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Monday, June 25, 2012

Sunday June 25, 2012. Ditto Landing to Decatur

Monday June 25, 2012
"Oh, we're closed on Mondays".

Ditto Marina really quieted down overnight.  At dark last night, the place was buzzing with people, boats, and cars scurrying about. At daylight this morning it was dead quiet and no one was anywhere to be seen. I woke at daylight and got up, only to realize that the “daylight” was coming from the lights at the marina office. I checked the clock --- 4:30 am!  By that time I was wide awake and could not go back to sleep. I finally did doze off for a while, and Glenda and I both got up around 6:30. This time the daylight was real, so we got in the truck and drove to McDonalds, which was closed for remodeling. We then backtracked to BoJangles and ate breakfast. I’ve never eaten at a BoJangles before, but they beat McDonalds hands down.
Glenda and I in front of Ditto Marine's fuel dock.

After a quick stop at Walmart for a few groceries and to get Glenda a pair of sunglasses (her good pair broke yesterday), we were back at the marina. I took care of the porta-pottie while Glenda walked Daisy. By then it was almost 9:00 am, but the office was still closed. At 9:15 there was a nice lady in the office, but she said the office wasn’t open for another hour – maybe later. The cash register was not “open” and she couldn’t take money for my slip and ice. Since we are coming back on Tuesday, I told her I would settle up then. I hope the office is open when we get back.

We headed toward Decatur about 9:30 am, turning right out of the marina onto the main river. Unlike the last two days, we had the river pretty much to ourselves. We passed under the I-65 bridge going into Decatur about 3 ½ hours later, and had only passed 3 other boats since leaving Ditto – two bass boats and one lone kayaker!
Can you see the kayaker? Look at the base of the rock wall, just left of the center of the picture. You may have to zoom in.

The rock formations had lots of interesting features when we hugged close enough to them to notice.
This section of the river seemed mostly remote, broken up only by the occasional Army facility and several more gorgeous rock bluffs. It was a quiet, peaceful ride. Glenda took the wheel for a while and let me take a short nap. 

As we approached Decatur, I called Jay Landing and Riverwalk Marina to ask about renting a slip for the night, but only got recordings at both numbers. Glenda then called the Chamber of Commerce and learned the location of Riverwalk Marina, and learned that a restaurant, the Hard Dock, was adjacent to the marina. That sounded good, so we passed under the Hwy. 31 bridge and saw the restaurant on our starboard side. It was closed. We idled past the marina fuel docks, which had notes saying they were out of gas taped to the pumps, and looked for the office. There were some nice floating docks which appeared to be transient docks, but they were not covered, and we really wanted to get out of the sun. Finally we saw a gentleman working on his boat, and we inquired where office was, and pointed toward a large building, and then added, “but they’re closed on Monday”. That’s OK, I thought, we’ll find a place out of the way and settle up tomorrow. His answer to the next question was “There aren’t any showers”. I didn’t even look at Glenda. I put the boat in forward and we headed to Jay Landing marina.

Passing under the I-65 bridge, we could see the US Hwy 31 bridge several miles ahead

We had to go under the railroad lift bridge, which was raised to 60’ or more when we turned into Riverwalk’s harbor, but was now completely lowered. I put down the antenna and Glenda stood on the side of the boat to watch to make sure we had clearance. With a good 2-3’ to spare we passed under and were met with a pretty good chop as the river widened and the wind kicked up. We passed the City dock and took a picture of the Pickwick Belle, the riverboat, before arriving at Jay Landing. Again we found someone on one of the docks, and asked were the office was. There were several empty docks near the small office, and we tied up. We then learned that the office was closed today, of course, because it’s MONDAY! I felt like Gomer Pyle when he said "Stupid, I guess I just wasn't thinking!" The gentleman we first spoke with was very helpful, though, and directed us to a covered slip and the shower/laundry facilities.

Glenda and I discussed walking to a BBQ restaurant that my phone map said was less than ½ mile away, but when I called them, the young lady said it was “at least a mile, maybe two”. Although there was a good breeze, the temperature was near 100 degrees, so a delivered pizza sounded much better than the possibility of a 2 mile walk in the sun. The pizza arrived in about 30 minutes and we finished all but 2 pieces, which we put in the cooler for breakfast tomorrow.
After all day on the boat, even the delivery of a pizza is a big event!!

Glenda Says:

I felt MUCH better this morning.  I slept really hard last night.  We went and had a nice breakfast.  I must say while I don’t care to back-track alot, it has been nice to have access to the truck. 

I sat on the cockpit for a while this morning before the sun got really bad.  The land seems to drop to gently rolling hills between Huntsville and Decatur, rather than the higher mountains.   I kept the binoculars handy in hopes of seeing more wild life but the herons, swallows and buzzards were the only ones that made themselves visible.  I guess any intelligent animal was finding cool place to rest. 

I was disappointed we could not find a place to eat within walking distance but having pizza delivered to a boat was kinda fun.  I’m sure I’ve gained 2 pounds on this trip.  The people here at Jays Landing have been nice but Decatur is more industrial and it’s just not very picturesque.  

I’m sitting here on the dock watching the fish chase minnows, waiting for it to get cool enough to walk to the showers.  I know Daisy has been a little quiet on this trip but she told me to tell everybody “It’s HOT!” 

At the city dock in Decatur

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