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:

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.

Cub Scout Pack 160

Cub Scout Pack 160

We meet the nicest people.   Cub Scout Pack 160 came out in 2015 and returned on August 6, 2016.

Pack 160 Launch Time at Adventure Mendota

Pack 160 Launch Time at Adventure Mendota

Here’s another view point.  I keep thinking NASCAR, but these little “engines” are far cuter.  These little folks paddled five river miles with minimal help from their parents and Adventure Mendota staff.

Cub Scout 7

Are you thinking what we’re thinking?  Cute as a button!
Pack 160

A Favorite Moment

What is there not to love about this photograph?   With so much violence in the world, this picture speaks to me.  What are they looking for?  What are they seeing?  What are we seeing?   I choose love.  

Good picture

There is evil in the world.  There is unkindness.  Sometimes we are the ones who are unkind and sometimes we are the ones that are mistreated.    There is also wonder and beauty and kindness.

I choose love.  


Upriver Route

Upriver Route

During our first year we were asked by quite a few folks who owned their own kayaks, “can you get me on the river where I can fish?”     If you were one of these people, why don’t you try our five-mile upriver route?    About 13 did over Memorial Day 2016, including these four lovely ladies.

customwer owned

We were a little worried about dropping them off knowing they had five river miles to paddle.  When we said “are you sure?”  They looked at us like we had grown a third eye, helped unload their kayaks and paddled off.   Girl power.  Why did we even question it?

Details…we need a minimum of two kayaks on a run such as this.  We charge $15 per kayak.   We keep the price low because we are going to ask you to help our driver in loading and unloading your kayak.   You can kayak back to your car, safety hanging out with us back at the shop, and all that we ask is that you arrive by 6 pm so that we can close up and go home and get some rest.  You’ll be tired, too, so it works for all of us.

It doesn’t work for other watercraft such as canoes or a flat-bottomed boat since our kayak trailer is…well…a kayak trailer.  If you want help with one of these, give us a call and we’ll talk through the best way to help you out, just keeping in mind that we can’t make a trip for only one watercraft at $15.   We always try our best to get you on the water, but sometimes it just does not work for other types of watercraft.

You still will need to sign a waiver and have appropriate footwear.   Hope to see you soon on the upriver route.


Getting Ready!

We are opening Saturday, May 7, weather and river conditions permitting. We’ve been getting ready for you. First of all, Mike put up this great kayak barn quilt square. I love it.  It only took him one full year to get it up after he painted it!!   (Seriously!)  In his defense, it was buried under a stack of innertubes and kayaks.

Kayak Quilt Square

When folks came out last year, they got off the river starving and asked us about food. We are adding Mayfield ice cream so we’ll have something to hold you over until you get back to civilization to town.  We operate out of Mike’s shop.  We call it base camp to be fancy, but it’s really just a shop.   At one time we played Rook there quite often and while waiting, we worked jigsaw puzzles.   I’ve got all these puzzles so I’m “decorating” with them.  See the two above the ice cream cooler?

Ice Cream R

We’ve been washing PFDs.  We put them away clean but we thought you’d like them to smell nice and fresh so we rinsed each one in vinegar and water following by a wash in Gain detergent.   Like our hillbilly clothesline?   Ya gotta  use what you have.  .

Vests R

Speaking of using what  you have.   Do you like the way we’re displaying our tees?    This is an old Canada Dry crate from the bottling plant that used to be in Weber City.   Today, it has been scrubbed and lives at Adventure Mendota with the important job of keeping up with our size small tees!

Crate of Tees

I hope you like them.   Please buy these t-shirts.  I beg of you…I will never fit into a small.   They are blue with the Adventure Mendota logo.  I’m still working on the other sizes.

Tees 2016

And last Tuesday, we had a call at 5:30 am when it was still dark and the moon was out.  I thought someone had died!   However, it was good news.  The caller said, “This is Jessie with Jackson Kayaks…I’m in Hiltons, Virginia.”  Mike and I looked at each other and said “Holy Cow!  The Rivis (Rivieras) are here!”   See the stack of yellow Jackson Riviera kayaks.  They were made in the last two weeks at the Jackson plant in Tennessee.   There are many reasons we selected Jackson as the kayak for Adventure Mendota.  There are many cheaper kayaks.  However, based on the type of kayak (sit on top), our river (mellow), and the durability and quality that other outfitters told us about….PLUS they are located in Tennessee–that sealed the deal.  We live in Southwest Virginia but many of our guests come from Tennessee.


More to come in a few days!    It’ll look like this around here shortly.  I can’t wait!


Hopefully, Mike and I will see you in person in a few weeks.  Until then, may God bless you and those you love!