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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Friday Dec. 10th

This morning our 4 year old grand-daughter Dani and I wiped the frost from the bulwark and seats of the KnotSoFast and hooked her up to the truck and headed for Lay Lake on the Coosa River. The forcast called for sunny skys and a high in the mid- 50's. Not perfect, but this looked like the only chance I'd have to get Dani out in the boat before she headed back home to Maryland on Monday.

We got to Okomo Marina about 10:15am, and the sun was beginning to warm things up a little. Dani was excited to be getting her first ride in the tugboat even though the freezing overnight temps ruled out any thoughts of an overnight trip. Dani was next in line, as all 3 of the older grandchildren had already been on at least an overnight boat trip.

We launched the tug and after letting the engine warm up, we headed North to Cedar Creek. I had to put 3 cushions in the helm seat to allow Dani to see out when she took the wheel. She enjoyed it, even though I could not find the "captain's hat" for her to wear.

At about noon, we crossed back to the West bank of the River and followed the narrow slough to my brother Scott's river house at Shelby Shores. Dani did well sitting still while I tied up. We got out and ate our lunch - PB&J sandwiches and chips - there. After lunch, Nathan and Nicole, my son and daughter-in-law, arrived and the four of us then headed back upstream and expolored Cedar Creek and the lake to the North for a couple of hours. With the windows to port and the back door closed, the sun warmed the cabin and made the temperature very comfortable. We drank cokes and ate cookies while watching osprey, ducks, camaroon and many other birds. Before lunch we only saw 3 other boats, but in the afternoon we saw several more, and the temperature warmed.

Hopefully we'll get her back down for another trip when the weather is a little warmer and I can make good on my promise to her of sleeping on the boat.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Link to Glen-L Video of G4 Weekend

This is a link to the Glen-L blog, and a 5 minute video that shows about 30 home-built boats in action. You will see Abby at least 3 times in the video - twice in a little mini-tug with 7 year old Ellie Eason from Atlanta, and once in the Knot-So-Fast, along with Glenda.

The video was taken at the "Gathering", at Hales Bar Marina on the Tennessee River, in October.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Oct. 21, 2010. Took my Mom for a ride down the Alabama River

On Thursday, a week after my Mom's 83rd birthday, she and I trailered the KnotSoFast down to the Montgomery Marina on the Alabama River. After breakfast at Cracker Barrel, we arrived and launched the boat at 9:00 am. The weather was fantastic - cool enough that we kept the windows and back door shut for the first couple hours as we motored at a blazing 6.2 mph down the river.

 Just a few miles down river, we saw military planes from the Air Force base pass overhead as we puttered past the site of Wilbur and Orville Wright's flight school, which was the first commercial flight school in the nation. We passed Cooter's Pond and then Catoma Creek, both of which have Corps of Engineers campgrounds and boat ramps.We watched fish jump and ospreys circle above us on the way to Pintlala Creek where we anchored out and had lunch. An osprey serenaded us with continuous high-pitches screeches the whole time we were eating, but he was just out of sight behind the trees that lined the creek bank, and we never saw him. I'm not sure what he was so upset about - maybe we were anchored in his favorite fishing hole!

On the return trip, Mom took a nap while I tried to get some good video clips of some of the grey herons and white egrets that seemed to line the riverbank at every creek, slough an nook. Our speed going back upriver was just about the same as it was in the morning -  between 6.0 and 6.2 mph. As slow as that sounds, its amazing how often I find myself slowing down from even that pace to look at a bird or stream or creek that I hadn't noticed before. I guess you're really getting old when 6 mph is too fast for you! :)  I'd love to do some cruising on the Alabama by canoe, but I'm not sure my back would hold up to it.

We stopped at the Montgomery City Dock where Mom stretched her legs by taking a walk while I packed up everything and got the boat ready to trailer back home.

This morning I got an email from a 2nd cousin who lives in Montgomery. She was excited that she had spotted the KnotSoFast as we passed through Prattville on the way home. My little tug always gets lots of attention, and I have to admit that I love it when little kids yell at their parents to look at it as we go by. I think it's shape and colors are the same as the pictures of boats in so many children's books, that they immediately identify with it.

Even though it seemed much too short, this was a good trip, and I think Mom enjoyed it. I always get a kick out of being on the water, and it was a special day for me get to share something I love with my Mom.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

9-25-2010, Day 2 of the Gathering

Today was overcast with off-and-on showers, but no heavy rain. We had a total of 40 boats here today, and it was a sight to see at about 2:30 this afternoon when we got them all out on the water at one time. We've met lots of nice folks here and everyone has had a good time. We got to take several people for short rides in the Knot-So-Fast.

The extension I put on the skeg really helped the handling, and being around all these other home boat builders has got me fired up to finish all the little projects on the Knot-So-Fast. Covering over the hatches and redoing the battery box lid seems to have stopped the small leaks we had when it rained.

From Abby:
When I got to the Gathering, I thought I would see a lot of dogs. When everybody saw Daisy they all wanted to pet her. Everytime we walked from the cabin to the grass, Daisy would get petted at least once. Then when people came by and their hands were full they would just compliment me on Daisy.

I met a little girl named Ellie. She and I played together with Daisy. There were 3 tiny tugboats here and one of them was named "Abby's Lil Tug". Ellie and I got to drive it around the marina! We got lots of pictures and videos of us driving the little tugboat. The man who built it noticed that the tugboat was going slower than it was supposed to. Then he looked at the propeller and saw about 4 feet of seaweed on it. He pulled it all off and the boat started going faster. The boat had a bell and a horn! When Ellie was driving the horn was working but when I started driving the battery was low and the horn wouldn't work. But it still had a bell and I got to ring it.

Tonight I won an award! It was "The Cutest Tugboat Captain". Ellie got the same one too. It was a tie, and gave us both the award!!!

From Glenda:
It has been so fun to meet all the nice people - from Canada to Florida to California. I've really enjoyed being able to share our blessings.

Here are a few pictures from today:

Friday, September 24, 2010

9-24-2010 - The Glen-L Boatbuilders Gathering, Guild, TN

Glenda, grand-daughter Abby, and I left Montevallo this morning headed to Hales Bar Marina on the Tennessee River for the 4th annual Glen-L Boatbuilders Gathering. I had spent the last few days adding a section onto the skeg of the Knot-So-Fast, hoping to make her track a little straighter. I also had a few places to repair and had hoped to put a fresh coat of paint on, but the skeg work took longer than I expected and the repairs and paint never got completed.

We arrived at Hales Bar about lunch-time and launched at the ramp about a half mile belsow the marina. Abby and I drove the boat back to the marina and Glenda took the truck and trailer back. We tied up at the marina and had lunch, then took a short boat ride upriver for about 6 miles and back.

There are dozens of  home-made boats here of all shapes and sizes, some from as far as way as Canada!
Here are some pictures:

Glenda Says:
Even on a short outing I caught sight of a beautiful bald eagle.  The mountains around the river are amazing.  There are already some pretty fall colors in the trees.  Abby is enjoying showing off Papa's boat and loves it that people have kept up with our blog.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Day 3 of Dakota's Adventure - new update 7-11-10

Last night was much cooler than Thursday night, and we all slept better. The Marina here is quiet and laid-back, with lots of houseboats and pontoons boats, and a few large cruisers and sailboats. Apparently a lot of people keep thier boats here during hurricane season and on the coast the rest of the year. There are a few full-time residents living on thier boats here too.

Dakota says:
We had a very fun time on the tugboat. Daisy woke me up licking me in the face this morning. I'm not ready to go home. I want to stay on the boat forever. On my next trip I want to go on the Alabama River. But I don't want to anchor out at night, that scares me. I want the boat to be tied to a pier at night. I hope next time it's not as hot as this time.

Glenda hasn't had coffee the last two mornings, so she has nothing to say.

We're just about packed up, and are about to hook up the trailer and pull the KnotSoFast back out for the trip home. Dakota seems to have had a great time.

Update to this page:

After we packed up, we decided to take a short trip across the river before leaving. We had seen a couple of boats nosed up to the bank yesterday and some children in bathing suits and wondered what exactly what was there. We got there and realized that the small sandy bank where we saw the boats was just that - an access point from the water. The actual swimming beach was just over the bank on Deerlick Creek. We also realized that this was all part of a Corps of Engineers campground at Deerlick Creek. We turned downstream a few hundred yards and entered the creek. The creek was much wider and deeper than your typical creek, and the soft light from the low early morning sun intensified it's beauty. I get tired of using the word "beautiful", but there aren't any other words to describe the sights we've seen. This creek, and the Pintlala Creek on the Alabama are two of the prettiest places you can imagine. I wonder how many similar places we missed on these trips because we thought we didn't have time to stop and explore them. I'll try to learn from that.

Thanks for reading our blog -- we'll update it on our next outing!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Day 2 of Dakota's Adventure

Today was a good day. We left the marina at 7:15 am and rode upstream to the Bankhead Lock and Dam. They only lock pleasure craft thru at 10am, 2pm, and 6pm, but luckily we got there in time for the 10am lock through. This was the first time I had locked UPSTREAM, and it was a little different. As we waited below the lock, they emptied the 110' x 600' chamber of 70' of water! It caused quite a rush of water and some rough water as we waited. The lockmaster recommeded that since we were alone in the lock, and in such a small boat, that we just float free and not tie to the floating bollard. That suprised me, but it worked out great, and in about 40 minutes we were exiting the lock on the Bankhead resovoir, 70' higher than when we entered. Dakota was a little nervous, but she did fine. As with all our lock experiences so far, the lock-master was extreemly patient and helpful.

From the lock we traveled upstream about 8 or 10 miles, and saw another different view of Alabama's wilderness, as well as a huge industrial coal barge loading facility, and an old fashioned "pool-hall/biker hangout/beer joint" that I mistook for a convienence store.

I'm typing this from a bench at Cracker Barrel - we almost ran our laptop battery down last night trying to post with a hit-or-miss internet connection.

Dakota says:
The waterfall we saw was the best part ever! I liked seeing the catfish trying to chase down a bream in the lock, too. The lock was very fun, too. Papa and I went into a beer joint - that was my very first time, and scary! I hid behind Papa. The people in there were scary!

We're going to stay on the boat one more night, but I told GG I wanted to stay on the boat FOREVER.

Glenda Says:
It is beyond my comprehension how so-called intelligent people can look at all of God's creation and say it all happened by accident. All the diffent kinds of trees, rocks, birds, insects and fish all just "happened" to evolve. I'm not buying it. I saw the neatest thing- a snake skin hanging in a spider web about 50' up on a cliff. We joked about how big the spider would have to be to catch, skin, and eat that snake! ;). (See picture) We really had a wonderful time today. The waterfall was beautiful. Going up in the lock was an exciting experience too. Most of all it has been fun to watch Dakota have such a good time. It has not been as hot today and right now it is really pleasant. We will be headed by home tomorrow.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Dakota's Adventure on the Black Warrior River

Last week we drove Grandson Dallas back to Maryland and returned with his 7 (nearly 8) year old sister, Dakota.

Today, Thursday July 8th, we hooked up the KnotSoFast and pulled it to Eagle Cove Marina just North of Tuscaloosa on the Black Warrior River. We got in the water about 10:45 this morning and after finding our assigned slip and looking around at the other boats at the marina, we headed North on the Black Warrior.

The wind was in our face, and with the sun playing peek-a-boo from behind the clouds, it was a pleasant trip. The first point of interest for me was at river mile 351.9, which is the approximate location of old Lock #14, where my great-grandfather James (Daddy Jim) Glover was a Lock Tender. His daughter Cherry Lottie grew up on the river here and met Melvin Thomas Smitherman who was working on the M&O Railroad which passed by the Lock. They married and my father was one of thier children. There was no sign of the old lock, nor any of the houses which were home to the workers here. It was fun to know that we were very close to the spot where my ancestors worked and grew up, though.

We rode upstream another hour or so, then headed back downstream. Now the wind was with us, and about the same speed as our boat - the net result was no wind. Just as we approached the marina again we had a nice shower which cooled things down a little.

Dakota Says:
Today was a very fun day on the Black Warrior River. My favorite part was seeing the big dead turtle! Also driving the tugboat was fun. I liked the rock cliffs - the holes in them looked like bear caves! I liked seeing the fish jumping. I tooted the horn at some people who were swimming. It rained hard on us.

Glenda Says:
The Warrior is different from the Alabama but no less beautiful. There are more pines and cedars and no cypress or spanish moss. I enjoyed seeing the site of old lock 14, where Tom's great-grandfather worked. It was nice to tell Dakota some of our family history. The only time it has been suffocatingly hot is when we showered in the shower house that had no windows! Daisy was a good sport about being locked in the boat while we drove to Tuscaloosa for supper. Right now the night sky is spectacular and the sounds of the crickets and frogs are just what I need to get my mind settled. The sky is flashing with distance lightening that makes it all the more wonderful.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Friday, Day 2 on Dallas' Adventure

Tom says:

We woke early today, about 5:15 am. It was hot and humid all night and we didn't sleep as well as last time. Dallas slept pretty well until he rolled off his bunk onto the floor about 3:15 am!

We looked for the alligators around Prairie Creek, but didn't see any. What we did see was 10-15 large gars jumping straight up out of the water. The closest one was only about 10 feet from the boat, and I think was an alligator gar. Just like yesterday, the most common site was grey herons and the white herons (or egrets, or whatever they are).

Dallas was excited to spend the night on the boat, and yesterday and today he's handled the wheel quite a bit. He has the physical coordination to keep the boat steered well, but after a few minutes he has trouible focusing his eyes on the route. For a five year old, he's the best tugboat captain I've ever seen!

It's 12:55 PM now, and we are passing under the US 31 bridges, which means we have about 10 miles to go.

Dallas says: My favorite parts of the trip was honking the horn at people. Seeing the trees and the cows in the water was fun too. Last night I fell off the bed GG said but I don't remember.
We got up early so GG made me take a nap. Now I want to go watch a movie.

Glenda Says:
We got off to an early start this morning, but still no alligators. My back came back with a vengence this morning but after a couple of hours it eased up. I am still taken with the beauty along this stretch of the river. If this fallen creation is this beautiful I sure can't imagine heaven! The herons, both gray and white are so elegant. It was probably wise to limit this trip to overnight. Dallas has done very well for an active five year old. Everything is an adventure to him but it only keeps his attention for about five minutes.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Prairie CreeK with Dallas--6/17/10

Tom says:
It is HOT! Hot! Hot!. Dallas drove the tugboat very well, he is probably the best 5 year old tugboat captain I know. We are told we can watch a "caravan" of alligators come through the creek tomorrow morning, we are going to try to be up to see that.
Dallas says:
I saw big fish jumping! We are going to sleep on the boat! I got to drive the boat and HONK the horn. People waved at me. Honking the horn is my favorite part. I saw some jets. I want to be a jet pilot. We saw white and gray herons. They were pretty. I am having fun. I want to ride on the boat again.
Glenda Says:
It is HOT! The breeze still came through the windows as we traveled and made it tolerable. I appreciate those of you who have been praying for by back issues. Today it was much better. Tom and Dallas were very helpful and I just basically sat back and enjoyed the ride today. We talked to some very nice people again. Some folks who were playing in the water urged us to come over and wanted us to visit with them for a bit but we had to get on to the campground. They got in their boat and followed us all the way to the campground. Of course the boat is the hit of the campground. People were coming over to take pictures. I'll try to post on the way back to Montgomery tomorrow.

Down the Alabama with Dallas

We are off again with another grandchild! We are putting in today at Montgomery marina so we can show the sites to our grandson Dallas. We will be posting photos and reports of our sites later in the day!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

The end of our 1st adventure on the Knot-So-Fast

The railroad "swing" bridge.

The Knot-So-Fast at the pier at Ft. Morgan. 

End of the trip. The Knot-So-Fast is pulled from the water in Gulf Shores.

Glenda says:
I can't believe its over. We left Fly Creek at around 6:00am Sunday morning. We were hoping to get across the bay before it got any more windy. It was really rocky and I felt it in my stomach, nothing to keep my mind occupied but water. It was a rough ride but we arrived at Bay Gardens around 10:00 am where our wonderful daughter-in-law Nicole and our son Nathan were waiting for us on the dock. We showered and went for our celebratory lunch at Lulu's and took the boat out under the intercoastal waterway bridge. I am so proud to be married to a man that makes his dreams become reality. I am blessed to be a part of those dreams.

Tom Says:
The 4 hours spent crossing Mobile Bay this morning made us appreciate the calm, smooth waters in the rivers that we had enjoyed since last Sunday. The contrast reminds me of a trip I took several years ago with a good friend Terry Arnold in his sailboat Bay Horse. We spent 4 peaceful, quiet days on the Tombigbee and Mobile rivers, then crossed the bay in a heavy chop. That's the trip that lit a fire in me to do some travelling on Alabama's rivers.

Abby and the dog slept most of the way across the Bay, and Glenda was feeling a little seasick. I stayed on edge watching the GPS to stay on course, and watching the waves to make sure we didn't get hit broadside by one of the really big ones that seemed to show up every 30 or 45 seconds.

Overall, the Knot-So-Fast performed great! I haven't filled the gas tank yet, but on the initial leg of the trip, from Montgomery to Miller's Ferry Marina, she got 16.2 mpg! The little Yamaha 9.9 never missed a beat.

There was a little water (about a cup or 2) in the bilge on several days. I first thought one of our ice chest drains was leaking, but later narrowed it down to a leaking hatch cover in the cockpit.

The V-berth and it's cushions were very comfortable, and we were cool enough to sleep each night after running the two small fans for an hour or so. We had screens to fit the center windscreen section and both side windows, and that provided plenty of ventilation at night. We had also made a screen for the back door, but we never needed it.

Next adventure? I'm not really sure. We'll spend the summer taking the other grandchildren on some short rides. In the Fall, we'll trailer to Hales Bar Marina on the Tennessee River for a Glen-L boatbuilders meet referred to as The Gathering. If Glenda can get a couple of days off, we may combine that with a little trip up or down the Tennessee.

From Abby:
Daisy says "I am glad I am woof home!"

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Saturday Evening June 5th Last night on the boat

Rainbow from the marina at Fly Creek.
Abby loved seeing the white herons.

Cypress trees are everywhere!

Glenda took the wheel "occasionally" to give me a break.

Daisy did well on the boat, and really did seem to enjoy it.

Glenda says:

The river delta was a little more busy than I thought it would be. We still saw lots of birds but I am disappointed that I did not see another alligator. The cypress trees are beautiful. The wind was up a lot. We stopped at the Oyster House on the causeway and ate lunch. It was good! We planned to stay a while at Five Rivers Delta Resource Center, but they were having a wedding and so we headed on across the bay. It was a rough ride but the little boat did well. We got to Fly Creek Marina just before the storm did and our wonderful sister-in-law Stephanie came and got us and let us shower at her house. The storm was about over by the time we went back to the boat and we were blessed with a magnificient DOUBLE rainbow! I can't believe tomorrow is our last day.

Abby says:
Last night Daisy had not gone to the bathroom since lunchtime, and it was the next day before she got to go! Today I saw a mother egret and her 2 babies! We had to go to Stephanie's house to take a shower. Then it started storming, after the storming there was a double rainbow!!!

Tom says:

I am worn out! The trip across the bay from the causeway to Daphne was rough.
The Knot-So-Fast took some pretty good waves and wind today. The ones that came over the bow made me feel like the Captain of one of the "Deadliest Catch" boats ;)

We've met some really nice people on this trip, including Cheryl and Harold Daily at Miller's Ferry Marina, all the attendants and lots of campers at the Army Corps of Engineers campgrounds, the older gentleman who flagged us down Thursday to offer us some free fresh catfish, and the guy here at Fly Creek Marina who helped us tie up and offered to let us use his car!

The people and the scenery on this trip have made it something I will remember the rest of my life. Getting to share that with Glenda has been great, and getting to share it with my grand-daughter Abby has been priceless. Tonight she asked Glenda, "You know what I don't like about life?" Glenda asked "What?". "The best things always seem to go by so fast," she said.
I couldn't have said it any better.