Tuesday, November 12, 2013

All you jessies need to come get your shit.   I've taken all the community gear out of the canoe trailer and filled it with all of the personal gear that was left behind, which is considerable.   Just stop by any time this week.  There's a flashlight on the trailer if you need it.  

Pictures coming soon.  Don't forget Rob and Kirly are playing Brown's Diner on December 5.

Thursday, November 07, 2013

The Zero Percent

"With luck, though, November can be alright..."

Goodbye to a River, p. 10.


In case you didn't get the word, the morning Nashville departure tomorrow is from Harris Teeter at the Hwy 100 split at 8:30 am.   We will gradually increase our numbers as we go south and west and will have a full roster when Jack, Phil and Stuart join us tomorrow evening, until Josh then leaves us Saturday morning at Totty's Bend.   For those of you coming by the staging area tonight I've got maps.  Don't forget personal plates, cups, utensils and non-disposable water bottles.   See you tomorrow.  

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

A Day in the Life

Here is a short photo-biography of our Saturday night dinner.

9:30 am

11:00 am

3:00 pm

The Robs have been e-mailing each other about fishing, which is good on this section of the river.  But be careful what you ask for because they grow them bigger than pigs where the lower Duck gets wide and slow.


Just be glad it's not a Candiru.


Did you know? When we complete the 16.5 miles from Littlelot to Centerville on this trip we will have paddled 85.8 of the 248.7 miles of the Duck? That will put us just over the 1/3 mark to complete the whole river (34%).

Sunday, November 03, 2013

Trip Week

We will meet at my house at 8:00 am Friday.  

Normally we would have an elaborate plan for who's driving, but in this case it's basically everyone.

We need:

Skip's truck with the canoe trailer
Rob's Suburban with the jon boat
Mullowney's truck with his canoe and Delta Dawn
Josh's car to leave at Totty's Bend
Jack's car because he's picking up Stuart at the airport
Phil's car because he's coming from Atlanta and meeting Jack and Stuart at the put-in
Vernon's truck because he lives next to the put-in

The only people NOT driving are Stuart, Pete F. Feldman, Myers and Rob C.  

So a lot of you need directions (it's the same bridge as the take-out last fall):

Take I-40 West about 35-40 miles from Nashville
Take Exit 172 ("TN 46")
Turn left (south) at the top of the ramp onto Hwy 46
Go 6.5 miles and turn RIGHT on Hwy 100
Go 7.5 miles and turn LEFT on Hwy 230 ("Littlelot Road")
Go 7.5 miles to the bridge (access is a steep dirt road on the right just before you cross the bridge)

We will leave the Mule on the trailer behind Rob's truck and hide a key.  All the jon boatin' stuff will be inside the truck, including the spotlights....no moon over Littlelot that night!


Friday, November 01, 2013



·         Steak sandwiches w/ chimichurri and rapini

·         Chips


·         Coffee and Juice

·         Cinnamon Rolls (or other bakery breads)


·         Tom Kha Gai soup with shrimp

·         Assorted Thai snack foods


·         Cheese and Charcuterie Platter

·         Pit-roasted all-natural whole heritage hog with Tennessee Red and Alabama White Sauces

·         Roasted root vegetables

·         Broccoli slaw

·         Crusty Bread

·         Dessert: Poached Pears with Cahors wine sauce and crème Anglaise (or Chef’s Whim)


·         Coffee

·         Juice

·         Breakfast BLT’s with Fatback Pig Project bacon

And a message from Pork Procurement:

"An invitation for anyone who can take the time. I am driving down early Monday morning (3:30am) to pick up our pig in Trussville at the farm of one the Fatback partners. Beautiful piece of property. Said pig will be in a dog crate and taken to the plant. You'll be back in Nashville by noon."

If you're interested, let him know.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

To Do

Our notes after the Spring trip read as follows: 


  • Check.


  • Vernon will bring the loppers because he is a horticulture professional. And you really don't want Jim Myers to bring the loppers from HIS job. http://www.kentmaster.com/product.asp?CatID=2&CtgID=140&PrdID=HC-4      Even more disturbing from that link is the list on the right. It's a nightmare menu of tools for evisceration...or building a Human Centipede.   Happy Halloween, everybody.


  • This was on the list because it worked so well with the tripod.    Josh, will you be in charge of this again? Bring at least one extra to save for the Sunday Big Swan Creek ceremony even though you won't be there.


  • WTB is in.


  • We found one of the perk tops and it's off the big pot.  That should be enough for a group of 10 so we'll just roll this to next year's list.


  • We'll assign this to the Harrington brothers, but we won't be camped next to a railroad trestle this year.   And we can always just put Texas Eagle on continuous loop.


    If you're like me, you're having a hard time choosing the best passages to read from Goodbye to a River.   Maybe we should just act out the best fights between the hill country whites and The People of the Comancheria.   Full 5-on-5 skirmeshes on the gravel bar.

    The Comanches (no, ma'am, I hadn't left them; when thou hast done thou has not done, for I have more) slashed and stabbed and twanged their bows and banged their muskets as merrily around here as they did on the rest of the Brazos frontier.  There were some good fights among the recorded ones and probably some better ones that never got written down.  They killed Benjamin Franklin Baker, his horse slowed by a big load of fresh pork, just to the north of the bend.  In the rough breaks at the tip a little group of Palo Pinto townsmen in '67, ired by the loss of horses from the village itself, caught up with the rusty thieves by using hounds, and when they found them they wished they hadn't; there were a lot of them. . . . The fight surged up and down the rough cedar-thick mountainside with little groups of cut-off citizens and Comanches meeting each other and fleeing and pursuing and dodging in a kind of Shakespearean comic confusion, nobody getting hurt much except a few horses.  At the climax of things, when friends had found friends and lined up together on two sides, an old Comanche chief jumped up between the lines and began to strut and shout in Plains-Indian fashion. . .

    Henry Belding wrote forty-odd years later:

    Directly I saw Buck Dillahunty shoot his six-shooter at the old Jabberer, but he never batted his eye, but came on like he was going to walk over us.  Then I took deliberate aim with my shotgun at his side and at the crack of the gun, he went off, all doubled-up, as though he had the cramp colic pretty badly. . . .

    Or this one:

    The People had run two Methodist preachers down the highway into Palo Pinto town without catching them, and citizend leaped at the chance for a cross-country chase.  Ward Mountain was where they caught up- so often, in such high, rough country that they had to battle afoot.  A man named Taylor, his aim confused by the dancing, squalling, retreating redskins, finally shouted after them in a fury:  "Damn you, why don't you stand still and fight?"

    My Comanche heard, stopped, and looked around jusst long enough to holler back in good Fort Sill English:  "Damn you some, too!"

    Goodbye to a River, pp. 110 - 12.

    Sunday, October 27, 2013

    Dr. Mullowney made a house call today.

    Let's face it, the RRCC does not like fences.   We don't like them at put-ins or at campsites and we especially don't like them all the way across rivers which I'm sure will be discussed when we stop Sunday at the mouth of Big Swan Creek.   

    Trespassing, I climbed over the new fence.  The old kind of owners didn't worry much over that kind of property rights, roaming the country as if it were still open, letting others roam, too.  The new ones are testier, when they are there, but they're usually not there and even then they're fretful only if you're hunting.  I'd left the gun in the canoe.  Having climbed over, and crossed the sterile slash of the bulldozer's path, I found nothing on the other side different from what I'd already seen, and climbed back over again...

    Goodbye to a River, p. 27. 

    Here's an update on boats.   We've finalized the members of the Friday jon boat team which will be Stuart, Jack and Phil.  They will arrive at camp in the dark because Stuart doesn't even land until 4:00.    We'll make sure it's ready for nighttime travel and look forward to one of our favorite pastimes - watching from the campfire for the first sign of the floodlights bouncing off the valley walls, and then the Mule coming around the bend.  As I recall there was some wagering and some money changing hands related to that event as well.


    Good timing for the new boat tags to arrive:


    As far as canoes, this is how I think it will work out:

    Skip - Bell
    Rob H.  -  Dagger
    Myers - Delta Dawn
    Mullowney - Old Town
    Rob C.  - Rob's Dagger
    Vernon - Old Town
    Josh and Pete F. - Grumman (Josh, we won't need your canoe on this trip unless you specifically want it)
    Stuart, Jack and Phil in the Mule.

    Josh gets out at the Totty's Bend Bridge on Saturday morning but will not take a canoe out, so Pete will paddle solo Saturday.  Myers, Rob H. and Phil will take the jon boat with a police escort to the Saturday night barbecue site.

    On the last day, Jack and Stuart will take the jon boat out early, so we'll have two in one canoe again on Sunday with Phil.  


    Thursday, October 24, 2013

    Members Report

    Vernon says he would run through a wall for the RRCC, and he proved it when he delivered the trailer this week.
     So Josh, get out the check book.   The Work Day Saturday for Tim's gunwales has now been elevated from "optional" to "highly encouraged to attend."   Meet in Tim's garage at 2:00.  
    "I've been to a lot of parties in my time and I've ROCKED SOLID at every one of them!   We're not going to let a little fence breakin' down get in the way of our fun."
    Owensboro High School, circa 1987.
     And here's Stuart, also ready to do some damage on the road: 

    Where have we seen this before?
     "No end, no end to the stories."

    Goodbye to a River, p. 65.

    All of the jon boat tickets have been sold at this point.   Jack, Phil and Stuart will be bringing it down the river sometime Friday afternoon because of their work schedules, and the whole kitchen crew of Jim, Phil and Rob will leave early Saturday morning to set up the barbecue pit at the second site.  That means Phil will probably never have a paddle in his hand the whole trip, which works out fine for everyone involved. 

    Do not forget to pick out your passages of The Book for campfire reading.  Also plan ahead for your personal mess kits:  plate, cup(s), utensils.  The Club no longer provides those.   And also remember the no disposable water bottles rule.   Two weeks out so you have plenty of notice for all of the above.  


    Monday, October 21, 2013

    Planning Ahead

    You should plan your schedule for a full day of RRCCing Friday the 8th.   We won't leave crazy early but we will leave more or less first thing.   It's not a long paddle (less than six miles) but sunset is at 4:48 (!) which is a reminder why we traditionally go the last weekend before Daylight Savings.  It just didn't work out that way this year.

    We can make the Green Mule available for her original purpose, in addition to carrying the pig, which is to bring any late-arrivers down on Friday.   For that matter, anybody can put a canoe in at any time and join us Friday afternoon on their own schedule.  It's not like you're going to paddle past our camp.  Jim has already said he may come late and Stuart may do that also. 

    Although our last day is not rigorous, it will take longer than our usual Sundays.  It's about five miles to the take-out and there won't be much current.   But the main reason Sunday we will be slow is because we'll need to make a ceremonial stop at the mouth of Big Swan Creek.

    All Spring 2011 survivors will gather for a photograph, and we'll hang a mini-keg from the tripod and build an afternoon tea fire to gather around and tell war stories.   Maybe go dummy that crazy old landowner like Sam Sowell.


    Thursday, October 17, 2013

    Goodbye to a Writer

    -  The Fall 2013 trip is dedicated to John Graves (1920 - 2013)  -

    For those of you who are serious readers of The Book, you are invited to pick out your favorite passages to share in camp next month.   We will hang one of the dinner bell triangles from the tripod and ring it whenever someone is moved to read out loud.   Since it alternates between canoe trip narrative and philosophical commentary, feel free to choose one (or more) of each.  Without forfeiting my turn around the fire, here's a couple of good examples:

    In the morning there I saw day come.  Not in the way you usually see it if you're up, over a stretch of a half-hour or so.  I saw it come.  I was standing on the beach, with light fog eddying about my legs, and was looking down the river along the dark shoreline fading into mists.  Everything was a dull blue-gray.  Then the sand was yellow and the trees gold and red and green, and though clouds and fog still hid the sun I knew that I had seen the abrupt instant of its rising. 

    Coffee, and a piece of cold fried bass . . . I felt no hurry to leave that place until I knew for certain that the big cold had hung up to the north of us somewhere, as it probably had.  So I smoked, and drank more coffee, and made an expedition back into the brush after a high, sad, slow whistler's song.  

    The thing was, I had once known what bird that whistle belonged to.  Knowledge of that kind takes so long to come by, solidly at least, and there is so much of it to try to have before you die, if you care anything about it, that to lose any small part of what you do have seems unfair. 

    Goodbye to a River, pp. 106-07.



    Origin being as it is an accident outside the scope of one's will, I tend not to seek much credit for being a Texan.  Often (breathes there a man?) I can work up some proud warmth about the fact that I indubitably am one.  A lot of the time, though, I'd as soon be forty other kinds of men I've known.  I've lived much away from that region, and have liked most of the places I've lived in.  I used to know who the good bullfighters were and why they were good.  I'm familiar with the washed silent streets of Manhattan at five o'clock in the morning, and what Los Angeles promises in the evening when you're young with money on your hip, and once almost saw the rats change sewers swarmingly in Paris, and did see dawn wash the top of the old wall at Avila. . . . I've waked in the green freshness of mountain mornings in tropical lands, and have heard the strange birds cry, and the street vendors, and maybe music somewhere, and have felt the hit of it like a fist in my stomach, going sleepy-eyed out onto a balcony under the green mountains and above flame-flower trees to thank God for life and for being there.  And I'm glad I have. 

    If a man couldn't escape what he came from, we would most of us still be peasants in Old World hovels.  But if, having escaped or not, he wants in some way to know himself, define himself, and tried to do it without taking  into account the thing he came from, he is writing without any ink in his pen. 

    Goodbye to a River, pp. 144 - 45.


    Sunday, October 13, 2013

    Tim Needs a Gunwalectomy

    The wood trim on Tim's canoe is rotted out and needs replacing.  We picked up a set of vinyl gunwales in the northwoods this summer for him and are going to have a work day the afternoon of Saturday, October 26 if anybody else can join and knows how to use a rivet gun.

    Practice saying it right before you show up:


    Tim, you might be able to get over your Gunwale Dysfunction if you watch some "women's gunwale pumping," which would sound dirty even without the porno soundtrack...

    We are anecdotally hearing things that make it sound like the Fall Trip will be well attended.    Both Robs and both Jims are coming.   Stuart is definitely in.  Pete F-ing F-man committed immediately upon hearing about the whole hog.   Phil is in.  Vernon is in.   Fox and Josh May are in for Friday but will paddle out Saturday morning in their tuxedos for the Library Gala.  Ian said he was "dithering" but may have spent too much time "faffing about" to make this trip (direct quotes, of course).   Cronin is in.   Promising rumors of Greg L coming in from Vancouver.  Don't know about Kirk or Brother Jack.  Bob just said "That's my birthday" and we don't know if that means he's definitely coming or definitely not coming.   Ask for clarification here:  bob@bobdelevante.com

    Speaking of the whole hog, Jim says he has selected the animal for our Saturday night dinner and he will be delivered November 5.   But he refused requests for a photo, thinking we would get too attached if we saw young Wilbur "blinking on the hoof."  

    Artist's rendering:

    Thursday, September 26, 2013

    Dispatch From Hickman County

    Picture and message just received from Vernon:
    "DUCK AT LEATHERWOOD BRIDGE:  Taken 20 minutes ago. Level looks good. And, as I drove across before stopping to take this, a Bald Eagle flew out from under the bridge skimming the water."

    Friday, September 20, 2013

    This Is the Year We Roast a Whole Pig

    You knew that sooner or later we were going to have to do it.   And since Jim has just taken over the position of Chief Pig at the Fatback Pig Project, this is the time.  (see also: http://www.foodarts.com/news/front-burner/26388/bringing-home-the-bacon

    It's also a good trip to do it because, as previously mentioned, the Duck is wide and slow in the lower parts.   That means it will be good jon boatin' conditions, which we will need for two reasons:

    To transport the roast beast after he comes off the truck:

    And two, we're going to need it to get the cooks from the first night campsite to the second campsite (about Mile 11) early on Saturday so they can set up the pit and and watch it cook all day.  The very definition of hurry up and wait. 

    Will be good to have the Green Mule back in action hauling our stuff.   It also opens up the possibility of using it for its original purpose which is getting late-arrivers down the river in the dark on Friday night.  Not encouraging that, just saying it's available if someone (Stuart) would othewise miss the trip.

    Wednesday, September 18, 2013

    Escape Route for Friday Guys

    Some of you have said you're going to be conflicted out of the trip because of a Saturday night event.   So we're offering a Friday-only option that will get you out at a bridge on Saturday morning in time to get back to Nashville and reapply your Vagisil.  

    The Totty's Bend bridge is a little over six miles from our put-in at Littlelot.  Although we are getting far enough downstream now that the Duck is faily wide and slow, it still has a surprisingly good number of gravel bars.  Some of them real A+ ones.   So we can camp around where Coleman Branch comes in, which will mean four or five miles of paddling Friday, then two or less to Totty's Bend on Saturday morning for the Friday guys to pull the rip cord and the rest of us will continue on for night two.


    The Totty's Bend bridge is not a real access and would require some ballsy trespassing if we were to pull up in the big blue trailer and engage in the full spectacle of an RRCC launch.  For one thing, it's about 40 feet above the water:


    But we should easily be able to park a car or two there and get people out if we limit it to our usual whiskey shot ceremony when someone has to leave us early. 


    Monday, September 16, 2013

    Points of Interest on this Section of the Duck River


    Our take out in Centerville is the home of Minnie Pearl.

    This is the farm of J.I. Allison from Buddy Holly's band the Crickets, which we will also paddle past.  That's Keith Richards on the left, who used to come here to shoot skeet and heroin, then go scare the crap out of everybody at the Ser Sta Gros.

    Wednesday, September 11, 2013

    2013 Fall Trip

    ...will be Friday, November 8 to Sunday, November 10. 

    Location:   Duck River from Littlelot bridge to downtown Centerville.

    Click to enlarge:


    Two nights, 16 miles.   The put-in (black arrow on the right) will be the same place that we took out the morning after the big storm on the Fall 2012 trip (below).    


    Friday, April 26, 2013

    Spring 2013 (Second Night and Out)

    Things to remember:
    • Sharpen the axe
    • Loppers
    • Always get mini-kegs with handles
    • If we ever think there's no room for the washtub bass again, leave some tents behind
    • We're missing the perk tops off of both coffee pots
    • Learn more train songs
    Sometime in May we'll escort the trailer out to Vernon's and make that our post-trip meeting. There's plenty of gear exchanging that needs to happen since everybody seemed to get out of the river at different times.

    That's it until Fall.