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The song I just put up was actually written the day after Heather Heyer died but I guess I never quite got around to hitting post, so there it is now.

In other news I've been having trouble with sitting around poking the internet all day. If there is some kind of urgent thing I must do I can still get up and make it happen but in the absence of some urgent thing I've been losing whole days just feeling bad and scrolling through Twitter and Facebook.

So today I made a point of going canoeing. Lauren was interested in coming along so we made an afternoon of it and went to Panther Creek State Park. It had been something like a year since the last time I went canoeing. Moxie is in my woodshop because I repaired a little nick in her keel and now need to revarnish her and see above about poking the internet instead. So we took Constance and Patience. Patience isn't tame so I paddled Patience and ended up getting dumped. We went up Panther creek and there was this one spot I was trying to duck a low tree branch and my paddle got tangled in the tree and I couldn't duck the way I needed to and over we went.

I had put on my canoeing pants but was wearing a cotton t-shirt because dumb. Fortunately it wasn't quite cold enough that I had to turn back, but the rest of the trip was rather damp. We just took it easy and paddled around sometimes and did a lot of sitting on the water looking at the scenery.

My arms are very tired now. But I'm glad we did it.
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One of the things I learned while talking with Aurora was that Calderwood Lake, much talked up for its natural beauty by Gary, is not four hours drive from me as I thought, but only two. So instead of a daytrip being an all day deathmarch, it started to look quite do-able.

So I went to Calderwood Lake Sunday. I got a bit of a late start because it was eight in the morning before I really made up my mind to do this, and between getting everything ready (I can have the canoe ready in half an hour--the other half hour was for the warm clothes, the extra water, the right backpack with the contractor's garbage bag, the food, stopping at Wal-mart for drinks and gorp, and trying to throttle my GPS into directing me to Calderwood Lake--complicated by the fact that I thought Calderwood Lake was in Tennessee but it's actually at least partially in North Carolina. I eventually had to give up and just follow 129 south. I had checked it out on Mapquest and the turnoff for the campground is very distinctive, so I didn't think I"d miss it and I didn't.

129 north of Calderwood Lake is called "The Dragon's Tail" locally, and is much loved by motorcyclists. It is the road you might have dreamed of riding your bicycle down when you were young and broken bones were something that happened to other people. It turns and coils and writhes like a snake in the claws of an eagle. It is a very scenic road, with new views of forest at every bend, and there are a lot of bends. It is an interesting road; there is no risk you will get bored and go to sleep. I like to drive it with elegance, and a certain reserve, as befits a grown woman and boatbuilder with a wooden canoe tied to the top of her car. I enjoy the Dragon's Tail but I enjoy it methodically, savoring it, pausing to appreciate the curves rather than plunging into them.

Fortunately there are a lot of places to pull over and let the motorcyclists by.

However, rather fewer places are available for use than were originally designed into the road. Some of the existing ones are occupied by photographers stationed along the Dragon's Tail. I think they take pictures of the motorcyclists, hoping some of them will want pictures of themselves in an exciting pose like leaning into a turn. After a while I noticed the photographers pointing their long lenses at *me* which puzzled me. I'm just driving a car; it's not exciting.

So I thought they were taking pictures of Moxie. I bet it's not common to see something like her making her stately way, backwards and upside down (try *that* cyclists!--no, wait; don't) along the Dragon's Tail. However I later discovered that they take pictures of every vehicle that passes. I guess electrons are cheap and there's always the possibility that someone will want to buy a photo of their car. I think you'll be able to see one of the photos of Moxie here.

Eventually I came to, and spurned, the turnoff for Fontana Village (where I had always parted company from 129 before) and continued on and down another little bit to the bridge over the tail of Calderwood Lake, where I whipped off to the right just before I would have gone over the bridge, and found myself in the little campground next to Calderwood, just as advertised (or described on the Internet anyway.) It turns out Calderwood Lake is about two and a quarter hours drive from me, but I expect Aurora drives faster over the Dragon's Tail than I do. Maybe most people do.

The campground is squashed in by the lake, as the hills are quite steep there. So there's one camp space at a time, right next to the road, and then, well back from the highway, two boat ramps for small boats/trailers (a big one would get stuck between the lake and the hill.) Sunday was a very quiet day; I saw two motor boats as I was going out, and three kayaks coming back (paddled by people who happened to be camping at the campground, and that was it. In some places on the lake the shape of the surrounding hills would bounce faint machine snarls down to me--doubtless the motorcycles celebrating on The Dragon's Tail. But mostly it was just bird noises.

And the valley the lake is in is so narrow, and the hills so high, that for the first half of the journey out my GPS had no idea where it was. None. Not a *clue*. I was thinking about calling it "Lost Lake." I was okay with this, because the lake is basically one long (twisting) valley, and I was pretty sure I wouldn't get lost.

And it sure was pretty.
Cut for photos )


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A week ago Thursday I saw in the paper that TVA was having a kayak tour of Douglas Lake Saturday. (quick geography reference; I normally canoe on Cherokee Lake, north of me. It's a big lake, but the closest part is two blocks away. Douglas Lake is equally big, but half an hour south of me; this geographical barrier was apparently insurmountable until Saturday.) So I asked around, couldn't find anyone free to go with me, and went to the kayak tour by myself. Well, with Moxie, but by myself as regards human company.

It turned out to be a small group. As in, me, Aurora from TVA (Tennessee Valley Authority that built all the dams hereabouts), Matt from TWRA (Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency--the fish and game wardens) and Matt's little son, a bundle of energy and curiosity that fortunately never quite leapt out of their canoe.
Cut for pictures )
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The one, the only...

Moxie's Launch Day With Pictures!

Lots of Pictures; You Have Been Warned )

We went out again this morning. Because, well, new canoe, weather okay--have you seen Panther Creek State Park yet? No? Oh, you'll like this.

And you know you want to find out what happened here. )

Tip Test

I am happy to report that Moxie is stable (automatically returns upright when you stop forcing her over) with her gunwale an inch under the water.  I had to move my center of gravity out over the water to make her go.

So, all in all, a lovely lovely weekend.  In spite of the fact that I forgot to give my wallet to Alice before I tipped the boat.  I caught it before it floated away or sank, anyway.  And looking back on it it would have been smart if I had brought a big fluffy towel to put on the seat before I drove home.  But still, lovely weekend.

Canoe Day

Nov. 11th, 2010 07:28 pm
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Remember when I asked a couple of days ago how many more good canoeing days there were likely to be in 2010?

Well, one more at least.

I went canoeing this afternoon. I took the extra weight to load in the boat (wound up carrying pretty much all of it behind me; I'm not sure why that looked right to me at the time I loaded the boat, but it did. I was carrying 45 lbs in back and at a guess 5 lbs in front besides me (180 in gear.) Had no problem handling the boat but when I went to wash her off afterwards (I'm taking her to show Martin's canoe building class tomorrow, and want her to look her best) the watermarks came to 5 inches of the (top of the) gunwales. She didn't seem that low in the water at the time, but it's something to think about.

So I took the camera this time; I don't know if you will be glad, or sorry, because I just fired away at anything that looked interesting to me.

Read more... )

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