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Saturday, June 23, 2012

Another Tennessee River Trip - June 23, 2012

June 23, 2012

Every part of the Tennessee River that we've seen is beautiful!!

Glenda and I had planned to take the KnotSoFast to Gulf Shores this week and take a leisurly cruise on the ICW, but the impending storm in the lower Gulf changed our minds. So this morning we left home and headed North instead, to Ditto Marina on Lake Wheeler on the Tennessee River between Decatur and Guntersville. We arrived at Ditto about 10:30 and were in the water just before 11:00.

We travelled upstream at 5 mph, to the Guntersville Lock and Dam, where we radioed the operator and requested a lock upstream. He told us to approach the gates and wait 15-20 minutes while he emptied the chamber. We noticed a pontoon boat floating just a hundred feet or so from the gate, and radioed the lockmaster and asked if he wanted us THAT close. Turns out he had not seen the pontoon boat, and asked me to approach the captain and tell him to move back while the chamber was being emptied. We pulled up beside the pontoon boat, which was occupied by a young couple and three children. The man explained that the boat was a rental, and yes, they did intend to lock though, but he'd never been in a lock and did not know how to contact the lockmaster. I relayed this by radio the lockmaster as we both pulled away from the gates a safe distance and waited for the lock to open. Once inside, we both tied to the starboard wall for the 44' trip straight up to Lake Guntersville.

I didn't take time to plan our trip very well before we left, and thought we'd spend the night at the Guntersville City dock - no power or showers, but it's only one night, right?? Wrong! As we approached the City of Guntersville and I informed the "Admiral" that we would not be getting a hot shower tonight, she changed the game plan, and we ended up at Guntersville Marina, about a mile away from the City Dock. I guess you gotta keep the crew happy. Guntersville Marina is great, though. They let us use the courtesy car (pickup) to drive into town for supper at Wintzell's Oyster house, and they have a good solid wi-fi connection and clean showers.

Looking west from Guntersville Marina at sunset.

After supper, we took a short ride out of the marina to let the sun go down and the air cool off a little before we headed for the showers. As we got a few hundred yards out, I switched on the VHF radio and heard someone calling the the Knot-So-Fast. I responded and we moved to channel 68. The other voice said "This is the River Dawg" and I just saw you pull out of our marina." We had locked through at Nickajack Dam with River Dawg, a huge houseboat, last summer when we took Abby from Goosepond Colony Marina to Chattanooga. River Dawg's captain and his wife had remembered visiting with us as we waited for the lock to open. We stayed out about 30 minutes and then pulled back into the marina and saw River Dawg on our port side, with an empty slip next to it. We pulled in and talked with the owners and a couple of their friends for a few minutes, swapping stories about river trips, storms, irresponsible boaters, and, of course, dogs.

We then moved back to our slip a couple of docks away, and tied up for the night. After a good hot shower, we are finishing the blog and getting ready for bed. The mosquitoes are out - not terrible, but they are here.

Our total mileage for the day was about 27. That's a close estimate, but when I checked the chartplotter, it showed a daily total of 834 miles, and an average of 136 mph!! I'm not sure what happened to it, so I'll reset it again in the morning and see what happens.

Glenda Says:

I have really been looking forward to this trip. I was disappointed and fearful that we would not make our annual cruise without grandchildren. First Tom bought a new apple computer and I think he really just wanted to stay home and play with his new toy, then we saw the storm developing in the gulf and I thought that was it. It is nice to have so many miles of beautiful rivers here in Alabama to see, that means multiple options. So we just changed our plans. Tom is always reminding me I have to be "flexible"

. If you like beautiful mountains and rocks you can't go wrong taking a cruise anywhere on the Tennessee River. I enjoyed watching all the families out having fun on the water and it’s always nice to get the smiles and waves from people who think our boat is cute (oops sorry that’s suppose to be manly) It was also nice to reconnect with the River Dawg and share memories of last years Chattanooga trip. That’s really what this lifestyle is all about, meeting people and sharing experiences. Last year we really didn’t get to meet the owners of the River Dawg just talked by radio and smiles and waved as we moved along the river. It was a pleasure to get faces and names.

It’s hotter than it was earlier in June but not near as bad as I've seen it before. It was nice to get a real shower. Ladies never let your "captain" convince you that a solar shower is a real shower. I'll acknowledge its better than nothing but we had too many other options available this time. The Guntersville Marina is quite nice and very accommodating. Everyone has been very pleasant. You know it makes the biggest difference when people are just nice.

Right now I'm looking at the gorgeous sliver of a moon and listening to someone eles mellow music as the boat gently rocks. "Ain't God good"!

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