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 grin...no 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.

K10

For all this, many thanks!

Let’s Hit The Water Sunday May 10

Let’s Hit The Water Sunday May 10

A picture says a thousand words is an expression I’ve heard..

Tubes Donut

Having fun…feeling and acting carefree…

Kaykers Out on River

Someone close to me shared that he took his family to a movie this weekend.  I asked “Which movie?” and he could not recall. Somehow I think that Alexis will recall exactly where she was Sunday afternoon…tubing with two friends on that lazy North Fork..

Alexis

It’s a great place to make a memory…driving out to the country and then getting in the water.

Tubing 15

With a few friends it’s even better..hope no fish nibble on their toes.

Tubing 051015 1

 

Come see us and Float the Fork in 2015! XOXO Eva

 

 

 

 

Adventure Mendota Day One

Adventure Mendota Day One

We opened and everyone in the country has asked “how did ya do?”   Everyone was curious.  We were, too!   In Mendota, we have never had anything like Adventure Mendota and we’re all wondering “will they come?”  It’s not unlike the movie “Field of Dreams!!

This was compounded by our uncertainty on whether we’d be open on May 2.  We knew the weather would be nice, but we weren’t sure if river conditions would be suitable.

Our friends showed up and we had fun, but we didn’t have “real” customers.   However, if we couldn’t have real customers, we had the next best thing.   They called.  They emailed.   We don’t know whether to answer our phone with “hello” or “Adventure Mendota” because the calls come in at odd times.  We don’t care!  We love it!    Thank you to those who called.

The day opened with a surprise front-page article by Marci Gore of the Kingsport Times News.  I am so grateful for Marci!  Adventure Mendota in the Kingsport Times News.     One thing I’m learning about the media is that they want us to succeed as much as we wish to succeed.  Certainly, they are looking for things that readers are interested in, but they also are back at their computers cheering for us.   You’ll see more media attention in the coming weeks, but Marci’s article was the first, and it is working well.    Following Marci’s article, people want to know how to get here, what days we’re open, and to talk about guide fishing.   We’ve had reservations!   Woohoo!    

We had some fun!  Who doesn’t love DeeDee and Eric Taylor?  Rephrase that…who doesn’t know DeeDee and Eric Taylor?  If we were in high school, they’d be getting Cutest Couple and Best All Around and Most Popular.  I’d probably be jealous. 

DeeDee and Eric

And Joann came up and ate a hotdog with us and wanted to pretend drive the Fork Taxi…don’t be scared!  We didn’t let her go anywhere!

Joann Driving

Betty Wood is a good friend.  She’s pictured here with Joann.  She and Joann are talking about getting a group to picnic on the banks and possibly a Red Hat Float on the Fork.   That would be so fun to see!!

Betty and Joan

Mike…snugging with You Know Who on the job accompanied by Darby Taylor.  You Know Who is our new rescue dog, River.  River did very well yesterday.  He’s starting to settle in.  Tomorrow, Monday, he meets his vet and has a physical followed by his “surgery” on Tuesday.   Since River is now sharing Public Relations with Darby (also pictured), he doesn’t want to be bothered with doggy testosterone.

Darby and River and Mike

River is anxious to be on camera.  He’s a natural.  Look at that little tongue sticking out!   Smarty pants!

River Looking at the Camera

Gerald and Eric went out fishing and caught 18.

Guide Fishing Gerald

Eric brought his drone.  If you have not been around a drone, they are so cool!!   This one has a camera attached.  I can’t wait to see the footage.

Drone

The battery got low, and the drone returned to where it was launched…DeeDee was on hand to catch it.

DeeDee Catching

This is really making us want a drone.    Here!  She’s caught it!!

DeeDee Caught!

This River Blog won’t always be filled with “land” pictures.  I am confident.  It will take us a few weeks, but we’ll gain more notice each week, and when the weather is hotter, the river will feel so good.  Those reservations will be visits, and we’ll all be Floating that Fork!!     I went out yesterday with DeeDee.  It actually was a perfect day to be in the kayak.  The water is still too cold for tubing but in just a few weeks…..we’ll be saying things like “Live it! Love it! Tube it!”

Floating The Fork April 19 2015

Floating The Fork April 19 2015

We are two weeks from opening day on May 2.  So excited!   I went out with my sister and a friend this morning for more “test drives” on the North Fork.    My brother-in-law, Gerald, and Mike have been busy building a launch ramp–something we can pull up if the river floods.   This ramp will make launching easier.  It’s not quite finished but we’re close.

Launch

Launch

We tested it with my sister.  She’s in Red Hot (I haven’t got the labels on–it’s on my “to do” this week.)  She’s telling me to get out of the way.  I’m at the bottom of the ramp, and we weren’t sure if it would go down fast or slow.

Pat launching on ramp R

Here she is again.  This is such a funny picture.  She’ll kill me for putting it in.

Pat no so certain R

The carpet that the kayak is sitting on was dry, and Mike had to push her.   But she made it down safely, sliding into the water with almost no splash.  See how the back rises up on these Old Town Twisters?  It gives nice support.

Done!  R

Here I am…loving my river.  For the first mile, the river runs along Swinging Bridge Road, and every time a car passed (only twice), I yelled “Come Float the Fork!”   Pat and Margie were ashamed.

Come Kayak With Me R

My friend Margie joined us and she had fun, too!  There’s a swinging bridge in the background.  I rode my bike across this bridge when I was 12.  You’ve heard the expression “the Lord looks after fools and children.”  It’s true!!

chatting on the river R

Pat is a more experienced kayaker than me.  Here she is again.  She had her cell phone with her taking pictures. The river is still cloudy from recent rains.

Pat Fat Cropped

While adults are not required to wear a life vest, we are requiring that they have them on when they launch.  At any rate, they must always be in the watercraft.  For children 13 and under, they must be on the entire time they are in the watercraft.  It’s a Virginia State law.    I’m buying a waterproof camera at Target tomorrow, but Pat’s little cell did pretty good.  Here’s some scenery.  Back by the bluff, we float under a trestle and another swinging bridge.

Trestle and Bridge R

And here’s a little of God’s handiwork…not such a great picture but in “real life” so pretty.   These are Virginia Bluebells.

Virginia BlueBells R

Margie took this of Pat and me when we got out.  The float is five river miles, and since the river is moving fairly swiftly from recent rains, it only took us 1 and 1/2 hours with moderate paddling. Our float time will increase as the water depth decreases.

Pat and me Small

I still marvel that we took a boat trailer and turned it into a kayak trailer.

Loading up R

Here’s our good-looking employee, Will Gobble.   Will has lived on the North Fork most of his life, is a certified lifeguard, and better yet, he can walk to work. We can yell at him that it’s time to come to work…that’s how close he lives to Adventure Mendota. Ladies..Will will help you in and out of the river!

Will Gobble

He and our nephew, Neth, went back out in the kayaks after we got home.  I think they thought they’d ride back on the back of the kayak trailer.  Not so, with Aunt Eva, on board.  They had to ride up front with the old folks!

Neth and Will

I can’t wait to meet everyone who has followed us on Facebook or sent good wishes.  Float the Fork!!

Kayak Down 041215

Kayak Down 041215

When you come to Adventure Mendota for our kayak or tubing experience, you’re not going to Dollywood. Nope. You’re not going to a Wave Pool. Nope. You’re going on a river. It’s a river that is not flood controlled and after high water, it changes.  She’s got little surprises here and there and that is what makes her so special!!   Because of that, you should never.ever.be.overly confident about getting in and getting out of the river gracefully. You just never know how slippery or muddy it’s going to be. Today I forgot that.

I was looking really good as I posed in front of the kayak trailer.

Ohio State Kayak Girl

Got the Victory thing going here…Then..there she is again….got the GoPro on.  Showing off.  Took a few minutes for her to figure out that the camera wasn’t charged.

Ohio State Kayak GoPro Girl

So GoPro or not…that murky water is calling her.    “She learned to swim in that river, skinny dipped in that river, been baptized in that river, parked on that river as a teenager, lives on that river, and now she’s got herself a little business called Adventure Mendota on that river!”

Rock in River

So she goes out….having fun “Floating the Fork” with her new river shoes on.  She’s humming Alan Jackson songs while she’s out there.   Feelin’ good!    It is so fun to be on the water.

Kayak Girl in COntrol

Getting out.  “Need some help,” she was asked.  “Nope!”  I got this.  I’m good.  I’m really good.

Prideful Kayak Girl

Uh oh.  Change.   Nope…I’m not good.  I’m not good at all..

Loser in the Water

Let’s look at that up close.  Where’s all that pride now?  And what if that GoPro had been on and working?

Loser

He asked her “Do you want fish for dinner tonight honey.”  “No…No..I’m good.  I ate a minnow.”

 

Some Big Steps!

Kayak season will be here before you know it, so we’ve been busy at Adventure Mendota. Our kayak trailer is being finished at the Scott County Career & Technical Center in Gate City. When it leaves the welding class, we are hoping she will move over to the body shop for a little “make up” and then she will head over to St. Paul, Virginia to pick up our kayaks. There’s a Twister getting ready to blow into Mendota…are  you ready? (That would be an Old Town Twister Sit On Top Kayak.) I am!

Twister

And before we go any further…here’s a little eye candy. When you cross the Nordyke Bridge coming to Adventure Mendota from Bristol, this is what you’ll see to your right. Just a typical view on the North Fork.

Helene's pix Small

Another huge milestone occurred with getting internet down to the shop (“base camp”), house and over to the guest house. We are thanking our lucky stars for the good folks at IGo. If you can see the Mendota Fire Tower, you can get high speed internet in Mendota, Virginia. They helped Mike with a complicated set up of antennae and routers. Does this make any sense to you?

RiverCliff Farms LLC Networks Pix Small

It didn’t to me either but it looked really smart so BOOM, we are feeling brilliant.

Life vests…they arrived yesterday. Kid size and adult size.

Life Vest

We’ve got the Fork Taxi cleaned up, added rims and new tires and had it inspected mechanically. All is good. We’ re getting decals that will say things like “Follow Me and Float the Fork” on the rear door. The sides will have the website and our phone number.

Fork Taxi Cleaned up

Last…our logo. Originally I planned to have someone help me with a logo. Then, I thought I could do my own logo. We are just spending so much money, I got concerned. Then I decided I could do without a logo. Then, I decided that I could not do without a logo. Reality–we needed Logan Hibbitts to do the logo for us. Ta da!! Do you like it?

Adventure Mendota Logo

We’ve also ordered our Intex River Run Tubes and Mike had his first “class” meeting for the Washington County Chamber Entrepreneur Challenge. I’ll be accompanying him going forward, but I could not go Tuesday night. It was my last night with our beloved dog, Luckie, and I wanted to spend that evening with her. In my other blog, I did my tribute to this wonderful animal. She was special, and if you want to read about her, go here. I am filled with sadness because anyone who met Luckie when she was just a little bit younger would know that she would have loved riding up and down the road in the Fork Taxi or doing a quick float on a kayak. Oh how we loved her.

Luckie in the am

Thank you for coming and visiting our River Blog. Each time you visit, it helps us with our search engine optimization, so please come often, and please leave a comment. And finally, thank you for letting me talk about Luckie just one more time.

Eva

The Humble Beginning of the Kayak Trailer

When Mike and I had that first thought “we should start a kayak rental business and call it Adventure Mendota,” we were just so excited.  Now, we’re still excited, but we’re definitely in the nuts and bolts part of starting a small business without a lot of financial investment.

The first purchase was the Fork Taxi.   Translate “Mountain Empire Older Citizens”…you can barely see the decals.  Don’t laugh.  It hauls 11 and the mechanic said it’s been well maintained!  It’s got a CD player and air conditioning.   We’re old but we still can rock!

Fork Taxi

So we can haul those kaykers around, but we had to find something to haul the kayaks, too!   Kayak trailers run between $2500 and $3500.    Gasp! That’s not in our budget.   We’re going a different route.  Mike and Gerald bought an old boat frame from  Craig’s list.  They modified it a little bit, and drew very specific plans so that it will easily hold 12 Old Town Twister Sit-On Top Kayaks.    Oh…these babies are so sweet.

Twister_yellow_top_zoom

Here’s how our future kayak trailer looked before it pulled out this morning.  Pretty humble.  But that’s today.  By the way, that hooded character is Michael and that is our beloved, very old dog, Luckie.   I so wish she was younger.  She would love riding on the Fork Taxi and meeting you, but at 15 1/2 and very arthritic, she will not be with us much longer.

Trailer 1

That picture was taken in Mike’s Shop which will be Base Camp for Adventure Mendota, but the boat is not there tonight.  She’s gone to school to learn how to be a kayak trailer.  With materials we’ve purchased and the skills of the Scott County Vocational School, she’ll come back to Mendota in a few weeks looking totally different.

And, of course, I’ll share that with you.

For now, thank you for reading Adventure Mendota’s River Blog.   And remember…we want you to Float the Fork with us in 2015!