Here are some snapshots from Manson Pike Trailhead I took today. Eric and I got there about an hour early, and he got out on the E68 to familiarize himself with the boat’s handling characteristics. We both spent the bulk of the day volunteering. I helped fit people with pfds, Eric helped launch and haul in boats. After the event ended we took the E68 and 450 S out and paddled around until a thunderstorm got close. Then we packed up and got out before the lightning and torrential downpour could find us.
At Manson Pike Trailhead in Murfreesboro this Saturday 26 June 2010 from 8:00 am until 12:00 anyone who wants to can borrow kayaks, canoes, pfds and paddle an easy, roped-off stretch of the Stones River. Various organizations will be present with booths. According to what I’ve seen at Stones River Watershed Association, Dick’s Sporting Goods will give away by drawing a kayak and a paddle.
After several months, it has become clear that I’ll need shoulder surgery to remove bone spurs from my painful shoulder’s acromium. The specialist said at the same time he will “clean up” the partial tear in the supraspinatus – which means he’ll trim the bit of muscle that’s peeled back like a hang-nail in hopes that will allow it to heal properly. Said also that if too much of the muscle appears to have pulled away from the bone, he’ll fix it with a titanium screw. He said he normally uses the titanium, as opposed to the bio-absorbable variety, screw.
The specialist’s clinic is large, successful, and staffed with a number of nurses and other techs. I observed a large number of slender attractive blonde women in their 50s wearing scrubs walking about. A number of the younger female techs were also slender, blonde, and pretty. I deduced that at least one of the partners in that practice has an aesthetic preference for slender, pretty blonde women, and has been involved in their hiring for probably the past 25 years. The apparently habitually cast facial expressions of the older women varied, and I guessed that had to with both the experienced quality of the present day, and also with their experienced long-term outcome in the work environment.
On the way home yesterday, our realtor phoned. I found a place to pull over and called her back. She’d presented the offer on that traditional ranch-style house in a neighborhood near the country club. It’s been on the market for some 515 days and vacant, I’d guess, for more than two years. The seller’s counter-offer was 19 thousand less than their already drastically reduced asking price. We countered with an offer that was three thousand dollars less than that, and the sellers accepted. If things actually work out and we move in there, it will be God’s little joke on those who have dedicated their lives to the Stepford social status rat-race. Come to think of it, that rat-race may already be God’s joke on those people.
No matter, the house is bigger than our current residence, has an attached two-car garage, a sun-room, three and a half bathrooms, attic storage, large sunny rooms, a fireplace, better than adequate interior closet storage, big kitchen, and so forth. I should be able to arrange installation of a garage ceiling storage/pulley “system” for a kayak.
Because I already knew we’d be vacating our current house, the one we’ve sold, by month’s end, I scheduled my surgery for the middle of next month. Should give us time to get painting, carpeting done and get moved in.
Yesterday afternoon I started a physical therapy program after a range of motion evaluation – cervical spine, shoulder and arm strength, etc. Painful and uncomfortable massage. Patient education about posture – that was the most difficult – understanding that my habitual sitting posture has over the years resulted in chronic pain that thinks Ibuprofen and Acetaminophen are candy. Spastic trapezius.
Today I’ve been practicing the exercises the therapist prescribed.
I’ve procrastinated some, but also got some paperwork completed that has been left too long undone.
The physical therapist told me not to kayak for a “short time.” Maybe some time this month I’ll get on the water.
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.
This’ll probably be my last post about Morris Ferry Landing until the United States Air Force contracts with the relative of a hack careerist retired to a lucrative consultancy to build condos on the site in order to sell same to executives of some of the aerospace and other firms doing business as contractors at Arnold Engineering and Development Center. Well, that’s speculative. If things turn out differently, I’ll report that, too, if I wind up knowing about it. Like most Americans, I want to believe that hack careerists of the sort I’ve described end their careers with demotions or shunted into positions that declare their dishonor and inadequacy to the discerning observer.
I hurried through a two sandwich lunch after church Sunday, that is, yesterday, strapped down the kayak (I’d already set it atop Thursday, the silver 850, Saturday night after loading my gear in the trunk). Changed into polypro, and drove out to Old Brick Church boat ramp. On the water by 2:30, my stupid should immediately began to hurt. The big lunch sat uneasy in my distended-feeling gut as I tried to concentrate on paddle cant, torso rotation, and legwork to reduce shoulder strain. The wind was sort of at my back as I paddled past the Island of the Birds, a trick of that wind sparing my olfactory the rookery’s smell.
Not many boats on the water Sunday afternoon. To my right I could see what looked like an inflatable city at the base’s enlisted recreational beach. I paddled left toward the causeway for a last look at Morris Ferry Landing before it enters the past tomorrow, 9/30/08.
The former vacation colony was now mostly bare hillside and waterfront. The docks remained. I some camper trailers about three lots up the hill from the water’s edge. I could hear power tools being used somewhere out of site. The rustic covered boat slips were just about completely empty. All the larger, permanent trailers were gone.
Someone had pitched a beige, red-fly Coleman dome-tent adjacent the cafe/store. No boats were tied up at the dock. Most of the travel trailers that’d been near the bathrooms were gone. The small trailer with sign advertising some small construction business was still there. Someone had the engine-covers up and appeared to be working in the bilge of the big houseboat across from the fuel dock. IV, Lynda, and Isaac Hill’s vacation cottage had been reduced to a pile of structural timber, insulation, splinters, and one very old camper trailer. IV and another man were working to complete demolition. Hardware had been moved to one side. Nowhere really to burn the debris.
IV Hill said he wished the Air Force had had the courage to tell the residents plainly why they have chosen to close Morris Ferry Landing. “We’re all grownups,” he said, “It is their land, so there’s no reason why they shouldn’t just say what they have in mind.” Tearing down the cottage has been emotional for him, he said. He remembered holidays at the site as a child, then the summers with his own wife and son. “We’ll find a way to come back,” he said, “even if we just bring our boat on a weekend.”
I paddled out and to my right, near where I photographed the red bucket tractor a couple of weeks ago. A couple of guys who looked like they were repairing something on a pontoon boat asked if I was having any luck. Not fishing, just paddling, I said. Working, not fishing, one of them replied.
I saw a tree with pods that’ve dried – gone to seed – as I paddled beside the causeway on the AEDC side of the lake.
On the way back to my put in, I met a couple of women paddling bright yellow sit on top kayaks. Audrey and Shawn, I think they said, were their names. At the boat ramp, a couple’d brought their beagle to the water. The happy yearling walked right in, then strained against the leash to get a closer look at the kayak on the grass, near my car.
Last night I dreamt I flew my red kayak after the sun set to familiar waters among people I don’t know to a house on the water where we made ourselves somewhat chaotically at home. Usually in my dreams when I fly I require no conveyance other than my mind my will my astral self. I am experimenting without commas.
I’m getting back into a strength training routine. Last night worked legs, back, biceps. Tonight plan chest, shoulders, triceps. I will probably work in abs or aerobic today, as well. What good’s being skinny without muscle tone.
On another note, I’ve completely wrecked my online anonymity with Facebook. It was kind of wrecked, anyway, as family members had already found both this blog and its precursor. I had also given out the address to some friends, but they are people who know me as I am now, not through the lens of family role and system, so I don’t mind that they also know my angst, embarrassments, rages, bitterness, brilliant insights and excruciating fluency in this written word, my broken preferred medium of communication.
Still, it’s good to weigh-in at 165#, explore watery paths by kayak, to see with my eyes and know with my mind.
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.
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.