RZ96 Backpack Photos

This morning Eric and I disassembled and repacked the RZ96. I thought it’d be a good time to try using the long packing sack as a backpack. Heck, it’s got should straps sewn on. Once I got it onto my back, the bag wasn’t too heavy or awkward. Three intentionally goofy, commented photos are here. Well, at least photos two and three were intentional. That first picture is something else.

Friend’s Visit, RZ96 on Woods Reservoir

My best friend, a fellow who lived at the top of the steps at SBTS, same dorm, same floor that I infested during my time as a Southern Baptist seminarian, is visiting this weekend. I’ve asked him to be my son’s godfather, and we’re having a baby-dedication service at the Cafe Church tomorrow.

Eric injured his back not too long ago, so today we didn’t paddle far at Woods Reservoir. I’d planned to paddle to the lake’s south shore, then left and under the causeway, maybe stop for a sandwich or something at Morris Ferry Dock, and on up the Elk looking at the scenery and talking about the nature of life on earth. However, with Eric’s injury and the wind blowing from south and west at 20 mph, we paddled right upon reaching the south shore. Eric tends to paddle with his arms, we hadn’t worked out a cadence yet that prevented paddle clashing, and we were headed into the wind, more or less. The crossing took awhile longer than it usually does.

On the other side we turned right, ate the sandwiches we’d brought, and paddled along the shore, out of the wind, then around a point where windblown, white-capping chop could be seen past two pilings that once supported a duck blind. Into the wind we continued along the shore until we reached a fork, and allowed the wind to push us slowly drifting as we ate more of the lunch from the cooler. We found a shallow place where Eric was able to get out, walk about, and stretch his back.

We poked around in the shallows looking at turtles, trees, some frogs jumping. We paddled against the wind back out to the lake, proper, then out toward the middle. There we ate some oranges, throwing the rinds into the water. Some floated, some sank. I rinsed my hands off in the lake.

Crossing to the rec-beach, Eric sighted along his paddle and pretended to empty a clip on full-auto at a distant motor boat headed our way. I looked at the boat, thought, “Excrement,” and said, “Dude, that’s the police boat, we’re gonna get hassled.” The officers, however, stopped where they were, and we paddled on. We were not even hassled when we tied up at the rec-beach courtesy dock.

After resting our aching backs laying flat on the sun-heated dock’s abrasive coated surface for awhile, we got back in the boat and paddled back to the put-in.  Under way again, it seemed we had developed a  cadence that resulted in no further clashing of paddles as we made our way along the lake’s north shore.

I’d brought along a Klepper paddle, at least 40 – 50 years old, and Eric used my Renshaw Greenland style paddle.  The Klepper’s about 245 cm, and the Renshaw maybe 223.  Probably, for this boat, I should have a 240 cm paddle for the stern paddler, and a 230, 235 for the bow.

Predictably, there were some people fishing there near the 850. I reckoned they’d just have to cope with our noisy and fish-disruptive presence. We exchanged polite small talk with them, a shaved-headed white man of indeterminate age, and a stout black woman with a tattoo on her bare upper right arm. I heard the woman say to her companion as I sponged out some of the RZ’s bilgewater, “Look at that – he’s got a farmer tan.”

“Better than a tattoo or the skin cancer I spent my sun-tanning youth working on,” I thought. Pretty funny, actually, the things people say.

We managed to get the RZ (at 18′, it’s longer than my car) up on the roof-racks. Inverted, so it rested on the coaming for better support than it would have had hull-down due to the distance between the racks. I tied it down pretty tight, but the wind blew the kayak around a bit as I drove back to the house. I’ll probably need to buy some longer straps in order to really secure the boat laterally. I did not move forward or back while driving.

The process yesterday morning of getting up, getting the paddling gear loaded up in the car, getting to the put in, getting to RZ96 assembled, getting on the water a lot later than is for me the norm, served to inform me that I am an obsessive freak when it comes to paddling. I over prepare; have goals related to getting on the water early; distance and destination; expectations for those who accompany me on my travels. I experience anxiety if I’m not on the water early. No wonder I have a hard time finding anyone willing to kayak with me.

Eric said he’s always been the same way about cycling trips – not really about fun, but about distance goals, endurance, preparation, and slow-burn annoyance with others who didn’t seem to take the activity as seriously.

To the Map’s Edge Twice – Winchester, Tennessee 6/21/08

Saturday, I intended to paddle along the south shore of Tims Ford Lake into Winchester, retracing the route my wife and I mistakenly took during our May 2007 camping trip. On the way to Devil’s Step boat ramp, however, I noticed a wide gravel road that turned off HIghway 50 adjacent the closed gates of a public “beach.” Because I thought it might lead to a put-in nearer Boiling Fork Creek and the City of Winchester, proper, I turned off there.

The boat ramp at the end of the road was paved. One other vehicle, a battered pickup truck with an equally weathered-looking trailer, stood parked near where I’d parked. Although I wondered whether I’d find my car intact when I eventually returned to it, I launched and paddled.

As far as I got on Dry Creek

That’s as far as I got on Dry Creek before turning around and paddling to Winchester

Mill dam, and as far as I got on Boiling Fork Creek

And that mill dam is as far as I got on Boiling Fork Creek

All the photos worth keeping, and maybe some that aren’t, have been posted in this album.

After putting in, I paddled south with the same shore on my left toward the public beach near Highway 50. Campsis Radicans is in bloom all along the lake’s shore. I hadn’t put in there because the gate was locked when I drove past, and a sign nearby said the park would remain closed until 9:00 am. As I approached the beach from the water, I heard voices coming from the trees in a scrubby area about a hundred yards from the park. The young people stood around a red pickup truck talking. Two males and a female. One of they guys greeted me politely, the other asked me to demonstrate an Eskimo roll. I politely refused, and the first guy apologized for his friend saying, “He’s been drinking.” The female looked on and said nothing.

Tangle of trees at the top of Dry Creek Branch

Dry Creek branch south of Highway 50 was a large, almost mirror still body of water I paddled quickly. I passed on my left an elaborate dock and new-looking boat-ramp. Part of some housing development as evidenced by a number of recently built brick-fronted mini-mansions. At the top of the creek was the usual tangle of trees, vines, bushes past two or three somewhate older waterside houses on my left. To my surprise, a clear channel of water led through the trees.

After the tangle of trees the path led here

The water path through the trees led to one of those places of unexpected wild and tranquil beauty that make me wish my wife shared my interest in flatwater kayak paddling.

A little further on

Paddling down Dry Creek Branch, I passed a currently disused fishing camp, what looked like it may have been a beaver lodge, a tall tree standing sentry in the middle of the creek, paddled over the frame of what may have been a footbridge or a track for launching boats adjacent a neglected paved ramp, and, just past Hwy. 50, a tree with reddish fuzzy flowers reflected in the lake. A little further, up the same small, nameless branch upon the banks of with grew the reflected tree, I came upon a lakeside retreat behind a house visible up by the road. I got out of the boat near this place and adjusted the air in my kayak’s inflatable Nautiraid Greenlander seat-bottom.

Tree in fuzzy red bloom

Lakeside retreat

Last year, when I got us lost and we paddled on through Winchester, we didn’t stop to explore Dry Creek, and it wasn’t really my primary objective Saturday, either. I’m glad I took time to have a look.

I think the next time I paddle Boiling Fork Branch into and around Winchester, I’ll put in at Winchester City Park, if I can figure out how to get there by car. Last year, to keep out of the wind, we paddled along the north shore of the lake close by the city park. This time around I didn’t care, and there wasn’t too much wind. I paddled the south shore then crossed the lake near the park to paddle under the bridge. Don’t know what street or highway crosses over there, which has something to do with the fact that I don’t know how to drive to that park.

Road to Winchester Square

On the other side of the unknown highway, I turned right, and paddled Boiling Fork Creek branch toward Winchester, passing a number of less imposing houses on my right, and some truly beautiful older houses on my left. Pretty soon I approached the bridge over which one drives into Winchester near the city square. Winchester’s a county seat (Franklin County), and a federal court convenes in the courthouse on the square – a boxy but decorative 1930s style government building – maybe WPA? The old jail, however, is just an old two or three storey brick building built on a high bank above the lake.

Old Franklin County Jail

Keeping the jail to my right, I continued to paddle around to the left. Again on my right, was the mystery monorail of Winchester, probably a support and housing for a pipeline no longer extant. Maybe jail sewage?

Mystery Monorail

Further around the bend, on my left, I could see the backsides of buildings housing small businesses and apartments, a gas station. The channel veered right, again; near the monorail is an ancient bridge pier looking about the same age as the piers and steps at Estill Springs City Park.

Pier, Stone

A little further, on the left bank is situated an untreated sewage discharge point adjacent to Winchester city’s public housing. Were it not for the Scheißewasser, those lakeside projects would be located on high dollar real estate. As a political conservative, I abhor the fact that my tax money goes to support what has become in this country a subculture of entitlement. I’m a little bugged about housing citizens next to untreated sewage. Remember folks, this is yellow-dawg Democrat country, so you can be sure Democrats did this.

Poopwasser Discharge Point, Winchester, Tennessee

Winchester\'s lakeside housing project

It’s already a week later, 6/28/08, as I write this, and I’m ready to write other things and paddle other waters. I finished up Boiling Fork Branch, paddling past people fishing near the big slough west of the housing projects, then on past the new Franklin County High School, which looked like a prison on the low horizon seen from my cockpit, then on past a farm, a number of older houses adjacent a meadow that appears to flood in the high water, then to cave into which I paddled a short distance, and on past Hwy 64 on some of the prettiest, most hidden flatwater I’ve seen in this part of the state. I could there feel the flowing water of Boiling Fork Creek radiating a soothing cold up through the hullskin, past a cave like a crack in a rock wall from inside of which I could hear the sound of a small waterfall. Eventually I came to a stop near a mill dam, and the mill, itself, still standing but unworking, its broken windows attesting to a period of neglect. I pulled my kayak closer, like a child’s red wagon, tied it up to a rough support, and rested awhile, then returned (against the wind) to my car, which I found intact at the primitive boat-ramp on Dry Creek Branch.

Resting place - neglected mill

Against the wind

Lifetime Member & Other Stuff

I’ve made it to Weight Watchers Lifetime Member. Means I got down to my target weight, maintained it for six weeks thereafter, and now no longer have to pay to attend meetings. Monday night, I weighed in at 169.8 pounds, fully clothed. I’ve got to work out more, but have been doing better this week with the aging Solo-Flex resistance trainer, something called The Perfect Pushup, abs, and another device called the Gripmaster. Finger, hand, and forearm strengthening exercises seem to work in preventing elbow tendonitis, which can be, and has been for me, extremely painful.

We’ve got house guests scheduled for visit this weekend through next Wednesday morning, but I’m planning to spend most of Saturday on a lake, paddling.

Our infant son’s thriving, and clearly enjoys having nonsense songs sung to him, appears to enjoy conversational sound-making and responses, like’s peek-a-boo, and likes the get-you game. What a great kid. Caution-Lady took him to a professional photographer Tuesday, so we’re going to have to shell out some money to pay for a lot of photos because the will all be so beautiful or cute it will be difficult to choose just a few.

Last night, Caution-Lady and I had our first date alone since the baby. My mom came over and looked after the small one. We didn’t stay out long. Ate supper at a golf course on the other side of the county. But we enjoyed our time out together, and we laughed about goofy stuff, talking, during the ride back to the house.

Today’s exercise goals are abs, chest, shoulders, triceps.

Yesterday, I ordered a cockpit cover for the E68, having read K7Baixo’s Alabama paddling report on FKO reminded me I needed to get one. Keep the bugs & snakes out of the boat.

My wife wants another child, and I want another boat. This time, I’m thinking Seavivor Greenland Solo, but I’d like some more information about the Intrepid Traveler. I’ve called the manufacturer, left a couple of messages, but have heard nothing back from him, yet. Heck, if any of you folks in the blogosphere have either of those boats and want to sell them, post me a comment here.

I also sort of like the Folbot Kodiak, and the Folbot Cooper.  Because I’m pretty rough on my boats, the Kodiak’s probably a better choice.

Later: Here’re a couple of pages of stills from one of my favorite movies, Metropolis, that I found while searching for an image of the film’s Babel Tower visionary guy to illustrate a remark I made in a post at the Folbot forum.

Also: This afternoon I got a call back from Logan Fleckles of Seavivor, and we spent some time talking about his boats.  Really an interesting guy.  Turns out the Intrepid Traveler is intended for larger people.  “Think ‘football player,” Logan said.  He’s got one Greenland Solo in stock, a red one, but unless I won the lottery last night without knowing about it yet, and without having purchased a ticket, I think my beloved Caution-Lady would balk at the $3,200.00 plus expenditure.  Bummer, yes?  Here’s a review of the Greenland Solo by one of the guys at FKO.  Those are Paul’s pictures of the boat linked above.


A few posts back, I used a couple of marginal images I took from a colored-pencil and ink drawing I did a number of years ago, while I was still living in West Louisville and attending seminary, if memory serves. While working at Frankfort Avenue Shell, I got to know a woman who dressed hair at a nearby salon. At the time, although older than my own years, I was still naive enough not to recognize drug addiction in someone who wished to keep the sickness a secret. We were never close enough for the chaos to spill over much into my own life.

When I knew her, she was prettier than I was able to depict. The reservoirs along Frankfort Avenue in the Crescent Hill neighborhood of East Louisville. I think the moon turned out pretty well.

Fussiness Cure

Nothing else works?

Put the baby on his changing table and get out the rhythmic shaker-egg.

Do the shaker-egg dance while singing gibberish that sounds like space-alien talk while making exaggerated faces.

The fussy baby will begin to smile and laugh.

Hold the shaker-egg in his left hand and shake it while singing and sort of dancing in place with him.

Then alternate hands.

This is a big hit.

Father’s Day – 6/15/08:  In the Xanthic Nursery this evening, Caution-Lady shot some Pentax Optio WR 3.2 video of my shaker-egg dance demonstration.  Little ’76 was, for the most part, more interested in CL and the camera than in my buffoonery.  Maybe better video another time when we get a dedicated video camera.

35th TSRA Duck River Float

Yesterday’s TSRA Duck River Guest Float was a pleasant trip, met some new people, said “hello” to a couple I’ve met before. The group assembled at the Henry Horton State Park restaurant’s parking lot. I got there early because I wasn’t sure how fast I could safely drive with Campsis Radicans on the Volvo’s roof racks. Turns out I can drive about 65 to 70 miles per hour without mishap, but tended to motor along at about 60 mph, 50 on the narrower roads.

I wasn’t the first to arrive. When I pulled up a woman with a European accent named, I think, Christine, was inflating and rigging a white tandem boat for herself and her daughter, a child of about nine whose name I never did hear. Don and Jeffrey from Paddlers for Christ showed up with four short kayaks on top of a white Dodge Caravan pulling a trailer. A couple from LaVergne pulled up next – Alison and Ken (apologies if I’ve got the names wrong – I have read Dale Carnegie’s book but have yet to get good at remembering names) with a couple of Old Town boats green and blue, all shiny and comfortable looking. Pointing to the green boat, Ken said, “That’s my Cadillac.” Jim and his wife, whose name I’ve sadly forgotten, showed up about then. I don’t recall Lynn showing up until right around 10:00 am. A couple in advanced middle-age brought their 15′ river canoe with end and middle float bags, spare paddles, reinforced with additional thwarts – a serious boat. Others brought sit-on-tops rented or owned. The state park rangers provided paddles, pfds, and about six ancient canoes that’d seen some hard use. Nat, a seasonal interpretive specialist, and another ranger whose name I didn’t catch, accompanied the group.

Frank Fly set up a small camp table he unrolled from a bag – I watched with interest thinking it looked like more trouble than it was worth to get a relatively hard surface, but probably more necessary for writing than for general camp use. Frank registered everyone, waivers were likewise distributed and signed.

That done, the group proceeded to the put in at, I think it was, Hardison Mill dam. I was proud my Volvo 850 had no trouble getting back up the rutted, dusty gravel and dirt road from the put in to the parking area. What a car. Once all the boats were ready to launch, Mr. Fly outlined the rules and we all launched and paddled up to have a look at the mill. The rules were something like:

1. Don’t get out of sight of the other boats

2. We’re not in a big hurry here, so don’t get impatient and race to the take-out

3. If your boat flips, save yourself and let someone else worry about getting your gear

4. PFDs are mandatory

5. We will take a lunch break of at least one hour – if you eat fast, you’ll just have to entertain yourself until the hour’s up and we’re all ready to go

6. Only two to a boat

I took too many pictures (and they can be found here), but like others hope that if I shoot a lot, at least a few will be worth keeping. I heard folks talking about Jimmy Carter’s attack rabbit, mussels, global warming and snow-sledding in Middle Tennessee. Sharon talked about being on the lake at Camp Buckner and some cadets screaming and paddling as fast as they could to get away from a snake that followed too quickly and close.

Christine’s daughter used a brightly colored parasol to keep off the sun. I didn’t get a good picture, but it was a quaint sight. We stopped while some of the group jumped off a tree-swing into the river, then just a little while later, for lunch on the cool, mossy banks of a nearly straight spring-fed creek. Paddling into the creek I felt cold rising heavy off its rushing surface. Temperature along the banks felt like 75 degrees Fahrenheit. One of the fellows, I think his name was Mark, brought his maybe 10 year old son along. The boy spied a small water-snake in the creek’s very cold water. It had diamond markings, but a blunt shaped head, so maybe was not poisonous.

I got well ahead of the main group of paddlers with some others. A lot of folks were on the river, many in the red River Rats canoes, a number of others in their own boats. Saw a couple of anglers in small motorized boats.

Past the River Rats take-out, the group I was more or less with stopped at gently sloping bank, swam, skimmed stones, and waited for the others. Nat, the UT guy working the summer as an park interpretive specialist (maybe another job titled, but something like that) found and showed us a plant called Dutchman’s Pipe. All day I’d been seeing these little gray-blue moths or butterflies. One lit on my left hand between the knuckles of my fore and middle fingers. I was able to get a couple of pictures.

After what seemed like a long time, some of the others paddled into sight. Mr. Fly gently chided us for missing out on an interesting hole of uncertain depth. Paddling on, we came into sight of the bridge at the take-out beyond which lies the remains of a low-head dam and a class maybe 2 but probably 1 rapids or drop or whatever the people who know call them. Locals were jumping into the river from a much more elaborate tree-swing consisting of one line to haul to up the other line that is the swing. The swing terminated in a chrome set of moto-cross bicycle handlebars. As I paddled into view, a kid in his teens was air-borne, and executed a flip before hitting the water.

Rangers were waiting for us at the take-out under the bridge. Some of us ran the rapids. I paddled up to them, but turned away thinking that would add to the distance I’d have to haul my boat up the hill to the parking area. Don asked if I’d use his camera to shoot some photos, and I did. His camera’s memory card must’ve been nearly full because its LCD display flashed a no-more-pictures message. I took a few with my own aged Pentax Optio WR 3.2. Shutter’s so slow I didn’t know what I’d capture. Got a few pictures.

We loaded into a van driven by Randy, head ranger at Henry Horton State Park, and were taken back to the put-in to retrieve our cars. Alison and I talked about our babies on the ride. She and Ken have a little one, five months old, named Rose. We talked about baby life-jackets, parenthood, baby bug-spray and sunscreen.

I had no idea how to get back to the take-out. Fortunately, I’d gotten to my car quickly and was able to follow Mr. Fly, who fairly flew (45 mph felt fast on these roads), down a different route of unfamiliar, narrow roads back. Once again, Thursday the 850 acquitted itself well, easily negotiated the rough dirt track down under the bridge. Only thing about this trip that struck me as problematic was lack of organized return to the take-out. Two of our number, Alison and Lynn, got lost – I was able to see Frank turn right, but Alison, who was behind me, went straight. Both of them eventually got back to where Ken was waiting by the boats.

Editing when I find the time – If I’ve got names mixed up, sorry and feel free to comment


Yesterday I read this interview feature quoting Clint Eastwood’s reasonable response to the criticism he’s received from Spike Lee. Look at the guy’s face in the photo. He’s gotten old.

When I was a kid, I mean in elementary school, I remember we, the boys, used to love talking about war movies we’d seen on TV. That was back when it was a big deal to see a fairly recent motion picture televised. Like ABC’s Movie of The Week. One of our school yard favorites was that Clint Eastwood, Donald Sutherland movie about a bunch of WWII soldiers in Europe stealing SS gold with the collusion of the Panzer commander guarding the treasure.

I’m more than halfway to old, now. Last night, I woke up thinking about Clint Eastwood: Old Man, and then thought about the passage of time, or my journey through time, and how I’ll end up old someday pretty soon. Contrasted that with infant son sleeping in his bassinet. Will he remember me as the active and healthy man in early middle age I am, now, or as whatever it is I’ll be when I die?

Mom, younger brother, me (on the camel), and Dad wearing Burmuda shorts and I Spy shades

My father died at the age of 58 after having lived more than a hundred normal human years. I remember him as the angry tyrant I loved carrying us through Europe wearing Bermuda shorts and Robert Culp I Spy sunglasses – shades, he always called them. I remember spending Saturdays going to garage sales with him. I remember his road rage – that’s where I learned about creative name-calling. I remember his funny voices and the brilliant way he was able to do impressions of popular and classic actors. Probably the actors he grew up watching at the cinema. I remember Dad’s sailboat, and our nocturnal scavenging sessions at local boatyards picking up a sail here, an outboard motor there. I remember more than I’ll write here. I remember Dad throughout my life up to the time he died.

His birthday was in early June. I can’t even remember the date. I don’t remember the year or the date he died, either. Strange lack of recollection. Dad was one of about three people I always knew loved me. He was the one who disappointed me most frequently. Those disappointments were agonizing.

Float the Duck River

2005, we floated the Duck from Cortner Mill to Dement Bridge, an easy, fun excursion with my wife and some friends

Summer 2005, between Cortner Mill & Dement Bridge

This Saturday, 7 June, the Tennessee Scenic Rivers Association is sponsoring an 8-mile float down part of Tennessee’s Duck River. The Duck is the longest river contained entirely within the borders of the State of Tennessee. I’ve paddled it in Bedford County both below and above Normandy Dam, but have never put in near Henry Horton State Park. Yeah, me too. Every time I hear that name, I think, “Dr. Seuss?” or, “Hoo?”


This is a pleasant float for paddlers of all ability levels, and is an excellent opportunity for beginners to gain experience on a river prior to canoe school. This member-guest float is designed to promote canoeing, TSRA, and the Duck River.

The float is approximately 8 miles from the put-in near Verona Road off Highway 99 to the take-out at Highway 431, where a beautiful Class I rapid can be run repeatedly. Bring lunch in a water-proof container. Life jackets are required and a limit of two persons per canoe, with the exception of small children.

Canoes, paddles, and life jackets can be reserved by calling the Rangers at Henry Horton State Park at (931)364-7724. Camping and rooms are available at Henry Horton State Park on Highway 31-A approximately 50 miles South of Nashville.

Meet at the restaurant parking lot at Henry Horton State Park at 10:00 a.m. Central Time. From Interstate 65 South of Nashville take Highway 412 (99) East to Highway 31-A and turn right.

Pre-registration is not required. Please come!

Contact information can be found at http://www.paddletsra.org/trips_event.html