Thursday, November 05, 2015

Correction:  the directions in the last post said take I-40 East.  You take I-40 WEST, not east, to exit 143.  But you would have figured that out by the time you got to Knoxville.

Don't forget to BYOPlates, utensils and cups.  Plus non-disposable water bottles.    

As far as the river trip itself under the new plan:

On Saturday morning we will launch directly from our Friday night campsite and go downstream from there.   Hopefully we will have run the shuttle Friday while we're still sober.  Surely we will have run the shuttle Friday.

The total trip to the Sunday take-out is exactly 10 river miles.  This tasty looking island is at mile 7.5...

A big red-brown butterfly sat spread on the cottonwood log my ax was stuck in, warming itself in the sun.  I watched until it flew stiffly away, then got up and followed, for no good reason except that the time seemed to have come to stir, and I wanted a closer look at the island.

It was shaped like an attenuated teardrop or the cross section of an airplane's wing, maybe three quarters of a mile long and 100 yards or so wide at its upper, thicker end.  Its foundation everywhere appeared to be a heavy deposit of the multicolored gravel, and its flat top except for a few high dunes of the padding sand was eight or ten feet above the present level of the river.  All around, it dropped off steeply, in spots directly to the water, in others to beaches, and toward the pointed tail the willows and weeds stood rank.  I rooted about there and found nothing but coon tracks and a few birds still sleepy and cold on their roosts, but, emerging among cockleburs above a beach by the other channel, scared four ducks off a quiet eddy.  I'd left the gun in the tent; shots from here and there under the wide sky's bowl reminded me that busier hunters than I were finding game.  

Let them.  I considered that maybe in the evening I'd crouch under a bush at the island's upper end and put out sheets of notepaper on the off chance that more geese would come, and the off-off chance that if they did they'd feel brotherly toward notepaper.  You can interest them sometimes in newspapers.

And maybe I wouldn't.

Goodbye to a River, pp. 154-55.

Wednesday, November 04, 2015


Ok you jessies, we're abandoning the Duck River plan and this will affect a lot of stuff so pay attention.

Everything about the section of the Duck we were going to do was based on a late fall, low-water, dry-weather trip.  Especially the second night campsite which was going to be quite scenic but on a low, flat gravel bar.  The river has gradually been coming down from the big rains we had a week ago but is not all the way there:

Then there is the weather forecast for Friday.   

We are not fair weather canoeists, and we sure aren't engineered for patio living, but there's no good reason to rush to get out on the river in the middle of a storm that is supposed to pass in the afternoon.  Plus I really don't know what it will do to the water level that is already a little high.  Theoretically it will take a couple of days for the water to rise that far downstream.  But theory isn't worth much when you're standing ankle deep by the place your campfire used to be as any veteran of Big Swan Creek can tell you.


We are going to change both rivers and strategies.  We will go to the Buffalo, which should be fine with a little extra water, and we will camp right at the put-in instead of paddling on Friday.  We'll do this at the Highway 13 access on the big gravel bar under the bridge where Crazy Horse Canoe Rental is located.

Here it is from street view:

Kind of nice, isn't it, considering it's by a highway?  And we have permission from Crazy Horse to be there which is also a nice feeling (see Big Swan Creek, supra).  We could even use the bridge for shelter if we needed to which might make for a memorable party.  

If you trust GPS in Wayne County the address is 2505 Waynesboro Hwy.  Otherwise take I-40 West to exit 143, and take Hwy 13 south 40 miles to the bridge.   The Natchez Trace is also an option for everyone except Mullowney who doesn't like the federal jurisdiction there.

The benefits of camping at the put-in are:  

-  We can take our time arriving while the storms pass
-  No paddling in the rain
-  No jon boat travel in the dark (and the rain)
-  Possible one-nighter options for people with conflicts on Friday or Saturday night
-  Still get to camp on a gravel bar

Other things that will change now:

-  We will probably not go to the trout farm in the rain either.  The cooks are already mobilizing for this contingency.

-  We will not take the jon boat.  Kirk, Ian and Bob will just come straight to our homeless encampment under the bridge.  I'll figure out the canoe situation.

-  We will relax our departure time from Nashville.  Rob will pick Pete up at the airport at 8:00 am but they can now finish grocery shopping and packing together.  Let's plan to leave from my house at 10:00 am.  It's two hours to the Buffalo/Hwy 13 bridge by the way.  

-  Pete:  no need to change the muffaleta plan unless you want to.  RRCCers:  assume a late lunch will be served on site Friday unless you hear otherwise.   

-  All kinds of new car camping options on Friday as well:  good guitars, glass bottles, etc.   Josh we may need to bring more than just the token mini-kegs.   They don't even have to be mini for that matter...

Thursday, October 29, 2015

One Week Update


We have made the final decision on the river section:   we are doing the short version between the two Hwy 50 bridges, taking out before the river goes under I-40.  It will be a mere 12 miles over parts of three days.   The first campsite will be exactly two miles downstream from the put-in, and the second night will be exactly two miles upstream from the Sunday take-out.  Boat ramps at both ends.  This will be a lazy man's dream trip.


Stuart is out but Cronin is in.   So no net change to the total of 12 Rivermen.

Pete has moved his flight up and is now arriving at 8:00 am on Friday.  The canoeists will pick him up at the airport and he will go to the river with the morning shift.

That leaves the jon boat with Kirly, Ian and One-Arm Phil who can all leave Nashville when Ian's conference is over at 3:45 on Friday although it sounds like he could be talked into leaving earlier.   So a very real possibility  the Green Mule could make the whole trip in daylight.  Unless you guys just want to do it in the dark which is totally understandable.


Pete has taken over Friday night and is doing a New Orleans-style barbecued shrimp dinner.  He's bringing the ingredients on the NOLA to Nashville flight which Southwest Airlines has become accustomed to.  Recall that he carried on a half-gnawed pig leg going the other way last time.

We are definitely stopping at the trout farm on the way to the put-in.  They will clean or fillet whatever we catch on the spot and we'll bring a dedicated cooler to ice down the fish.  Rob is working on the details and sides, but Rainbow Trout is the entree for Saturday night.

Tim remains the Lunch Czar for Saturday.

Assuming breakfasts get sorted out, that leaves Friday lunch.  Which we should make legit because with only two miles to travel we'll want to go as slow as possible.  We only had a three-man skeleton crew for the Frito Chili Pie on the upper Buffalo so we might consider doing that again.  Twice makes a tradition in this club.

Or if anyone wants to try something new just raise your hand.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Call for Cooks and Captains

This is how the roster looks two weeks out:

Jim Myers
Jim Mullowney
Pete F'n F
+ Stuart (unconfirmed)

The out-of-towners will all be coming down Friday afternoon so they will have to be in the jon boat.   Phil was involved in a bad bike accident and faces the possibility of his right one permanently hanging lower than his left one, which puts him in the jon boat too so he doesn't paddle in circles.  So with Stuart unconfirmed, Pete and Ian with an aversion to gasoline engines, and Phil handicapped, we need someone to volunteer to leave Friday afternoon and drive the Mule.    It will probably also involve an airport run.  Kirk would that be you?

Phil was also supposed to be head cook for Saturday night and may still be.  But he is going to need some help.   Jim, Rob and Phil have discussed this but any volunteers for meals or as assistants outside of this group would be welcome. 

This all makes the decision to shorten our trip and use good boat ramps look a whole lot better.   Since the river section is right under (goes under) I-40 it's also a short, straight shot to the put-in.  And an easy shuttle too. 

1 Hour From Brown's Diner

15 Minute Shuttle (Each Way)

You may notice that's the Bucksnort exit.   Home of the Bucksnort Trout Farm.   Don't know if that influences the cooks at all.  Maybe it depends on how much the corn is...

Monday, October 19, 2015

Even Lower Lower Duck

The trailer is all fixed up and ready.

The jon boat motor has been overhauled.  Tim picked it up Saturday and it started on the first pull. That means we need to decide who needs to be on the Friday night cannonball run.  Recommended maximum occupancy in the Green Mule is four, and three of those will probably have to be the out-of-towners (Ian, Pete and and Stuart) who don't arrive until Friday afternoon.  

But before deciding who goes when and how, there are some issues with the where.   

Last week we got a big fat middle finger from the landowner who we thought would let us take out at the mouth of the Piney River.  That was not what we expected and is causing us to rethink our destination.   We could still put in at Centerville - which is appealing because it was our take-out the last time we were on the Duck and an excellent public access point.  However the first available take-out now would be 25 miles down, and it is neither public nor very excellent.  It's not out of the question but we'd need to do probably 10 miles on Friday and about 12 on Saturday.  Both more than we generally like to do and a very long way in the dark Friday for the jon boaters.   Also, the current is going to be slow that far down river in November.  

I am now thinking we should do one of the sections near where the Duck goes under I-40.  

We can customize our distance (as little as 12 and up 17 total miles based on accesses) and we'll have fully public TWRA boat ramps at both ends.   There are also some really interesting (and sort of ominous) sounding river features down there, like "whirls" and "eddys" and, you may notice, some absolutely first rate gravel bars.

"Whirl Bar"

"Wild Rice Eddy"

"Tumbling Creek"

"Bickerstaff Eddy"

"Murfree Eddy"

"Turney Center Industrial Prison"

Still don't know what this means about Friday departures, but it will take a lot of pressure off for the paddlers with daylight savings ending next week, and will be a breeze for the Mule.  We will come back and do the Centerville section another year when we have a little more time to solve the access puzzle. 

Monday, October 12, 2015

Heavy Equipment Update

Big Blue Trailer had its proboscis rearranged when we crossed a hard bottom creek leaving the last takeout.

So in preparation for the fall trip we took it to an appropriately named welder.

After much discussion and a little hammering, we (the RRCC and Dr. Duck) believe that the coupler is functional and safe and he recommend against any cosmetic surgery which would require cutting off the whole end of the tongue and welding on a new piece.  You do have to hold your mouth just right to get it the hitch, but once it's on it clamps down tight.  He did weld on a shiny new safety chain and we hope to never find out if it holds.

So the trailer is ready.   The jon boat, however, has its own health issues.  Unlike the canoe trailer, it did not suffer from some traumatic event but instead succumbed to general neglect and malnutrition.   The last time it was used was two years ago, when it hauled a Stimulated Pig down the Duck.

Last known photograph of the Green Mule in action.

She lies unresponsive in a coma and will not awake no matter how many times you pull the starter.  So off she goes to Anderson Marine in Madison where we will pace the floor of the waiting room until we learn her fate.   We'll update you as soon as we know anything because it sounds like there are several who are going to need to ride the Mule on Friday afternoon.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Meeting on Thursday, Sept. 24

Our pre-trip meeting will be upstairs at Savarino's.  7:00 pm.

It's now called Amari and looks a little different from when we used to have our slide shows up there, as seen in a vision by the prophet Jim Myers.

Actual Photo of Jim Staring at the Empty Space Above 
Savarino's Cucina Thinking Corrado Should Do
Something Cool Up There

The Cool Thing Corrado Did

I will bring topo maps and all the different cutting and chopping blades we own to delegate for sharpening.  Josh will bring photos of the damage to the trailer and the club credit card.  This is a sanctioned event and we'll be the only sanctified guys in there.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Fall 2015

Fall trip is November 6 - 8.   We're going to get back to work on the Duck River.

Believe it or not, we haven't been on the Duck since fall 2013.  Two years and three rivers have passed since then.

Spring 2014 (Red River)

Fall 2014 (Piney River)

Spring 2015 (Buffalo River)

We'll be putting in right where we left off in 2013 which is the city park in downtown Centerville.

This is us approaching and taking out in Centerville last time:

We've already got some All Star commitments from the out-of-towners.   Stuart's in.  Ian's in.  Pete F-ing F-man is in.  

Also:   Phil is cooking.  We need to fix our trailer.   We probably need to fix the Mule, too.  This section is jon-boatable.    We're going to need to pre-trip this one for real.  How about Thursday, September 24.   Pencil that in.