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!



Getting Close to May 7!

Getting Close to May 7!

Wow…it was hard this weekend watching all of the kayakers driving up and down Swinging Bridge Road looking for a place to get on and take out.   We’ve started to receive calls, but we’re not quite ready to go so we’re holding firm with that Saturday, May 7 date.  Now, watch it rain!  NO!  I did not say that!

We are located in Poor Valley and this sign is up in our shop.  It’s true…people who were born here, like Eva, may move away but they are drawn back.  If you visited us in 2015, we hope you are thinking of returning, too.


We have two really pretty wedding venues just down the road, and we’re not in the wedding business.  However, we’d love to see some of you brides come out and “trash the dress” at Adventure Mendota.   Wear that pretty bridal gown, bridesmaid gown or prom/pageant dress just one more time!

Heather 1

We realize most people aren’t into trashing their dress, but I hope someone will.

Kayaks on ground

We started with 12 kayaks and now there’s almost 60.   You did this.   Thank you.   Can’t wait to see you!

Mike and Eva and the Adventure Mendota Staff


Our First Season…A Few Pictures

We sure enjoyed having you folks out during our first summer.  As I write this, it’s winter, and we’re planning for 2016.  Our first day will be Saturday, May 7, and believe it or now, we’ve already made a few reservations for 2016.  Crazy…in a good way.   Anyway, It has made me nostalgic for our first summer.   Here’s some pictures…

The Adventure Mendota boys took note of the Milligan girls volleyball team!   The next day it was the soccer team.  We had no trouble getting anyone to work those days.

Milligan and Ethan

We are so appreciative to the groups that visited us.   Early on, we decided to focus on being an outdoor activity with opportunities for fun by Christian youth and families.   We’re rewarded when we see these smiling faces.

Pix 5

In the picture below, it’s a small launch.  Adventure Mendota staff member, Ethan, is holding the paddle.  Neth is in the lower right in the red hat.  They assist our kayakers in getting in the Jackson Rivis and with a gentle push, the kayak glides down the water.  No big effort or experience necessary for the kayaker, but our Adventure Mendota boys must be strong.  They lift and carry these kayaks all day long.   Total aside…I can smell that river looking at these pictures…ah summer come on..I’m missing you!

Pix 4

What a pretty young lady!  She’s getting ready to push off and “get off the grid and into the river”.


This lady below visited us several times over the summer.  Each time she came, she brought back more family members.   She became one of our favorite guests and not just because she brought other guests with her.  She loved the river, and that speaks to us.  If you love that river, we’re probably going to adore you!

Pix 2

Here they go…about 2.5 hours of being away from the fast-paced world.  You’re on river time at Adventure Mendota.   Did we tell you that your cell phone does not work when you’re on your journey?

Pix 9

Tubers must be at least four years old.  This young man (below) is loading up his water canon getting ready to do a little tubing and getting his parents a bit wet!!    Each tuber is provided a water canon for use on their trip down the river.

Pix 24 Load it up

Adventure Mendota staff member, Sandy, gives them a little push…and they’re off!

Pix 24

These groomsmen wanted to cool off on a hot weekend.  We were booked up, but after talking with them a bit, we were reassured that they would wait until we could get them on the river.  After being checked in and  fit tested for their PFD’s, they passed the time by  playing cornhole.  About 30 minutes after, we finally got them on the river.    We made a chain gang of groomsmen!    Such nice young men, and we’re so glad to have met them.

Groomsmen in the water

Here ya go!  You’re in a sit-on-top recreational kayak on a Class I recreational river called the North Fork on a beautiful summer day.  Does it get any better?

Picture 4

Hope you haven’t minded our taking a few minutes of your time to revisit our first summer.   We’re glad you stopped by and please continue reading the Adventure Mendota River Blog.

Eva Barker Beaule

Hmmm…We Just Won $10,000!

Hmmm…We Just Won $10,000!

If I could package what it felt like to hear the words “Adventure Mendota wins $10,000” from the Steering Committee members of the My Southwest Virginia Opportunity Cup Challenge, I could be really rich.  It felt good!  The only hard thing about this was realizing that other entrepreneurs went home without $10,000.    They deserved it as well.    These are really great people.

The Cup

Sidenote…why didn’t someone tell me my sweater was too big?   It was roomy and comfortable, but let’s face it, I could have used a size smaller.   

These funds will be put to good use to enhance your “get off the grid and into the river” experience when you visit  Mike, me, River (our mascot), and the amazing Adventure Mendota staff.  We are hopeful all of our staff will be back in place–plus a few new faces–in 2016.   In the publicity picture that the My Southwest Virginia Opportunity Cup folks took (below), River is practicing his PR pitch.  He’s taking his upcoming role very seriously.  Isn’t he lovely?  He was sentenced to be shot if he did not find a home.  Can you imagine?  Thankfully, River and Mike and I are now together and he’s my “Little Man.”

ginormous picture

Thank you for visiting Adventure Mendota’s River Blog.  Please come back from time to time as we share what we’re planning for next year.   You gave us many suggestions.  We listened.   We’re working on them.

Until we see you Float the Fork next summer…XOXO  Eva

Thank You!

Thank you for a great first season.  We have loved being a part of your vacations, your Saturdays, your family reunions, your engagements, your birthdays, your bachelor and bachelorette parties, and all the other fun things you shared with us.


We have now closed for the year.   Hope to see everyone in May, 2016!!

Mike and Eva and the Staff at Adventure Mendota

Outdoor Recreation In Southwest Virginia

Thank you to the Appalachian Spring initiative (that’s pronounced AP PUH LACH UN) for including Adventure Mendota in this wonderful Southwest Virginia Outdoor Recreation video.   We are honored.   If you want to see us, hang around until about the 9th minute, and DO NOT MENTION MY HAIR!!   It was at the end of the day and I’d worked all that day and was “whooped!”

Some Things We Are Grateful For…

Some Things We Are Grateful For…

Last week we were slammed, and my cousins were here on their annual visit.   When they spoke about coming up, Mike and I were a little concerned because we knew we would be very busy and very tired.  Like the good people they are, they jumped in and helped out.    On Saturday night, Alisa and Laverne fixed a taco bar dinner.  All day on Saturday, when we were extremely busy, Caroline and Rebecca helped.    The girls may come and stay a few weeks next summer, and boy will they be welcome!

Tube Launching

It is fun to meet the different people that visit our tiny business.   Heath and Devan.  When they came in with their friends I thought Heath was very quiet.   Very good looking but very quiet!   As it turned out, he was quiet because he was a little nervous.  He planned to propose to Devan while floating down the North Fork.   We were honored to be a part of his plan.   We took this picture when they returned.  Congratulations to Heath and Devan.  I hope all their dreams come true.

Engagement Couple

And today was a fun day.  I was at work and missed it, but I can imagine how exciting it was to see Boy Scout Troop #87 roll in.  They have their own van!!    They came in from Charlotte, and we were so grateful they made Adventure Mendota part of their itinerary.

Troop 87

We have enjoyed meeting several Scout groups.  We appreciate them all, but here’s a secret.  This Scout group called when we were just in business a few weeks…before any other Scout group even knew about us!!   We don’t know how they heard of Adventure Mendota, but we knew then that 12 kayaks would never do.  We accepted the reservation and ordered 26 more kayaks within the next few weeks!   Of the 40 kayaks we currently own, they used 30.

Pix 2

There were kayaks everywhere!

Pix 8

Don’t they look pretty going down the North Fork..

Pix 1

These groups understand how precious this natural resource is, and we know that they will leave it better than they found it.  Here she is.   She is truly beautiful.

Shiny River

We hope you are having a good day wherever this finds you, and if you happen to be walking and see a bottle or piece of trash along the road, please pick it up and dispose of it properly.  It may be a kindness no one will even know about, but you’ll know.  And that’s enough.


Adventure Mendota In the News

Before we start, let me show you my river today…Oscar Harris said she looked golden.  I think she looks like those old Yoohoo Colas!  You might think this was a bad day to go kayaking…wrong!!   While I would never want to go out on the river during rapidly rising waters or flooding, that was not the case today.  The rains in the past 48 hours had given us about an extra 14″ of water, and, of course, it was muddy since it runs off of our mountain.   It was also the perfect height for the kayaks to glide right on down the river.   No worries about tugging them across rocks!!

Muddy River

We had a busy day, and there are so many layers of people who have got us to this point.  However,  I’m thinking of the media and their diligence in telling people about Adventure Mendota.   They’ve done everything they can to help us succeed.

Here’s the article by Marci Gore at the Kingsport-Times News.  It also ran in the Johnson City Press Chronicle.

WCYB sent Kristen Quon out to float the fork with us!  We had a good time, and she garnered us a lot of attention.

A few weeks ago, author and reporter Joe Tennis, and I, along with his niece and a friend, had a wonderful time kayaking the North Fork, and he wrote about it in the Bristol Herald Courier.

Thank you to all of these wonderful folks.    



When You Get Here

When You Get Here

We ask customers who come in to Float the Fork to arrive 30 minutes ahead of time.  Many ask why.

First, you have to check in and pay your fee.   Next, you must read and sign our liability waiver and be fitted with your personal flotation device.   Once all that is done, we walk down to the riverbank (a very short walk).  That’s when you see this…they are all there with their paddles waiting on you.

Pix 1

We start at the left in the picture above helping you get in your kayak and pushing you off to start your 5 mile river kayak experience.  When you kayak with Adventure Mendota, you launch as a group and you are required to stay together as a group with your new kayak buddies.   You don’t have to be on top of one another, but you do need to be visually in sight of one of our kayaks.   Today they are red, yellow and blue.

River Scene

We do this so that you’ll arrive at our pickup spot at the same time but also for safety and security.  What if you got out of your kayak and slipped and hurt yourself?   Much of the 5 miles is remote–no roads.  Most of the 5 miles is without cell phone access.  Do you see why your kayak buddies are so important?    For nearly two hours, you have an extended family on the North Fork.

At any rate, our launch time is about 4 minutes for about 12 kayaks.  Pretty good don’t you think?

When we push you into the water, that is a fun time for us.   You immediately matter how old you are! You feel the smooth water under you with the gentle current.  You might bobble a bit on  your first few paddles but you’ll get the hang of it quickly.   You feel free.   For two hours, you need to just be a kayaker.  Nothing else. That’s Neth giving this nice kayaker her little boost in the water.     I hope she loved it.   

Pix 5

And then, at the end, we’ll help you out of your kayak, load the kayak on our transport vehicle, and then we’ll take you back to your car at our base camp.   However, you’ll not just be who you were before the trip.

You’ll be a kayaker!!  (That’s me by the way!)  Hey!  Leave me a comment!  Or am I talking to myself???

Ohio State Kayak GoPro Girl

Week Seven

Week Seven

We are at Week Seven at Adventure Mendota, and we’re entering a rainy spell.  We’re part of a rural farming community so we’re grateful for the rain, and besides that, the river needs the rain as well.   However, we realized today that we needed to establish a Weather Policy, so we have determined that if there is a Severe Weather Alert for Scott County, we will stop our operations.   It’s just too risky to put someone on the river when there is potential of a storm.   I updated the website to reflect this policy tonight.  (Side note…we know we’re in Washington County but we sit very close to the Scott County line.  Spitting distance!)

We’re learning all sorts of things.   Who knew a life vest could stink up a storm?   Someone put one on and pointed that out to us.  Yuck.  How did we miss that?   So…while there was down time this weekend, we washed our PFD’s.   First we put them in a white vinegar and water solution and swished them around.  Then they were dunked in a detergent solution.   Following that they were rinsed with a hose and put on our fence.   They looked very colorful.

Life jackets on fence


We loaded Sandy’s truck with tubes.  Does it make you think of the Beverly Hillbillies?

Tube Mobile

I kayaked with Joe Tennis this week.  He wrote the nicest article.  Thank you Joe, Maggie and Raven for spending an afternoon with me.   You can read Joe’s article here:   Float the Fork-BHC 061815

We sent our first sales tax in last month.  I do not mind paying this.  Everyone in the state and local government has worked hard to support Adventure Mendota, and we are very grateful.   They understand the importance of ecotourism for Southwest Virginia’s future.

We have some big plans for July 18 that I am excited about.  Rebecca Pepin’s Fetching Apparel and Adventure Mendota will be teaming up to raise money for the Happy Tails Animal Rescue.   Supporting animal welfare is one of the goals that Mike and I have for Adventure Mendota, and we are so pleased to be doing this.  On that day, 50 percent of all kayak proceeds will go to the Happy Tails.  We’ll be focused strictly on kayaking that day, and we’ll be putting as many people on the river as we can that wish to go.

Another one of our goals was to help with college funds for a few young adults, and we’re grateful that Neth and Will both work with us.   However, they took a bit of time off yesterday to “Float the Fork” and yes, I am aware that they are not wearing their PFDs.  However, they are in the boat.


For all this, many thanks!