Wednesday, October 31, 2012

48 Hours

Here is the most recent version of the packing list, so we're all looking at the same thing.   Should be updated through the Spring Trip (i.e. current through the Current).
RRCC Packing List

We put Bob's boat through some rigorous quality control tests on Percy Priest Lake.  He drank three Tecates without tipping or sinking so we're clearing it for use on the Duck. 

It took about half a roll of Gorilla Tape, but as long as he remembers to bring the other half he should be fine on the river. 

The real problem is getting it trimmed right.  When you sit all the way in the stern of a tandem kayak you need some ballast to keep the front end from catching the wind.  Like a Dutch Oven or a case of beer.  If he had a big ham up there it would definitely keep him going straight and he could talk to it like Wilson  but unfortunately we still don't have a ham.  Cooks, what is our backup ham plan?   Is it ok to buy local and who will do that?

Friedman's has all the answers to your water bottle questions.  They even have the carpet covered canteen:

It took Tim awhile to accept the new water bottle policy, but now he's not only on board, he's proposed that we all bring our own plates and silverware next year. That could be the innovation for 2013 that the personal cup was for 2011 and the permanent water bottle is for 2012.   Which is good timing because we just cleaned 6 months of funk off of twenty plates from this spring.

Mike's reaction to the new water bottle policy (actual quote):

Our saw experts say we can clean the rusted crosscut saw easier than our plates.  They say it will come off when we cut the first log.  But they are the same experts who say that rust makes things taste better in Big Daddy.

Remember that beer and brown liquor are B.Y.O.B. and B.Y.O.B.L. respectively. So is water now under the new policy. But don't assume that the Beverage Manager has nothing to do. He still has to get two pounds of ground coffee when he goes through the Starbucks drive-thru the morning of the trip which is not convenient for him at all. 

One of the great things about Fall trips is it is the only time of year camo Busch is in season.  Has anyone seen them around town or should we just take our chances on Friday and assume that is all they sell in Hickman County?    We used that strategy successfully on the Eleven Point River but we drove all the way to Missouri before we found some, which was a little too close for comfort.

All of the RRCC music has been printed and put together and it definitely looks like a weekend's worth.  We have binders full of [songs about] women. 

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Friday Night On Sugar Creek

Barn on the back 40 will serve as clubhouse, pub,
music venue and youth hostel without the youth.

When Sugar Creek is running in the Fall the
water level on the Duck should be perfect.

Vernon has been gathering the squaw wood.

Here are the directions:

- Take the Natchez Trace Parkway south from its terminus on Hwy. 100 at Loveless Cafe.

- Get off on the Hwy 7 exit ("Dickson/Columbia" which is your third exit) and turn right on Hwy 7.

- Go 3.2 miles on Hwy 7.

- Turn left on Primm Ridge Rd.

- After about a half mile, Primm Ridge Rd. goes down a big hill; at the bottom of the hill, Dog Creek Rd. merges in from the left and the road becomes Dog Creek Rd and crosses a bridge.

- Sugar Creek Nursey is 100 yards down on the left past the bridge

Address: 8354 Dog Creek Road, Primm Springst, TN
Cell: 615-226-2129
House: 931-729-3377

The target arrival time is 4:00, but the canoe trailer will leave in time to get Stuart at the airport at 2:00 and then go straight to Vernon's. Sun sets at 6:00 pm so the earlier the better.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Monday Morning Boat Count

Due to unforeseen circumstances, including high winds and procrastination, the launch of Bob's 1972 Folbot was postponed from this weekend until tomorrow (Tuesday) afternoon when it is supposed to be nice and sunny, although still pretty windy.  RRCC policy strictly prohibits checking weather forecasts until 48 hours before a trip so we don't know what is expected but hopefully the wind will die down by then.  That's all that matters weather-wise.  We can handle rain and snow but wind is your worst enemy in a canoe (or a folding kayak).

Since we already know we're not taking Tim's canoe or the Mule, this would be a good time to do an accurate canoe count in case Bob's is not seaworthy.   In the list below, we've put people in certain canoes only to make sure there is a spot for everyone.  It is not meant to be strict seat assignments, although it does assume that boat owners will be in their own boats.
  1. Bob's Folbot  (Bob)
  2. Green Folbot (Skip, as a show of support for Bob)
  3. Blue Dagger (Rob H.)
  4. Red Dagger  (Rob C)
  5. Delta Dawn (Jim M.)
  6. Mullowney's canoe (Mullowney)
  7. The Grumman (Tim and Phil)
  8. The Jeff Spicoli (Josh and Stuart)
  9. Wood/canvas Old Town (Loeppky)
  10. Black Bell (Vernon)
  11. Cronin canoe (Cronin)
  12. Sands canoe (Dr. Sands)

Thanks to everyone who already brought their canoe over.  As of Sunday night we had a nearly full trailer which has got to be some kind of record.

With two kayaks going, and no jon boat, it's going to be back to the old days of too much gear and not enough space in boats.   Please keep that in mind when you're packing.  We have not outlawed camp chairs, but they are one of the biggest space suckers.  It would be nice if everyone just brought moderate size ones, or the little tripod style like Phil brought last time, instead of the biggest one you can find in your garage. 

Right, Josh?

We have, however, outlawed disposable water bottles as you know.  This is your reminder, and a clarification of the policy since there have been some questions.  The rule is:  you can only bring water containers that you are going to bring back and use on the next trip.   So for those of you asking about gallon jugs of water, ask yourself the question above and answer it honestly.  Yeah, probably not. 

And some bad news:  we really messed up our new crosscut saw.  The leather sheath we made for it seemed like such a good idea, but apparently it trapped moisture inside because there is major rust on the parts of the saw that were covered.   I mean really bad.

Hard to imagine that we can make it right considering our previous issues with saws sticking.  We will bring Vernon's KY Saw Jelly and work on it Friday night but we probably better bring the old saw, too.  


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 your 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; days without wind in West Texas are few.

Goodbye to a River, p. 56.

Friday, October 26, 2012

One Week Out

The RRCC suggestion box has been flooded with requests to post something...anything...just to get that picture of us going Randy Travis after the UT game moved down off the front page.   So here's some sutff.

Tomorrow (Saturday) we are going to take Bob's new, old folding kayak out for its maiden voyage.   For some reason he thinks it's important to test it before shoving off down the river, in spite of our promise to bring extra duct tape.   So anyone who wants to witness this, come to Bob's house at 1:00 and we will take it out to Couchville Lake and see what happens.  You could say it's sink or swim time for Bob tomorrow, but that's not really the way it works when you test an old boat.  Sink then swim is probably more accurate.

We just got the directions from Vernon and will post them soon.  It's been awhile since we've had a Friday night on dry land and it's an opportunity to get some things done. Like get rid of some of the stuff that is worn out or ruined or is out of rotation. As you know, the by-laws provide that old equipment can only be retired through ceremonial buring at a club bonfire and this is our best chance since the Christmas tree farm.  Our list this time includes all the old canoe seats without straps, Josh's blue camo hat, Rob's dark knee-high socks, most of the contents of the Large Impingers box from the Spring trip except the plates, and this terrible guitar that was terrible even before it floated by itself down both the Elk:

We can't wait to watch it burn.

Jim has ordered the veal based on RSVPs from 14 counting Mike who texted us one word, "fersure", which Google translator tells us is high cockney for "count me in."  If Ian takes the train down that will be 15, unless there's another Rocky Horror show that weekend.

Ian on the left, daughter on the right.

Either way, a nice number for a short, easy float and a big gravel bar.   But we still need someone to go to the Murfreesboro hamery or we'll be having watery shrink-wrapped ham from Kroger on our breakfast biscuits and you know that's not right.  

Here's an idea.  Let's get the ham on Saturday on the way to the lake.  Then we'll put the ham in the boat instead of Bob for the dangerous first test ride, like space monkey.   This could be fun.  Beverage Manager:  we're going to need more beer than we thought.

And now you don't have to look at pictures of our bare asses on the river anymore.


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Grade B Gravel Bar?

The Vandy-Kentucky game time has been set for 11:00 am.  That is the same time as the 2005 UT game and might be just as cold depending on how we decide to celebrate. 

That raises the question:  who has the satellite radio?

Greg brought one in the past but he is flying in from Vancouver so we don't expect him to bring one and everybody knows Canadian satellites orbit the opposite direction.

Josh delivered one by jon boat last Fall with mixed results.

Rob probably doesn't want to bring his in case Auburn actually loses to New Mexico State

So in spite of all this technology should we just invest in an AM radio?  Vanderbilt broadcasts moved to WLAC 1510 AM this year which has a signal that "allows WLAC to reach the entire southeastern United States."   But that may only be at night:

"In 1942, the station boosted its power to 50,000 watts, becoming the second clear-channel station in Tennessee behind WSM.  Its daytime signal is somewhat weaker than that of WSM, whose daytime signal reaches parts of five states. For instance, close-in suburbs like Murfeesboro only get a grade B signal. However, its nighttime signal reaches parts of 28 states and three Canadian provinces."

Our gravel bar will be 38.7 miles as the crow flies from the WLAC tower on Music Row and looks like roughly the same distance to the southwest as Murfreesboro is to the southeast.

An AM radio will also get other local stuff that we can't get on satellite, like weather reports.  Although weather and a Vanderbilt score might be the last things we want to hear.

Having slept heavily, I woke early and lay there unwilling to slide out into the cold air beyond the quilts.  At six thirty Old Man Willett came in and switched on the light.  He was wearing flap-backed long underwear and slippers and seemed to be dancing a little with contained emotion.

He said:  "You're a blowed Jew!"

The pup started barking without showing himself from under the blanket I'd folded over him on the floor.  "Why?" I said.

"Hit's a-snowin'!" the old man cackled, and gave a caper, and disappeared.

Rolling up, I looked at the window and sure enough, hit was.

Big wet white globs were whirling out of the half-darkness and flattening themselves against the glass and sliding down to stack up against the partition moldings.

I got up  and dressed and went out to the kitchen, where the old man was patting out biscuit dough and the radio, full-blast loud, was gloating over the fact that the weather was in a hell of a shape and likely to stay that way.  I sipped coffee and listened and looked out the window at the snow-dimmed bulk of the log house, and the old man laughed every time he glanced my direction. 

"November ain't so bad for a canoe trip," he said, misquoting words of mine from the afternoon before.  "November's the nicest month they is, in Texiss."  

Goodbye to a River, p. 100.

Monday, October 22, 2012

When the meteor shower from Orion the Hunter reaches its zenith, that is the time that the Dutch Overns shall be burned out in the fiery forge of the RRCC as an offering to the Red Gods.

Afterward I sat under the arched live-oak limb by the fire with the pup, drinking coffee with a little whisky and honey in it, listening to the Morse dots and dashes of steam whistling out the end pores of a damp log.  That gets to be one of the river's symphonic sounds, like owls and the gurgle of snag-thwarted water and the eternal cries of herons and the chug of tractors in unseen bottom fields.  Whimsically I wondered if maybe the steam sounds might not be a code, the channeled voices of the ghosts of puritans and Comanches and horse thieves and, maybe, Gothic gingerbread fanciers.  It seemed as likely a way for communication between the worlds as table-tilting or those other phantasmakinetic manifestations...

Or maybe they were the Red Gods, sour because no offering had been laid on their altar.  Cleaning up, I took what scraps the pup wouldn't eat down to the gravel bar and threw them far out on the eddying moonlit surface of the river just above the old mill rapids, for catfish or Red Gods or whatever, but when I went back to the fire the whistle-voices were still gibbering. 

Goodbye to a River, p. 243.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Get Thee to a Hamery

Sorry for no posts since Monday, we've been busy collecting rainwater for the trip.  Here's a week's worth of stuff.

If you are still in need of RRCC service hours for 2012 there are several opportunities for you right now.

First, the grocery list is long and diverse.  If you can help, e-mail Jim.  But if you commit to bringing an item make sure you can do it because we don't want to get to camp and find we've got our osso with no bucco or our matzo without the balls. The biggest need is for a volunteer to go to Murfreesboro to G & W Hamery in Murfreesboro and get us an extra aged, thin-sliced Tensciutto for the breakfast sandwiches.  Anyone?  Sounds like a pretty fun adventure. 

Also, our other cook Phil is traveling for work right up until the Friday we leave and is in danger of missing the trip because of certain household obligations that may not get finished.  His wife is out of town this weekend, so if we all showed up at his place for a work day we would either knock it all out in one afternoon or set him back two trips worth because with all the beer cans and butt chugging paraphenalia we'll leave behind.  Otherwise we're going to have to find someone else to volunteer because Rob is in full lame duck mode.

Regardless of who it is, remember that we're bringing a new, non-wobbly kitchen grate but we can still bring the second one for extra cooking surface area.  We also have the tripod which is underutilized, but may be used for community drinking water now with the new water policy. 

Tim's Wenonah is on Injured Reserve and likely will not make the trip.

He's got a bad case of the rotten gunwales which you wouldn't wish on anybody and is no way to go down a river.  If someone has access to another canoe let us know because we were already short on boats before that.  Also, the canoe trailer is behind the house now so it's not to early to start bringing and loading them.  We're only two weeks out.

Miscellaneous:  we replaced the second coffee pot we burned the perc out of and while we were at it got a Beverage Buddy for kitchen water.....we lost a 14" Dutch Oven to the Current River on Jim's Sunday tump but the cooks say we have enough with the three remaining which Rob has agreed to burn out pre-trip.....we double-booked Kirly and Mr. Mister for opening day of muzzleloader season and deer season in Nebraska respectively which is too bad, but we did book the trip on the last day of Daylight Savings which will help a lot on Friday night (4:00, Primm Springs, Tennessee, directions coming soon).....we do NOT need 'Ol Smoky for Friday night because Vernon has a grill and we don't need it on the river, but we do still want to bring charcoal - it makes hotter coals for the D.O.s and is a lifesaver if it's raining (see Big Swan).....we've settled on playing Old Dan Tucker in E-flat (D, capo 1) like on the record which means you'll need to put your ball sack capo on to sing that high or do it an octave lower in spite of objections from certain band members ("Put my ass in no mans land and embarass me in front of the hookers on the gravel bar").....we know the trip is getting close because we just opened the LARGE IMPINGERS box where we had sealed shut all of the unwashed plates from last trip and it smelled like it's been right at six months so it must be time to get back on the river.

Monday, October 15, 2012

The Envelope Please

Here is what we received in real time from the kitchen committee during their planning meeting last week:

Here are the results:

Fall 2012 Menu

Friday Night @ Vernon's

-Hanger Steak sandwiches with Chimichurri

-Rapini with garlic and olive oil


Saturday Breakfast @ Vernon's

-Country ham biscuits with cheese grits

-Coffee, Juice

Saturday Lunch @ the river

-Matzo ball soup

-Smoked fish

-Timoteo's Screwdriver-Bloody Bar and John Daly Cocktails

Saturday Dinner @ The Gravel Bar

-Artisanal cheese

-Consommé de Veau de Lait

-Osso Bucco with Risotto Milanese

-Poires Pocheés with Crème Anglaise

Sunday Breakfast @ The Gravel Bar

-Conecuh sausage biscuits

-Coffee, Juice

Friday, October 12, 2012

Meeting Minutes

Like a river scouting trip, there are a lot less notes from the second half.

Meet time:  4:00 Friday, November 2 at Vernon's.  We'll post directions when we get closer but plan on about an hour drive.  You can go out earlier if you want and might be a good idea to beat traffic.

Current roster:    18 (!)

Boats:   Tim, Jim, Jim, Josh, Sands, Rob C., Mike C., Bob, D. Fox, Skip (x5).  No jon boat.

Instruments:   Harringtons (Black Beauty), Kirly (Yamaha), Sands (mandolin), Skip (Old Glory, Mini Taylor, accordion), Bob (ukelele), Josh (cowbell), Jim (harp), club (WTB, washboard, misc. things to bang on).   All of the above is for the river.  Everyone bring good guitars for Friday night and you can leave them at Vernon's place.

Gear to acquire before trip:   second coffee pot, water jugs for kitchen.   The no-water bottle policy is in full effect and applies to the cooks as well.   The rule is you can only carry water in something that you intend to bring home and use again.

Fishing:   Roostertails and Rebel crawdads; get a license if you dont have a current one.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Pre-Trip Meeting Tomorrow

Here's the agenda.

1.   Roster; departure and return times (Skip)

2.   Friday night arrangements  (Vernon)

3.  Canoe count, guitar count  (Rob and Skip)

4.  Jon boat - go / no go  (All)

5.  Discussion:   new water bottle policy (All)

6.  Discussion:   the Wrigley Field fellatious gesturer (Stuart)

7. Beverage Manager's Minute (Tim)

8.  Menu (Jim and Phil)

9.  Finances (Josh)

10.  Duck River Quest - miles paddled, miles left to go  (Skip)

Note to cooks:   we don't get involved in the menu and don't ever care to, but remember that the mid-day soup stop was very popular and gives us an excuse to make an afternoon tea fire.

The miracle of hot motzah ball soup on a cold November day. 

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Our Drinking Problem

We will post a full agenda for Thursday night but the topic that's going to need the most discussion will probably be the new water policy.  Eliminating plastic water bottles is the second phase of our trash reduction initiative; the first one being eliminating styrofoam and Solo cups which we are declaring a success.    Garbage has been one of our biggest headaches and eyesores and frankly it's way past time for us to step up and grow a pair, environmentally speaking. 

So everyone come to Brown's prepared to talk about solutions.  We can always just stick a gallon jug under our seats, but you could also think of this as another chance to acquire more cool gear - just like when we all committed to bringing a permanent, personal cup. 

There are a lot of vintage military surplus canteens out there that look good and will keep your water tasting fresh the way only 50-year old aluminum can.  Remember the little chain on the stopper?

Or the groovy "wool blanket" canteen?

There are some very good-looking wine botas out there, or you could also go biblical vintage and get a real sheep skin flask.  

The best are the ones still shaped like sheep.

Because if we bring enough of those we won't even need our leaky jon boat anymore.

The little goat in that video rides the rapids better than any of our dogs do in canoes.  Hopefully he's not thinking too much about what he's riding on.

Goats, wild as deer . . . The herds of them in the Brazos country mushroomed with the grassless drought and the Japanese market for mohair.  Cattle went guant and were sold off, even cherished private herd-strains built up through forty years, but the Angoras stayed healthy on the tough bitter leaves of the oak brush.  They are little trouble to own.  If the screw worms eat one up, you are only out five dollars, and if he lives his hair pays that much every year.  Some say they ruin the land; some say not; I don't know.  They have yellow, wise, evil eyes, but also a self-sufficiency that I like and that our present blocky kinds of beef cattle have lost.  Kowf! one says, reading your presence on the wind, and the whole bright hair-haloed herd goes twinkling off into the brush on sure legs. 

Goodbye to a River, p. 57.

Monday, October 08, 2012

RRCC Non-Discrimination Policy

We took the jon boat out on the water this weekend to test our off-season repair job.  You may recall that after we welded the big hole we knocked in her on the Current River we said "It may leak  again, but it won't leak there"  and we were right on both counts.

I think the time has come for us to recognize that the Mule is a leaky boat and she is not ever going to change.  She identifies as a leaky boat and we should accept her that way without judging.  The fact is, it would take major surgery to turn her into something that she isn't and we don't want to be like all those narrow-minded people who think boats always have to be watertight just to be "normal."  So let's embrace the lifestyle choice she has made and treat her like a boat that is worthy of love and respect that happens to leak sometimes.  Sometimes a lot.

We will discuss whether to take her on the Duck this fall at the pre-trip meeting Thursday.

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

A Century of Camp Cooking

"Who Cooks For You, Who Cooks for Y'all?"  is the call of the great Barred Owl, who has been freaking out campers laying awake in their tents since the tepee days.  There are lots of little phrases like that for bird sounds.  The White-Eyed Vireo, for example, is supposed to say "Quick-With-the-Beer-Check";  the Black-Throated Green Warbler sounds like "Trees, Trees, Murmuring Trees," and some people think the Field Sparrow's whistle sounds like a ping-pong ball dropped on a table as it increases in speed and pitch.  Unlike all those cute little phrases though, which are just mnemonic devices, the Barred Owl really says what he means and means what he says.  Complete with that uniquely southern contraction at the end, which makes him a big favorite of the Rebel Rivers Canoe Club.

The answer to the Barred Owl's question, for the Fall 2012 trip Jim and Phil.  They both turn 50 within a few weeks of our November weekend and like a couple of old bull moose they have kicked young Rob to the side and are taking charge of the kitchen, from prep through Big Daddy.

Should be a great team, although Phil has lost a whole bunch of weight since the last trip which we're not that happy about.  Nobody wants a skinny cook, and who's going to hand out the big bear hugs after the brown liquor has been passed around and Vandy beats Kentucky?   But those Mexican steaks he cooked in the rain and under fire on Big Swan Creek were damn good. 

The cook's meeting was postponed by a couple of weeks so we'll post the menu when we get it. 

Monday, October 01, 2012

You Got to Know When to Fold 'Em

Bob is IN, which instantly does more for the musical theme on this trip than a hundred song sheets.  He really wants to use his new old boat but doesn't know if a folding kayak is suitable for RRCC trips, hauling lots of gear on shallow rivers.  

Here is his 1970s era Folbot, which is a rescue boat from the Habitat for Humanity store on 8th Ave:

Our research shows it was probably the Glider model, "popular with naturalists and campers, ladies, children and persons with physical limitations..." which sounds about right.

There is precedent for using a Folbot on RRCC trips.  Here is Kirly paddling one on the Elk River with about 80 lbs. of wet, furry gear:

And here it is on Dale Hollow Lake, hauling the only thing we want Bob to bring anyway.

As you know, Dale Hollow Lake is best enjoyed with a sailing rig.

Fortunately, Bob's came with one of those too:

In 1956, Hannes Lindemann completed the first solo trans-Atlantic kayak trip in a folding kayak, drinking only evaporated milk and beer.   So we're pretty sure it can make it 7 miles down the Duck River, even if it is a little shallow.  Which it may not be if it keeps raining...