Lost Creek, Copper, Anderton Branches – Tims Ford Lake

Lost Creek Branch

Lost Creek Branch

During an approximately 14 mile roundtrip Friday, I paddled Lost Creek Branch, re-explored Copper Branch, and for the first paddled Anderton Branch on Tims Ford Lake.  My left shoulder hurt again the first mile or so, then no longer pained me.

House looks okay from a distance

House looks okay from a distance

A house on the lake with sign proclaiming that it is or occupies Britney Point appears derelict in spite of the fact of its evidently recent construction, huge size, elaborate outdoor entertainment areas, and covered dock. I first saw the house a year or two ago, and wrote about it at my Yahoo blog. At the time, I wondered, “What happened to these people?”

Somebody's kept the yard mowed

Somebody's kept the yard mowed

Paint peeling and weathered on the ghostley outdoor entertainment area

Paint peeling and weathered on the ghostley outdoor entertainment area

Yesterday I found myself wondering the same thing. The white-painted wood frame doors at the back porch hung sagging from their hinges with torn screens. The many windows appeared lifeless and still, the speedboat continued to mildew in its covered slip, and its woodwork has rotted green. I was surprised and somewhat heartened to note that none of the black windows appeared broken. Somebody, maybe the wind, has cleared away the dock’s cobwebs and the dusty orange lifejackets piled haphazard trailing their straps into the murky lakewater. Buckets and field tile littered the leaf-covered steep hillside.

Ski-boat moldering dockside

Ski-boat moldering dockside

Mossy limb

Mossy limb

Gothic arches

Gothic arches

A final view after my first lunch stop

A final view after my first lunch stop

I ate part of my lunch across from the three-storey brick derelict, while seated on a beam set up on cinder-blocks near a dry dock and two circles of of folding chairs in need of burning. Certainly other things had been burned nearby. Moss grew heavy on one tree’s limb – not unusual, but for some reason I noticed it.

I ate part of my lunch other side of that dock

I ate part of my lunch other side of that dock

Colorful dock on Copper Branch

Colorful dock on Copper Branch

Paddling back out Copper Branch, elaborate houses on my right cluttered the shore like an expensive ghetto. Two guys in a bassboat sped up and down Lost Creek, Copper, and I later saw them at Anderton, branches. I never did see them fishing. My guess is they were making a burglary list of houses that’ve been closed up for winter.

Anderton Branch Crow Tree

Anderton Branch Crow Tree

On Anderton Branch, which I’ve bypassed at least three times before, I saw and heard a large, ungainly bearded man berate a little boy for having broken a “thurday dollah” gew-gaw in his tackle box, “These don’t just fall off, you broke it off!” Sheesh, like I’m sure the little kid deliberately broke whatever the aitch it was. They’d been bank fishing but had come by boat, which was pulled up on the shore. The kid was in the boat. I slowed, but don’t think the man physically beat the child. What he said to the boy, and the way he said it was beating enough.

Colby + Chryssy Forever

Colby + Chryssy Forever

The Dawn Sisters

The Dawn Sisters

Go Vols!

Go Vols!

At farthest corner of Anderton Branch, I came to a public boat ramp I never knew was there. But when I looked at my map, there it was plainly shown – Anderton Branch Public Access Area.   I stopped, stretched, ate the rest of my lunch.  After that, I threw some trash away at the garbage can next to the dock’s boardwalk, and noticed that Colby and Chrissy had declared the eternal nature of their presumably romantic attachment no less than three times in graven characters upon the structure’s upright supports.  Gad, I thought, who would name his son after a cheese?  Then I thought, this is what I would expect of someone named for a cheese.  Then I noticed the sheer number of names and messages carved upon the dock’s every surface.  They spoke all at once momentarily unfiltered into my brain through my eyes. I realized this was a significant anthropological find, and set about photographing many of the most striking glyphs.

Mysta Big & Illegible

Mysta Big & Illegible

Amanda

Amanda

Haley + Bryan, and Heart Rebus Verbed

Haley + Bryan, and Heart Rebus Verbed

Derisive & Vulgar Imperative JR

Derisive & Vulgar Imperative JR

Where Everybody Knows Your Name

Where Everybody Knows Your Name

Having completed that important work, I set out to return to my car, Thursday, and then home.

But first I paddled out of Anderton Branch in a more southerly arc than proved adviseable, completely overshot the main channel of Lost Creek Branch, and found myself unbenownst at the mouth of Ray Branch staring due south at the smaller of the two islands near Tims Ford Dam.  I shouldn’t be seeing these, I thought, then turned my back on the islands and paddled north.  In the distance, the channel narrowed.  I saw a rocky outcrop that didn’t look familiar.  I saw a line of colorful jugs floating in the distance.  To my right I saw another channel, its features likewise unfamiliar.

Islands of the Dammed

Islands of the Dammed

Excrement, I thought, I’m lost, and the last of my food just eaten.  Not so lost I don’t know where I am, just lost enough to be unsure how to return to where I want to be.  Grateful I’d had the last-minute sense to bring both map and compass, I put my back to that small island, found the island on my map, consulted my compass, consulted my map, looked due north, marked a feature, found it on the map, and paddled back to Lost Creek Branch.

The breeze freshened as I paddled northwest, and I paddled with renewed vigor, happy with the wind’s resistance.

Selling the House

Our modest but charming Stepford home

Our modest but charming Stepford home

Did I mention we’re selling our house?  We’ve listed it in the low eighties because

  • We’re not greedy pigs, and
  • We’d like to sell it quickly

So, if you’re looking for a reasonably priced three-bedroom, one bathroom, 1400 square foot brick house with hardwood floors, two sheds, mature fruit-bearing cherry, apple, and pear trees, three very old and questionable grape vines minutes away from three lakes and two rivers, you should think about buying the Christov_Tenn house at Stepford.

Cold Morning Sans Camera

15 degrees Fahrenheit when I checked the weather online yesterday morning. Frost on the red boat’s deck. I debated whether to skip church, and paddle today, instead, but ultimately solved the problem by getting a later start. By the time I got to the put in at Hurricane Creek Branch on Tims Ford Lake, the temperature’d risen to about 31.5 degrees by the 850’s in-dash digital thermometer. Only one other vehicle at the boat ramp. Maybe on the water by 10:00 am. NOAA predicted a gentle breeze from the south at 5 mph, but I felt no wind as I pulled on my Bombergear Radiator drysuit for the first time since March or April. A couple of months ago, I finally sent it off to the good folks at Amigo’s for professional repair, although that Kirch’s Kwik Patch was still holding up pretty well.

Water didn’t seem too cold as I waded to get into my boat. No camera because the beloved Caution-Lady required it last week to photograph a classroom project, and she’d left the Pentax at school. Paddled in a southerly direction with significant left-shoulder pain, and adjusted the stroke as I went to minimize same. I’d forgotten the inflatable blue Klepper seatback I normally use as lumbar support, so had to take responsibility for keeping my own spine straight for proper torso-rotation. I did okay with that, too. Not much back pain by the end of the day. Had some left leg numbness and pain that resolved with position changes and exaggerated leg use while underway.

I turned left into Turkey Creek Branch, realizing as I did so that the features I was expecting to find there are located in the vicinity of Lost Creek Branch. I paddled as far back into Turkey Creek Branch as the winter pool water level permitted. I came to a place where the water was so clear and lightly blue-tinted it appeared much shallower than it really was. The kayak’s keel passed over four or five tires, miscellaneous junk, fishing lures, hundreds of little two-inch fish swimming together in swirling patterns like those made by water-weeds in current, until I came to place where the sandy soft bottom barred further progress. Ahead and to my right I could hear the stream’s gurgling as it flowed around and over dry sticks of the water plants that flourish in the summer months when the water’s level is higher, and the water itself warmer.

On my way back out toward Hurrican Creek Branch, I came to a backwater on my left in which I saw more of the straw-colored plant stalks like a field of dry grass. On these Tennessee lakes I have frequently seen in the warmer months something like soap-foam that gets pushed by the wind up against anything relatively stationary in the water, or along the shoreline. Looked like a lot of foam up against those water twigs. I paddled in for a closer look at the gray hulk of a wrecked speedboat. I’d seen it before the last time I was up this branch, only at that time, the water was much lower, and I couldn’t get near it. As I approached I became aware as my bow broke through it a layer of clear, thin ice in place of the water’s usual liquid surface. It cracked, and I was able to paddle through, close to and past the wreck. Somebody’d removed the steering wheel, the outboard motor, the seats, but had left the boat’s in-dash AM radio. All covered in gray mud, I didn’t imagine the radio could be made to work again, but wondered why the fiberglass hull had been left. Maybe holed-through? Dunno. Didn’t get out to check. Water over the wide transom in the hull was completely iced over, too. Up close, what had looked like foam was ice all around where the dry sticks poked up from the water. Before paddling backwards out again, I gave the ice ahead of me sound whack with the paddle, and it reluctantly broke, but no point in going any farther that direction.

I paddled on out to the main branch. A little farther down on my left is a boat ramp I’ve never been able to find from the road, and a little beyond that I stopped and ate all of my lunch. I don’t think I’ve ever eaten everything in my lunch bag at one sitting while paddling. I have always left something over for the paddle back. I guess I was thinking I could get something at Holiday Landing restaurant if I needed it.

Around Awalt Bridge I paddled, then back into the branch where Holiday Landing is located. Some very large, rectangular houseboats in there. Bigger than buses they appeared from the cockpit of my kayak. The restaurant was closed, all its outside seating stacked up on tables. I paddled around the floating docks, looking at the boats in their slips, then back out again to the main channel.

By this time I was tired, and stopped to empty a bottle of something called Vitamin Water (I got a case of the stuff pretty cheaply back in the Spring, and it tastes like melted popsicles), took a swig of Gatorade, and paddled ploddingly back to the boat ramp. Maybe the slope of the ramp, but I had a hard time lifting the boat up to get it on the racks. I’ve worked out a sort of time-and-motion routine to efficiently lash secure the boat on the racks, then to release the straps and tie-downs to get it off the racks again.

Using the distance tool at Dunigan’s Tennessee Landforms site later on, I found that I’d only made about 12.5 miles, roundtrip.

On the way home, I stopped at my mom’s house and observed the work the city is doing to prevent further erosion along the creek bed that bounds the backyard at her house. Very workmanlike.

Mom last week knit Seventy-Six a winter cap with ear-flaps and toggle-fastener, and yesterday she had finished his matching mittens. Funny mittens for infants have no thumbs, like socks for tiny hands.

Then home, a much-needed hot shower, and the joys of family life that far surpass (edited) those of the life aquatic.

Infant Vocabulary

An update here on some of the things Seventy-Six has been saying:

  • Neng-Neng – syllables discerned during fussing seem to refer to dissatisfaction about not getting fed quickly enough, or sense of outrage that the bottle is empty or the meal is finished
  • Ang – I’m really hungry now, I’m not kidding
  • Unh-Uh – used sometimes, maybe by accident, while fussing when voice-tone and body language likewise to mean, “No”
  • MuhMuhMuh – Mommy?
  • DehDehDeh – Daddy?
  • Bwah – Bottle?
  • Eeeachhh – Sheesh?
  • Buh-Bah – heard while trying to teach 76 to wave, maybe “Bye-Bye” or “Baby”

Some of his body language is more expressive than the things he says:

  • Leaning toward either of the parental units with arms extended means “Hug” or “Pick me up” – frequently both
  • While playing blocks or cars, leaning into and turning toward Daddy means “Time to roughhouse – tickle, wrestle, silly sounds
  • Staring at something and making short vowel sounds means “Gimme that” or “Take me to that”
  • Grabbing a burp cloth or blanket and pulling it over his face means “I need to sleep now”

Changing the World

I was about to write a post about the difference it makes in the cosmos when someone statistically inclined to misanthropy and criminal behaviors lives instead as a good husband, father, and citizen.  The fabric of the universe is rent and stitched again when a Heathcliff joins the company of the redeemed, then lives that redemption out in thought, word, and circumstance.  I’m too tired now to go on about it.

We’ve all been fighting off strep at our house this weekend.  Mercifully, the double-digit appears untouched by loathsome virus.  We are changing the world and kicking evil’s ass, we’re just doing it differently than I’d envisioned as a child, teenager, and young man.

We Voted “Nope!”

Nobama, Nope, Not My Vote

Nobama, Nope, Not My Vote

Here’s something I posted on a bulletin board somewhere near the political-religious center of United States cyber-space in a discussion thread about how we voted:

I voted early, and I voted Republican, but I only voted once. Silly me.

My family and I are better off than we were eight years ago, primarily because the government has not interfered much with our ability to work, invest, save, or spend according to whatever sense vouchsafed us by the Lord. Personally, I vehemently oppose authoritarian, arrogant rule of any sort, and have always worked to undermine same when able to do so. As a grown man, I wasn’t voting for a leader, but for someone who had a chance to come closest to representing my views and values in the executive branch.

So this morning, 5 November 2008, I ate my oatmeal, drank my coffee, and will go to work like I do every weekday morning. I do believe God is sovereign, and is neither Republican nor Democrat. Individuals and groups will continue to find ways to resist and oppose perceived evil.

A Maddeningly Busy Week

Tuesday, or was it Monday, I drove to Murfreesboro early, then back to the office by one.

Seen Thursday morning - looks like my wife's not the only one

Seen Thursday morning - looks like my wife's not the only one

Thursday early I looked at a foreclosure in the same neighborhood as the house upon which we’d made an offer a month or two back.

House stank. Huge house, four bedrooms, two baths, attached garage with big workshop, bonus room, big attached storage building. Built on a slab. Three really ugly and large 1960s sliding glass doors. Maybe 2200 square feet. All the floor covering must go. All the wallpaper must go. Everything must be repainted. Possibly a shower pan in one of the bathrooms must be replaced. Kitchen cabinets are ugly, but can be tolerated because they can probably be cleaned. Appears structurally sound. Exterior looks okay. Three layers, at least, of shingles on the roof, so plan on another. Puny cooling unit, so plan to replace.

Amelang Wheel Alignment

Amelang Wheel Alignment

Thursday I took Thursday, my silver 1997 Volvo 850, in to see Mr. Amelang for wheel alignment and balance. While I sat in a scuffed metal folding chair by the shop’s hot wood stove reading a model airplane hobbyist magazine, the quiet mechanical precisionist identified a goose-egg sized bulge in the inner side-wall of the car’s front right tire. At the same time, he mentioned to me that the tires were about worn out. I looked, and beheld wear-bars within a hair’s breadth of worn tread. That bulge looked pretty bad, too. I’d taken Thursday too close around a shoulderless right-hand turn dropping the doomed tire off the pavement’s edge. Plonk. Cussword. Steering had been pretty squirrelly for a week or so thereafter, which is what prompted me to have alignment seen to.

Thursday last Thursday

Thursday last Thursday

“Do you think it’ll be safe to driver over Monteagle to Chattanooga tomorrow?” I asked.

“I wouldn’t drive seventy,” Mr. Amelang replied, then, after a pause, “I’ll move it the back, that way if it blows out, it won’t do as much damage.

Radio controlled airplanes

Radio controlled airplanes

Biplane

Biplane

Mr. Amelang's most recent project

Mr. Amelang's most recent project

Drove 75 or 80 miles per hour, one on the Interstate, to Murfreesboro where I bought four Michelins to replace the 80,000 mile Yokohamas that’d given maybe 55,000 mile service. To be fair, I’ve always kept those tires close to maximum inflation for more precise steering and better mileage, which undoubtedly contributed to their early demise. Had the tire-shop fill the new Michelins with nitrogen which supposedly prolongs the life of the tire by remaining cool and neither expanding nor contracting during use or according to season.

On the way to town after work I stopped at Subway to pick up sandwiches, then met my wife and our realtor at barn of a 2600 square foot house located not far from where the Cautious One works. House has been on the market over a year, ridiculously overpriced for its location. Four bedrooms, two and half baths, large detached two-car garage.

We looked at two other houses, ate our supper in the car; returned home tired and well after dark.

Friday morning I arose at 4:45 am, pressed the button to make the coffee I’d prepared the night before, made and ate a bowl of oatmeal, made a lunch that included half of my previous night’s supper. Looked at the Internet. I was in the car driving a little after six. Stepford is on US Central Time, but Chattanooga is on Eastern Standard Time.

Those four new Michelins were a little mushy. Although I was only able to make them speak on one very tight freeway onramp (I think Exit 178 from I-24 East to 27 North), the tires at recommended inflation did not lend themselves to the rail-like tracking I have come to prefer. Both ways over Monteagle, the tires seemed to drift me centrifugally left or right as the road curved according to the hill’s topographic vagaries.

Only one of my appointments presented for testing as scheduled, and she arrived much too early. The scheduled interpreter arrived on time according to arrangements made several weeks ago. I administered fewer instruments than planned because more in-depth testing would have been inappropriate based upon observed behaviors and tested levels of academic achievement. The referring file contained nothing of use in preparing for the evaluation.

While I was busy getting to and working at Chattanooga, Caution-Lady and my mom took Seventy-Six to Nashville for CT scan to determine whether the apparently bone-covered cyst on his left brow extends its foul reach through the suture-line and into the infant boy’s skull. He did fine, although he had to have an IV to introduce some sort of dye into his system for imaging contrast.

On my way home, I got cheap gas at Manchester, and stopped at Jim Long Imports for Thursday’s 150,000 mile service. Ugh, another expense.

Back home, CL and 76 had arrived just a little before I did. We ate a quick supper, then had to enrobe our cranky baby (detoxing from the sedative given to induce stillness during the CT scan) in his green Godzilla costume to take him around to the homes of relatives and friends for his first ever Trick-or-Treat outing. He fussed horribly at the first stop. Was somewhat less angry by the time we got to my mom’s house, and after a short visit during which my wife and I ate cookies and candy on behalf of our son, we headed home without making the other intended stops. The kid just needed to be home. So did the parents.

Today, we accomplished nothing, but did look at some more houses. I am tired again.

11/2/08, 4:42 pm:  I’m trying to make this note update at Facebook.