November 1, 2012
Made the run to Ditto Landing in Huntsville. Left the dock at about 9:00 and met “Annie” just outside the marina entrance and were welcomed with a proper morning calopie serenade. She is such a neat boat. The trip started out very calm with the winds picking up as we went along. Kind of brisk as we reached the Guntersville Lock and went through with a total of 6 boats.
Arrived at Ditto about 3:00 and tied up without incident even though we are right in front of the boat ramp. Thankfully, they put a barrier across it and closed that side of the ramp. Joy has come down with some kind of crud and is not feeling well. Dick and Deanna send over a bowl of boiled shrimp and cocktail sauce which I must admit I ate most of. Very good.
November 2, 2012
Went to the Jack Daniels Distillery in Lynchburg, Tn. Had to take 2 cars as Michael’s rental was still too small for the 7 of us. Lynchburg is a one horse town. Not much is there that is not related to the Jack Daniels operation. Ate lunch at Miss Mary Bobo’s which started out life as a boarding house and today is only serving southern country cooking. Good, but very similar to Mrs. Wilkes in Savannah. And also more expensive.
The Distillery tour was neat and I enjoyed it a lot. They now allow them to serve a small quantity of the plants product (1 oz. per person). We were able to sample some Jack Black, Single Barrel, and one other. Liked them all. Did not get to purchase a single barrel. You get to sample three and pick one and the price is determined on which one you choose. Usually from $9,000 to $12,000. They bottle your barrel, put your name on the barrel and all the bottles and on a tag on the wall in the single barrel room and ship it all to you. Still a little pricey for me.
Dick Sheppard and his friend Gene are Jack Daniels Squires. I am not sure what that title actually gets you, but they were definitely given special treatment. I understand you have to be invited.
The town of Lynchburg is as I said a one horse town. There are not many shops in town and those that are there are definitely dependent on the distillery. Did buy a couple of T-shirts at the company (Hardware Store opened in the 1800’s I think) store on the main (only) square in town. Not really much going on down there. It is after all a dry county and will likely remain so unless they change the law. It supposedly takes 2500 people to vote for going wet and the population is only about 361.
November 3, 2012
Went to the Redstone Space Exhibit. What a neat show. Spent most of the day there with Dick, Deanna, Gene, Kermit and Kathryn. It sure took a lot of hardware to put those little space capsules into orbit. Fascinating. Stopped at Gibson’s Bar-b-que on the way back to the boat. Not bad. A really fun day.
November 4, 2012
Turned the day into a work day on the boat. Changed the Racor filtes on the engines and a few other things.
November 5, 2012
Made the run to Joe Wheeler along with Sareanna and Good Karma. Kind of a dreary day, but not a tough ride. Joined up with One September when we got to the Park. Had dinner on the boat.
November 6, 2012
Made the short run to Florence, Al. Only about 20 miles and both locks were pretty ready for us when we got there. Had time to go downtown after we arrived. Not much happening there. Later had dinner at an Italian restaurant downtown. The couple from “Annie” joined us for dinner. Great time.
November 7, 2012
Ran to Iuka, Ms. The day started out really nice with bright sun even though it was a little cool. Immediately had to pass a tow which went off without a problem. Then the weather went down the tubes. By the time we got to Grand Harbor for fuel the winds were 25kts or better and the river was really nasty. Tied up at Aqua Yacht Harbor and realized that we had been there the year before when we were looking at a boat there. It’s still there. Had dinner on board. Tired.
November 8, 2012
Left Iuka and anchored out at 5 Fingers Cove near Bay Springs Lock and Dam. The run down was easy and there was little traffic. The 4 boats rafted up back in the cove and were very comfortable for the night. It’s turning very cool here.
November 9, 2012
Today will be a short day so we get up late. Kermit takes Rusty of his morning stroll and we watch the ride over to the island with glee. Rusty is a great dog and is very patient with the activities and getting into and out of the dingy. It is funny to watch especially when Kermit has to go wading ashore up to his knees in the mud in 40ish degree weather. Rusty could care less about what the temperature is.
It’s a short run to Midway Marina and the trip is uneventful. When we arrive, we check out the loaner van and head to town. Not much of a town, but the locals seem to be proud of it. They have a cute park. There is also a Wal-mart Super Center nearby so we pick up a few things. Had dinner aboard Sareanna while One September and Good Karma go to the Catfish Restaurant.
November 10, 2012
Ran to Aberdeene, Ms. Only about 41 miles. Weather is still cool in the morning, but heats up some in the afternoon. One September has friends from home, Jay and Sandy join us here. The marina is really the back of a 7-11 store that has a boat ramp. Well run. Real skinny and winding entrance to the marina which makes it a little scarry. We churned up a bunch of mud coming in. Sareanna bumped something. We all made it in.
Went to dinner in Smithville at a steak restaurant which is supposedly the rival of Ruth’s Chris at half the price. If I remember, the price is less than half of RC’s but, the steak is not worth the cost. Oh well, you don’t win them all.
November 11, 2012
Short run to Columbus, Ms. We are looking forward to a town of substance. We are not disappointed. Columbus is a nice town. Well kept and probably thriving. Stayed here 2 days. We go downtown to walk around and are here on a holiday and much of the town is closed. We still had a great lunch at the Café on Main St. The Welcome Center is Tennessee Williams first home. Quaint. Dinner at Huck’s was pretty good and reasonable.
November 13, 2012
Ran almost 70 miles today and anchored at Sumter Recreation area in Alabama. Joy and I stay behind and leave late as we are trying to get our boat registration situation resolved. The other boats and several others in the marina leave and go through the lock at 7:00. We don’t get to the lock until 9:30. Then we have to wait another 30 minutes on a boat coming up the river. I leave the lock and head south and up the speed a little running at 11 mph instead of 10. I am hoping I can catch the slower boats from the first lock down before they go through the next lock.
It is about a 3 hour run to the next lock and we get there about 15 minutes late. We end up waiting again for about an hour while the lock is refilled and the other 2 boats get there. I then up the speed again and run to the anchorage where the rest of the group is waiting. I get there just about dark. Long day. Dinner onboard with the group again. I go to bed early.
November 14, 2012
Run to Demopolis which is the Tennessee meets the Black Warrior. This is the last day on the Tenn-Tom. From here south we will be on the Black Warrior River. Heflin Lock is ready and waiting for us and the green light is on when we arrive. We lock down easily. The weather has turned very cold and Joy and I are bundled up on the bridge. We go past the White Cliffs of Epes which are kind of neat looking. It is an easy run, little traffic.
Arriving at Demopolis Yacht Basin, the marina is very inviting. The place is new and very clean and well run. The fuel docks cater to the commercial traffic so they are a little more worn. We did hit them pretty hard all at once. I think about 8 boats arrived at about the same time. It took a little sorting.
Tomorrow will be a VERY long day. We are leaving at first light or before. I am going to bed early.
November 15, 2012
Got up before daybreak and the fog is real thick out on the river. We have a long day ahead to make the next stop at Bobby’s Fish Camp which is about 100 miles. The fog is making it difficult to get started. We called the lock about 4 miles down river and he said he could take us if we could get there. He also told us there was a Tow about 3 miles below the dam who was also waiting out the fog. If we don’t get there before he does, we will have to wait until he gets through as he has priority.
We leave the dock about 6:15 and ease toward the lock. We are traveling at idle speed trying to stay close enough to see each other, but far enough away that we don’t run into each other. A fine line it is in this pea soup. We have picked up another boat, Odan which is a Nordhaven, about 65’, a very fine looking vessel indeed. With “Fandango” we had a total of 6 boats. Somehow we made the lock without incident and lock down.
When we were let out of the lock at the lower end, the fog was worse than on the upper side. Thankfully it was starting to burn off a little. We pass the Tow waiting to go up and head down river. Things finally start to get real nice about 8:00 and it’s going to be a nice sunny day.
About half way to Bobby’s we are passed by a Carver named “Ya-ting”. It took some doing, but Good Karma finally got him to slow down enough to give us a half-assed slow pass. Some of us were not real happy. Otherwise the trip was pretty nice.
Got to Bobby’s and Ya-ting is there, the only boat on a 100’+ dock and tied up right in the middle. Good Karma was first to the dock as he had to give Rusty a walk and it was getting dark. He pulled in bow to bow to Ya-ting and could not get the dog off as the swim platform was not next to the dock. He asks Ya-ting to move about 3’ so he could get the dog off and on. Ya-ting refuses. Not a way to make friends on the water. It took about 20 minutes to get him turned around, retied and we raft up to him. Finally Rusty gets off the boat and is REAL happy. Not many of the rest of us are real happy. We are rafted up on both ends of Ya-ting. The owner of Ya-ting is hiding inside his boat and won’t come out.
We have dinner at the fish camp. The Catfish was good. The service was enthuastic if not the most professional. The people here are wonderful and nice, but this is a fish camp. About half way through dinner we had to go out and bring in another boat to the dock which we rafted up to our starboard. The boat is the Barbara El. They are not yet Loopers, but are headed home near Chicago I think.