The rest of the story...

Here's where I tell you all the stuff that wouldn't fit in a 2-minute TV story.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Virginia Horsewoman to Ride in Mongol Derby

Lynne on Mercuric
To view the story that aired on Fox 21/27 click here. 
Note: the video story includes a night ride photo taken by photographer Becky Siler Pearman.

Somehow, a fun loving bunch of promoters with a distinctly European style have crept into Virginia's horse country.

The Adventurists sponsor all kinds of crazy adventures which you can read about on their website.  One of those adventures is the Mongol Derby.  (Click here for their promotional video)  It's a 1,000 K race across the Mongolian steppe.   The race re-creates the ride of Genghis Khan and his conquering forces. Participants must be invited and they must have the resume to support the notion that they can complete this race without dying.

That's where Lynne Gilbert comes in.  She has qualified to participate in this insanity and is actually excited about it.

As you'll see in the TV story, Lynne is an accomplished endurance rider, who with her horse, Mercuric, is a top finisher at "races" of 50 to 100 miles here in the United States.  She learned earlier this year that her application to participate in the Derby had been accepted.

From the Adventurists Website:

The Horses

Mongolian horses were the Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles of the thirteenth century. These indefatigable steeds once carried the all-conquering Mongol warriors across half the world. Diminutive, sturdy, fearless, wild and unbelievably tough, they're rightly revered in Mongolian culture,  and have changed very little over the centuries, free as they are from human interference.

This means she has earned the rights to pay the $12,000 entry fee so she can suffer immeasurably as she trades horses every 25 miles, and sleeps in local Mongol family homes while traversing the deserts, swamps, shorelines and hazard-filled countryside over the steppe during a period of about 10 days.

After which, if she survives, she will participate in: (again -- from the website) 

...Final dust expected to settle Sunday, August 13/14th, whereupon speeches will be made and holy vodka sprinkled.  And imbibed.  Riders will be transferred back to Ulaanbaatar on August 14/15th


This is either going to be the most painful experience since Khan's soldiers arrived on someone's doorstep, or one heck of an adventure.

I hope you'll check out the story on Fox 21/27 at 10 p.m. on December 18 or the Fox Morning News on December 19.  We had a great day shooting the interview and footage of Lynne as she and Mercuric galloped across the green fields of a Lexington Farm.  There were blue skies, and tall cliffs along the Maury River and just enough leaves on the trees to make it pretty.

When you see Lynne -- who can't weight more than 100 pounds -- if that -- you will likely think as I did, that you could not find a single person who is further in character from the famed Genghis Khan.  She is pretty, sweet and determined.  

Only 35 people are admitted to the Derby, and who knows where Lynne will finish.  I'm betting however that she WILL finish, and that's saying a lot.

By the way, each rider must choose a charity to support through the training and racing process.  Lynne's is the Wounded Warrior Equestrian Program.  Click here for their Facebook page.  The program provides both emotional and physical therapy to veterans using rescue horses.   

"I’m so excited that I found a charity that helps both animals and people.  I work with many veterans and have volunteered with HoofBeats Therapeutic Riding Program.   The decision was tough because there are so many great organizations that need funding but this one just seemed right for me," she wrote in an recent e-mail.  

If you would like to support the Wounded Warrior Equestrian program in honor of Lynne's efforts, please contact me at    

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

John Carlin's Virginia: Father/Daughter Team Restores Antique Boats

John Carlin's Virginia: Father/Daughter Team Restores Antique Boats: Bill Garrecht and his daughter Lily have spent the last two years restoring a boat in their garage.  This is a link to the story aired on Fox 21/27

John Carlin's Virginia: Roanoke River

John Carlin's Virginia: Roanoke River: Today in John Carlin's Virginia, we are knee-deep in the Roanoke River. Here is a link to one of my favorite stories.

John Carlin's Virginia: Touchdown Tommy

John Carlin's Virginia: Touchdown Tommy: John Carlin's Virginia: Touchdown Tommy
Here is a link to the Television Story on Touchdown Tommy.  Scroll down to find the blog on Tommy and additional information.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Lily's Boat

Click here to see the story that aired on Fox 21/27.

Lily Garrecht wants to study architecture in college, and she thinks the itch came from the time she's been spending with her father, Bill in their garage.  

Bill and Lily Garrecht work on their 1955 Chris Craft
There, they have spent countless hours over the past two years, lovingly restoring a 1955 Chris Craft.  This isn't just stripping the finish and applying new varnish.  This is a complete restoration screw by screw and board by board, and it's a true father-daughter project.

The Garrechts already have a replica wooden boat.
What struck me the most about this -- beyond the amazing quality and difficulty of the work and the expertise that it requires, is Lily's unusual love for the project.  You sort of expect a guy Bill's age to enjoy woodworking and motors and so forth, but how often do you see that in a 17 year old female high school cross country runner?  You can say I'm stereotyping if you want -- but stories happen when there is something unexpected -- when man bites dog.

The frame is original.  All the wood is being replaced.
Not only does Lily enjoy this work -- but she is atypical in the sense that she thinks watching TV is a waste of time.  Ditto for video games and most of the other things parents and society at large are complaining about with respect to teenagers.

"When I was little I always wanted to build things and I wasn’t the kind of person who wanted to be in the kitchen cooking or downstairs with my mom sewing.  I always wanted to be outside doing stuff with my hands," Lily told me.

This really is a great story at so many levels.  The father/daughter team, Lily's atypical approach and the boat restoration itself.  We cover that in more detail in the TV segment.

I hope you'll check it out and enjoy it for all the reasons I did.

For more information on wooden boats and the vibrant antique boat community at Smith Mountain Lake check out this report.  Also, many thanks to George Blosser who seems to have a bottomless supply of old boat stories.