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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.

Saturday Morning Day 6

Abby, Daisy and Glenda, enjoying the view from the cockpit.
Tomatoes - Abby's favorite food!

Tom says:

Last night was the first night we anchored out without being tied to a dock. There was no wind and the current kept us steady. I did worry about the anchor light not being high enough to be seen from the front of the boat so I taped some LED lights to the front of the cabin roof. Probably was not needed since we did not see another boat until daylight. We have slowed some and are taking our time. We are seeing more and larger cypress trees, and even though this is a commerical route and we are closer to Mobile it still seems isolated. We have seen very few other boats in the first 10 miles this morning.

Glenda says:

I did not sleep as well last night. I was concerned about difting even though Tom assured me the anchor would hold and we have an anchor alarm that would wake us if it didn't. Bless her heart, Daisy did not use the bathroom until about 6:30 this morning and only after we found a boat ramp we could stop at and let her off. She did not even make it to the grass. She is a wonder dog. The Mobile river is wider than most of the Alabama was. I am looking for alligators, bears and raccoons. Abby is too busy reading about birds to look for them!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Friday Day 5

Sunset on the Tensaw River.
There were lots of "shanty boats" along the river in the delta.

Entering the lock at Claiborne.

Leaving Issac Creek Campground

Glenda Says:

Wow I can't believe our trip is almost over! Today we got off to a good start from Issac's Creek. I watched a snake in the lock with us. He came too close to the boat to suit me. I sat on the back with the binoculars in hopes of seeing another bear, but saw a deer instead. Everything is just so beautiful. We can really tell a difference when we turn in the river in such a way that the wind is behind us. As long as the wind is coming toward us it is like a fan blowing all the time. We began to see river shanty's today. I could see no way for anyone to get to most of them by anything other than boat. Tom finally decided to take a chance and let us get out at a sandbar. Daisy and Abby had a good run. We've really had a long day. We ended up anchoring out, so for the 1st time we were not at a campground. Abby and I got to experience the "solar shower". About all it did was cool us off. Daisy really does not understand that she can not get off the boat to use the bathroom. I'm sure we will have to walk carefully in the morning. We are 1/2 mile off the Mobile River in the Tensaw River. The sunset was beautiful. I'm still struggling with the small space in the evenings, putting down beds and stowing away "junk". But I think this is something I can do more often.

Abby says:

We saw 42 white birds, 18 gray birds, 5 sparrow kites, 5 buzzards, 1 hawk, 1 snake, 1 deer, 2 turtles, 5 dragonflys, 1 fish, 1 duck, 1 loon, 29 butterflys and 9 boats, just today!!!

Daisy says: WOOF! WOOF!

Thursday afternoon

Must be a good spot!!
Railroad bridge.

High sandstone cliffs are gone now - banks are lower and mixed sand/rock.

It's hard to describe this beauty, and pictures can't convey how it looks in person!

Bear tracks!!

Glenda says:
We could not post last night. But yesterday was great! I saw a BEAR. Tom and Abby are not as commited as I am about watching the banks. I only saw his haunches as he hurried up the bank when he realized we were there. We went back and saw where he had be digging. I was so excited. I also saw a little raccon digging in the bank for mussels. He was not concerned with us. The different types of birds are interesting too. I havebeen so interested in the wildlife that I have not paid enough attention to the historical sites. We stayed at Issac's Creek last night and it was rather erie as we wound our way to the dock at dusk.

Abby says:
Today we went through the Clairborne lock. The water did not go down as much as the first lock. We saw a small snake in the water of the lock. He was yellow, green with black spots down to his tail. But we did not get a chance to see what kind he was.

Tom says:
Yesterday put us back on our original schedule because the current was so swift it let us go a little faster than planned. This gave us a bit of a cushion. Issac's creek was a little difficult because it was getting dark when we got there, but the park attendant was very helpful.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Waiting at Miller's Ferry Lock and Dam

At the fuel pump, Miller's Ferry Marina

Beautiful home on the Alabama River.

Miller's Ferry Lock and Dam is closed for maintenance. It is scheduled to open today, and we were hoping that they might be ahead of schedule. No such luck - they say it won't be open until late today, or possibly tomorrow.  The good news is that we were aware of the closure ahead of time, and Nathan was already planning to bring my truck and trailer to Gulf Shores today. He will just detour through here and we'll pull the boat out at the marina, drive a couple of miles downstream past the dam to another ramp, and put her back in the water. Then we'll continue our trip, and Nathan will go on to Gulf Shores and wait on us there.

Glenda says:

Yesterday I saw a beautiful antebellum style home sitting on a bluff overlooking the river. Right now we are sitting here at Millers Ferry Marina waiting on Nathan to come so we can trailer the boat beyond the lock. It is closed for maintinence. The people here are very nice. We had a good night dispite the rain. Washed clothes and took a nice hot shower.

Abby says:

We are close to the lock that is closed. Last night me and GG saw a big rabbit. There are a lot of mayflys . There are so many on the lights it looks like fuzz

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Day 3

Glenda Says:

God is love. Love is patient. I suppose I should try to be more like God and this trip is teaching me patience:) When it rains the boat gets really small! Most of today has been nice but it has now been raining for almost 3 hours. We saw Old Cahaba, a bald eagle, and lots of birds. Daisy is being a wonder dog and of course Abby is taking good care of her.

Abby says:

There was a storm today. I sat in the chair and Daisy got in my lap because she was curious about the storm. But afterward Daisy liked it. I said I wanted to see one white heron at the beginning of the trip but I have ended up seeing about twenty of them. It has rained a lot today. I hope it won't rain anymore! We saw a bald eagle today and that was only the second time I have every seen one. This is a lot of fun!

Tom says:

Highlight of the day was the bald eagle. Looks like we skirted the bad storm and only got the rain.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Day Two - Prairie Creek to Six Mile Creek

Docked at Prairie Creek Campground

Marvin and Belinda Roye's grandchildren visited us at Six Mile Creek Campground.
After lowering us 30 feet, the lock gates opened.

Tom says:

We travelled about 45 miles, through a lock and under the Edmund Pettus bridge!

Today was much different from yesterday. We had the river all to ourselves, and passed only about 8 or 10 other boats all day long!

The current below the dam was much faster than I expected, and we were travelling at about 8 mph most of the day. Yesterday at the same engine speed we were doing a between 6 and 6.5.

The scenery was beautiful again, and so far we haven't had any rain (it's 5:50PM now).

Prairie Creek was out of ice, and we were running low, so Marvin and Belinda Roye drove to Six Mile Creek park and resupplied us. A thousand thanks to them - ice goes fast in this heat.

Last night was dark, peaceful and not too hot on the boat - we slept good. Tonight we are a little closer to other campers, so we'll see.

The first photo is where we docked last night at Prairie Creek, and the second is where we are now.

Tomorrow we'll head downstream for Miller's Ferry Campground.

Glenda Says:

I told Abby the story today at Durand's Bend of some of the cooperation between some of the Creek Indians and early settlers of Alabama. It is really fun to imagine life as it may have been almost 200 years ago. It is nice to know that while God created all of this for his glory, we can bring him more praise by enjoying it.

Abby says:

Today we went through a lock. We went down about 30 feet! Daisy was curious when she heard the squeaking of the thing that we tied to. I think she liked it and will want to do it again. Daisy saw a fish jumping in the lock. I like this trip I can't wait to go through another lock! (and I don't think Daisy can either)