Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Shuttle Diplomacy

We are still unwilling to say that 18.5 miles over three days is anything like an adult sized serving, but it's true that the more river we can get behind us on Saturday afternoon the easier our trip will be for our big paddle on Sunday.   It is also true that having lots of daylight when we hit camp is more important on the second day than it will be on Saturday night when all we have to do is grill our first-night-Brats.  So we may want to paddle into the evening a little on Saturday.  Which is a great time to be on the river by the way.  

There is another time-saving trick we've never used before and this may be the time to try it. 

Normally we arrive at the put-in on the first day, unload all the canoes and gear into a big pile and then go run the shuttle while the rest of the group stays behind to pack the canoes.  That usually takes about an hour and then we get back, find the others half drunk and the canoes and gear still in a big pile, load up and shove off down the river.  The Current River shuttle from Akers Ferry to Round Springs looks like more than an hour judging by all those twisty Ozark roads. 

That is a lot of time that could be spent on the river. However, since there is an outiftter right where we are putting-in, what we could do is arrive at Akers Ferry, unload the canoes and gear and then PADDLE OFF DOWN THE RIVER WHILE WE PAY THE OUTFITTER TO RUN

Under this plan, if we let the outfitters take the truck that's pulling the canoe trailer, then at the end of the trip (Monday) it will be sitting at the take-out and we can start loading it up while another crew of drivers completes the shuttle by going back upstream for the other vehicles.  In order to to THAT, we need to have a second car at the take-out, right?  Not a problem.   Ian and Stuart will be coming from St. Louis which is a much shorter drive than the rest of us so they would have been sitting at the put-in waiting for us anyway, drinking and throwing knives between each other's feet.  They can just as easily wait for us at the take-out, in the parking lot by the forest preserve, where we will pick them up, leave their rental car, and take them upstream with us to Akers Ferry.   

In a happy coincidence of geography, the route to the Current River from Tennessee takes us right past the take-out before we get to the put-in.  See below.

So it all sounds too good to be true but what will such an indulgence cost us?  We called Akers Ferry Canoe Rental and they said yes, they would drive our vehicle to the take-out.  But because of the time and distance involved they would have to charge....$50.  Let's see, with fourteen members going on the spring trip, that comes out to about $3.50 per person.   All opposed say nay. 

Pete, this means when you bike from New Orleans to Missouri you should head for the take-out at Round Springs to wait for us there instead of Akers Ferry.  If it's not too far out of your way.

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