Cruising

A Day in Tupelo

The forecast for Tuesday was clear and cool, a great day for a car ride 60 miles north to Tupelo Mississippi, the birthplace of Elvis Presley.

I have to preface this by saying that when we researched Elvis’ birthplace there were some negative comments. Our findings were that visitors enjoyed the area, but were let down on the customer service and the amount that was charged to enter the home, museum, and church. Because of the negative comments we just about decided to skip going. I am glad we went. It was easy to get to, just a few minutes off Interstate 45 with signs marking the way, and we enjoyed our visit.

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Birthplace Map helped us keep our bearings.

We had decided to check out the Events Center complex first, and see the movie about his early childhood before making the decision to pay for entry to the exhibits. The Movie was a local production, not like the Elvis movies of the 50 and 60’s, but well done and informative. What really caught my attention was during the ending credits, an Elvis song that I was not familiar with, played. Many of the audience sang along. These are “hard core”, Elvis fans.

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This couple was on a tour from Memphis, seeing all the Elvis spots.

Cynthia, my wife “Dearest”, and I walked the grounds and took in the views. From the movie we saw what the house and church interiors looked like and did not pay the extra $17, $14 for seniors, to enter.

Elvis Presley was born on January 8th, 1935 in a two room house built by his father Vernon, with help from Vernon’s father, Jessie, and his brother, Vester, in 1934.

Vernon had borrowed $180 from his employer to finance the building, which had a single light bulb in each room.

A fact that isn’t publicized is the Presley family only lived in the house about 3 years. Vernon couldn’t make the payments and had to move into a different part of town. That move may have influenced a young Elvis even more, because he had to walk through a part of town called “Shake Rag” that had honky-tonks, and it was there that he was introduced to Blues.

Embedded into the walk around the house are stone carvings that contain facts about each of the 13 years that Elvis lived in Tupelo.

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Elvis at 13

The statue of “Elvis at 13” was created by the sculptor from pictures and measuring the brick and mortar to make it life-size.

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Cynthia in front of the Assembly of God church doors that the Presley attended.

 

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Left this picture large so you could read the information in front. Elvis did NOT sit here.

Something else that I found interesting was the fact that the original home has not been moved. It is on the location it was built. In 1957 Elvis donated the proceeds from a concert in Tupelo to help purchase the area and create a park for young people. The story is that as a young boy Elvis and his friends would play in this area. Statues at the top of the overlook depict Elvis as a young boy and a guitar and then the larger than life Elvis the entertainer.

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Elvis larger than life.

As we were getting ready to leave the birthplace we stopped to ask where we should go for lunch. Both the ladies behind the counter said “Johnnies”.

 

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Just a couple blocks from Birthplace Park is Johnnie’s Drive-in. It’s a local burger joint and as we walked in Dearest asked me “Do we just sit or wait for them to seat us?”. The gentleman that was behind us said “Just find a spot. They’ll take care of you.” We did and as the waitress was taking our drink order she also said “Would you like to sit in the Elvis Booth? I just cleaned it and it’s open.” We said sure, and moved to the spot that Elvis would sit when he ate there. The special was called a Doughburger. A mixture of flour and meat that extended the meat. This has been a staple since the opening of Johnnie’s in the 1940’s.

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Left to right Miss Christi (the owner) Cynthia (Dearest) Mikey (cook) Amanda (our server, she was great) Savanna (cook)

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Dearest and I in the Elvis Booth

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Lots of pictures and memorabilia around the cafe.

 

After a great lunch we headed into town and stopped at Tupelo Hardware. A real hardware store that has something for everyone. It’s where Gladys Presley bought Elvis’ first guitar as a birthday present. I stood on the spot Mrs. Presley stood when she purchased that guitar. We also found some items that we could use on the boat.

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First try wasn’t quite right.

 

 

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Perfect fit

 

It was a great day and a lot of fun.

Some of the information I used in this blog was taken from the Elvis’ Birthplace visitors guide, and the Tupelo Visitors Guide.

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A Quick Trip To the Home Port

The Plan:

Make a fast trip back to Michigan to pick up Cynthia’s car, then back to the boat in time to see the eclipse.

The reality:

Bus ride to Michigan (see previous blog entry) Pick up the car, run errands, see as many friends and family as possible in 3 days. Then drive back to Kentucky. It makes for a busy few days.

Pictures will tell this story better than words.

 

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Friday lunch with the old guys has expanded to ladies also

The Friday lunch started with getting together after golf and has expanded to a large group. Each week these friends get together at local restaurants. You never know who will show up, but it’s always a good group of friends.

Our travels had us downtown Grand Haven, MI running errands and a little hometown shopping.

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Downtown Grand Haven, MI

Then dinner at Fricano’s Pizza. While there we had a quick visit from Cynthia’s friend, Hilary Burns.  Full of pizza we made a late night surprise stop at one of Cynthia’s oldest friends, Sindee Maxwell. Poor Sindee had a fall and wound up with a sling.

 

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Comparing injuries

 

 

 

 

“Walk the Beat” has local bands play around the town. Donations go to help with the school music programs. Some of Cynthia’s oldest friends were playing, and we took advantage to listen to some great music and see people.

Clockwise from Top left, Joe Maxwell w/ Ken Stone,  two close friends, fusion, jazz, reggae, folk and classic rock.

From “Walk the Beat” we headed to the 41st annual Corn Roast at Terry and Marilyn Benkert’s home in Muskegon. This is where friends have been gathering for years to get back together and visit. When this started our parents and grandparents would come and watch as we young people basically drank beer, played volley ball, drank more beer, talked, and made fools of ourselves. The crowd hasn’t changed much, but not as much beer and wine are consumed, and we have become the older people watching grand children.

 

 

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A table was set up this year to remember some of the regulars that we have lost in the past year.

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My cousin Dave Andrus and myself. Dave made a special trip so we could touch base for a short time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More pictures of the corn roast.

Not only a get together but now a fund-raiser for good causes. This year people were able to spray colored water at Terry (Bummer) Benkert for a small donation. Funds went to Relay for Life. Marilyn Benkert also had a silent auction. Between the two events over $700.00 was raised.

We had to leave earlier than we wanted in able to see more friends for a short time before we headed back. Inga Weaver displaying a quilt started by Robert Weaver’s Grand Mother and finished by Inga and our group photo.

While in town we only had a few minutes with our son Ben. Ben has his own family now and had long anticipated plans. We stayed at our other son Jacob’s home. Between his work and his own life we had just a short time with him. Cynthia got up early on Friday to have breakfast with friend Linda Albonico and after our short visit with Robert and Inga we headed to Hilary and Dick’s for another short visit.

We left our son’s home in Grand Haven on Sunday morning heading back to the boat. Cynthia driving her car and me trying to decide which route would be the easiest way back. Well, that didn’t go as planned. Highway 57 south through Illinois was slated as the fastest route, however, we ran into construction traffic and had to idle for about 1-1/2 hours. Low on fuel and hungry we finally came to an exit and got off the highway and ran two lane roads South. A bright spot was C & C Kitchen in Rantoul, IL. Described as Hip & Cosey C & C Kitchen offered a light fair that hit the spot. We recommend it.

Back on the move and closing in on Kentucky we stopped just before crossing the Ohio River in Metropolis where I had my picture taken. Then on back on the road.

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Monday the 21st of August was Eclipse day. We had a great view from the front deck of Bright Angel. Clear sky’s made the view perfect. My big hat and Cynthia’s umbrella gave us the shade we needed while watching and waiting.

It was a short trip and we put as much into it as possible. It’s good to be back on the boat, but miss all our friends and family.

p.s. We realize just how much our friends mean to us when we don’t see them as often as we like. Just in the short time we were in Michigan two more of our friends have passed. We will miss you Linda Little (Holland) and Pat Smith

 

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Riding the Big Grey Dog

Our dilemma was how to get back to Michigan without spending a months worth of Social Security.

We check flights from Paducah, out of the question.

The train was a possibility, however, the closest train station was almost 2 hours away by car, and we don’t have a car.

I checked into a driver to just drive us up in a personal vehicle and had someone who would do it for a couple of hundred dollars, but that didn’t work out either.

So!

Do the Google search for cheap travel. It brought up rental cars, only 30 dollars a day, but the one way drop off fee made the rental almost as much as an airline ticket.

Then I looked at Greyhound. Midweek, one way, only $57.00 each.

It had been a long time since I’ve ridden a bus any distance and Cynthia never. I hesitated to even bring it up to her. I offered to ride up by myself and bring her car back, but she wanted to see people in Michigan as much as myself.

It was a done deal.

Two tickets leaving Paducah Tuesday evni ng at 6:30 and arrive in Holland, MI the next day around 3:00 in the afternoon.

We booked the marina courtesy car for our trip into Paducah and asked friends on another boat to go along and return the car. We packed lightly with only 2 carry on cases and one suitcase that would ride below the passengers.

We arrived early enough in Paducah to have a late lunch at a brew pub downtown. It just happened to be located in the old bus station. They left some of the decor of the station that gave the place a retro look. Paducah Beer Werks (paducahbeerwerk.com) offers a limited “pub food” menu with the usual Stouts and IPAs. Not interested. I did find a brew called “the Dude” that satisfied my taste.

After a light diner, not knowing how it would set for the ride, we headed to the current bus station to wait for our ride.

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At the station waiting for our ride

We arrived about 5:45 and the office did not open until 6:00. The only bench outside was taken by an older gentleman that proceeded to change clothes along side of the building. He must have been waiting a while. Another person waiting was a younger man late 20’s or 30’s. He was on the phone and stayed there all the time until I lost track of him in St. Louis.

The bus arrived just a little early, passengers and drivers got off and promptly lit up. This made a haze that had to be passed through to board. Tickets in hand and the bag marked that it was heading to Holland MI we headed toward one of the drivers to board. It was hard to get either one to talk, but finally I showed one our tickets and was told to put the suitcase underneath and that “We would be on this bus all the way to Chicago”. We found a seat and tried to get comfortable.

 

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Our bus to Chicago and one of the drivers to St. Louis.

We were now on our way. Out of Paducah and headed toward St. Louis, with stops in between.

 

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Still excited about our adventure.

There was a sign in the front of the bus that basically said, don’t talk to the driver unless necessary. We passengers didn’t talk to the drivers, I don’t know why there were two but, the lady drivers kept up a running conversation that included passing phones back and forth while moving down 2 lane roads.

At our second stop quite a few people left the bus. A rider across the aisle commented, “The population of this town just doubled.” it lightened the moment.

I noticed that one of the departing passengers was moving around like he was looking for something, checking all the compartments underneath the bus. Seems that his suitcase was missing. Undaunted, the drivers pointed toward the door of the bus station, U haul, and pay by the week/month motel. “There’s an 800 number to call in there to let the company know.” Then got back onto the bus and we headed out again.

Onward toward St. Louis. After 2 or 3 more stops we crossed the Mississippi River, saw the Arch, the baseball field, and the arena for the Blue’s. The bus station was just across the street and included local train service and Amtrak. It was about 10:30P.M. And our bus was scheduled to leave shortly after 12:00 midnight.

While leaving the bus I asked if we should take our suitcase with us into the station and was told it would stay on the bus. Cynthia would have liked it better if I had brought it with us. She was now worried that our suitcase would not be with us when we arrived in Chicago.

The bus waiting area was away from the Amtrak waiting area down a corridor wing. Our first requirements were a restroom, some water and then someplace to rest while waiting for the bus to begin our next leg of the journey.

It was uneventful just sitting or trying to sit on some of the most uncomfortable benches ever. Comfortable benches make a good place for homeless to sleep. Announcements broadcast that security people would be moving through checking for tickets. I noticed a pretty female traveler had plenty of security making sure she was safe. I, on the other hand was asked,”you good?”, I was.

Our bus was announced and we queued to reboard. Our driver on this leg, “Captain Jeff”. Jeff was younger maybe 30’s and in full uniform complete with hat. He took his job seriously, and he looked good doing it.

Upon boarding Captain Jeff checked our tickets and said that he would get us to Chicago in plenty of time for our connection. He was a 180 degree turn around from the last section of the ride. I started for the bus, Cynthia was alongside the bus making sure our suitcase was still in its designated area. It was.

Well before our adventure began I had checked the travel tips on the Greyhound website. One I noticed was that the buses would be air-conditioned and they hoped that everyone would be comfortable.

I, being known to get cold, dressed in long pants, socks, and a fleece pullover. Cynthia had brought a lap blanket.

Not long into our trip from St. Louis to Chicago, Cynthia spotted a pair of open seats and headed off to be more comfortable. I rested my neck pillow against the window and tried to rest. I woke shivering and spotted Cynthia all snuggled under her blanket. Sliding in next to her, “I’m FREEZING”. She unenthusiastically offered some of her blanket. To me it was snuggling, but Cynthia thought I was crowding her. I tried to not lean on her, but the seats are not made for someone with a “mature” body frame.

I don’t know how long we had been riding when I told Cynthia “I smell something”. At about the same time “Captain Jeff” pulled the bus over to the side of the road. I thought “Oh no something is wrong with the bus and we are going to stuck in the middle of Illinois”. Jeff stopped the bus, straightened his tie, put on his bus driver hat, got out of his seat and proceeded to march to the back of the bus.

BANG! BANG! BANG! On the restroom door.

ARE YOU SMOKING ON MY BUS?

DON’T LIE TO ME!

IT IS A FEDERAL LAW.  THERE IS NO SMOKING ON THIS BUS.

I CAN CALL THE POLICE AND HAVE YOU ARRESTED RIGHT NOW!

BUT THAT WOULD MAKE ALL THESE PEOPLE LATE FOR THEIR ARRIVAL. OR

I COULD PUT YOU OFF THE BUS IN THE MIDDLE OF ILLINOIS, ALL BECAUSE YOU HAD TO SMOKE ON MY BUS.

Now put that out and get back to your seat and behave yourself.

Captain Jeff made his way back to his driver’s seat and pulled the bus back onto the highway heading toward Chicago. Jeff used the intercom to apologize to the rest of the riders for his actions. Then explained, again, the rules about smoking on any bus. The rest of the trip to Chicago was uneventful. We arrived about 5:00A.M. As we exited the bus both Cynthia and myself thanked Captain Jeff for getting us from St. Louis to Chicago safely. Then made our way into the waiting area for a 4 hour layover.

 

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Queuing for tickets to America.

Again, the benches in the waiting area are the most god awful uncomfortable things ever. After a while we moved from our “iron throne” to the cafeteria aluminum freezer seats to spend the rest of our wait in frozen bliss.

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Charging station and Cafe

The bus station waiting areas hold a real cross-section of America. There were, young families, new Americans, singles heading to a job and a new life, Grand parents holding newborns, workers traveling to job sites, students, and us.

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Three generations waiting for their ride.

 

The next leg of our trip was with a partner line, Indian Trails bus line. Cynthia was immediately impressed with the newer, cleaner, more comfortable buses. Our driver was not as structured as Captain Jeff, but she knew her job and did it well. She and a helper loaded our suitcase into the carrying area and told us to get comfortable. We had only 5 more stops to make till the end of our bus adventure.

Two stops down and on Interstate 94 headed for Michigan, the sun shining, we were making time and right on schedule.

I had dozed off….KA BOOM!

I mean KAABOOM!

HOLY SHIT WHAT WAS THAT! First thing we thought we blew a tire but our driver had it under control and moved the bus to the side of the road at Mile Marker 16 in Michigan. There we sat. For some reason the air conditioner would not work and was now blowing hot air. It got uncomfortable very fast. The driver let us know that she had called in to the office and they were working on a solution right away. The driver also had checked the tires and found them all OK. She figured that one of the air suspension bags had ruptured. This let the bus settle down on the tires and also made it so there was no way to air up the brake system. We were stuck on the side of the road until another bus came to get us.

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Sitting on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere.

We were close to an exit ramp and could see the “golden arches” from where we sat, but, company policy would not let us get off the bus. Driver did what she could to get some air moving inside. Opened emergency hatches and windows and doors. It was better but not very comfortable.

Word came that there was a bus in Kalamazoo, about an hour and a half away that was being dispatched. But they said they may have another solution. Sure enough there was a bus in Benton Harbor only 15 minutes away that was rerouted and sent our way. Within a half hour of the rupture we were on another bus and heading to the next stop.

Our driver was obviously more than a little geeked about what had happened and was doing a lot of talking with one of the passengers that happened to be a driver also. Cynthia, tired and ready to get off the bus was sitting with her head down behind the seat in front of her. I asked what was the matter. Through gritted teeth came “I want quiet and to get off this bus.” Only a little while to go, just a few more short stops and we arrived on schedule or very close to it in Holland.

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New bus dropping us off in Holland, MI.

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Cynthia trying to smile after 20+ hours of travel by bus.

We were tired and vowed this was our last bus adventure. We waited for our ride on into Grand Haven to rest and prepare for the next part of our weekend adventure.

 

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A Momentary Lapse of Common Sense

How many times have you done something, then thought back and say to yourself, “I was lucky something bad didn’t happen.” Personally I’ve had many experiences that could’ve turned out worse than they did. Even now just putting my thoughts together many memories come to mind.

Boat living makes you think and act safely on a daily basis. I can say that the times I end up regretting  have been when rushed or thinking “I’ll just hop over that”, or  “I’ll just jump down and get that.”

Well, lesson learned.  I’m going to relate my latest experience in hopes that you, the reader, will think first before just hopping or jumping.

Our day started out fine, beautiful  “let’s go for a boat ride” weather.  We took Bright Angel to the fuel dock at Green Turtle Bay Resort and Marina, did a pump out and headed out onto Barkley Lake. We traveled to a nearby marina, stopped for lunch, had a great ride, and headed back to the slip. Hoping to enjoy our local area even more I set the dinghy down from its cradle to prepare it for a sail or just a row around the marina. Moving the dinghy along side Bright Angel I saw a line on the floor. “I’ll just hop down there, grab that line, and get back on the dock and move the dinghy, so it’s ready to go.”

 

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How I wanted the dinghy to be so we could easily go for rides.

What happened next was quick. I stepped down into the dink, it moved, I lost my balance, went into the side of Bright Angel, crashed down onto the gunwale of the dink and over into the water. My first thought was to grab my glasses, no strap to hold them in place. They were OK.  Steadying myself using the transom of the dink, I began to think of what to do next. By this time Dearest (my wife, Cynthia) was up on the big boat checking out the commotion. “Do you have your phone?” was her first question. Later after things had calmed down I asked her why she thought of my phone before me. Her answer was, “You were above water and breathing so I figured you were OK.”

After the initial shock we both started to act more responsibly. Cynthia’s next comment was, “What can I do to help?” My first request was for Cynthia to switch off the power from the power pedestal to the boat.  (Lately we have heard of people killed by stray electric.)  With the power shut off I moved toward the swim platform on Bright Angel while Dearest lowered the ladder into the water. Back on board we evaluated injuries. No blood, that’s a good thing. Right arm sore, must have hit it on the way out of the boat. Next into the shower to rinse off. By the end of the shower my right arm was becoming difficult to move and more sore. We applied ice packs and did a more extensive evaluation. The arm just above the elbow was starting to bruise, and we knew that it would get worse as the night progressed. We continued with ice and took some acetaminophen.

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First night after the fall

Daily progression of bruising.

By early evening bruising was getting worse. I could hardly move my arm, and the pain was becoming intense. I went for a more heavy-duty pain medication that we keep on board, for that “just in case” event. I kept the arm elevated and the ice packs rotating  throughout the night. The next morning we headed for Paducah, KY and Urgent Care.  X-rays taken, no broken bones discovered, but the bruised area was expanding down the arm and the bicep was looking strange. The Physician Assistant prescribed an anti-inflammatory and said if it wasn’t better in a week go to the Orthopedic Institute of West Kentucky.

Here we are just over a week later, another trip into Paducah and a visit to the Orthopedic Urgent Care, diagnosis;  torn ligament in the right bicep. Arrangements were made for a MRI to see how extensive the damage and a new prescription to help with the pain.

Currently the MRI has been performed and I have an appointment with a doctor to schedule surgery to attach the ligament.

All this because of “I’ll just hop down and get that line.”

I am not looking for sympathy or prayers. I’m passing this along so that maybe someone else will stop before hopping and move more cautiously and avoid lost weeks of fun.

Thanks to all the people at Green Turtle Bay Marina for the help scheduling the courtesy car, so we can get to doctors appointments and procedures.

Special thanks to Cynthia, for putting up with my whining about how much it hurts, and the fact that I will never be able to do dishes again.

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That “Mom face” when I said that I would never be able to do dishes again.

 

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Moving on up

We are currently in Grand River, Kentucky at Green Turtle Bay Marina/Resort. While here at the dock and around the area we’ve met and talked with many people. We’ve also passed out quite a few boat cards. When handing the card to someone I tell them that our blog site is on the back side of the card, however, I have not been too diligent about updates but plan to add more soon.

Now I am keeping my promise.

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Heading out of Turner Marine meeting some others that are heading north also

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We are now heading UP river.

 

Here’s what we’ve been up to;

Mid-April we left Turner Marine in Mobile AL, after spending the winter, and started North. Our first night we anchored in Bates Lake and had a couple tell us that when the tide went out it would be too shallow to get back into the river. So, up anchor, and back downriver a couple of miles to the Alabama cutoff. Now, many others anchor here and sing its praises, however, when we dropped anchor it would not set. After pulling it back up we realized that somehow our anchor chain had wrapped around a log. Cynthia kept the boat in place while I was tried to get rid of the log. Finally we got the log alongside the boat and loose. Now, we were able to set the main anchor. Then climb down onto the swim platform to set the stern anchor.  (Setting a stern anchor keeps the boat from swinging.) We were alone in the anchorage and had a pleasant evening. I was real tired and had no problem getting to sleep.

The next morning we pressed on up river and made it to the Coffeville Lock and Bobby’s Fish-camp for the night. An easy evening with dinner at Bobby’s and another early night.

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View of Bobby’s Fish-Camp from the boat, It’s rustic.

 

From Bobby’s it’s 100 miles to Demopolis, the next fuel and dockage. We decided to stop in between. We passed a good anchorage at Bashi Creek before noon, but did not want to stop that early, so we pressed on looking for a another spot to anchor for the night.

We found Chickasaw Bogue and bumped our way across the bar into deeper water. We anchored in about 7 foot of water, but when the boat would swing the depth would vary. It was decided to set the stern anchor again, so back onto the swim platform and another toss of the stern anchor. While I was on the swim platform Cynthia noticed we were moving, the main anchor had not set properly.  With Cynthia at the helm we raised the main anchor and moved forward to make another attempt at setting the anchor. This time we let out extra chain and gave a good tug to make sure it dug into the mud. Then back to the swim platform and a toss of the stern anchor.  To set the stern anchor I went back to the front and pulled in some of the extra chain to set the stern anchor. This had us staying in one place and not moving too much.

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Looking into Chickasaw Bogue

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Checking the movement of the boat

Tired I sat on the back deck and watched a tree to make sure we were not moving. We were glad that we spent the extra time getting the anchors set because, later that evening a storm front passed through. The winds gave the anchor chains a good tug, but we moved some but stayed pretty much in the same place. That was our first Thunder Storm at anchor. Not something I would like do on a regular basis.

In the morning we reversed our anchor process to release the stern anchor then moved forward to pull the bow anchor. With Cynthia at the helm we started out of Chickasaw Bogue and promptly ran aground, and of course, here comes a Tow as we are trying to get off the bottom. I took over the helm while Cynthia contacted the Tow on the radio. With some extra reverse thrust we backed off the sandbar and with help from the tow captain we angled our way back out into the main river. Demopolis was our stop for that evening and the rest of the weekend.

I had developed a cough and told Cynthia that it was from breathing exhaust fumes while trying to set the stern anchor, she didn’t believe me.  From the beginning of our trip up river we had set our sights on Columbus, MS as a rest stop, because we both like the area and the people. Neither one of us thought our stay would last as long as it did.

The day after we arrived in Columbus Cynthia took me to an Urgent Care facility to figure out what was the matter with me. We found out we both had this seasons flu and bronchitis. Me about ten days ahead of Dearest. After lots of tests and armed with prescriptions we arrived back at the boat,  medicated, and went to bed, for a week.

Our first week in Columbus was gone before we knew. We put our heads out for short periods after that but for almost 3 weeks we stayed on the boat and tried to get over our sickness. Finally we started to feel better and thought of moving up-stream again.

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Making waves again, it feels good.

 

From Columbus north, the Tom Bigbee river has plenty of marinas to make easy days of 50 to 60 miles. Allowing us to be in and tied up well before the sun has begun to set.  We entered Pickwick Lake through Wilton Lock and found the current changed direction and is now running  with us, adding extra speed for less fuel. We made Aqua Yacht Harbor in Iuka, MS our address for the next couple of nights.  

From Aqua Yacht Harbor we entered the Tennessee River,  Pickwick Lock and Dam took us off Pickwick Lake and continued the Tennessee River. Two 60 mile days have us at Pebble Isle Marina, and a great place to spend the weekend.

The last few days of travel has Cynthia having back pain, making it hard to move around and giving her problems while handling lines.  By the time we reached Green Turtle Bay on the North end of Lake Barkley she was in serious pain. Now, with chiropractic care and after a couple massages, she is on the mend, but we don’t want a relapse. Because of this we have signed on for a month here and will remain at Green Turtle Bay until after July 4th. That should give us time to heal.

In the mean time we are trying to figure out what to do, and where to go next. But that is another story.

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Wow! It has been a long time.

It has been a long time since I’ve let my fingers walk on the keyboard. So long that I had to look up my last post to figure out where I left off.

Four Months!

July. It has been a long time.

Let’s get started. Here’s what I’m going to do. Give a brief review of our travels in the last 4 months then go back and expand on what I thought were significant.

Last time we were in Canada celebrating Canada Day with new friends. We still are in contact with them through Facebook.

While traveling the Trent-Severn waterway we had a situation with a recurring problem that required the boat to be lifted out of the water. With out a place to stay we rented a vehicle and drove to our home port of Grand Haven, Michigan. Friends and family were gracious enough to put up with us for almost 3 weeks.20160729_134614

 

Thanks again to everyone that helped out.

With the boat back in the water and August slipping away we pushed through the Georgian Bay in 2 days and back into the North Channel of Lake Huron. At the top of Georgian Bay is Killarney, Ontario. We were now in familiar waters, having travelled here in 2013. My thoughts were to push to Mackinac and down the coast of Michigan to Grand Haven. Silly Me

Lake Michigan is not a lake to mess with. We ended up in St. Ignace, MI waiting for weather and waves to become better. Waves again forced us into Beaver Island. Then with our sights set for Frankfort, we were forced into Charlevoix. Let me tell you this. If you are forced into a harbor Charlevoix is a great place to pushed into.

With an open window we moved from Charlevoix to Frankfort and from Frankfort to Manistee. Where again we had to wait for a weather window to move again. Then to Pentwater, Muskegon and finally on September 4 we reentered Grand Haven harbor and completed our Great Loop.

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We stayed at the municipal marina for 2 weeks, met with friends and family, went to Dr, appointments, and caught up with what needed to be caught up with. We were so busy that by the time we left we were ready to get back to the easy pace of cruising.

A salmon festival had us leaving Grand Haven in not the best of conditions. We traveled the Lake Michigan coast in 17 – 20 feet of water. Very close to shore. But any farther out and we were being banged around by 4-6′ waves. We made South Haven and stayed til better conditions arrived. Then New Buffalo MI and Hammond IN.

We arrived in Hammond on Cynthia’s birthday and went to the Casino next door to the marina. If we signed up for Player’s Cards we would get a free buffet. Whoo Hooo, free food and a birthday dinner to boot.

Now off the big lake and into the rivers again for smooth cruising. Our cruise down the Illinois River was uneventful. The upper Illinois River is highly commercial and is not the prettiest of scenery but in improves the closer you get to the Mississippi River Valley.

The Mississippi River has a great current that makes for easy travel at speeds unthinkable in slow-moving vessels. We would travel around 14 to 15 mph at engine speeds that would usually have us at 8 or 9 mph. Then we make the turn up the Ohio and speeds drop from 15 down to 6 in a boat length. But this is only for a couple of days and we enjoyed our nights at anchor on the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers.

From there we entered the Cumberland River just north a Paducah, KY on a Sunday. The Kentucky Lock and Dam was closed for repair and barge and tow traffic had been re-routed onto the Cumberland. Where when we first traveled the Cumberland we saw 1 barge this time we saw and passed more than 12 moving tows. The Cumberland is much more narrow than the Tennessee and the Ohio and water levels were much shallower than the last time we were on it, making the passing just a little more nerve-wracking. But a great day and we were able to enter the Barkley Lock without waiting.

Now up the Tennessee and on to the Tom Bigbee River. We are currently in Columbus MS and what was supposed to be a short stay has become weeks. I turned and put out my back and have been here recuperating until we both feel comfortable in my moving capabilities.

Life goes on.

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Cruising

Celebrating Holidays and People.

We were at the Trent Port Marina in Trenton Ontario on the bay of Quinte. Trent Port Marina is only a year or two old, and it is deluxe. But that’s not the story here.

Canada Day, July 1, 2016. We were ready to enjoy fireworks over the bay. Our transient slip almost at the end of the dock was going to afford us ringside seats for the fireworks display scheduled for this evening.  I had walked up to the marina to use the facilities, and was on my way back. I noticed a Grandma taking a picture of Grandpa and two boys. Being from the Midwest, we talk to anybody, I offered to take the picture so Grandma would be included. The group was very thankful. Then Grandpa said,”let me give you one of the boy’s cards.” Now Loopers and boaters seem to always be giving out boat cards, so I didn’t think much about it. Then Grandpa starts explaining, these are the Tebworth Brothers, Wyatt and Marshall. They play “Blue grass” music. We spoke about music and boats and fireworks for a while and ended up back on the boat all of us watching a great Canada Day fireworks display. No longer Grandpa and Grandma but Doug and Barb. The senior Tebworth asked if we needed anything and would we like to have a day off the boat. “We will pick you up and show you around or take you to a store if you need to pick up anything. How about coming to the house for lunch and the boys can play for you.” My answer? “Sure, but I got to check with the boss first.”

The four were there to pick us up right at 10:00. We cruised up the road to Lock 6 in Frankford to see what to expect, then back to the house for a great lunch. Wyatt and Marshall were happy to show us around the house. Barb and Doug put a great meal together, with lots of laughs, and now music. Even Cynthia and I had a chance on the standup Bass. Cynthia did pretty well, she’s got a place on the bus. I will have to drive and carry equipment. IMG_2753 During the afternoon’s conversation, we found out the boys have a fishing boat that they had purchased with some of their earnings. They like to get out on the Trent river, but have never been through a lock, also Doug and Barb have lived most of their lives in the area and have never been through a lock either. Well! That’s easy to remedy. We checked and arranged schedules then left Trent Port Marina a day early and all of us spent the day on Bright Angel. We went through 6 locks and tied up at the Frankford lock for the evening.

Later that evening the boys, Doug and Barb, plus their son Rob, brought dinner and instruments. Satisfied from another great meal we were ready for some “Bluegrass” music. We were not disappointed.

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Lady walking her dog stopped to enjoy some music.

Again, how blessed are we to meet these people. All along our way it has been the people we have met that make this trip the adventure of a lifetime.

Find out more about the Tebworth Brothers, visit their website TEBWORTHBROTHERS.COM or Facebook at Tebworth Brothers or you can check them out on Youtube.

 

 

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