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Sunday, November 11, 2012

November 11 2012 Demopolis and the Black Warrior River

We slept pretty well and woke to a somewhat warmer morning. About 8:00am we left the marina and headed North on the Tenn-Tom, then turned to starboard and entered the Black Warrior river. It was a quiet and peaceful morning, and the 13 or so miles we traveled were mostly wooded, with low banks. There were, however several spots where the banks turned to high cliffs. The first of these cliffs we saw as we headed upstream was of the white, clay type substance we saw yesterday at Moscow Landing, with a layer of harder rock just above the waterline.
These bluffs looked to be made from the same clay type soil as we saw at Moscow Landing.

Several barges were tied up along the bank in a couple of places, but we didn't pass any moving tow boats. We went past the cement plant and then the Alabama Power steam plant at (I think) Forkland, AL.
Several barges were "parked" along the bank of the Black Warrior.

The cement plant with barges at the loading facility.
This is the Alabama Power "Barge and Wastewater Canal" with the steam plant in the background.
We would like to make the entire trip from the headwaters of the Black Warrior, through Tuscaloosa, and to Demopolis one day, but for now the steam plant marked the time to turn around and head back home. On the way back downstream, I pulled over to the right bank to get a better look at "Pearl", a small steel-hulled trawler we'd seen on the way upriver. As I snapped a few pictures, I heard a lady say "I like your boat", and I realized the owners were on deck on the bank just above us. We had to fight the wind, which had now picked up, to keep our boat in position close enough to for us and them to asks a few questions about the other's boat. We got back to the marina and gassed up the Knot-So-Fast with 7.1 gallons. Not bad for 3 days and 91 miles of fun! (That comes our to 12.8 mpg).

After tying up at the marina, we took time to tour Bluff Hall, which was built by Allen Glover in 1832. My great-great grandfather, Nathaniel Glover, was also in the Demopolis area at about the same time, and, like Allen Glover, he came there from South Carolina. So far, though, I can't make a definite family connection between them.

Back at the marina, I hooked up the trailer and Glenda took the truck and trailer around to the city boat ramp, while I took the boat from the marina. She did a good job of backing the trailer in, and after a little winching, we had her in place on her trailer. (Glenda hates backing the trailer in, but she's getting pretty good at it.)

Glenda Says:
I slept really well last night.  The temperature was just right.  We got up about daylight and shared some pleasantries with our boating neighbors.  Dan and Carla from Minnesota had rented a car and were headed back today.  Several other boats were headed south for their adventure.  Tom and I just decided to meander up the Black Warrior for a couple of hours.  The wind had increased and it was partly cloudy so there was a chill in the air.  I don't believe the leaves could be any prettier any where else.  We watched a hawk as he appeared to just hang in the air not moving.  We stopped to take a look at another "custom built" tug docked at a house.   The owners were in the yard and we got the chance to speak to them.  We were yelling from the boat into the wind but we were still able to pass compliments back and forth. 

"Pearl" was a unique, custom built steel-hull trawler, that is a star at the Christmas on the River boat parade in Demopolis.
We decided to come home early since some cold rain is forecast to come in during the night.  But we got the chance to visit Bluff Hall, an 1832 house that sits on the river.  Built by Allen Glover as a wedding gift for his daughter and her husband Frances Lyons.  It was beautiful.  I enjoyed Demopolis, there is a lot of history and yet a lot of convenience too. 

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Nov. 10, 2012, Demopolis and Moscow Landing

Beautiful colors!
We woke this morning to a light fog on the river. We took the truck and went to town to buy some water, and to take a short walk along the riverfront park.
By 8:00 am the fog had lifted, so we straightened up the boat a little and pulled out of the marina at 8:25, headed downstream toward the Demopolis lock and dam.

Outside the lock, we lined up behind a large sailboat that we'd seen yesterday afternoon, just north of the marina. When we saw it yesterday, we noticed the duck decoy tied to the back, seemingly following the boat. When we pulled up beside the couple this morning I had to ask how long the duck had been "following" them. The lady, with a heavy accent (maybe Swedish?) told me that the duck had been with them for 10 years!

Glenda then noticed the deer on the bank to our port side. The sun's glare prevented us getting a good photo, but on the return trip we got several when we saw about 20 in the same spot.

We only waited a few minutes before the gates opened and we were told by radio to enter the lock. 20 minutes later we exited the downstream gates, after being lowered 40 feet.
The gates hold back the water as we are lowered 40 feet to the next level.

We continued south for about 13 miles to the site of the old "Moscow Landing", where pre-historic fossils are plentiful in the clay layer exposed at the river bank. We had to look a while to find a spot on the bank with a sandy bottom, as most of the bank in the area is rocky. We nosed up to the bank and put the boarding ladder over the bow, removed our shoes and climbed down into the edge of the water. I had to carry a rope over 100' up the bank to find a tree to secure the boat to. We walked the bank and found several fossilized shells, plant stalks and few pieces that looked like petrified bone.
If you do a Google search on Moscow Landing, you can get more information about the prehistoric layer that is exposed here.

We untied and Glenda fixed lunch and we headed back north, arriving again at the Demopolis lock at 2:45 pm. The lockmaster was waiting for us and we entered just as a tug and barge combination called to say he was about 2 miles away. Luckily for us, the lockmaster let us go ahead and lock through. We'd known that the tug was not far behind us, and we were hoping we could get to the lock in time to go first. Otherwise we'd have had wait nearly and hour. Exiting the lock we saw LOTS of deer, and we realized they were probably regular residents of the Foscue park and campground.

Arriving back at the marina, we checked in and paid for another nights dockage. After listening to the first half of the Alabama game, we rode into town and had a catfish dinner. We got back to the boat and listened to the final part of the game.

Glenda says:
We really slept pretty good last night.  The little electric heater knocked the chill out of the air and we actually slept until the sun came up.  After a brief moment of panic this morning (I couldn't find the coffee), the day went perfectly.  The sun was shining, the birds were singing and I could almost believe all was right with the world.
Just think I could be sitting on a dinosaur!

 It was lots of fun climbing out of the boat and tromping around the fossil area.  I hope when I get to heaven God will explain all about what we call "prehistoric" time.  It is hard for us to comprehend time much less eternity.
Some fossilized tree limbs. 
   Daisy had a blast running and sniffing at everything.  I think it will be worth a trip back to bring the grandkids.  We saw lots of individual fishermen along the bank and lots of boats enjoying the beautiful day.
Isn't she lovely?

 On the return trip, I was able to get some really good pictures of the deer grazing near the lock.  It was a pleasant day of travel.  When we returned to the dock a couple from Minnesota was interested in the boat so Tom gave them the "grand tour".  They are traveling in a 30 foot sailboat.  I wanted to go walk through the graveyard where the mausoleum is but there were gates and Tom wouldn't go in.  We ate at Halls Catfish and Seafood, it was good.  The air is not as cool tonight so we are not even going to get the heater out. 

Friday, November 9, 2012

Nov. 9, 2012 - Demopolis, AL

Tom says:
Glenda and I trailered Knot-So-Fast to the Demopolis Yacht Basin this morning, for a few days of leisure cruising on the Tenn-Tom waterway and Black Warrior rivers.

We launched about 9:15 am and checked in at the marina, parked the trailer on thier storage lot and headed upriver. We traveled north to Rattlesnake Bend, a loop off the main channel that meanders for about 8 or 10 miles before reconnecting about a mile north of the point where it split. This was a quiet, peaceful trip, and Glenda says the leaves are really showing off their colors!

Coming back south, we passed the marina and went to Foscue Creek campground and the Demopolis lock and dam, just to get a look at them. When we got back we talked with a couple who trailered their 27' C-Dory from New Mexico to Kentucky, where they started on the "Great Loop". They are leaving tomorrow headed South, and I'm hoping we can lock through with them at the dam.

We put a total of about 31 miles on the boat today, at an average speed of 5.2 mph. The weather was a little cool, but sunny and pretty comfortable overall. As I write this the temperature is dropping pretty fast, though. I did find a 30amp adapter on e-bay though, so we can plug in our little heater if we need to.

One of a thousand views we had of the leaf colors.

view to the west of the marina at sunset.

Tranquilo, on a stop during the Great Loop adventure. Makes us a little jealous!!

Glenda Says:
He was unconcerned about his photo op.

Glover Mausoleum, Tom's grandmother was a Glover, wonder if they are related
Boy do I need this trip!  So far it is working well.Its time for me to get a dose of the wonders of God.  I seem to forget how powerful he is too often.  The leaves are beautiful!  I hope to add more pictures but it won't be the same for you if you're not here.  We did get to see a couple of very large hawks and lots of water birds.  The turtles were also taking advantage of the sunshine.  Demopolis is a very historic town and you can see some of the sites from the water.  I am looking forward to seeing dinosaur fossils tomorrow.  So far the chill has not bothered me much but its not bedtime yet.  Daisy is doing well as usual, she just wants to be wherever we are.  You know, its nice to be loved!