Sunday, November 4, 2012

Late October

October 16, 2012

Got up and met everyone at the courtesy van to go to Shiloh.  I found it a very haunting place and still don’t know what to think of it.  The visitors center has a video which was produced about the battle and it was bloody to say the least.  I think they said that about 23,000 men were killed or wounded in 2 days of fighting.  I was amazed at how peaceful and tranquil a place it was to have been host to such horror and carnage.  It will be a long time before I put it together in my mind.

After the visit to Shiloh we drove over to Savannah, Tn for a Walmart run.  Had lunch at the Toll House restaurant.  Drove back to the marina then to dinner at Rusty-T’s.  I thought the dinner was only marginal.  I also hated the TV over the table showing the presidential debate which I find demeaning.  Glad to get to bed.

October 17, 2012

We could not make up our minds whether we should leave and go to Florence or stay put at Grand Harbor.  Some weather is due in tomorrow night and it will cancel any plans the group had to anchor out.  Joy and I are going to Joe Wheeler on Thursday and could make the run in one day.  The Dock Master at Florence has not told us that they can take us all at one time.  Finally she called and said she could and we left about 10:30.  We have no locks ahead of us so it is a simple run of about 43 miles.

We arrive at about 4:00 and tie up to the fuel dock as the depth of the other docks are marginal and I don’t want to bend up my props.  The restaurant is closed.  So we had dinner on the dock.  Grilled chicken on the dock.  Nice evening.

October 18, 2012

All sorts of things are happening outside the boat.  I look outside and there are about 140 Bass boats milling around in the little marina.  Boats everywhere.  Joy said they played the national anthem and everyone stood up in their boats as it was played.  They took off rather peacefully given that they all wanted to get fishing.

Left about 9:30 headed for Joe Wheeler State Park and Marina.  The rest of the group is staying in Florence.  We called the Lock about 3 miles up the river and they said to come on up.  Got there and had to wait about 25 minutes for the water to be drained from the lock.  The last trip was a group of bass boats.  Can you imagine?

Came out into the lake and took a very peaceful slow run up to Wheeler Lock and Dam about 16 miles.  Locked through and had about 2.5 miles to the Marina.  Worked on the boat for the rest of the day.  Not many boats here yet.  Most will come in on Saturday.

October 18, 2012

Working on the boat today.  Installed the new GPS antenna as recommended by the tech at Port Charles.  It still did not work.  Called Lowrance and talked to them about it.  Checked out some things, but did not get it to work.

Couple of boats came in to the marina, however things are pretty quiet around here still.  That will change.

October 19, 2012
More boats coming into the marina/hotel for the get together which starts Sunday PM.  Otherwise a slow day.

October 20, 2012

Took a shuttle ride into town to the auto and hardware store.  Not much of a town, but they are proud of it.  They were having a car show right down town as well as a chili cook off.  Country music, everything.

October 21, 2012

Official check in for the Rendezvous is this afternoon.  Then tea and lemonade (alcohol is not allowed on the state park on Sunday and we are asked to be discrete) on the patio veranda and dinner with Looper introductions this evening.

October 22, 2012

Seminars today till about 3:30.  Then Looper Crawls and Vessel Safety Checks.  A wine reception on the veranda and dinner.

October 23, 2012

Seminars again today till about 3:00.  Then an optional tour of Rogersville which Joy and I passed on.  Then later from about 6:30 to 9:30 a local Bed and Breakfast in town held a special concert on their ground for the Loopers.  The band was called the KGB and they played a little of everything from Elvis to Johnny Cash, both current and oldies.  They were really fun.  Also, there were Smores and cigars were available if you so desired.  They took us over in a school bus and since the area is dry, we had to BYOB.  We still had a grand time.

October 24, 2012

Last day of the Rendezvous.  Some seminars and picture taking and more Looper Crawls and Vessel Safety Checks.  They also had a dingy race.  The Captain (driver) had to drive the boat backwards while blindfolded, directed by the Admiral (Navigator).  This made things a little more even.  Then another wine reception and dinner.

We had a great time at the Rendezvous.  We have however been here for a week and are anxious to get going.

October 25, 2012

Moved to the fuel dock at the marina and pumped out and headed out about 8:45.  We are getting a little late start and have a full day ahead.  We are headed for an anchorage about 85 miles up river on the top side of the Guntersville Lock and Dam.  We are leading and Sareanna and Good Karma are following.  The rest of the group are doing other things.  One September is going back home to Virginia Beach for about a week.  Seaquel is going south and heading for Florida about as fast as they can get there.  Catmandu is also heading south, but at a much slower pace.

We are headed for Chattanooga, TN.  Today is a long day upstream and we are lucky that we get to the Guntersville L&D and have no wait.  We also pick up Dave and Joy on Maia just before the lock and go up together.  We are going to an anchorage behind Goat Island, but it is getting late and it is almost dark when we get there.  Another boat named Water Music is in the anchorage and we have some confusion getting anchored.  Maia and Good Karma anchor separately and we raft up with Sareanna.  It was a very peaceful night.  Beautiful.

October 26, 2012

Water Music is the first to leave the anchorage.  Maia decides to stop and smell the roses and I can’t blame them.  The rest of  us head  up river.  It’s a little breezy and cool, but a very beautiful morning.  Lake Guntersville is a very beautiful lake.  An absolutely wonderful ride.

Today is another rather long day and it gets more windy as we go along.  We catch up to Water Music and we lock through Nickajack Lock and Dam together.  We all head for an anchorage just above the lock.  The three of us raft up, but Water Music chooses to anchor alone.  We have done almost 83 miles and are in need of rest.  The anchorage is very quiet and docktails aboard were very welcome.  We slept well.

October 27, 2012

Today is a relatively short day into Chattanooga.  What a beautiful ride.  The fall colors are strong and the leaves are falling.  The mountains are close to the river and we are fighting a current so we are forced to go slow.

We arrive in Chattanooga and go to the Aquarium Wall.  This is a concrete river walk just below the Aquarium in downtown Chattanooga.  The town has arranged with Marine Max to handle their docks for them.  Unfortunately, Marine Max is in the business of selling boats and not running marinas.

I call Brian and he come to the boat.  Later we go to dinner at the Big River restaurant.  Suzanne also came by and it was good to see her.  It has been a long time since I have seen her. (We also got to see Margaret as well.)

October 28, 2012

Went to the Blue Plate Diner for breakfast with Brian and Joan.  She does not seem to be feeling well and probably would have liked to stay at the house.  The rest of the day we piddle on the boat.  We need a day to tend to things aboard.

Brian picked us up and we had dinner at their house.  They have moved since we were here last near where their old house was.  Joan is not feeling very good as she has a bug Brian brought back from Turkey.  She is still very gracious and a lovely hostess.  Margaret joined us and we had a wonderful evening.  Brian loaned us his car for tomorrow so we could get around.  Thanks.  It was very helpful.

When we got back from Brian’s house, we became very concerned about the level of the water in the river.  Chickamauga Lock and Dam is about 4 miles up river and they are producing power, thereby letting water go through the turbines.  The concrete wall is constructed where another few inches of elevation of the water and the boats could float over the edge of the dock wall.  We call the dam and discuss it with them and they tell us that they are near the end of the release and the water level will go down instead of going up.  I am not real comfortable.  Not much I can do. 

October 29, 2012

Went back to the Blue Plate Diner for breakfast.  Unfortunately, it was closed.  Bummer.   We found a Starbucks at a hotel and had breakfast and afterwards walked down to the Arts Museum and the grounds where they have several statues.  This area is very nicely presented and we had a great time walking around.  Visited a bakery and a chocolate factory.  Then walked back to the boats along the river trail.  What a great job the town had done to bring the riverfront back together.

We went to Whole Foods and Walmart in the afternoon and got some shopping done.  We would like to leave tomorrow, but the forecast is pretty bad.  High winds are scheduled from Hurricane Sandy.  We plan to check it first thing in the morning to make a final decision.  I don’t think any of us are excited about the forecast.

October 30, 2012

We decide to sit out the day.  Instead of traveling down river, we are traveling to the liquor store to stock up.  I also get a haircut and we ride the electric trolleys to Chattanooga Choo-Choo.  They have a display of an electric HO train layout with nearly a mile of track and lots of miniature scenery of the local area.  Otherwise, it was not a very interesting visit.

October 31, 2012

We leave the dock at first light.  We are headed to Goose Pond Colony Marina.  It is a long ride, about 93 miles, but we are going with the current.  Our average speed will easily pickup 2 mph.  It has turned really cold.  However, the ride is very nice and we just bundle up a little.  We arrive about 4:30, take on fuel and then go to dinner at the restaurant.  Pretty good food and the service was great.

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