Friday, June 15, 2012

Tennessee River to Ohio River (May 15 to June 14)

Our first stop on the Tennessee was an anchorage off Pickwick Lake called Cooper’s Hollow.  We’d been by there on our last trips but could never find room.  It’s a small inlet, protected by a sand bar with a waterfall on the rock wall inside.  This time we arrived early afternoon on a Tuesday and found it empty.  By the time we anchored, however, there were three other boats there!  
All afternoon there was a steady stream of boats in and out – people fishing, dogs swimming, and a rope swing used by people jumping off the rock at the 30' waterfall.  By dark we were alone again, although later another boat came in and beached onto the sandbar for the night.  After a fireside party well into the night, they got a rude awakening by our generator in the morning.  It’s a pretty spot and evidently a real party place as evidenced by the beer can than was impaled on the anchor when Joe brought it up.

As we proceeded down the Tennessee, we again enjoyed the scenery along the way.  There are long stretches of unspoiled landscape along the river broken up by areas with houses along the banks.  In some cases precariously perched on high cliffs - giving a whole new meaning to living on the edge.  We saw lots of houses with long stairways leading down to the water, some with rail systems to run platforms up and down.

One had the most elaborate system of switchbacks we'd ever seen.
We stopped at another nice anchorage, followed the next day by a stop at Pebble Isle Marina.  Our main purpose for the stop was to purchase fuel but the marina also had a courtesy car, so we took advantage of it for a grocery run.  We initially thought we'd stay a couple days to take advantage of the wi-fi since we'd had few good connections on our way up.
As it turned out, the wi-fi didn't reach to our slip, cell service was marginal at best, and sometime after dark we were subjected to the battle of the leaf blowers.  We could never really figure out the leaf blowers for sure, but there was more than one and several people with flashlights going up and down each dock.  Joe's best guess was that they were cleaning out the spiders - there has to be a better way.  We left the next morning.
The next few days we barely cruised.  We left late, moved relatively short distances, and anchored early.  Each time was in a well protected, beautiful anchorage with clear, cool water.  The cool water was appreciated because the weather was warming up.  I got in some more kayaking and we both enjoyed relaxing the water.  The Tennessee had been a high point of our loop in 2009, but we hadn't done any swimming on that trip since we were there in the fall.  We're even more sold on it now.
We finally called an end to our leisurely cruise and docked at Green Turtle Bay Marina.  This is actually much more than a marina - a resort.  They have cottages, pools, fitness equipment, a small beach, boat rentals.  The pools were too small for lap swimming, so I took some good long walks - even though my legs complained about the hills. Located in the Land Between the Lakes - between Kentucky and Barkley Lakes - it's a popular vacation spot and also an almost obligatory stop for loopers in the fall.
 It's easy to see where the name came from.  As you walk down the dock you see lots of little - and some big! - turtle heads poking up in the water.  They're not too shy as I'm sure they get lots of food thrown their way.  Some of their backs are covered with green moss like stuff.  Maybe "green" is actually a type of turtle, or maybe it's just a description of these fuzzy ones.
Number one on Joe's agenda was to get all the electronics working again.  By the end of our stay everything was up and running.  Mr. Redundancy now has a new ship's computer, a back-up, a back-up back-up and the old ship's computer is being repaired.  He also has a back-up for his laptop and a back-up monitor.  Thanks to a very good friend this did not put the dent in the wallet that you might expect.
While Carolyn Ann enjoyed her slip at the resort in Kentucky, Joe and I took a road trip to Myrtle Beach for a get together of retired Park Police.  We got in lots of visiting with old friends and I took the annual shopping trip with some of the wives.  Always great fun!
Since we were on the road, we took a short detour down to Charleston to visit my sister, managing to hit Spoleto's arts and crafts.  The next day we stopped for lunch with our daughter in Atlanta and then dinner with our friends Mike and Linda (Sea Dream-currently in Brunswick) in Nashville.  Thanks to all our great hosts it turned out to be quite a trip!
Randy and Barb (Lazy Dolphin) had arrived at Green Turtle in our absence, so we had a good dinner with them at Patti's - home of the 2" thick pork chop - before they left for Nashville the following day.
Finally it was time to leave Green Turtle Bay.  We had one lock left before reaching the Ohio River, the Barkley Lock.  Due to maintenance on the Kentucky Lock, more traffic was using the Barkley Lock.  The lockmaster informed us that we would have to wait about two hours.  He was in the process of locking a tow and his large array of barges.  He had to lock up with part of the barges, then lock back down, retrieve the remaining barges and lock up with them, then re-attach all the barges and move out.  So we tied up to a big thing called a mooring cell which looked fuzzy.  As it turned out, the fuzz was actually millions of mayflies trapped in spider webs.  Just a bit disgusting.  We waited there until a tow came along behind us.  He gets priority, so we moved off the cell.  The lockmaster could have made us wait for that new tow to lock down, but he let us keep our place in line so our wait was just over the predicted two hours.  Once we got into the lock, we noticed the lock walls looked fuzzy.  No spider webs this time, but again millions of mayflies covered the walls.  And by the time we got through, quite a few were on the boat.  Ick!

A short time later we made a right turn to start heading up the Ohio River.  For the first time on this trip we're    on a part of river we've never been on before.  After a month and a half, we feel like we've just begin our journey.

There are more pictures on the picasa site:

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