Joe Wheeler State Park, Rogersville, Alabama to Grand Harbor Marina, Counce, TN — October 27, 2013

This morning was pleasantly comfortable being 20 degrees warmer than yesterday morning, 51 degrees. The sky was mostly cloudy with a couple of breaks and there was no wind to speak of.

We started to get ready to leave and I noticed that the sailboat with the skull and cross bones flag had left and was on its way to the lock.  We had passed the sailboat yesterday and he came in a couple of hours after us.

I mentioned this to Pete (Humbug) and he called the lock and found out that they were clear at the moment and if we got started they would wait for us.  Needless to say we hustled and got off the dock within 5 minutes. We did catch the sailboat before it got to the lock so we all just drove right in.

The sailboat travels probably at about 6 mph and with the current with us we were making 10.5+ mph. The 3 boats left the Joe Wheeler Lock together and it was about 17 miles to the Wilson Lock.  We never did see the sailboat again as we were able to drive right into the Wilson Lock and the drop was about 76’ and they did that in about 10 minutes or so.  The locking was really quick.

After leaving the Wilson Lock there are some really large houses that sit on the south side of the river high on a bluff, probably 50’ above the water.  They have a great view but the area across the river is in Florence Alabama and is a trailer park.  Some of the units in the trailer park were the big, expensive motor home as used by traveling music entertainers that cost upwards of a million dollars.

It was Sunday afternoon and the river traffic was not heavy but very consistent. We only saw one tow and that was half way between the Wilson Lock and Grand Harbor at probably one of the widest parts of the river.  In this area the river is called Pickwick Lake because it was formed by the Pickwick Lock. A lot of bass boats were on the water setting up roostertails as they speed from spot to spot.

As we approached Grand Harbor I checked the weather radar on the internet because the sky was looking a little darker.  The rain was not too far away but it held off until we were fueled and tied up in the slip. The rain only lasted about an hour and it was just a light rain.

Grand Harbor is located in Mississippi but its mailing address is Tennessee.  As you start to drive out of the parking lot you enter Tennessee.  A little bit of a strange setup.

We are here for a few days so I am hoping to catch up on the blog.  I have written all the text at the end of each day but I need to organize the pictures so I am ready to upload everything.  Thanks to everyone for being patient on waiting for the new blog entries. The only trouble was that the internet connection was painfully slow and took several minutes for each picture to upload.

Hales Bar Marina, Guild, TN to Aquarium Dock, Chattanooga, TN — October 21, 2013

Well it was 39 degrees this morning with a lot of river fog. The pictures show what the marina looked like this morning with the fog.

Also took some pictures of the resort cottages on the outside of the marina.  These are floating cottages that were pretty well rented out.  Truly a house on the water.

We waited for the fog to burn off and left around 9:30 this morning.  You can see the sun had come out and it warmed quickly.  According to the weatherman today will be the last day in the 70’s for at least a week or more.

The scenery along the river was spectacular today.  Going thru the river gorge with the mountains on both sides was great.  For the most part the mountains are covered with trees and they almost look like a carpet.  On top of the Raccoon Mountain is a water reservoir.  No way to see it but they will pump water out of the river and into the reservoir and use the water to generate electricity during peak usage periods.  The mountain is over 1100 feet above the river.

We also ran into a lot of current as we approached Chattanooga.  At one point I saw about 4.3 mph current as the difference between the water under the boat and the ground speed on the GPS.  This will be really nice when we head back downriver from Chattanooga.

There were a lot of homes/cottages/rental places along the river.  We also saw docks on the side of the river with a wood deck patio and a stair up to a parking area. The owner must live close enough that they just use it for day recreation on the river.

The river is deep with most of the areas in the 30′ to 40′ area but there was a section that the depths were 70′ to 80′ and the guide book said not to be surprised if we saw 115′ depth.  It went on to explain that this particular area was an ancient earthquake fault line.

The river for the most part is anywhere from 1/2 to 3/4 of a mile wide for this section.  There are a couple of areas with islands and the channel splits at the island but we have been following the main channel all the way.

There are 9 Looper boats here at the Aquarium Dock tonight and the dock is full.  2 of the boats are not current Loopers but have done the Loop previously.  We had docktails tonight and it was a great time to get to know the people a little better. We did a mini docktails last night at Hales Bar with 4 boats in the marina.

We will probably go to the Aquariums tomorrow.  There are 2 aquariums, one is salt water and the other is fresh water.  There is also an Imax theater that I would like to go to.  It will be a busy day.  We are here for 3 nights.

I also included a couple of photos of Champ III on the Tennessee River.  These kind of photos are hard to get and we thank Kat In The Hatt, Katherine for the photos.

Goose Pond Marina, Scottsboro, AL Hales Bar Marina, Guild, TN — October 20, 2013

It was very chilly this morning with the temps in the high 40’s.  Lots of water fog this morning.  We had planned on leaving at 8:00 but we waited for the sun to burn off the fog and we left about 45 minutes later.

The fog did not stop the bass fishermen. Candy and I were out at 6:00 this morning and they were lined up at the launch ramp across the street waiting to launch.  There were 6 trucks in line with their bass boats when I counted them with another one in the ramp and another putting the empty trailer in the lot.  They were all over the place when we left the marina.

We had 7 boats scattered along the river today.  Journey left first as they were one of the slower boats.  Cat In The Hat anchored out last night about 6 or 7 miles further up the river so they had a good jump on the rest of us.

The Nickajack Lock was approximately 45 miles up the river and the marina was about another 7 miles past the lock.  We were pretty fortunate with no tow traffic on the river today.  It worked out well at the lock. We had 4 boats go thru in the first lock and they were followed by the slower boats about 1 1/2 hours later in the 2nd locking.

There was not a lot of wind today so the water was relatively smooth.  The only other boats on the river were the bass boats. That certainly is the boat of choice down here and must really generate a lot of sales for the bass boat companies.

We passed a couple of power plants.  One of them was a nuclear plant that was started in the early 1970’s but never completed.  With the environmentalists it will probably never be completed. It was easy to identify because the cooling towers were constructed and they have the strobe lights on top.

Once we re-entered Tennessee with had a nice view of the Cumberland Plateau.  This area of the Plateau is about 1000′ high. We have a couple of pictures of the Cumberland Plateau.

The locking at the Nickajack Lock was pretty uneventful.  The turbulence from the water filling the lock was not bad and we are tied to the floating bollards a little different now.

Some of the boats were anchoring out tonight after the lock but we still ended up with 5 boats in the Hales Bar Marina. The marina was pretty good about getting a slip assignment to the boats before they got to the harbor but the problem was that most of the slips had other boats in them.  There was no help in docking and it was almost like the guy on the radio did not believe there was a boat in the slip when it was reported back to him. They appeared to have no concept which slips were full and which were empty. Only one boat ended up where they were assigned.

This week is supposed to be cool during the day, 60’s and cold at night, 30’s and 40’s.  Hope the weatherman is wrong.

Pebble Isle Marina, New Johnsonville, TN to Clifton Marina, Clifton, TN — October 14, 2013

We were invited by one of the marina staff to stop in for cinnamon rolls in the morning.  They were providing them for all the Loopers.  I went over just before we left and he had fresh cinnamon rolls made and he put 2 in a Styrofoam and I took them with us. We had them after we got onto the river and the cinnamon rolls were really good.

While I was talking to the gentleman I asked If there was some sort of bass tournament on today.  I had seen at least 6 trucks pull in and launch their bass boats.  He said no there was nothing special.  He did not understand how these guys were fishing on a regular work day.  He said some of them really had issues on the water ignoring no wake zones, they never wave at passing boats and not showing any courtesy at all.  He had a name for them, “Bassholes”.  I learned a new word today.

The day was real warm in the cockpit because were going with the breeze most of the time and the result is no breeze at all in the boat.  The temp today was about 85 and it was mostly sunny today.

The scenery was good with lots of rock walls.  The river is a lot wider than the Illinois and almost as wide as the Mississippi but the scenery is much better than the Mississippi. The homes are really scattered along the shore with some clusters here and there.  Lots of RV’s and mobile homes and some of them even have a canvas canopy over the whole unit to shade it from the sun.

We did have a pontoon follow us for about 8 miles.  It was a family that was towing a inflatable tube platform with 2 kids on it.  They kept criss crossing the wake to get a little air under the kids.  I did speed up for a mile or more so the wake increased.  They pulled into the marina before us and actually helped us dock in Clifton.

We used the courtesy car to go to dinner.  We had been here last year and the car was an old Buick Century that has seen better days. I asked if they had the same courtesy car and the women said “Oh Yes, They will probably bury Gene in the car.” Gene is the Owner of the Marina.

We went to the same restaurant as last year because the woman thought it was the only one open on a Monday.  When we got there was one table of 4 eating and another table of 6 that was drinking.  It turned out that the Owner was by himself and accommodating the other people and he said we could stay and he would serve us. The menu indicated the restaurant was closed on Mondays. The food was good and the service was not all that slow.  The Owner felt he might have been a little rude when we first came in so he charged us for the wine and gave us the food at no cost.  What great southern hospitality. I left a tip that more than covered the food.

Green Turtle Bay Marina, Grand Rivers, KY to Pebble Isle Marina, New Johnsonville, TN — October 13, 2013

Had a great week at Green Turtle Bay.  It is hard to believe that the week went by as fast as it did.  They had a “Harvest Moon” festival in Grand Rivers KY this weekend.  They had a parade in town yesterday.  Someone said that everyone that had a convertible would be in the parade.

During The Week I have been busy running to the local NAPA store to get supplies for doing an oil change and fuel filter change.  The store and the marina were very accommodating.

We also did some shopping at several stores.  This year the marina pointed us to Eddyville because it was closer and during an election this year the area voted to be a
wet county and the beer and wine store has opened and the Food Giant also sells beer.  I am sure it has helped all the other retailers in the area, although that is not a great number.

The Loopers that were behind us all caught up and arrived Wednesday and Thursday.  They had waited the bad weather out at Hoppies and then travelled 4 days to reach Green Turtle Bay.

There was also a contingent of boats from Nashville that came in for the weekend.  On of the boats, a 48′ Sea Ray Sedan Bridge, was called Play Dough.  The owner runs a company that makes all the bread for the Cracker Barrel Restaurants.  They usually carry a couple of cases of bread on the boat when they travel and hand them out.  We were able to get a loaf of the bread and it was pretty good.

The day was cool when Candy and I went for our walk and we were able to get on the water by 7:30 as we had 73 miles to go to Pebble Isle Marina.  We had also stayed there last year and they have good fuel costs so that is where we will fill up.

Green Turtle Bay is on Lake Barkley so we exited to Lake Barkley, went about 1 mile and turned right into the canal to Kentucky Lake.  The canal is only about 1 mile
long and we turned left into Kentucky Lake.

Technically we were still on Kentucky Lake when we arrived at Pebble Isle but the lake was more like a wide river at that point. The Lake ends about 3 miles further south.

Lots of nice scenery and everything on our port side (east) for the first 30 miles+/- is known as the Land In The Middle and is a park.  It is between Barkley Lake and
Kentucky Lake.  There are lots of bays where the locals will raft up and anchor for the weekend and have a good time.

The day was a nice day with the sun out and the wind behind us so there were no problems.  Nice scenery with all the coves in the park area.

We passed a few bridges and only one tow.  It was a good day to travel.  There were a lot of bass fishermen out on the water racing up and down the lake as fast as they could go.  You wonder if some of them ever fish.  It is also interesting that those in the north part of the lake will race to the south end to fish and those in the south end of the lake will race to the north end to fish, go figure???