Friday, October 21, 2011

I've got my love to keep me warm!

We anchored out in a very nice cove last night off Kentucky Lake. The overnight temp dropped well into the 30's, but we kept plenty warm inside the boat. Chris baked spaghetti squash (more excellent dining), the hot engine radiated some warmth and we have plenty of blankets to snuggle under. In the morning I fired up the oven and Chris baked banana nut bread. The sun rose bright and warm, heating up our full cockpit enclosure very quickly. It wasn't long before we were peeling off clothes. I finally put on shorts for a few hours in the afternoon! This cold snap will reportedly last one more day and then we'll have low's in the 50's for a while. I'll still have my love to keep me warm, so wearing shorts will continue to be necessary!

We'll be leaving Kentucky Lake tomorrow morning where it narrows down into the Tennessee River. Back to being river rats.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Mississippi & Ohio

We're on the Cumberland River now above Barkley Dam.
It took us 5 days to run the Mississippi & Ohio rivers. They were interesting; but rather tedious. Finding stopping places to get off the river at night was not easy. Most of the 'scenery' was industrial with barge/tows punctuating the trip. We feel we really accomplished something by conquering this hurdle. But it wasn't 'fun'.
We sat an extra day at Green Turtle Bay marina to wait out some weather. They provided a courtesy car for us to make a grocery run so we're stocked up for the next leg. Can't wait to push on up the Tennessee River. The plan includes a short side trip up to Chattanooga, we hear the scenery there is fantastic. We'll pass by the turn onto the Tombigbee waterway that takes us downstream to Mobile. When we get to Chattanooga we'll backtrack to the Tombigbee to resume the treck south.
We're beginning to catch up with the 'herd' of cruisers that are headed south. We'll slow down a bit now to avoid the crowds, such as they are.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Our trip summary so far

Thought we'd list where we've been so far.

9/12 Departed St. Clair Shores & Jefferson Beach Marina; anchored in Port Sanilac harbor.
9/13 Stayed put in Port Sanilac harbor to ride out weather
9/14 Sailed to Harbor beach, anchored in harbor
9/15 Rode out weather in Harbor Beach
9/16 Sailed to Port Austin; stayed in Port Austin Marina
9/17 Sailed to Harrisville; anchored in harbor
9/18 Sailed to Presque Isle in blustery weather; took dockage in the closed marina
9/19 Stayed in Presque Isle for the free electricity...for heat!
9/20 Sailed to Hammond Bay harbor of refuge; took dockage in the closed marina
9/21 Sailed to Mackinaw City; docked in Mack City Muni marina
9/22 Stayed in Mack city; shopping, chores, weather
9/23-24 Motored 36 hours straight to Lake Macatawa, Holland, Mi; anchored off Eldeans Shipyard
9/25-26 Stayed in Lake Macatawa; relaxed
9/27 Sailed to St. Joseph Municipal marina
9/28 Sailed to Crowley's Yacht yard, East Chicago.
9/29, 30 & 10/1 Crowleys; dropped mast, prepped for shipping, dinner with friends, chores & shopping
10/2 Motored to Joliet on the Illinois river; tied to town wall. Avoided prison time.
10/3 Motored to Springbrook Marina in Seneca, Il
10/4 Motored to Buffalo Rock State Park; anchored in the river. Beautiful spot
10/5 Motored to Peoria; tied to free town dock
10/6 Stayed in Peoria; shopping, chores
10/7 Motored to Quiver island; anchored, dodged massive barges in the middle of the night!
10/8 Motored to Bar island; anchored in the river. Beautiful spot
10/9 Motored to Diamond island; anchored in river
10/10 Motored to Alton marina; Alton Il on the Mississippi
10/11, 12 Stayed in Alton 3 nights to relax, hot tub, shopping & many chores
10/13 Motored past St. Louis to Hoppies in Kimmswick, Mo. Tied to their barge & fueled up for the long run down

That sums up one month on the run from old man winter!

Monday, October 17, 2011

River boating, by Chris

Boating on the rivers is very different. We do not worry about the big waves, our decisions to stay or move to our next destination is not nearly as dependent on the weather. Having no mast or sails makes the decision easy, we will NOT sail today. We do have to worry about all the commercial traffic. Tows, freighters, barges all have preference at the locks and through the other words, we need to communicate with them and get out of their way! As we worked our way south, the tows and barges got bigger because the last lock on the Mississippi is near St Louis. The barges are huge and take up the entire navigable river, in certain areas. Now that we are on the Cumberland and Tennesse rivers, there is a LOT less commercial traffic.

Locks are also what makes river travel so different. Some are very easy to negotiate and others...not so much. Yesterday we had two locks to go through. The first one was open. We were told to pass right over the wickets, there was plenty of depth. This was true, but the wind was blowing against the current and it made for a very choppy, confused sea. In other words it felt like going through a washing machine. The second
lock was open and we only waited for about 30 minutes to get in. We were told to have two thirty foot lines ready and available. Ed and I navigated in and got set up fairly quickly but others locking with us kept getting blown off the wall before they could get the lines set. It took them three tries. This was a very stressful situation with the wind howling and nothing we could do to help. This was our first lock that we traveled up.

Today we traveled through the largest lock yet. This one was 57 feet up. You enter into a big cavern and the gates close....very intimidating. Despite the intimidation factor, we did just fine. It was one of the easiest locks yet.