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.