Blue Hole Summer 2018 Roadtrip Diary

Here's a final update for my 2018 journeys up to Tennessee and to Blue Hole!

Dates Plans Comments
May 15th and 16th, 2018 Tuesday and Wednesday roadtrip POSTPONED I postponed this trip until the following week due to rain and cool temps, and then cancelled the postponed journey for the same reason.
May 29th and 30th Tuesday and Wednesday roadtrip cancelled Bad weather and unsafe river flow were again the culprit.
June 3rd and 4th Tentative post-RenFaire roadtrip scrapped The river-flow information indicates current and anticipated volumes of 2,400 cubic feet/sec for the next few days due to runoff from 3 weeks of rainy weather and Tropical Storm Alberto, so this looks to be a no-go.
June 12th and 13th Postponed due to unsafe higher flow on the 12th The Ocoee basin appears to be "right on the edge" as far as drainage flow goes, and heavy rainfall in the area on Monday the 11th caused TVA to flow the river higher on, no roadtrip. I will try to reschedule for next week.
June 19th and 20th Tuesday and Wednesday "makeup" roadtrip made! Photos and videos -- using a GoPro Hero2 -- are posted publically on my FB profile here!
I've also started my 2018 YouTube video playlist here.
FINALLY my first trip up to TN and saw a lot of cool people -- some old acquaintances and some new. Aside from a downpour with no lightning on Tuesday, the weather was great and the flow wasn't as high as I'd been dreading.
June 26th and 27th Tuesday and Wednesday roadtrip made! The flow was a few inches higher than last week due to rainfall (no dam releases) and the water temp about the same at around 80F. A wide severe thunderstorm system threatened late in the day on Tuesday but despite warnings being issued, it wasn't too bad at Blue Hole, just a little gusty and no thunder observed; Wednesday brought one storm at around 3:30 pm (chased many folks out) and a second storm system came in at around 7pm, chasing ME out. :)
Still it was a pretty good two days. Great to see my friend David J. there after 10 months away in NJ, and great to see a lot of cool folks, including a Boy Scout troop that arrived at the tunnel area even before I did on Wednesday, but with no masks or goggles. They failed to Be Prepared. :)
Photos and videos are now posted here publically on my Facebook profile. I'll also be adding the vids to my YouTube playlist shortly, here.
July 3 - July 4th Tuesday and Wednesday roadtrip made! Pics and vids are now available in this open gallery on Facebook and the vids are also added to my 2018 Blue Hole YouTube playlist.
VERY busy both days as expected during a holiday week, but no rain at Blue Hole for once. On Tuesday a huge group of 20 church vans and buses arrived just as I did at 2 pm (they backed up traffic onto US 64!) but left at 4 pm; in the interim I just hung out in the water in front of the Whitewater Center. Afterward I met some awesome people at Blue hole, including Caleb and Thomas, both of whom returned the following day with different friends.
On Wednesday the 4th, two big groups of summer campers alternated their time at Blue hole -- complete with lifeguards -- but after some discussion they took my advice and limited the number of kids in the tunnel area to around 5-7 at a time. I loaned out extra masks and goggles to improve their visit. Each group only stayed about an hour so it wasn't too bad.
July 17th - 18th Tuesday and Wednesday roadtrip made! Pics and vids are now posted in this album on my Facebook profile and also in my 2018 YouTube playlist.
Great to see Thomas, Austin, Phillip, Keaton and a few others from prior visits, and to meet new folks and make new friends like Jarrod, Matthew, Corey, Ryan the freediver and others. It was especially cool to see Kathleen for the first time since she appeared in photos of our group at Blue Hole back in 1998. (!)
July 24th - 25th Tuesday and Wednesday roadtrip made Pics and vids are now posted here on Facebook (public gallery). Videos are now also available in my 2018 Blue Hole YouTube playlist.
This was a decent visit, nowhere near as good as last time because the river was much higher, cloudier and colder than before. This was due to a "surprise" release from Ocoee #3 dam on the morning of the 24th between 2:30 and 7 am. Conditions were improved on the 25th but the water was still chilly, at 79F, and running much higher than normal as you can see in the pics. It was good to see Jarrod, Corey and Phillip again, and talk to some new, cool folks.
August 7th - 8th Roadtrip scrapped TVA began releasing 2,000+ cubic ft./sec of water at 1 pm on the 7th and has continued into the overnight with "predicted outflow" for August 8th and 9th over 2,000, so this roadtrip will have to be scrapped. The Ocoee Dam #3 page indicates very high predicted outflow over the next few days. Wet summers suck.
August 14th - 15th Tuesday and Wednesday "make-up" roadtrip made! Lots of rain runoff caused the river to be higher and the water cooler than I'd prefer, but overall this was a good trip and I met some really cool people, like Blayne and Oceana, and also Calvin, Abner, Ian, Sidney and Emily as an extended family unit. It was also cool to meet "Starkey,"a river guide who brought his scuba gear on Tuesday, and to see Jarrod P. there, albeit briefly, on Tuesday. Photos and one video are now posted here on my Facebook profile. I've also added the video, just a relaxed swim through the tunnels, to my 2018 Blue Hole Ocoee playlist on YouTube.
August 21st - 22nd Last Tuesday and Wednesday roadtrip made! This was a chilly visit, but actually better than I expected and I made a few more awesome friends! Pics and vids are now posted in this public gallery on Facebook and also in my 2018 Blue Hole Ocoee playlist on YouTube.
August 28th Pre-DragonCon, rare Tuesday-only roadtrip made! Really nice weather and much warmer water temps helped make this one of the best days this summer. Great to see Cage and Dillon from last week again, and also a surprise (to me) visit by Thomas and two friends. I just wish they all could have stayed longer.
Pics and vids are now posted in this public gallery on Facebook and also in my 2018 Blue Hole Ocoee playlist on YouTube.
September 23rd "Surprise" post-rafting-season weekend trip made! With warm weather continuing up through the weekend of September 22nd and 23rd I noticed that the weekend marked the end of the summer rafting/kayaking season for the Upper Ocoee, and the water would not be running high for the I snuck up to Tennessee for a quick, extremely rare weekend visit on Sunday the 23rd. Last year the weather turned cold before the rafting season ended so this really couldn't be done.
The weather stayed sunny for most of the day and the water, at 78-80F, wasn't too bad. Not many people there on Sunday either, which was surprising since this weekend will probably be the LAST and only chance the locals had to visit the river on a weekend...and the weather is turning colder right after this weekend. Goodbye, Summer!
Three friends I'd made over the summer, Cage, Blayne and Creed, were able to come out and we had a good time. Pics and vids from this trip are now posted in this public gallery on Facebook and I've added the vids to my 2018 Blue Hole Ocoee playlist on YouTube.

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