News Flash: I pulled the plug on my expedition and returned home yesterday. No dramatic issues. Just a realization that I need to reconsider my mission. More to follow later.
It's been an up and down exercise for me all April. Aside from the stormy weather and cold water down south (the Ocoee River is still only 52.6 degrees this morning at Copperhill, TN), I had other delaying issues. Leaking roof in my sunroom needed repair and I started having doubts about this mission. Like Mike Tyson once said, "Everyone has a plan until they get smashed in the mouth".
I started becoming concerned with my plan. So I started looking at alternatives. But then the alternatives spawned more alternatives to the point of frustration and confusion. None of my plans were perfect. It would have been so much simpler and easier with a partner and two cars!
So I decided to be flexible. I'm going to wing it and go with the flow. Every day may involve a different approach. I'm bringing along an electric bike for self-shuttling back to my Jeep if necessary and I converted my Jeep into a mini-RV (well, just built in a platform bed). The biking will give me the freedom to paddle with minimal gear and the Jeep will be an instant campsite at the end of my paddle. Of course, I'll need to allow time to bike back to the put-in after shuttling my Jeep, so it isn't a free ride.
Alternately, I may be able to negotiate a ride back to the put-in at times which will eliminate the need to bike. And in order to secure my Jeep, kayak and bike, I'll need to reserve this approach to those times that will allow me to safely store my troika of transportation at a secured campgrounds.
I have also definitely decided to break my trip into 4 thirty-something day stages at this point. Whether I have a ‘shadow team’ on land for parts of my trip is still an unknown.
So that's it for now. I need to get on the road. While I'm on the trail, my daughter Adrienne has volunteered to be my Editor on this website (I'll explain in my journal how that will work). My Expedition Manager is my girlfriend Cindy Cornnell. She'll be back home taking care of the daily chores of a homeowner by herself as well as being my lifeline for when things go awry on the trail.
So start checking for Journal entries. I'll do my best to send a short story to my Editor when possible along with photos on the Blue Trail. Videos will probably be limited to Facebook as it is easier to post them raw while the website requires them to be converted to YouTube and then linked. That takes too much time so I'll post videos on my website Video Page after I return.
So I guess you’re wondering where I am. Well, this Spring has just been too wild with the South experiencing unprecedented rains, flooding, high raging rivers and tornados. They all kept me at bay – especially with the water temps being just too cold to be out paddling solo and risking self-rescue in dicey conditions.
So I’m now planning for a mid to late April departure when the climate will hopefully be drier and the water temps naturally a little warmer. As a result, I may need to break my trip into 4 thirty-something day stages instead of 3 so as not to lose my Summer at home with friends. That’s fine by me because I’m free to adjust as needed. I can hopefully dovetail my paddling in between other commitments and promises.
Also, now that I'm starting later in the Spring, I may have the luxury of a ‘shadow team’ on land for parts of my trip. That would make life easier when I run into trouble or when I’m stuck in an area where ‘stealth’ camping is just not an option (I don’t relish being run off with a shotgun).
So don’t go away. As Arnold Schwarzenegger use to say – “I’ll be back”.
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