How to Donate

All donations will go directly to Team River Runner (TRR).

I want to challenge you to look at the Team River Runner website, their youtube testimonials, and what this organization provides for veterans with any disability. If every veteran donated $1.00, we would more than surpass our goal.

Under Donation Target* – Select TN-Chattanooga from the drop down menu.

Please click HERE to donate.

Day 6

Guntersville Lake is humongous, and today I ran 19.75 miles. Pulled out of Goose Pond this morning, set my course at 230 degrees, and ran a straight line for over 13 miles before changing course. It was a hard paddle because it is slack water, and with it being so wide if you stop paddling, you just stop. The last 3 plus hours the boat traffic was brutal. Big cruisers would run within 30 feet of me without ever backing off the throttle. I’m camped tonight 6 miles from the Guntersville lock, and tomorrow I will be a little closer to sea level. My home away from home this evening is the hammock.

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Day 5

Left the island at 8:00 this morning with a gift of about 50 mosquito bites. I called my friend Debbie Smith yesterday and asked if she could make reservations at Goose Pond for a cabin and a slip at the marina for my kayak. She did and covered the cabin on her tab. Thank you Deb,  you’re inspiring. Deb’s husband Huck, who passed about 6 years ago, taught me how to plot, chart, and navigate on rivers and open water. We ran the Tennessee river, crossed Mobile Bay from dog river to Sandestin and back. It’s what people give you in life that help you succeed in the future. Thanks, Huck.

On my way to Goose Pond, I had the wind at my back and cloudy skies. I traveled 13.65 miles in 4 hours 20 min, with an average travel time of 4.1 miles per hour. When arriving at Goose Pond Marina, I was met by a lady (Kelly) who asked if I was Fred Vail, to which I replied yes mam. She said, “We have been following your blog.” They treated me like royalty, took my pic with the boat, let me use the courtesy car to check into the cabin, helped me unload my gear, stored my kayak in dry storage over night, and are letting me use the courtesy car until tomorrow morning. WOW. First thing I did when I got to the cabin was take a loooong hot shower, and then went to their grill for a burger and fries.

Back at the cabin plotting for tomorrow’s run and wishing all the women a Happy Mother’s Day.

Living the dream
GO TEAM RIVER RUNNER
Always remembering my mission to promote my veteran Brother.

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Bridge to Scottsboro, AL

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Candid shot of Drew Butler, Dan Gill, and Kelly Richardson

Day 4

Things are funnier in reality than fiction ya’ll. I’m having a rest day due to the weather, and kicked back in my tent listening to the rain and watching the ants crawl on the outside of it. I decided to tell this story, a true story that proves reality is funnier than fiction.

Being the nature boy that I am, I crawl out of my tent about 7am this morning, stand up, and take two steps forward. I can hear a thumping on the ground, and something crashing through the brush. What do I look up and see but a wild bore, not a little pig mind you, but a big brownish red ugly wild bore. Here I stand totally naked, as we stare at each other eye to eye, not 20 feet apart.

My heart pounding and consumed with fear, I dive in my tent to grab my canned air horn, turn around turn quickly, and hit the button to hear a blast only an air horn can make. However, before I could hit the button, the bore had already turned and started to run away. Standing there naked with an air horn in my hand, tip-toeing thru poison ivy with my heart still pounding, The realization that the sight of a naked 60 year old man standing in the woods was so scary to a wild bore that it made it turn and run, almost hurt my feelings. OUCH the truth hurts.

My current camp site is on a island about 4 miles long and half a mile wide. I will hang here because of thunder storms coming rolling in. When leaving yesterday, I was dragging my kayak fully loaded with gear over a submerged log. I heard a sizzle as I pulled it, and felt a crease on the left side in the gel coat. After a crazy morning and after enjoying coffee (thanks Justin) and granola, I checked the inside of my kayak and was shocked to see a crack in the fiberglass. I built a maintenance kit for the trip, which included carrying stuff you never want to use like Marine-Tex, which repairs fiberglass even under water. As I was repairing my booboo, the thunder began to roll on and on. I’m thinking with a smile on my face, only a insane person would be happy in this situation. Ahhh, the things we do for what we love.

Living the dream.

GO TEAM RIVER RUNNER

 

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Day 3

Fred was able to sleep last night and started out on the water about 830 this morning. He covered 17.41 miles in about 5 1/2 hours today. The wind was strong and the waves were breaking over the bow, which slowed him down. He has his full tent setup this evening, and will probably take tomorrow off to rest.

Fred has paddled 74 of the 700 plus miles thus far, and is enjoying his journey.

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Beautiful sunset view from the hammock last night

 

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Widows Creek Plant
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Stevenson Bridge

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Day 2

Fred paddled for about 6 hours today and covered 21 miles. He breezed through the Nickajack lock this morning with no problem. A strong head wind slowed his progress to 2-3 miles per hour at times, but he was also able to reach a top speed of 8 miles per hour. As you can see below, he has made camp about 20 feet up the side of a hill, and will be getting some shut eye this evening nestled in a cozy hammock.

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Nickajack lock
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Bridge at South Pittsburg
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The view below from camp site
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Day 2 hillside getaway

Day 1: The Journey Begins

Thank you to everyone who showed up this morning to see Fred off on his amazing adventure. He was overwhelmed by your outpouring of love and support. Fred was accompanied by his friend David for the 1st leg, and they paddled an incredible 36 miles today. Stayed tuned for more daily updates and hopefully some great pictures from the water as Fred continues on his journey to raise funds for Team River Runner.

If you click on the date at the top of the daily posts, you can leave a note of encouragement for Fred!

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How to DONATE:

All donations will go directly to Team River Runner (TRR).

I want to challenge you to look at the Team River Runner website, their youtube testimonials, and what this organization provides for veterans with any disability. If every veteran donated $1.00, we would more than surpass our goal.

Under Donation Target* – Select TN-Chattanooga from the drop down menu.

Please click HERE to donate.