September 30, 2018 Sunday Clifton Marina, Clifton, TN mile 158.5 0 nautical miles Why move if life is good?
Elevation: 364 feet **up 5 feet from yesterday due to the water being released from Pickwick Dam
Today’s entry actually starts last night, past the posting of yesterday’s blog and past Looper midnight (9:00pm). Just as we were getting ready to go to bed the mid-ship bilge pump kicked on. Dale looked at Mary and casually says ‘The boat is sinking’. Of course this sent her into panic attack even though the slow leak we’ve been watching wasn’t any worse than it has been for the past week. The class in Marine Mechanics 101 followed. Dale with his injured arm coached Mary as she worked on the leak.
Waffles for Sunday morning breakfast! The Looper boat SELAH invited BLUE GOOSE and us over for breakfast. What a treat!
Water is up 5 feet from yesterday due to water being released from Pickwick Dam. During the night the water swished and swirled around the marina rearranging the hippos and alligators (dead trees and logs). The little stagnant pockets in the corners of the marina have all been refreshed and look appealing. Lots of turtles crawled on logs to check out the rearranged digs.
The NICKELs came BACK to visit! We’ve been friends for 30+ years. Ray and Judy drove down from Nashville. We sat on the marina patio and watched the Tennessee Titans beat the Eagles. Other Loopers slowly congregated for docktails around us. There is an old Girl Scout song about friendship ‘Make new friends but keep the old. Some are silver but the others gold’ . Ray and Judy are definitely gold! We truly treasure our new Looper friends too.
HA. A couple of Loopers who had met Ray earlier compared him to a bad penny that keeps showing up. Really it’s getting a nickel back.
At the end of the evening we visited with the marina office manager Sonja and the marina owner Gene. Sonja makes us laugh and Gene is the epitome of a Southern gentleman. Do we really have to eventually leave? I’m thinking we should check out annual rates.
Lock people have nothing to do with dam people and dam people do what they damn will please. I was surprised to see Looper boats BLUE GOOSE and SELAH still in the marina when I got up at 9:00 am this morning. Pickwick Lock just upstream, the direction Loopers are heading, opened 6 flood gates making the current horrendous. BLUE GOOSE and SELAH decided to wait a couple days till it settles. Through out the day 5 more Looper boats came in to wait the water out.
Two factors are combining to make the current on the Tennessee River especially strong now: recent heavy rains in the Valley and the beginning of the seasonal drawdown of the lake elevations from Summer to Winter pool. For Winter the Pickwick Lock drops the Tennessee River down from the normal 414 feet elevation to the Winter elevation of 408 feet in preparation for rains. Both the Pickwick and Kentucky dams are discharging 100,000 cubic-feet/second by spilling at the gates and running most of the generators. We’ve heard discharging < 40,000 cubic-feet/second and all the generators running is ideal for approaching Pickwick Lock.
One piece of the local color is Tim aka ‘Wooly’. (Make sure you see his picture is below). Dale’s has sat in the marina restaurant almost long enough and jawed almost long enough to become part of the local color himself.
We walked to downtown Clifton, 1 mile way, in the afternoon to get a little exercise. After walking down the middle of the road to get there we sat a on a Main Street bench for half an hour or more and counted cars… four.
Dale has been talking to the locals about a good marine mechanic in the area. Yes Dear has a vibration on the port side and a small leak in the packing on the starboard shaft. Nothing serious, but they need to be looked at. The owner of the marina had to go out today and rescue one of the recommended marine mechanics today because he ran out of gas. Guess Dale won’t be calling him.
We are planning on staying here to at least Tuesday so the pinched nerve in Dale’s neck has time to get better.
We originally were thinking about staying in the Clifton Marina for 2 days. Looks like we are going stay here for a couple more. Dale has slightly pulled muscle in his chest from pulling up the anchor a couple of days ago. Coddling it while we cleaned the boat caused a new pain to manifest as a pinched nerve in his neck and arm. Thank goodness the marina has a courtesy car. Dale felt so crappy this morning I drove him to the doctor. He got a shot in each check (a cortisone and an anti-inflammatory) and 3 prescriptions. He feels a lot better already, but still needs to lay low for a couple days.
Shortly after we got back into the marina the fellow Loopers BLUE GOOSE, who we met earlier, and SELAH pulled into the transient dock for the night. It was fun catching up with them.
O beautiful for spacious skies, for amber waves of grain
For purple mountain majesties, above the fruited plain
America, America, God shed His grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood, from sea to shining sea
I think Katharine Lee Bates missed a verse when she wrote America the Beautiful. The verse about how beautiful the Kentucky Lake/Tennessee River is, is missing. (Then again she had been dead for 20+ years before the Tennessee Valley Authority built the dam.)
The Kentucky Lake/Tennessee River stretch of the Loop has been beautiful despite the past few rainy days. (Yes, it did rain again today but we did the sun at sunset.) Most of where we traveled is not even viewable by road, only by water. I feel very fortunate to have been able to travel this waterway.
We are starting to see a hint of color change in the trees.
Judy asked us yesterday when she picked up Ray ‘Are you still having fun?’ The answer is definitively yes! There are both new adventures and new problems every day. We enjoy actively working at living; always alert for air and water conditions, actively planning and contingency planning, figuring out the next anchorage, the next grocery stop ……
The problems are simply that. Problems. Part of actively living.
Today was sort of a nothing day. We decided to stay at Birdsong Marina for another day and work around the boat. The place is starting to grow on us. The Birdsong Marina employees are really friendly.
It has been great having people on traveling with us, but today it was nice just being the two of us.
Yes, it rained again today. The sun will come out Tomorrow! Tomorrow! Tomorrow!
No surprise it rained again today! After a leisurely cup of coffee we borrowed the marina car and went to Camden, TN for breakfast and groceries. I was surprised to find riding in a car nerve racking. I think it’s because it’s been about 2 months since I have traveled over 18 mph. Dale actually parked funny in one parking slots because he was subconsciously calculation wind, drift and pivot point.
Judy, Ray’s wife, came to pick him up shortly after we returned to the boat from our errands. Quick hugs in pouring rain and then they were off. If the weather was nicer they would have stuck around longer … bummer. Ray, you’ve been a great deck hand! Judy, I’d have loved to have visited with you longer. Next time!
O solo mio. Back to just Dale and Mary. Maybe I should say ‘solo noi due’, just the two of us.
The Bird Song Marina had an electrician stop by to take a look at power issues from yesterday. Dale helped him. They got everything going except the AC on our boat. Dale suspects the marina circuits are old/weak and trip too easily when the boat AC draws current. Guess we will find out if it’s really the boat that has issues when we stop at the next marina.
Awake from the anchor out in White Oak Bay, Dale was up early and saw an amazing thing. A fish jumped and suddenly the entire bay was filled with jumping fish that were not Asian carp. A few minutes later it happened again. He was so amazed he had Ray and Mary go sit out side with him in hopes to see it again. After several cups of coffee, toast and great conversation watching the straight down rain, it didn’t happen again. Consolation Prize: A rooster started to crow and crowed for about 30 minutes.
We are all catching up on our reading. Ray: Sue Grafton ‘Y is for Yesterday’; Mary: Frederik Bachman ‘Us Against You’; Dale: National Geographic.
It would have been beautiful if it wasn’t raining (Wash Rinse Repeat) …. Just like yesterday it was rainy, hazy and gray.
It did get interesting once we started to pull into Birdsong Creek mile 103.5 and heading to the marina.
White Oak Bay where we anchored out
Putting Ray to the Test – Final Exam on his last full day
Birdsong Creek Marina.
This place is a hoot. The dock hand put us in golf cart and took us on a tour of the place. The marina office had a sign stating ‘No Smoking’. I’m guessing it meant no smoking for the patrons because it smelled so smoky in there I could hardly breathe.
Leaving Green Turtle Bay in Lake Barkley (Cumberland River) we took the 1.5 mile long Barkley Canal west to Kentucky Lake (Tennessee River). Both large reservoir lakes run north/south. The area of land between these two reservoirs is named The Land Between The Lakes. Imagine that.
Lakes are a bit more boring than rivers. No dodge a log or dodge a barge. Mary had really looked forward to traveling on the Kentucky River. It would have been beautiful if it wasn’t RAINING. The shoreline and small islands are dramatic.
Green Turtle Bay Marina where we stay
Tales from the Loop… Several boats leaving from Alton Marina on the Mississippi River had their strainers clog up with mud and had to be towed to safety and a service marina. I think we will check our strainers before we take off again. Dale definitely has a full time job keeping the boat functioning. Yesterday he was tinkering with a soft O ring that was leaking oil. Each day there is something new to look at.
On Kentucky Lake
White Oak Bay anchorage
We anchored in White Oak Bay. Depth on the charts read 11 feet. Depth on the depth finder read 4.2 feet. Our draft is 4 feet. When we kicked into reverse to set the anchor the depth changed to 0 feet!!!! Mud bottom ….. It should be interesting pulling anchor tomorrow.
Back to Green Turtle Bay Dock Life (I took a lot of pictures and didn’t want to bore you so I put them on the bottom… if you get to here)
Haven’t had this problem before … coffee getting cold
Tales from the Loop… Yesterday RECESS, who we were traveling with, had had enough of anchoring on the river so they decided to run it to Green Turtle Bay on the Cumberland River. I can understand why RECESS was tired of being on the river. The last night we anchored with them a sizeable flotsam log got tangled in their anchor chain. Rick had to drop his dingy and go cut the log off. (We only had to work it out of the mud.) Unfortunately when RECESS got up to Barkley Lock & Dam, first Lock on the Cumberland River, he had to hang on the lock wall for about 10+ hours because the lock was offline. He finally got to Green Turtle Marina at 8:00 PM and had to dock in the dark. About 10 people met them with flashlights to help him in.
Haven’t had this problem before…With navigation lights on and light rain yes dear left the Paducah Dock with SPIRITUS and CHANGE OF PACE having heard the Barkley Lock & Dam was again operational. About 1/3 of the way learned ‘operational’ meant ‘running on auxiliary power’. They hoped to be able to keep it operational and we should check back when we got closer. Guess it breaks down a lot. Wonder what their annual budget is for duct tape? We kept cruising forward at our exhilarating 5 knts.
Haven’t had this problem before…The weather changed to cold and rainy. In the upper helm coffee was getting cold before we could finish it. We all went downstairs to use the lower helm so we could enjoy a warm cup of Folgers.
Haven’t had this problem before…What actually drove us to the lower helm was the heavy rain.
Dinner with friends in the local restaurant and docktails on our boat past looper midnight (9:00pm). RECESS and BLUE GOOSE. Haven’t had this problem before…Both Dale and Ray managed to spill a glass of water on Rick (RECESS) before our meal even came.
Immediate task on hand was to shower then paint the town!
After a bite to eat the 3 of us took a Lyft to go grocery shopping. New experience. None of us had ever taken a Lyft it before. We had to first down load the app. Getting to a liquor store, our next stop, was interesting to say the least. The first one we went to was a pull-up window with bullet proof glass. We drove by. The second was permanently closed. The Lyft driver suggested we go to the one she likes rather than us keeping pulling names out of Google. Good idea. It worked (too well).