Saturday, December 24, 2016


Saturday, December 24, 2016 -

We got home Wednesday, December 14.  Our friend Ben picked us up at the marina around 3 PM. Somehow, I haven't thought much about the blog since then.  For one thing it took us a few days to rest up.  We'd spent six nights in a row on the boat...and as I walked through Kroger that afternoon to pick up the few groceries needed, my legs felt a little like jelly.  ;-)

We're in the swing of things now.  Well, as much as we've ever been, I'd say.  Looking forward to the next few days as we travel over to see Dave and family.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!  Hope to see you all soon....

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

First Class Harbor above Watts Bar Lock to Caney Creek

Just a little update on our last night at Chattanooga dock: You know we had our hearts set on pizza, but the PapaJohns people didn't know what the "docks in front of the aquarium" meant...and required a physical address for delivery.  Last time we were in Chattanooga...a couple of months ago...we ordered from them but we were at the docks right below the marina's office.  Ah, well, we won't hold it against them.... ;-)

Monday, December 12, 2016 -

It was raining as we pulled out of Chattanooga and headed for Chicamauga Lock.

Fortunately for us, the rain that morning dried up around 10 and afternoon we had a beautiful ride up the Chicamauga Lake.  We stopped at Shady Grove Harbor for fuel and were ready to see if we could make it all the way up to Watts Bar Lock.  We did!!!  Went through the lock and had just enough time to get to the nearby first class harbor and anchor.  We felt like we'd had a pretty productive day: over 60 miles, 2 locks, and a fuel stop.  Here was our home for the night...

And these are some of the pictures from today...

As we got nearer to the lock we also were getting closer to the Watts Bar Steam Plant and it's STEAM....

Our view from inside the Watts Bar Lock...

And finally, our view of the steam from the upper side of the lock as the sun began to move down...

Tuesday, December 13, 2016 -

The day began as usual.  We had coffee, breakfast, caught up on news and mail, while waiting for the 7:30 AM sunrise.  We had a weather alert for this area about heavy fog, but saw none where we were. We took our stations for bringing up the anchor: me on the bridge and Wayne working with the anchor.  Wayne went inside to start the engine........and it started but stopped after a few seconds.

Knowing there is usually a problem with fuel getting to the engine when this happens, Wayne went down and changed the main filter and a smaller filter.  It still wouldn't start.  We ended up calling our friend, Ben Birdwell, who kindly drove down to the nearby (deserted) Watts Bar Resort.  It was raining by then, just to make thinks even more exciting.  Wayne picked Ben up in the dingy and they were able to fix the fuel supply issue with a process called "bleeding" off air in the fuel line.  Thank you Ben!!!

We ended up having a short cruising day because in the late afternoon it started raining again and causing fog.  We are anchored in Caney Creek for the night and are prepared tomorrow for getting home!

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Chattanooga dock by the aquarium

Sunday, December 11, 2016 -

Left our anchorage at 6:30 AM central this fog!  Nickajack Lock was waiting for us when we got there and the majority of the trip today was spent on tranquil waters.

Let us talk now about the last part of our trip...the last hour before we docked.  Suddenly the winds picked up big gusts of 17mph and sustained of 12.  They must have been behind us because we were flying upstream at a lower rpm than we've been running on this trip.  Our intent was to go through Chicamauga Lock today, arriving there at around 3:30 PM eastern.  So much for plans! We called to check on conditions and see whether we could get through and were told that it would be 6 hours before we could lock through because Bear Cat (a tow known well by boaters in the Knoxville area) was taking 6 barges through, one at a time.

That being a no-go we had only one choice and that was to stay on the docks at Chattanooga.  We called ahead and got an answering machine.  Left a number and name...and haven't heard anything from them yet.  We are tied up near the pedestrian bridge downtown Chattanooga.  The gates leading from the dock to land are locked on our side...and I presume on the other side.  Pizza delivery is, of course, on our mind...but I think we can still do that by slipping the pizza under the locked door.  ;-) Hopefully the marina rep will call us sometime this afternoon and make it even easier.  I could actually take a walk if they come before dark!!

Took a picture today of a steam plant between our anchorage and Nickajack Lock.  Then I played with the Paper Camera app and came up with this...  See the sea monster in the water?  ;-)

This is the original photo...

Things got even weirder as we went further up the river.  It looked like we were headed into a big, open mouth!

Hey!  What's a gal to do on a boat going 8 mph for days, and days, and days?  We'd better get home soon.  Not sure where this will lead....

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Crow Creek Island

When we left you last we were in Grand Harbor Marina at the top of the Tenn Tom and poised to get on the Tennessee River.  We were talking about staying several nights there so's to be tied up to the dock during the cold weather coming over the next couple of days...

Wednesday, December 7, 2016 -

So, Tuesday night we started plotting and planning and decided we really didn't need to stay tied up to a dock to see the cold weather out.  See, even if we were tied up to a marina slip/dock we'd need to run the generator during the night for warmth because the plug for our AC/Heat connection to shore power failed us several nights back.  We hadn't needed heat during the night until now.  If we plot our course so that we're "near" a marina in case the generator (THE generator that is practically brand new) were to fail us.  With that in mind, we decided to stay only until Thursday morning when we'd take off up the Tennessee.

We had no problem getting the courtesy van from the marina since we were the only fools  people there as transients.  We took off for some more groceries...don't need the laundry.  Groceries under control we struck out for Corinth, MS, and Abe's Grill which was highly recommended by Barry, the Harbormaster (super nice guy, as was Dale, his cohort). [When we walked into the marina office this morning to meet them for the first time it was, as Barry put it, "colder than my x-wife's heart!" ]

Abe's did not disappoint.  Little old building with advertising signs (authentic old ones) all over the outside.  Inside we found a long lunch counter with red covered stools that showed wear indicating they'd been here for a while.  The restroom (they are ahead of times here at Abe's) was unisex.  When Wayne took his turn to the restroom, Abe told me it might be a while 'cause he'd have to look a while at Angelina Jolie.  Funny, I didn't notice her.

Abe declared that everything on the menu was delicious and bought local.  (Wayne pointed out later to me that it could have been MADE in Egypt, just bought local. ;-)  We both had hamburgers and shared a pile of french fries.  Topped the meal off with two large freshly made chocolate chip cookies.  Good as lunch was...breakfast is the star meal at this place... White Lily biscuits, gravy, etc. Why, they even have chocolate gravy, something I thought our Mother had made up.  When we returned to the marina and told Barry about our lunch he said we really needed to do breakfast.  Even if we were leaving out tomorrow morning Barry would give us the car keys and Abe's opened at 5 AM.  Tempting though it was...we declined.

But, if you're ever in Corinth on a Mon-Friday, 5 AM - 3 PM...and IF it isn't a holiday week, cause they close a week for most holidays...and IF the family crew, Abe, wife, and son, haven't decided to go travel they seem to do pretty just might get to experience Abe's Grill for yourself.  It would be worth it!

Thursday, December 8, 2016 -

So on Thursday morning we took off up the Tennessee River as first light came.  The wind was blowing pretty good that morning and with Pickwick Lake being so wide in spots, it blew us around a bit.  We made it up to Wilson Lock above Florence, AL, knowing that the lock was busy handling "a big tow," as the lock master said.  We tied up on the auxiliary lock wall for the wait.  An hour and a half later, the biggest tow and load that we've seen since the Mississippi River finally lumbered down the river...The load was three barges across and at least four sets long.

Wilson Lock done, finally, we set our sights on getting above Joe Wheeler Lock before night fall.  It would be close.  We called Wheeler when we were about 10 miles out and they said they could take us through...and that it only took 15-20 minutes to transit.  We got to the lock at 4:30 PM and were in our anchorage, Second Creek right by the lock on the RDB (right descending bank), by the time it turned dark.  Whew!!

Friday, December 9, 2016 -

The Sunrise on this chilly morning (low 20's) was pretty as we left Second Creek.

The good thing about having the bridge enclosed with plastic is that it acts like a solarium and heats up nicely when the sun is out and shining, like it was that day.  We started out with all our winter clothes on (remember...we were supposed to be in Florida!) and peeled them off as the day progressed.  We spent the entire day on the Joe Wheeler Reservoir and finally anchored at the Flint River, m 339.1, knowing we couldn't make it up to and through the Guntersville Lock, next on our way.

Saturday, December 10, 2016 -

It wasn't foggy in the anchorage, but it sure was when we came out on the Tennessee...

Beautiful as it was, it took a while for the rising sun to suck up all that fog that had been settled in on the water.  We left about an hour later than we'd planned...but we don't mess around with fog.

Much as we wanted to get way up close to Nickajack Lock for the night, the anchorages just didn't fall right for us.  We ended up stopping at 3 PM and anchored at (a familiar one for us) Crow Creek Island, m 401.  Nickajack is at around 425 so we'll have a few hours to go before getting through there tomorrow...then up as far as we can go in one day.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

We can see the Tennessee River from here!

Monday, December 5, 2016 -

Yukky day on the water today!  Rainy, cold, visibility was lousy.  We slogged through Aberdeen, Amory and Wilkins locks before we called it quits and anchored above Wilkins Lock near Smithville Marina.  Tomorrow we'll go through the last four lock and anchor somewhere on Bay Springs Lake.

Our cozy view of the fall foliage behind our boat in the anchorage...

Tuesday, December 6, 2016 -

It rained and stormed during the night...but cleared up pretty early.  The day still remained overcast and seemed to get colder and colder the further up the river we went.  Made it through all four locks (Fulton, Rankin, Montgomery, and Whitten) by 12:10 PM.  We had 38 miles to go after this to get to Grand Harbor today instead of tomorrow.  We decided to go for it...knowing we'd need to maintain about 9 mph to get there before dark.  Tonight we are alongside the fuel dock at Grand Harbor (they were all gone by the time we got here, 4:20 PM.  They'd told us earlier in the day to just got anywhere we wanted to and make ourselves at home.  We did...and will be here for the next few days, maybe until Saturday when things are supposed to get a bit warmer.