Bobby's Fish Camp

Another great day on the water. Started early because we knew we wanted to make Bobby’s Fish Camp, 95 miles.
Lenore was awake but not moving with any great speed and I was starting to make preparations for departure. Another boat captain, Snow Cat, asked if I had called the lock and I said no because we were not quite ready to leave. He went and called the lock about 3 miles away and they said to get there as quickly as possible. He told me and I told Lenore. She said she would be right up and I started to pull the cable TV line and the shore power lines and then threw the mooring lines onto the boat and we were off. We left about 7:00 and followed Snow Cat to the lock. I really appreciated the covered slip we had been in because we did not have to deal with any dew on the boat and the windows were all clear.
We ended up in the lock with 6 other pleasure craft boats, sail and power. We were out of the lock by 8:00 and had to pass 4 of the boats before we could speed up.
We went on plane for 3 hours so we could make Bobby’s at a reasonable time. The thing I had not realized was that we ended up catching some of the boats from yesterday’s Demopolis departure.
Bobby’s is one of the special looper treats similar to Hoppies on the Mississippi. It is the only marina for 216 miles between Demopolis and Mobile. Heart of Gold was here 4 days ago and the restaurant served catfish filets and they raved about them in an email. Normally the restaurant is closed Monday thru Wednesday but they served dinner for 6 people tonight and it was great.
The pictures today are from Bobby’s with the boat rafted off the Champ III from Sturgeon Bay Wisconsin, Nobile House, and the Catamaran from Tobermorey Canada, Snow Cat. These are the people we had dinner with tonight. Nobile House is actually being delivered to Tampa and it will spend the winter on the Bahamas. A delivery capatain is taking it to Tampa and he will pick up the Owners and take them to the Bahamas for the winter and next April they will fly home and he will bring the boat back north.
We will stay here one more night and then go to Mobile because we cannot be in Mobile before November 1 because of insurance on the boat. A day of rest and the temps are starting to warm back to the 70’s.

Kingfisher Bay Marina, Demopolis, Alabama

The anchorage was 4 miles from the dam and everyone started leaving at daybreak. Heart of Gold and Champ III were the only ones left and Greg called the lock on VHF and they said they would wait the 20 minutes it would take us to get there. We hustled and got the anchors up and set out on the river. We were making pretty good time when we came upon a sailboat who was headed to the lock also. We were only about a mile away so it did not make sense to pass them. We just fell in behind. All told I think it was about 25 minutes and the boats from the anchorage were all there.
It was a nice ride for the rest of the day with some spectacular white cliffs along the way. We arrived around 1:30 and fueled with diesel at $3.72 per gallon.
Strange setup with 2 marinas side by side, Demopolis Yacht Harbor and Kingfisher Bay Marina. All the paperwork and fuel are handled by DYB and the new facilities are at Kingfisher Bay Marina. It appear that the family that owns the marinas is slowly building the new marina to replace the older marina because the older marina is pretty exposed to the river and traffic. The facilities are nice but some of the services and local amenities are strange. The courtesy car is available for 2 hours, once a day. None of the restaurants in town except the one at DYB will pick you up at your boat and bring you back. There is no taxi service in Demopolis. There are 2 golf cars available to get to and from the office area and Kingfisher Bay (approx. 1 mile).
We went to dinner with Greg and Jane from Heart of Gold and they said they had been here 15 years ago and not much has changed. The dinner was nothing outstanding and some of the items on the menu were not available because they had run out of grits. They also only had two types of salad dressing because they had run out of others. They had one white wine, Zinfandel because they were out of the others. They said they had lots of beer.
We are going to stay 2 days and Greg and Jane are moving on tomorrow. They are on their way to Biloxi Mississippi.
We are Walmart Shoppers now as there is a Walmart in almost every town including Demopolis. Tomorrow is Walmart day.

Sumter County Recreation Area

Left Columbus reasonably early because we had a long day ahead of us. We are going to anchor out and the best spot in Active Captain is the Sumter Recreation Area that has also been recommended by other loopers. It has a launch ramp located in a little bay that has it off the river and is well protected from wind. I like the idea because it gives us an area for Candy to go ashore in a somewhat developed area.
We are traveling today with a couple on a 48′ Jefferson named Heart of Gold. We 1st saw them several days ago at Pebble Isle Marina and we have been at a few of the marinas with them. Yesterday at Columbus they helped get Champ III in behind them at the transient dock. They are Greg and Jane from Indiana with the boat registered out of Saugatuck Michigan.
One of the pictures is an old Paddlewheeler that was on shore near one of the locks. I think it is probably used as a museum for the waterway and its development.
At the 2nd lock we were just about ready for the lock master to close the doors when a boater called in asking to hold the lock. He said we was about 5 miles out and could be at the lock in 5 minutes. Well it was more than 20 minutes.
We arrived at the anchorage about 5:20 and had trouble getting the anchor to hold and it was probably 6:15 by the time we were all set up.
There were 5 boats in the anchorage and it was perfect with no wind at all for the entire night. Everyone just kind of drifted in place.
Candy like the shore area because we did the walk off leash. They had a picnic area and an overlook of the little harbor along with the ramp and parking facilities.

Columbus Marina, Columbus, MS

We got a liesurely start today because we knew it was one lock and about 26 miles. We arrived at the Columbus Marina at 1:00 pm.
They actually had cook to order breakfast at Aberdeen Marina. The Marina office is a convenience store and gas stop just inside Aberdeen MS. They were already open for the day when Candy and I came out of the boat at 6:10 for her walk.
The lock was 1 1/2 miles form the marina and the wait was 20 minutes so things went pretty smooth. The rest of the trip today was uneventful but we did see some shore development along the way. This section of the Tenn-Tom was here before the Tenn-Tom but the Corp straightened it so the curved sections with the homes and docks are still here. Not as dense as you see in Michigan but more than an empty shoreline.
Marina at Columbus has very freindly staff. We were given a dock with the seasonals and I set up the DirecTV for tonights World Series Game. I called DirecTV and got the run-around on local channels and that in an RV I need a separate account to receive local channels outside my home area. It would take a minimum of two weeks to setup and I would need to submit the registration of the RV. I told them their service had been good to this point but I am ready to change when I get back home. The Marina has cable TV on their normal transient dock and they repositioned the boats on the transient dock so we could fit in. They did it without a problem and made sure the cable was working. After all this I hope the game is worth it.

Aberdeen Marina, Aberdeen, MS

Another great morning. You can see the presunrise in the first photo looking from our dock to the 1st lock, Whitten Lock. We arrived at the lock and followed in by a sailboat/catamaran. The other pictures show you the lock in the up position when we entered and then the down position when we left. We have a total drop of 440′ down to the gulf in the locks over the next 400 miles. The Whitten Lock is the 9th largest drop in the US at 85′.
The catamaran was traveling our way and wanted to make as many locks as possible, just like us so we traveled at their speed because the locks are close enough that we would have to wait for them at each lock. So instead of traveling at 8.5 mph we traveled at 7.25 mph. It really did not matter because the first lock took the longest and all the rest we were able to drive right in and they dropped us either 30′ or 25′. We went thru 6 locks today and were on the boat for 9 1/2 hours.
Next 2 days will be short ones to help us catch our breath before a big jump to Demopolis Alabama. Looks like the weather will hold thru the week. We had 80’s again today with sun but there is a cold front moving in for the weekend and the temps will go to the 60’s.
Aberdeen Marina is about 1 mile off the Tenn-Tom but the channel is marked very well and the marina is quiet and there is grass close to the boat. I did not fuel when we came in because I only really need about 1/4 tank but the price is $3.89 per gallon so we may top off in the morning.

Bay Springs Marina, New Site, MS

Glorious morning with temps in the high 50’s and no clouds. We left a little after 8:00 with the intentions of making 3 locks and 51 miles.
We got to the first lock and there was a tow trying to arrange several barges on the mooring cells so he could go back and get the remainder of the tow. There were three other pleasure craft and we floated around for approximately an hour and there was still no sign the tow was going to be ready anytime soon. We decided we did not want to get to the marina at 5:30 or 6:00, so we called the lock and told them we were going to the local marina and we would see them in the morning. Total travel for the day was 38.8 miles and 0 locks. We listened to the VHF radio and it was another hour and twenty minutes before the 3 pleasure craft were thru the lock.
Bay Springs Marina is the only marina on this large lake because this is a Corp of Engineers lake and minimal development.
Marina has mostly covered slips and some very large houseboats. They have DirecTV is you have a receiver which we do, so we can watch the Lions tonight.
Candy likes the marina. We took the after dinner walk off leash because the owner took his 2 dogs home with him.
The 1st photo is a picture back toward the dam & lock. The 2nd photo is a telephoto of the dam & the last photo is looking upstream from our dock. Very quite place.
Day got to the low 80’s and was picture perfect.

Grand Harbor Marina, TN

Day started with a wet dog. Candy and I went for our early walk while it was still dark. Candy went to jump back on the boat and her back legs landed on the fiberglass, slipped and she was in the water. Lenore had a chance to wake up to a wet dog.
Another great weather day. Was in the high 70’s and clear sky. Day started with river fog. Lots of steam coming off the water with 69 degree water and low 40 air temp. By 8:00 the fog had thinned and we were under way.
Not much traffic on the river but there still were a lot of fishermen in bass boats.
We passed thru one lock, the Pickwick Landing Lock with 55′ of lift into Pickwick Lake. Pretty large all sports lake.
Grand Harbor Marina is a pretty large marina with a condo development attached. It has all the amenities with wifi, cable tv, laundry and courtesy cars. The only drawback is a long walk to find Candy some grass. Lots of dogs around here so there is never a moments rest.
Another interesting fact is that I am standing on the docks at the marina in Tennessee looking across the Yellow Creek at Mississippi and then look left across the Tennessee River at Alabama.
Looks like we are headed down the Tenn-Tom tomorrow.

Clifton, TN

Great weather today. Left the marina before 7:30 and there were clouds but when we turned south on the river you could see the clear sky to the south and west. Didn’t take long for us to drive into the sun. Temps came up and it must have gotten to the mid 70’s by the time we arrived at Clifton.
Clifton TN is another small town along the Tennessee River. It does not rate a bridge to get from one side to the other. We went to dinner at the Bears Inn and it was a country experience. Very limited menu and everything except a salad is prepared on the BBQ on the deck. I thoroughly enjoyed it. We used the courtesy car from the marina.
Cool tonight with a crystal clear sky. One of the sail boaters that came in said there is supposed to be a meteor shower tonight but I could not see it.
One of the pictures today is 2 bald eagles that we saw along the way. They were sitting on this dead tree in shallow water. Trust us they are eagles.
There is some building along the river you can see in one of the pictures. Not sure how these house will survive a 15′ to 20′ flood that is not necessarily uncommon on the Tennessee River.
The rock pictures had me wondering if they blasted some of the channels thru the rock to get the Tennessee to flow from Knoxville area all the way back and up to the Ohio.
Another long day tomorrow to get to the top end of the Tenn-Tom Waterway that will take us to Mobile and the Gulf of Mexico.

Pebble Isle Marina

Left early today after a week at Green Turtle Bay. Great week and extremely nice marina. Had some work done on the boat and the mechanic was very helpful and the prices were more than reasonable.
It was windy this morning with the winds out of the west and southwest. Kentucky lake ranges from about 2 miles wide to less than a mile wide in the area we traveled. The winds at times made the ride a little rolly and uncomfortable but then the channel would turn and we were out of it.
We chased the sun for a while but never really caught it. Had just a brief sprinkle and the temps were in the 50’s. Pebble Isle Marina is in New Johnsonville Tennesse so we are now out of the dry counties of Kentucky. Nashville weather is calling for high 60’s tomorrow, high 70’s on Sunday and in the 80’s next week. We may have caught the warm weather.
Only passed 3 tows today but the channel is wide and none of them were an issue. Not a lot of traffic just a few bass boats running from bay to bay looking for the big one.
Pebble Isle Marina is a nice stop. We arrive about 4:00 and topped of the diesel because with discount diesel is 3.99/ gallon.
Fall color in the trees is getting better and hope to see some really nice color on the Tenn-Tom. Without the sun the color doesn’t look as vibrant as it could.
Another early day tomorrow.

Green Turtle Bay Marina on Barkley Lake

We had a thunderstorm last night about (Thursday). I went up to see how we were doing. The other 2 boats we are traveling with had a problem. The anchor on one came loose and he hit the other boat. They managed to move the boat and re-anchor. There was no damage fortunately. The storm was short lived and the winds really were not that bad.
We pulled anchor early and left for Green Turtle Bay. We entered the Barley Lock with 57′ lift, the largest lift so far on the trip but it was also the fastest and least turbulent locks we have been in.
Green Turtle Bay Marina is a large marina and resort. Great floating docks and very accomodating staff. Transient slips have finger docks on each side of boat so that is convenient. Candy just loves being on dry land, docks and not having to travel in the dinghy to take a walk. The marina has 2 restaurants, a fitness center, spa, ship’s store, mechanical repair, condo rentals, boat launch, beach, etc. I think it is bigger than Grand Rivers KY.
Saturday started out cloudy but cleared and it was in the low 80’s. I think this is the first time on the trip the A/C was on. Last evening was the best with low 70’s when I took Candy out for her last walk for the day. We had some rain over night and there is supposed to be on and off rain today but temps about 70.
We plan on staying here a week before moving south on Kentucky Lake/Tennessee River.
Saturday was festival day in Grand Rivers, KY and I think everybody in the county was here, They had a parade and fair with tents for all the craft people.
Dinner last night was at a restaurant called Bill’s. We tried to get into Patti’s for their famous 2″ pork chop but the reservations would have been too late. Anyway they offered me an earlier time at Bill’s. Bill and Patti were once married and had this restaurant. When they divorced, Bill built a new, grander, place next door. They share a lot of things, wait staff, kitchen, menu, etc. It is like being in one large restaurant. Food was really good, especially the chocolate pie dessert, dark chocolate.