Thursday, May 10, 2018

Home is within sight!

Wednesday, May 9, 2018 -

Left Little Cedar anchorage at 6:15 AM and traveled up and through Chicamauga Lock.  Anchored at MM 491, Eldridge Slough.  Nice and breezy...and we're hoping for some sun relief soon.

Thursday, May 10, 2018 -

At last we are on Eastern Time!  We left this morning at 7 AM and had a pleasant day of travel.  Storms were predicted for parts of our trip...but we only got some light rain.

CRAZY thing happened as we were going up through Watts Bar Lock.  We had just started the ascent when three F-16 fighters passed over us at 500 feet!  We were standing on our back deck with Maggie when it happened...and neither of us could tell, at first, what was going on!  I thought the lock must be caving in!  The noise was so loud and it just reverberated in that concrete chamber! 

When we got up near the top the lock master was there to talk about it.  We asked if it happened often and he said, "Not often enough for me to be used to it!"  He had seen the three planes...and the only reason we know what they were and how close they were to the ground is because Wayne called the Air National Guard about it. 

The guy he talked to said he would try to find out more about them and called back with the info we have based on radar records.  They probably DO know where they came from but are reluctant to get all mucked up with another agency...or their own.  Quite an experience.  It's the kind of thing that could bring on a heart attack!!

The rest of the trip went smoothly and we're anchored now in Little Paint Rock Creek at MM 576.  We should be home tomorrow afternoon after a stop at Ft. Loudon Marina for fuel.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Well, we did indeed make it home today.  Jay picked us up at Concord Marina that afternoon.  We were tired, but glad to be back.  Spent the weekend recovering.

This was a good trip: just long enough, generally good weather...nice.   Till next travels!

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Florence, AL to Little Cedar Mountain anchorage

Sunday, May 6, 2018 -

Left Florence around 7:30 AM having called Wilson lock.  The lock master said she had a tow in the chamber coming down now.  We told her it would be at least 45 min. before we could be there and she said that would be fine.  Yeah.  About an hour after we got there, the doors finally opened.  Obviously the tow wasn't completely inside the chamber when we talked. 

We shook it off ;-) and went on up to Joe Wheeler Lock where it was a quick in and out.  The to State Park Marina for fuel ($2.89/gal.) and water.  Joe Wheeler State Park was looking great!  People all over...beautiful weekend day.

Spent the night at Riverwalk in Decatur, AL...OK, our favorite low rent marina.  $20/night and we're tied up to a dock with shore power on an 85+ degree day!  We tried to locate the Ingall's Harbor Ken and Brenda have seen...but we missed it, somehow.

BIG storm came through before dark.  Black clouds and big winds.  We watched one houseboat try to dock.  They couldn't...and somehow managed to make it back out of the close-quarters marina to the river until the winds died down.  Seeing this...and looking at the devastation that came to this marina with a tornado that passed through a month ago (we talked with a tenant who witnessed the whole thing) reminded us that we are in tornado alley!

Monday, May 7, 2018 -

We had a gorgeous day of travel!  Got through Guntersville Lock (using the auxiliary lock and port side tie).  Considered staying at the Guntersville town dock...but it's looking a bit rough already.  And with such a beautiful lake, Guntersville, to be traveling we just couldn't resist finding a woodsy, hill-surrounded anchorage.  We did just that at the Short Creek, MM 361.  Cool, breezy afternoon and a low in the 50's that night.  Perfect!

Tuesday, May 8, 2018 -

Left our anchorage this morning at 6:30 AM (yes, we're still on leisure cruise...we just wake up early!).  Had another beautiful day of travel up to the Nickajack Lock and through to an anchorage at Little Cedar Mountain.  Again it should be in the 50's tonight.  ;-)

Now to catch up on photos:

Maggie May loves to "play" with insects.  She found this dragonfly, who didn't seem to want to get with the program.  So, Maggie takes it in her mouth and throws it up in the air to get it "going."  A few times doing this and the poor dragonfly is fatally mauled.  Maggie gives it one last chance by offering her own version of mouth-to-mouth see the results.  R.I.P. one dragonfly.

We passed a real milestone while traveling on the canal up to Pickwick: 10,000 miles on this 8 miles an hour.  You figure it.

That horrible, rainy day we had coming through Lake Pickwick up to Florence, even Maggie didn't want to look outside...

Florence Harbor in the morning...

Results of the tornado that hit Decatur's Riverwalk Marina about a month ago...

And...the big storm that came in when we spent the night there this week...

Guntersville Lake...

From our anchorage at Short Creek...

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Aberdeen to Florence, AL

Friday, May 4, 2018 -

Whew!  Left Blue Bluff anchorage at 6:30 AM.  Transited 6 locks and anchored in Bay Springs Lake near the top...same place we anchored as we came down in March.  All the locks went smoothly...until the last one, Whitten.  They were working on the lock and we waited an hour before we could enter.  By then we were joined by a john boat, a 45 ft. cruiser and a 125 ft. motor yacht (in every sense of the word, yacht). 

The "older" man (probably our age) in the john boat was traveling from Mobile Bay to Paducah, KY.  He dropped by the boat to chat when he came up to wait and we talked a bit.  Earlier in the day he had hit a stump and it threw him out of the boat and bounced the top off of his outboard motor!  Thankfully he had a kill switch on and a rather long rope that he used to get back into the boat.  He'd been on the rivers already for 4 days (making a lot better time than us!).  I couldn't help but wonder where he stayed at night...was he wearing the same clothes (ewwww)...what did he eat???  I should have asked him for a boat card and blog address.  [smile]

Saturday, May 5, 2018 -

Another long day on the water.  Left at 6:30 AM as the rain just started.  We traveled until around 1 PM in rain...varying from light rain to pouring rain.  Yucky. 

We traveled from Bay Springs up to the Tennessee River and on to Florence, AL, and Florence Harbor Marina.  We considered going up through the Wilson Lock and anchoring above, but we talked with the lock master and realized they had a big towboat bringing multiple loads through the lock.  It was 3:30 when we got to Florence and it would be at least 5 o'clock before we'd have a chance to lock through. 

We bailed out and decided to just go into Florence Harbor for the afternoon and evening.  Good choice!  I went out for a few fresh items, we walked Maggie...and had take out from the restaurant here.  We met the lock master from Wilson who works 6 PM to 6AM.  He'll be working tomorrow morning, but we'll probably go through a bit later in the morning.  Tomorrow we're settling back into leisurely cruising.  Really.

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Windham Landing to Aberdeen Blue Bluff anchorage

Thursday, May 3, 2018 -

Yep!  Left at 6:15AM and got anchored by 5 PM.  Traveled 71 miles and went through three locks.  Even had to wait an hour at Stennis.  We feel like we’ve had a good day today. 🙂. We’ll see how we do tomorrow when we face the final 6 locks before we reach the Tennessee River!

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Demopolis to Windham Landing

Wednesday, May 2, 2018 -

We left Demopolis Yacht Harbor (full fuel tank and all) at 6:15 AM. Nice day of travel. Very little boat traffic of any sort and one tow coming downstream. We actually made an average of 7.5 mph, which was unexpected.

We're anchored at Windham Landing, mm 286.2. The temperature is in the 80's...but we have a lovely, cool breeze blowing here. ;-) Thought I'd better post while we have a Verizon signal. No TV channels, but we both are reading good books...and we go to bed early anyhow. How else could we be on the river by 6:15 AM!

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Bump in the...road

Tuesday, May 1, 2018 - Well, this is the story as of this morning at about 7:30AM:

Well, we're in Demopolis Yacht Basin for the second day.  Only intended to spend one...but we can't get refueled!  There's so much trash behind the fuel dock where they let PC's fill up.  The river side of the dock is for tows concerns.  They have a broken down tow boat sitting at the dock now and have ordered parts for it.  Parts should be here tomorrow...then they have to fix the boat.  Then they can use it to disperse all the trash by using the boat's prop wash.  Oh.  And it could get spread out when the wind direction changes to the north, as they expect will happen this coming weekend.  Wayne is walking over now to talk with the owner of the marina to see what's what.  

Wayne's even considering buying fuel cans and bringing diesel from local gas station.  Trouble is...they won't allow fuel to be brought into the marina from outside.  We'd have to anchor near the town landing...dinghy ashore with cans...walk to station for fuel and back.  With two five gallon cans we figure it would take six trips (Wayne figures we need an extra 60 gallons of fuel to get to Columbus, MS, considering we'll be going upstream.

And here's the rest of the story:  The owner, Fred Hansard, met Wayne as he was walking to the dock this morning.  They had managed to clear out a little of the debris and Fred said we could probably get in there now...but do it quickly before debris came back.

We unplugged, left the slip, and refueled.  Whew!  Then we decided to spend another day here to settle down and relax...which we have done.  Tomorrow we'll resume our journey north.  The "norther" the better, since it's going to be 88 degrees in Demopolis tomorrow.  

Monday, April 30, 2018

Ingram Bayou to Foscue Creek (Demopolis)

Wednesday, April 25, 2018 -  We were on the water by 6:45AM.  Trip up Mobile Bay was very pleasant.  Mobile ship channel wasn't as bad, in terms of traffic, as I was expecting.  For one thing, we ran outside the channel part of the time.

We're anchored tonight in Big Bayou Canot at mm16.6.  Water is WAY UP and muddy with debris.

Thursday, April 26, 2018 -  We're out again at 6:45AM.  It was a good night at Big Bayou Canot.  The current against us today was fierce...and debris came in large masses.  Half the time we just steered instead of relying on auto pilot.  Oh...and Wayne called Raymarine and got the "follow from here" option working so we can quickly resume our route after a stop.  He also talked with Navionics about the fact that the statute miles on our charts are expressed not in miles, but in feet!  A message from them later that day said the change should be completed to correct this error by May 17.  Hmmm.

Mobile River is definitely at flood stage now and is expected to rise a couple more feet.  Things will begin to look better around Demopolis and the junction of the Black Warrior.  So all we have to do is get there!  Tomorrow we will struggle (at around 5mph) towards Three Rivers Lake, mm64, above Coffeeville Lock.  It will mean a long day...but we will have some good daylight hours to get there.  ;-)

Friday, April 27, 2018 -  From Three Rivers to Okatuppa Creek, mm123.  Good day, but LONG!

Saturday, April 28, 2018 - We had picked out several places to anchor tonight...all above Bashi Creek, our usual stopover.  With the current we're facing we knew we couldn't make it from Bashi to Demopolis in one day.

We passed Bashi (mm145) and, in a beautiful day of travel, headed towards Barrons Landing, mm168, and several other places nearby that looked possible (Tuckabum Creek, a bridge, etc.).  We could have done the bridge...but it wouldn't have felt good because of the "neighborhood."  We could have done Barrons Landing, but it wasn't as good as the spot we saw before that, Tuckabum Creek, mm167.5.

We're anchored very close to the entrance of the creek in 20 ft. and it's near perfect, all things considered.  We had a boat with two men come by and talk a few minutes.  "I've never seen anyone anchor in here before," they said.  They usually run a "trot" line at the mouth of the creek...but said they wouldn't tonight.  ;-)  Tomorrow: Demopolis for maybe a night or two.

Maggie May, meantime, is showing off her agility skills. (Well, that's what I say.  Others might see it as stupidity.)  At Panama City she jumped from a standing position up over the gunnels of the boat, over the water, to the follow me as I left the boat.  Well, today she topped that.  See this "walk-around" that surrounds the bridge?

Well, today she worked her way under the curtains to the bridge, under the curtain around the back deck, and out onto that ledge.  Wayne was sitting closest to that side and just happened to see her along side him!  He got up and swiftly (but quietly so's she wouldn't flench and fall off) picked her up by the handle on her life jacket.  Whew!  My sister, Reba, says we need to invent a "retriever" for dogs.  A rope would remain tied to the dog's life jacket so they could be "reeled in" if overboard.  Yeah.  If a big fish doesn't get her first!  ;-)

Sunday, April 29, 2018 - We rested easy last night.  Awoke at 5:30AM to what was obviously the first and only tow to pass us all night.  We were on the river again by 6:15AM.

As we did yesterday, we "played" the sides of the channel to keep out of the direct current.  That way we kept our speed in the 5-6 mph range.  It was a beautiful day of travel, again.  Passed one tow and were aware of two other tows ahead of us and heading to Demopolis Lock.  Fortunately, by the time we got there, around 2:30PM, we had a very short wait for the gates to open.  Good thing, too, considering the swirling water going on below the Lock...

This trip on the river, so far, has been calling back memories of the Mississippi River and it's eddies ...and the flooded Illinois River.

We're anchored tonight in Foscue Creek, which is delightfully flush with water.  ;-) 

Monday, April 30, 2018 -

Our plan today is to go over to Demopolis Yacht Harbor for the day and leave tomorrow morning for parts north.  Will post as Verizon allows... ;-).

Here are some pictures we want to keep as remembrances of this trip...

The swampy area we traveled in between Apalachicola and Panama City...

Maggie and I passed by this daily on our walks around the neighborhood.  I think Coachman Lane could use one of these!

A few chuckles from our favorite oyster place in Panama City, Hunt's Oysters.

A picture of our boat, Journey while docked at St. Andrews Bay, Panama City.  See the two pilings (wooden logs with pointed white tops)?  In between the two pilings...about a 1/3 of the way up from the bottom of the picture with navy blue canvasing?  That's Journey.  ;-)

Magster in her next to favorite spot on the bridge.  Her favorite spot is our laps.

Ingram Bayou....

Muddy waters coming up the Mobile River to Demopolis.

Views of the river channel as we were anchored at the mouth of Tuckabum Creek.