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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.