Sunday, July 28, 2013


Planning Phase for Gauley River Whitewater Rafting Trip

Gauley River Whitewater Rafting Trip
Near Summerville, West Virginia (east of Charleston)

Planning a trip to run the Upper Gauley River tentatively September 28, 2013.  The Gauley is big, fast and technical.  Dam controlled release for that weekend is scheduled for 3,200 cfs (cubic feet per second), the
fastest water of the season.

The Upper Gauley is the more severe portion of the river.  The Upper Gauley is a 12-mile run starting at Summerville Dam and consists of 60+ rapids, Class III – V+.  There are five V+ rapids in the run! The river drops 335-ft over the course of the run.

We will be taking either four-man or six-man rafts (smaller the boat the greater the cost but the more technical the run).

Non-stop the river is 10-hours from Memphis, we are planning a three-day weekend leaving Thursday evening, September 26th after work, and driving to Mammoth Cave in Kentucky, spend Friday at the caves then on to Gauley in West Virginia, rafting on Saturday. The trip would be three-nights.

Total cost for caves, rafting, gas, and lodging is estimated at around $400 per person.
Must be 18 or older (I've got that covered!) and it is recommended that you have prior Class IV experience, but is not mandatory (physically fit and the ability not to panic under pressure is key).

Contact me with questions.  I will update this site as more information becomes available.
Email me at:

Link to
for short 5-min video.

Thursday, July 04, 2013


Memphis Soaring - Glider Ride

Memphis Soaring located at Lawrence Field, in Cherry Valley, just north of Wynn, Arkansas was the location for this outing.  The glider club is located about one and a half hours WNW of Memphis and the Mississippi River near the highest physical feature in  Eastern Arkansas, Crawley's Ridge.  I had called in advance and made arrangements to take a flight in one of their tandem gliders.  The pilot Ed had been flying for several hours that day and warned me that the conditions were not good for an extended flight in the heavy tandem seat trainer gliders.  Having driven the distance, I was willing to take a chance in hopes of finding lift once airborne. 

The glider plane sat on the grass runway tilted to one side with its albatross like wings juxtaposed -- one tip on the ground and the other sticking in the air.  Ed had me sit on the side of the cockpit and lower myself into it as one would entering a narrow bathtub.  He explained the cockpit configuration consisting of rudders, a control stick, cable release, flap controls, trim lever, air break, instrument panel, and radio, and showed how they were operated.  After ensuring my shoulder and lap harness was securely in-place, he eased into the rear seat of the glider, positioned himself and closed the bubble canopy.

A ground-crewman secured the tow rope to the nose of the glider as Ed went through his preflight checks.  Once all was deemed to be in order, he gave the thumbs up and the tow pilot slowly taxied forward, eliminating the slack in the tow rope.  With a taught line the tow pilot revved the engine, released the brake and roared down the 3,600-ft grass runway.  The glider was airborne instantly and floated behind the tow plane as it cleared the ground and rapidly gained elevation.
With the surface temperature over 90-degrees and the sky full of cumulus clouds it looked like an ideal day for soaring; in this case it was a deception, for Ed was unable to find a thermal for additional lift.   A thermal is basically a column of rising air formed when the sun heats the ground.  Ed went as far as to pilot us over a burning wheat field in an attempt to achieve lift, without success.

I watched the tow plane descend and took in a bird’s eye view of Crawley’s Ridge.  The landscape was gridded by fields of wheat and corn to the west, and the ridge to the east.  Ed search for lift as we descended, but the variometer remained silent, indicating no rising air.
Approximately 15-minutes after release from the tow plane, the pilot began his approach to Lawrence Airfield.  Ed touched down in a controlled, smooth manner and taxied the glider all the way up to its hanger before applying the brake.
Ed stated that normally a check flight last closer to an hour than our 15-minute of soaring.  
From the conversation of the pilots present and my short check flight, gliding looks like a hobby that could be both challenging and rewarding.

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