox you better make sure we know you're coming ASAP.

Friday, April 09, 2010

The 7 mile/11 mile question occupied a big part of our time at the Pre-Trip Meeting, as it should have. We discussed the pros and cons at length - weighing the drawbacks of stopping too soon against the risk of paddling too far. While it did seem like a preference emerged, we didn't reach any definite conclusions and ultimately it will probably be a game time decision.

It is times like this when it's nice to be able to turn to The Book for guidance (and a clue as to how it will probably turn out):

It showered yet again. I knew that around the next curve, a mile and half below, I'd be able to see the Dark Valley bridge, and knew too that that was the place to quit. But the river was pretty where I was - wide and clean and even-flowing, with curious, arching, limestone overhangs along the right shore(*) - and after the rain had stopped I dawdled, reluctant, only steering in the current, wondering if a home I remembered near the bridge would have a telephone, or if I'd have to hitch to Palo Pinto. On those country roads the first car along usually gives you a lift.

I said: "Hell, bridge."

The bridge said nothing.

I said: "Passenger, are we going to quit?"

The passenger construed it as an invitation to play, and came scrambling back to gnaw on my pants cuff. There is a big rapids under the bridge, an ugly one. It has old rusty car bodies sticking up out of it, and crashes straight in against a rock bank before veering left into a long shallow chute. Smart boatmen don't run it when the river's high, but walk the gravel bar on its inner curve, letting the boat down gently by a line.

But I had a feeling that if I stopped there, I might be obliged to quit, and dawdled still until the sucking funnel at the head of the rapids caught me. Because my stupidity didn't deserve good luck, I had it. We flicked the jagged remains of a Ford and then I was pulling deep and hard on the right, the paddle spring-bending in my hands, to bring the bow left and clear of the stone bank at the turn, and did bring it left, and rammed the paddle head-on against the rock to keep the stern from hitting, and yelled aloud as we straightened into the long run.

A mile below, I stopped on a gravel bar and made bouillon on the little alcohol stove, and with it ate crackers and cheese and slices of onion. The sun bit warm into the knotted muscles of my back as I ate, and relaxed them. The sky and the water and the multicolored chert gravel of the bar shone with a brightness that I'd forgotten, and made me a little sleepy. It was payment for three bad days and I took it so, and lay down for a while, and threw pebbles up into the air and heard them fall in the current, and drank coffee and smoked.

Goodbye to a River, pp. 43-46.


(*) There are only a few pictures in existence from the Goodbye to a River trip and they were not published with the book. This is one of them. It's a photo of the "curious, arching, limestone overhangs" referred to above, taken on the Brazos River by the author, in 1957.

This is a picture of the same limestone overhangs, taken on the Brazos, by the truly obsessed, in 2002.


Thursday, April 08, 2010


Don't forget the Pre-Trip tonight at 7:30. Although we have a lot to cover - like departure times, directions, menu, and boat count - there is only one issue that really keeps us awake at night: how far to paddle. Or in river planning terms: which bridge?

Based on the location of RRCC-worthy gravel bars, and in order to avoid development and "camping in a cul-de-sac" (Stuart Frankel, Fall 2000) , the decision comes down to whether we want to paddle 7 miles or 11 miles in one day. We'll go over it on the maps at Brown's.

Seven miles is easy when you wake up by your put-in.

Eleven miles is not setting any long distance records either, but when you do it solo in a loaded canoe you'll feel like you've really done something. It may not be the leisurely style of travel we are accustomed to. On the other hand, it is still less than the "adult sized serving" (Josh May, Fall, 2008) we paddled in one day on the Sequatchie. The Sequatchie water level was very low, which didn't help. And it was hot. But there are other factors that could slow us down on this trip: the number of canoes (looking like a lot), the kind of Friday night we have, log jams across the river, shallow water again, and worst of all - head winds.

Then the wind slipped in behind us. I cut a little willow and jammed it upright in the bow and we sailed up out of Post Oak into Hart at a good five knots with no paddling.

Speeding along with no effort was pleasant for a change, though the wind was cold and I disliked the thought of fighting it later when the river twisted back south. Canoeing, most of the time, you prefer no wind at all; it destroys quietness and whips yours scent about and makes animals lie low and even squelches the birds. And if it turns against you, it makes a trip pure labor.

But preference hasn't got much to do with it.

Goodbye to a River, pp. 56-57

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Metal Ford

One of the first things we'll pass after putting in Saturday morning is where the old Natchez Trace (the real one) crossed the river. It's about one mile downstream from the cabin.

There is a great chute at Metal Ford that is fun in high water, although it can be a tight squeeze for XL paddlers.

Fords were dangerous if you were on the Natchez Trace back then.

Not just because of the current. Ambushes were common and fords were a favorite place to lay in wait because travelers were vulnerable when they crossed.

In another drifting mile or so it was four thirty by my guess time, and I pulled out at the mouth of Ioni Creek, above a tumbling rapids. I wanted to get settled before evening brought whatever weather it might bring.

Jesse Veale fought the old, useless fight at a ford just up Ioni, one day in 1873. . . .

I ate about dusk and sat staring at a little stick fire that needed constant fueling. The pup had dry dogfood with squirrel gravy, and sought the tent. Aloneness is most striking at evening, however it may happen to be striking you at the moment. Day's absorbent busy-ness is past, and the dishes are stacked dirty, and you are confronted with yourself and confronted too with whether or not you like being where you are, by yourself.

I sat and listened to the rapids and thought for no good reason about Jesse Veale, who rode to Ioni with two of his brothers and a friend from Palo Pinto town a few miles away, to fish and to hunt turkeys and to camp and, probably, to stick cockleburs under one another's saddles and tie knots in one another's bed rolls and laugh the kind of laughter you laugh with friends out that way, young.

In '73 there was not much reason to expect Indians in that neighborhood - in fact, Jesse Veale was the last man killed in that county by them. The fighting had gone on hot and heavy all during the War and afterward, in the bitter Reconstruction years, when the Northern whites at the Oklahoma agencies had not only tolerated but sometimes abetted the raids down across the Red, with the full moon. But by '73 it was last-ditch and sporadic, and its center had moved out north and west of the Brazos country. . . .

Inheritors of the old sharp-edgedness, though, Jesse Veale and his companions likely went around hoping for trouble, any kind. If so, they got it.

One afternoon, setting fishlines near the Garland Bend, they ran across some Indian ponies staked out in the cedar, and some saddles, and took them. (The assumption with Indian ponies was always that they had been stolen, or if not that others had been.) The next morning Jesse Veale and Joe Corbin crossed Ioni at the ford a half-mile above its mouth, on their way back to camp from checking some hooks at the river. At the crossing, in a race to see who'd come second and get splashed, they hit the water hard at about the same time and sprayed each other mightily and raced on through, yelling. On the other side Joe Corbin pulled up and knuckled water out of an eye and unholstered his old cap-and-ball Colt.

"You scutter," he said. "You done wet my loads."

"You ain't gonna shoot nothin' nohow," Jesse Veale said.

Joe Corbin said: "Jesse."


"Jesse," Joe Corbin said, "they's two Indians a-lookin' at us from on top of that bank. They's more than two. . . ."

Afoot, likely because it had been their ponies the boys had taken upriver, the Comanches began to shoot, and an arrow hit Jesse Veale in the knee, and his horse went to bucking off to one side. Joe Corbin yelled: "What the hell we gonna do?"

Jesse yelled something back. To Joe Corbin it sounded like: "Run it out!" He did, snapping his useless pistol at an Indian who tried to grab his reins and ducked aside from the misfire, lashing his pony on up the bank's rise. . . .

When he last looked back (how many times did he see it again, the rest of his life, how many times did he wonder if what Jesse Veale had said was: "Fight it out"?), Jesse was on the ground shooting and clubbing with his pistol, and they were all over him. And when Joe Corbin came back with help from a ranch not far away, they found Jesse Veale sitting dead but unscalped against a double-elm tree, his pistol gone, Comanche blood on the ground around him. Though the Indians were gabbling over their wounded in a ravine near at hand, and someone's dog went there and bayed at them, the whites were only three and did not follow them, then. . . .

Some of the lines they had been checking must have been set where I was camped just then, a good fish hole still.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Chop Shop

Kirly had a whole class full of students who paid cash money to dismantle his car for him, plus several RRCC-ers who volunteered their time to come get in the way. The second session is this Saturday at noon.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Some Details

By now you've figured out that we're spending Friday night under a roof again. We won't publish the actual name of our host since the last thing he wants is to be in the same Google search result with this club but it rhymes with Ravid Rox and he shares his name with a medium-sized, reddish fur-bearing animal.

For a general description of the Buffalo, you can go back and read here and here from Fall 2007 when we did the very lowest section all the way to the confluence with the Duck.

Second Night Campsite on Lower Buffalo River

We also did the middle Buffalo in the Fall of 2000 way back before we were really the RRCC. Which was also before we had cameras which means no pics to show you.

So now we're going to complete the Buffalo trifecta by going all the way up to the section where it goes under the Natchez Trace Parkway in Lewis County. The upper part is small and pretty like the Piney or Yellow Creek, but unlike those rivers it's spring fed so we should have good water levels no matter what.

Our put-in on Saturday morning will be right at the cabin, giving us lots of pure paddling time on Saturday. We can even run the shuttle Friday night if we want to. In the map below, the Friday cabin is marked with a red X. The purple and white road that crosses the river is the Natchez Trace:

Our second night will be in Texas Bottoms (click below):

Texas Bottoms Riffle

Texas Bottoms Bluff

Texas Bottoms and Tops

(More reasons not to get yourself Googled with the RRCC)


Oh what the heck, let's have a pre-trip meeting. How about Brown's this Thursday, April 8 at 7:30?

Cooks: the Minnesota wild rice total is 7.5 lbs dry.

Brer Jack: Texas Bottoms was "Hot Damn!" You know what I'm talking about.