I know, I know, it’s been a long time since our last update. But I have a good excuse – more than one really; we have been busy moving through the rivers, they are great, just to let you know, we arrived and attended the AGLCA’s rendezvous at Joe Wheeler State Park, and we have met and talked with many new friends.
Now we are in the middle of a side trip farther up the Tennessee River heading toward Chattanooga, Tennessee. & WiFi has been sporadic. We expect more of the same on the Tenn-Tom. THAT’S IT! The inter-web is at fault.
Since our last entry we have traveled through the Kentucky Lakes area and entered the Tennessee River. Our trip up the Tennessee river has been beautiful and full of great sites and adventures. It seems that the powers that be are releasing water and lowering the levels of the reservoirs. Dams are letting water spill to lower the lake levels. These have not seemed to affect where we are able to go but some of the channels into the marinas are becoming shallow. Being our first time in the area we are not familiar but the locals have voiced their opinions and give advise on how to be careful and where to watch for shallow water. We have also noticed some strong currents as we get closer to the next lock and dam. Some of the dams have spectacular views of water being released down river. We are traveling up river and against the current. The push against the current has slowed us down as much as 4 mph. Some of the other Looper boats, single engine trawlers, have really felt the push against them. I spoke with one Looper with a trawler that had a top speed of 8 mph, they were slowed to less than 4mph.
So far on the Tennessee we have encountered four locks, and because we are traveling up the river we are lifted to the next level. It seems that going up is a rougher ride than going down. Water is pumped into the lock chamber and some of the Lock masters really pump the water in and it makes the boat want to move around. While on the Illinois River the lock masters did not want us cleating the lines to the boat. Here on the Tennessee it is different. Some want the boat cleated, some don’t. We’ve had some big lifts also, as high as 90 feet. Cynthia and I are getting the hang of the ride but it still is a different challenge at each lock.
Working boats always have the priority over pleasure craft. That means if a tow is at the lock or near we will wait until the working boat has locked through. We are always at the discretion of the lock master. We have waited as long as over 3 hours to enter and pass through the lock. One time we were advised that a tow was locking through and it couldn’t fit all the barges in at the same time so they moved half through and pushed them out. Then the tow boat was lifted back up and hooked up the other barges and back down to reconnect with the other barges and then proceed down river. That wasn’t so bad but then the lock master filled the chamber without letting us in so that bass fishermen could lock down and be at the weigh- in, in time. It seems to me that fishermen and I just don’t get along. We were just trying to get to our daily destination marina before dark.
We arrived a couple of days ahead of schedule at Joe Wheeler State Park for the AGLCA rendezvous and settled in for the week. The day after we arrived Loopers were coming into the marina most of the day. About sunset the last of the days arrivals tied into the slips and people were chatting and milling about. Cynthia and I went below for dinner. While eating we heard sirens and a commotion on the dock. It seems that a late arrival had collapsed and nearby boaters helped him out. The whole story was the man had collapsed and had a heart attack. It just happened that the boats tied to the dock behind him were occupied by a former Fire Chief, a retired Doctor, and a retired Dentist. The Dentist had an AED Machine on board his boat in case he had a problem. (The AED machine are the paddles and charger you’ve seen on TV where the place the paddles on the person and yell CLEAR.) Well these three people saved this mans life. He did not have a pulse when they found him and they started CPR, and with the AED machine they were able to get his heart started again, all before the paramedics arrived. That’s how the Rendezvous Week started.
The rendezvous consisted of meet and greets, with vendors, Loopers, marina people. Dinners, entertainment, and everyday seminars on aspects of the Loop. Cynthia and I split up to get the most of all the seminars. Toots did not like being left on the boat by herself and has developed some very bad habits.
The seminars gave insight into what to expect while traveling the Loop, tips on what to have on board while traveling for convenience and for safety. The event with the gentleman on the dock really made the safety aspect hit home. Many of the seminars were given by Gold Loopers, (people who have completed the loop). They told of good places to anchor, available marinas, and lots of places of interest that would be worth stopping to see.
We learned a lot and enjoyed ourselves. We met many nice people and passed out a lot of those boat cards we had printed. I have started tying knots again and made a monkeys fist for everyone on our dock. I tied over thirty knots and handed them out.
We left Joe Wheeler after a week and began a side tip farther up the Tennessee toward Chattanooga. We are now a couple of days away and expect to be able to spend the weekend enjoying ourselves in downtown Chattanooga.
Until next time, smooth sailing and we will keep you updated.