About Carl Chandler, one of our more colorful employees at French Broad Rafting. And we’re not kidding about the colorful. Carl not only has an assortment of 22 tattoos and a fondness for doing all kinds of crazy things with his hair (and we have the pictures to prove it!) he is also a Madison county native, having been born right here in the mountains. Carl grew up on the French Broad River where he spent most summers fishing and hunting back when electricity was a luxury and most homes still had dirt floors.
Carl has never strayed far from his roots and says that one day when he retires, he hopes to move as far into the woods as possible to become, as he puts it, a “hermit”, which is hard to believe from a man who seems to know everyone in Madison County and would do just about anything for you. He’s the one you want to go to when you need anything from car parts to appliances, and watching the look on his face as he accesses an extensive internal database of relationships and merchandise to come up with just the right person to refer you to is a marvel to see.
Carl has been driving buses for the past 33 years, but he considers the past 12 years at French Broad Rafting as some of the best of his life. He thinks of the staff as family and says he loves working here because of the people he works with and drives for. Carl’s wife Trish also works for French Broad Rafting, helping to prepare the hamburger and hot dog lunches we serve on our lunch trips. Even though Carl has had pletny of opportunities to become a raft guide himself, he has often said that because he’s spent most of his life on the water, he didn’t want to “wear it out”” It probably doesn’t help that last March, when the water was freezing and Carl went rafting with one of the owners, they hit a rock with their boat and Carl got tossed into the drink. He laughs when he says….”it was COLD!”