Fall on the North Fork

Fall on the North Fork

It’s October.  We were really tired in September and I didn’t even open up our website for almost a month, but we’re rested now and we’re even thinking about 2018.  Surprisingly, we are already booking some small groups for next summer.  Booking that far ahead is a first for us.    It sure makes us happy!  Likewise, if you are planning on bringing a group to Adventure Mendota in 2018, please call.    We can set it up now, and everyone will think you are an AWESOME planner.

For you river lovers out there, we thought you might enjoy a pretty picture of the river during this fall time of year.  It’s been an underwhelming fall with weeks of dry weather followed by rain.  Boom.  The leaves are just about gone.  Still…this picture is beautiful.  My brother-in-law, Gerald Booher, took it today while he was out fishing.

Hope you are enjoying your fall.  Winter is not far off!  Spring will follow.  And then…it’s kayak time!!!

A Little Jewel

A Little Jewel

One of our guests, Caity Grizzel, took this picture on the river.   I love it.

It’s how I feel when I’m kayaking, and it’s the way I hope all of our guests feel.    It’s a little jewel.

We’re closing Adventure Mendota for the 2017 on September 4, 2017 (today).   What an awesome year!   Thank you to everyone who supports this small business.

 

As We Enter August

As We Enter August

Hello!  It’s August 7, and Adventure Mendota is closed today due to rain — much needed rain that we are so grateful for.   Like farmers, people who work in outdoor recreation are very mindful of the weather.  While we have not had drought this year in Southwest Virginia, July was dry.    In fact, Adventure Mendota has rarely been closed since late May due to rain.

We welcomed this rain because the river was getting low.  Guests don’t mind “rockin’ and a rollin” a little bit on their kayak trip, but when the North Fork gets too low, we have to close.   This rain will give the river a much-needed lift for the next week.   Likewise, Mike and I and the staff are enjoying this day of rest and rain.   We’re recharging our batteries.

A potential guest called and asked about tomorrow (Tuesday) since we were closed today.  “Would we be open?”   I could not tell her.  We follow data provided by the USGS and the appearance of the river as well.  I’ll know tomorrow when she calls back.  The North Fork will tell us when she is ready to receive guests.  Then, we’ll get back to doing this…

Our 15-year old granddaughter was here about six weeks ago.  She’s interested in marketing so I asked her to look through some photos and tell me which ones we should use to share our experience with others.  She selected the one above as well as the following two.

Here’s the third one she chose.  The owner of those feet got a kick out of seeing them here and there was we work our way through social media.  She messaged me and said “I know those feet!”

Three weeks ago, we had our grandson working with us for a week.  We enjoyed that as well.  It’s fun to have family involved here and there.  He and our neighbor’s son, Matt, spent the week working on the river. They may come back in 2018.  Matt has worked a bit since then as well.

On Saturday, we had a busy day putting about 90 kayaks into the water.  These five pictured below, along with Matt, worked their tails off.  Some of these are family as well.    The girls (left and right) are cousins,   Rebecca and Caroline, and they have arrived the first week of August for the past three years to lend a hand.  Rebecca is an incoming freshman at Clemson and Caroline is a junior at New Covenant School in Anderson, SC.   I love these girls.  They work hard all day and then they head up to the house and fix dinner for us.   The boys (left to right) include our special nephew, Neth, who is a rising junior at James Madison University; Isaac, who is a rising sophmore at Mountain Empire; and Will, a rising sophomore at Northeast State.    I love them, too, but they are more likely to eat our dinner vs. fixing our dinner.   How Isaac’s family affords to feed him is a mystery.

So if you’ve visited here, you’ve seen some of these young folks. They are a large part of the reason that Adventure Mendota exists today.  Mike and I wanted to give some of these “good kids” we know an opportunity to make a little money. We pay them reasonably well, allow them to keep any tip money that comes in, and provide them with a way to earn money without driving into town.  The boys work on the river all day and fish all night.

I’m very proud of this small business that has also allowed me to work and live in my community. It’s something that I wish for every Mendota resident who is not of retirement age.   It’s a fun place to be.  When is the last time you’ve had a traffic jam that involved this?

Only in Mendota.

Groups

Groups

We are often asked “how big of a group can you handle?”

To date, our largest single group has been just over 50 guests.   It took a little coordination but was fun, and they stayed over and picnicked with us.

It helps to have plenty of watercraft.   We have a few.

We cannot accommodate every group.   Once in a while we are asked to include a group that wishes to take “a few beers along with them”.   Since we are alcohol free, we decline this business.   While we are not prudes, this does not align with our values or the experience we are seeking for guests interested in a family atmosphere.   Alcohol, the river and hot sunshine do not mix well.   We appreciate guests  understanding this decision.

We’re Getting Ready!

We’re Getting Ready!

Wow!  Memorial Day has come and went. We were closed due to rain. We’re going to start kayaking with unbrellas!     However, over the past few months, we’ve been busy with other stuff…

First thing, Adventure Mendota now operates with a commercial septic tank system which will allow us to grow and/or expand into other businesses.   We can handle a whole lot of poop!!

We now have two bathrooms.  Some people have diamonds and pearls but I’m most proud of our bathrooms and our Generac generator!   Seriously.   A travel writer visited not long ago; and in his article, he talked about how clean the bathroom was.  Apparently, this is important!

During the winter, Mike and I went to the A-OK auction and bought three rusty lawn chairs.  We had meant to have them sandblasted so they’d be shiny, new, but then…we just spray painted them.   I couldn’t see spending that much money when a can of spray paint is $2.    I love how they turned out.

And our rockers were falling apart. We’ve reconditioned them hoping they will give us a few more years of rockin’ and a rollin’.   Church bench got a new coat of poly as well.  See, you just thought we laid around and slept all winter, didn’t ya?

We are excited to offer Fetching Apparel hats this year.   Hats are expensive unless you buy in a large quantity, and we do not sell a great number of them.  Instead, we opted to have Derek and Rebecca Pepin put their Fetching Apparel hats in Adventure Mendota.   While we not not receive income from these sales,  we wanted to support their small business plus the 40% that they donate with every purchase made.   Animal welfare is important to Mike and me, and we’re pleased to help the cause.

I do not know what small business owners with limited budgets did before the chalkboard craze.   I use it for all of my signage.    Here’s some examples…

River Shoes at Adventure Mendota

And another…

I like the way Mike hung my H2O sign..it’s hanging from the rafters.

It’s hard to display tees.   I’ve looked on Pinterest and other places, but I can’t find something that works for us.   This is the best I can come up with.

Buy a Tee Shirt at Adventure Mendota

Below is our first attempt at displaying the tees.

Guests keep asking for stickers.  We purchased just a few of these.  They sell for $2 each or 2/$3.00.

And while we do not have the Mayfield Ice Cream freezer back this year, we will have Mayfield vanilla and chocolate ice cream cups for sale.  I purchase these in a smaller quantity so I do not have to worry about ice cream MELT DOWNs during our numerous power outages in Mendota.   Dr. Correll came out a few weeks ago and was missing his ice cream.  We cannot disappoint Dr. Correll so we decided to bring ice cream back in a modified fashion!

We are looking forward to having pictures on the river.  We are looking forward to seeing you.    XOXO Eva

The Flood of April 2017

The Flood of April 2017

At Adventure Mendota, we were excited about opening early in April.   As our third year approached, we thought “it’ll be much easier” and it was a good plan — until the rains came.   On Friday afternoon, April 21, it began to rain.   Between that time and Monday, April 24, over 5 inches of rain were measured in the rain gauge.    Monday morning brought unique problems and we  found ourselves going no where.  In both directions, this was the scene:

In the old days when this happened in Mendota,  a number of the men played poker because the Sheriff and his deputies could not get across the river.    I remember that time.

This did not compare to the flood of 1977 or even 2002.  In both of these floods, our swinging bridges were washed out.   The picture below was taken just down the road from Adventure Mendota.   If you kayak with us, this is the first swinging bridge we go under.   Other than the river ford, this bridge is the only way the farm operations at Big Loop Farm can be carried out.    We’re grateful that the swinging bridges were not disturbed this week.

Still, it was dangerously close this weekend as shown in the photo below.  This picture was taken by my neighbor, Jimmy Gill.

We use a USGS gage that is located in Weber City, VA.  The river typically has the same conditions in our location and the Weber City location.   Mike daily checks the temperature, velocity and the depth of the North Fork at this location and compares to our location.  Here’s some information he put together today that you may find interesting:

North Fork of the Holston River in Washington County    

If you have additional information or any pictures you wish to share, please send them to me.   I’ll put them on this blog!

While the river is raging tonight, she’ll be sweetened up in just a few days and back to her mellow, gentle self.   We’ll wade right back in the water and start kayaking!   See you soon!!

 

Spring is Coming!

While just a few days ago, Washington County, Virginia schools were closed for snowy, icy roads, spring is coming.   I know this to be true because something else arrived this morning.  It’s kind of blurry but it’s not a mirage!  It’s real!

Three more tandem kayaks arrived.   While we are a Jackson outfitter and we have Jackson tandems, we needed a few other tandems that have the flexibility of seating a “little one” in the center when that situation arrives.  These fit that need.   This gives us six tandems to have on hand.

But our primary business is Jackson single kayaks.  We are ordering about a dozen more in a few weeks.  Right now, we’ve got them stacked here and there..

We’ll have them cleaned and polished up in a few weeks.  Ready to get back rockin’ and rollin’ down the North Fork.

Can’t wait to see you!

 

 

 

Why Jackson Kayaks?

Why Jackson Kayaks?

A lot of thought went into our decision to be a Jackson outfitter.    Some of the decisions were emotional–Jackson is a family-owned business.  They are a little bigger than Adventure Mendota (okay lots!), but still, we like to support any family business.   Some were logistical as well as emotional–we try to support local businesses, and, admittedly, Jackson isn’t exactly a  hop, skip and a jump away, but the company is a Tennessee business.  While we are located in Virginia, we are very close to the Tennessee border and about one third of our guests are Tennesseans.   Also, we can pick up the kayaks ourselves and save shipping charges.

At first look, before all of the above, however, we were simply blown away by the perfect fit for our Class I river.   Here’s a little video made by Jackson.

We feel more secure putting you in the river with our Jacksons vs. a less-expensive kayak.  One hole in a kayak can ruin your whole day.   

 

Road Scholars

Road Scholars

Have you ever heard of the Road Scholar program?    Until Adventure Mendota I had not (hangs head in shame).  It’s a program for adults interested in learning and/or doing new things, seeing new places, and meeting new people!   Here’s their link:  https://www.roadscholar.org/

We have been privileged to have three Road Scholar groups visit Adventure Mendota during the 2016 season.

I put my new video making skills to work to show you!

Ready! Action! Cut!

Ready! Action! Cut!

Recently we have had several professional photograhers visit Adventure Mendota.   Unfortunately, I don’t have the results because they were doing the work at the bequest of someone else.   One group is making a documentary for BVU’s Explorer series about the North Fork of the Holston in Mendota.   Adventure Mendota will be included.  The other was a tourism photographer, Mr. Sam Dean.    We’ll benefit from their work, so we’re grateful.

And then there is me.  I have started to view myself as a mini  movie producer after creating these very, very amateur videos.  They are so fun.   These are the activities that make me love having this small, family business where I can do these things and give them to our guests.