Nailgunner to Captain...

Posted: 05/15/2001
by Nick Lipkowski

Next time you're in Friendsvillle, be sure to thank John Mason and the other good folks at Mountain Surf for providing take-out access on the Upper Yough.

Also be sure to thank American Whitewater's volunteers who stepped up to design and build our new changing rooms on the Upper Yough! Kudos go to Mike Bailey, Troy Dike, Nick Lipkowski, Pat Norton, Charlie Walbridge, Bob Gedekoh, Kitty and Barry Tuscano. Great work guys!

Nailgunner to Captain

Next time you take out at Mountain Surf in Friendsville, watch your bare feet. Not that we didn't try to clean up but there are bound to be nails and bits of metal shear hiding in the grass.

It began last summer when a set of wooden stairs suddenly appeared on the bank in an effort to slow the river bank erosion of countless boater's feet. Barry Tuscano, American Whitewater Board of Directors secretary and veteran Upper Yough boater built those and recently organized the work party for a brand new changing room.

On Saturday, April 26, I met Barry and his wife Kitty along with Pat Norton, Troy Dyke and Mike Bailey in Friendsville for the event. Mike, a boater and the owner of Mike Bailey Construction was there to design and supervise the building while Barry brought the materials and his skills.

Just as we were concluding the task of erecting the foundation posts, all the more arduous for having to dig through tree roots, we were joined by Bob Gedekoh and Charlie Walbridge. Now the fun would begin.

Only Barry, Mike and Troy had any experience with the two air-powered nail guns that Mike brought along but by the end of the afternoon, look out! They regaled the rest of us with true tails of nail gun terror as we became accustomed to the weight and recoil of these cumbersome tools.
Contrary to the nail gun attack scene you may remember from Pacific Heights, these guns are fixed with a safety that won't allow firing until the tool is positioned against a hard object and I am happy to report a singular lack of any accidents. Maybe it's a so-called "guy thing", but I could see the gleam in my own eyes reflected in the faces of the others. I don't think I was the only one amused by the thought of Bob in scrubs going to work on suturing up a patient.
After taking off sometime around four that afternoon to join a friend on the Loop in Ohiopyle I was back on Sunday morning with Barry, Mike and Troy for the finishing touches and clean up. The four of us headed to the Loop afterwards for a little afternoon reward and I have since returned to the Upper on three occasions and am happy to report that the changing rooms are being utilized. Whether they will help to ease some tensions that have surfaced in recent years regarding boater nudity in Friendsville remains to be seen. What's for certain is that none of us wants to be compelled to paddle the extra flat water to the town park downstream, so on behalf of all boaters American Whitewater is asking you to avoid careless and unnecessary epidermal exposure while in town.

Photos by Nick Lipkowski

Jason Robertson
635 Joseph Cir
Golden, CO 80403-2349