Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Early October

October 1, 2012

A long day ahead.  The next stop is Angelo’s Towhead at mile marker 1.5, about 100 miles down the river.  It is a cloudy day, rainy and cold.  Pretty dismal.  Got up and got ready to leave at 7:00 and the stern anchor has wrapped itself around my boat.  That took about 30 minutes to get undone and away we went.  Dick on Sereanna lead the way and ran point all day.  Did a great job and we had no problems with any of the tows.  Got to Angelo’s and dropped the hook rafted up in 2 groups and opened the wine.  Long day, short evening, we’re tired.

October 2, 2012

Another long day ahead.  We are going to anchor tonight in Cumberland Island Towhead a few miles up the Cumberland River.  It’s rainy and cool again and it’s been a pretty bumpy night on the Mississippi River.  Lots of Tows have been on the river all night.  We are ready to move on.

We turn left on to the Ohio River.  It is only a stone’s throw from the anchorage.  We thought that there would be less traffic on the Ohio than the Miss., but we are wrong.  There is barge traffic everywhere.  And we are now going against a fairly strong current.  We go from 12 mph speed to about 7 which is really slow.  Dick in Sareanna is having a tough time keeping up.

They are building a new lock on the river here and we took some pictures as we went by.  Looks like quite an operation.  I don't know who the contractor is, but I hope they have enough money in the bid to complete it.

We get to the first lock and dam and we are told to keep on coming as the wickets are down.  The current is really strong here and our speed slows to about 5 mph as we go over the wicket.  The water is very confused and we have a difficult time controlling the boat.  I did not enjoy the experience.  I would rather take the time to lock through as it is much more controlled.

A few more miles up the river we have our second lock and we find a sailboat named
Catmandu waiting.  He’s been there almost an hour.  We wait for over another hour until they finally call us in the lock. This is an old lock and has no lines for us to grab onto so we use our own.  They wrap the lines around fixed bollards and steel handrail posts and down we go.  One boat nearly got loose in the lock which would have been a real problem, but finally got things under control.

Went past Paduca, Ky.  Is that how you spell it?

About 5 miles  up the river we come to Cumberland Island Towhead and Jim’s Joy is first in the anchorage.  We drop the hook and call in the next boat to raft to us.  Finally got all 6 boats tied up and hanging on 2 anchors.  We decide to tie off to a tree on the bank to keep us from swinging around during the night.  That did not work very well as we got the line wrapped around One September’s prop and could not get it loose.  Mike and Kermit went for a swim and finally got it loose.  Time for a beer.

Had doctails aboard One September and introduced Catmandu to the group before turning in for a a quiet night on the hook.

October 3, 2012

Woke up to a gorgeous morning in Cumberland Island Towhead.  We are planning on leaving at 7:00 and heading up the Cumberland River.  The boats peel off from the raftup one at a time and we are the last to leave.  The anchor comes up without any problems which has been something I had been concerned about.

The trip up the river was wonderful but the current got stronger as we went.  We soon passed Canmandu as he travels much slower than we do.  We got about 5 miles from Barkley Lock and Dam and got a call from Catmandu.  He says that the Corps of Engineers is working on the dam and it would not open before 4:00.  Bummer.  We called the lock to verify and the news was confirmed.  We were told that we could tied up to the lock walls and wait.  And we did.About an hour later, Catmandu arrived and also tied to the wall.

We continued to sit on the wall for another 30 minutes or so until the Lockmaster called and told us to get ready.  They had finished the work early and were preparing the lock for us.  We locked through about 2:30 and called Green Turtle Bay and got our slip assignments.  We were tied up by 4:00.  It had been a good trip and a very nice day on the water.

We had dinner at Patti’s, well known for their 2” thick pork chops.  They were wonderful and VERY BIG.  I made it through less than half and took the rest home.

October 4, 2012

A comfortable day at the dock.  I looked at the battery charger which had quit working and found a couple of fuses blown and fixed it.  Ordered a new GPS antenna and adapter cable which will be delivered at Joe Wheeler in Alabama.  We also ordered our absentee ballots to be delivered to us at Joe Wheeler.

October 5, 2012

Spent some time plotting the trip to Joe Wheeler and Chattanooga.  Found marinas along the way and think the trip will be a fun time.  Sareanna wants to go to Chattanooga also which means we will have some company which is nice.

Worked on the fuel transfer pump and got it to work.  It does leak so I will order a kit to fix it and have it sent to Joe Wheeler.

Walked into town with Mike and Judy.  There really is not much here, but it is a cute place.  The girls are planning a road trip to Nashville and the Grand Ole Opry.  There are 16 of us going in 2 groups.  We have 10 going and have arranged for a van from Enterprise Rentals and they pick us all up to go to dinner in Paduca, Ky.  Have a nice meal  even  though the weather is awful.  Then went to Wal-Mart and then back to the boat.

October 6, 2012

We leave at 9:00 for Nashville.  It is a drive of just under 2 hours and we head to the Country Music Hall of Fame.  Quite a production.  I find it interesting, but it does not take too long to go through.  Afterwards we have lunch at the Wild Horse Saloon.  We have gotten together  with the other 6 in the other van and have a fun lunch.  Then it is on to the Hotel (Mariott at Vanderbilt) to get ready for the Opry. 

We pick up our tickets at will call and are ushered in about 6:30.  The show starts at 7 and runs for 2 hours.  The first half is old Opry.  Little Jimmy Dickens was the lead and was surprisingly spry for being 91.  I thought he did a good job.  The second half was new country.

After the show, we tried to leave and got stuck in a very large traffic jamb.  Our show was getting out and a new show was starting soon and the mall next door was closing at the same time.  What a mess.  We got to the hotel about 10:30 and thankfully the restaurant was still open.  Got to bed about midnight.

October 7, 2012

Got up and went down to breakfast about 9:00.  We caught the hotel shuttle to downtown and took a trolley tour around town.  Nashville is a happenin’ town.  There are many things to do in this town.  There were several different music venues, the Parthenon, the State Capital, and other things which would make this a fun town to live in.  There are several sports teams in the area.  Several colleges also call Nashville home.  Seems like a fun place.  Entertainment is real big.

Had lunch at the Big River.  Then walked to the Legends bar and listened to some music.  Some guy
named Buck McCoy.  Not bad, not good, just too showy.

Called the hotel shuttle and got a ride back and picked up the van.  It was a long ride back to Green Turtle Bay.  We were tired when we got there and ready to hit the sack.

October 10, 2012

Left the dock at 7:00 for the run to Paris Landing State Park which is the next planned stop.  I took the lead right after going through the canal which leads from Barkley Lake to Kentucky Lake.  It was only about 2 miles up the river.  Had a long slow run up river to the park and arrived about 1:30 or 2:00.  Nice day on the water except that the wind and waves were from our stern and had a tendency to turn us a bit more than was comfortable.

The state park is nice with good facilities.  The staff was completely unhelpful.  No one would help with the lines and it made it a little difficult.  Also, the docks did not have enough cleats to tie up to.  We were able to overcome all obstacles.  Had a nice party on the docks that night.  I think we ended up with about 8 boats.  Good times.

October 11, 2012

Headed to Pebble Island Marina,   MM158, Johnsonville, Tn.  I had talked to them for a few days and they seemed real anxious to have us visit.  The have the best fuel price we have seen for a while at $3.99/gal. w/ a Boat US discount.  The run up was real easy, but the weather was not real nice.  Rainy, cloudy, and just kind of gunky.  Got there and they were almost beside themselves trying to help us in.  I think this was the most enthusiastic reception we have had.

Later that afternoon, took the courtesy van to see the Johnsonville State Historic Park and the local Civil War Museum.  Kind of interesting.  Seems they had some guy named Nathan Bedford Forest who was of Southern persuasion who spent some time harassing the Union fortifications and river establishments in these surrounding parts.  I don't think that he was ever promoted to President or any thing like that, but he eventually became famous for attacking the union forces from both directions at the same time after he was inconveniently surrounded and besieged and generally getting his butt kicked.  And somehow escaped the fray and capture.  Must have been pretty slick.  Anyway, he's kind of famous around here.

Afterwards, went to the small local grocery and even the gas station which has a Baskin-Robbins Ice Cream store.  Then back to the marina where the marina furnished hor-dovours for the evening festivities.  Then dinner at the marina restaurant.

October 12, 2012

Decided to wait at the marina for the free cinnamon rolls and sausage biscuits and coffee at the restaurant.  The weather still sucks and it has been raining since about 3:00am when the thunderstorms started to come through.  We all met at the restaurant and decided to leave about 10:30.  The clouds are still hanging around the hills around the marina.  It's foggy and misty and damp.

We met our first tow about 4 miles up the river.  No problem.  Met our second tow about 25 miles up the river and I had to divert to the opposite side as he seemed to be pinching us to the bank.  I was not happy with that.  The fog and clouds continued to set in and we could not get in to the anchorage we wanted.  Eventually, we made the long run to Clifton, Tn. which was our intended stop for tomorrow night.

This is a small well kept marina, kind of skinny getting in, but nice once you are here.  Wonderful reception and very happy to have us.  Glad to be here.  We decide to stay tomorrow to rest.

October 13, 2012

Walked into town with Kermit and Kathryn.  It is Saturday and the town is CLOSED.  There are several shops which have signs which say open on Friday and Saturday, 10 - 4.  Only open 2 days a week.  And they are closed at noon.  The grocery store which is the only local thing other than a restaurant or bar that most of us would be interested in burned down about 2 weeks ago.  Not a good stop for provisions.  Still a cute, but dead town.

The marina seems to be filling up.  Went to dinner with about 18 Loopers at Meo Mio's.  Food was ok.  Took 4 trips in the courtesy car to get us all there and again to get us  back.

October 14, 2012

A flustery, blustery day.  We are staying put because of the weather.

October 15, 2012

Left Clifton at 7:00 headed for Grand Harbor Marina which is located on the Tenn-Tom down about ½ mile.  It is at the junction of Mississippi, Tennessee and Alabama.  The trip did not start out so good.

I was the last boat out of the marina of our group and I was supposed to lead.  Leaving the dock I hooked the water line with my swim platform and knocked it loose from the dock.  Other than making it loose, I did not do any damage so we continued on.  The rest of the boats were waiting for us outside the marina breakwater and followed us south.  About 1 mile down the river we went around a bend and could see a thick fog bank about 2 miles up.  It was thick enough that I could only see a small portion of the road way which was about 45’ up, but no structure.

We slowed down at the fog and eased into it.  The world went away.  I could barely see the bow pulpit and the fenders hanging on it.  We eased to starboard a little and the fog seemed to be just a little lighter so we continued on.  Thankfully the red and green bouys which were marking the channel under the bridge were in place and we found them and eased under the bridge.  We followed the north bank for about 3 or 4 miles coming to a bend in the river which I was able to predict with the GPS.  At the bend we turned South again and the fog started to lift as the morning got warmer.  Worst fog of the trip to date.

The rest of the run to Grand Harbor was pretty uneventful except that the current was real strong against us at the Pickwick Dam and we went past Shiloe which we will go see tomorrow.  Pickwick Lock was the 100th lock of the trip.  There will be a few more.

Arrived at Grand Harbor about 4:00 ready for a beer.  Wonderful reception by the dock crew.  We were tired and ready for a break.  Docktails at 5, dinner on board.  Early to bed.

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