Sunday, June 29, 2008

Back on Land

We are home in Minnesota. Thursday we cleaned the boat and packed. Then Friday morning it was put everything in the refrigerator in the cooler and pack up the kitties.

We were on the road before 7:00 and after 900 miles we made it home by 11:00 P.M. A long day of driving but better than trying to move the kitties in and out of a motel.

This is our last planned post for now. We plan to go back to the boat about the first of September and will continue the travelogue then.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Back to Rock Harbor

Monday, June 23

Another beautiful morning, mid 60s, light wind and partly cloudy. We ate a leisurely breakfast, cleaned up, and went for a walk around the marina’s park like setting.
About 10:00 we backed out of the slip and headed out. Diana got these pictures of the marina as we left.

We continued up the Cumberland River another five or six miles past the marina, then turned around and headed down river. This is basically beyond Old Hickory Lake, the river is back to just a river.

We enjoyed a beautiful day and saw much that we had missed going up the lake. It is amazing how different things can look going the opposite direction. By the afternoon and in the lake (not river) there was an amazing amount of other boat activity for a Monday. We both commented that we made the right decision staying in our slip on Sunday.

About 3:30 we pulled into the same secluded cove we had used as an anchorage last week. It is just half an hour to the lock tomorrow morning. We BBQ the last of the frozen shrimp and watched the sun set on one more perfect day.

Tuesday, June 24

After a very quite peaceful night at anchor we awoke to another picture perfect morning. Being on the eastern edge of the time zone, the sun comes up very early in the morning.

After our normal leisurely morning routine we were still pulling the anchor and heading out shortly after 8:00. By 8:45 we were in radio contact with the Old Hickory Lock to let him know we would like to lock down. Shortly after we arrived he opened the gates and we were in, down 60 feet and headed out by 9:20.

We cruised slowly down the 25 miles of river to the Nashville Municipal Dock where we had a reservation for the night. This is a public dock; you tie along side, no slips, with electricity.

Along one interesting bluff was a complex of stairs and patio with a small summer building with a small plane on the roof. The sign said “MYHIDEHOLE.COM” I have not had internet access to check it out.

About 6 miles upriver from downtown is the Opryland complex, the General Jackson was loading passengers as we went by. When we got further down river we passed a couple of tows working empty barges. After we passed, one pulled out with three empties and followed us down river.

As we approached our dock which is under a bridge (behind one bridge pier) the tow was only a quarter mile behind us and the Gen Jackson another half mile back. We radioed the tow and told him we would pull to the side of the river to let him go by. Then we circled around and came into the dock before the Jackson got to us.

When we first could see the dock there was another paddle wheeler tied to the city landing 200 yards beyond the municipal dock. A check with the binoculars showed that it was the Delta Queen. The General Jackson came on by and turned around right next to the Delta Queen to go back up river, what a busy river.

We were still too busy getting tied up and the electric plugged in to get a picture. Later in the afternoon the smaller Opryland boat, the Music City Queen, came by and circled in the same place, so we got a picture of it. Just as dark was falling the Gen Jackson was back and Diana tried to get a picture, but it is hard to hand hold for a half second exposure.

After we got tied up, settled in and had a late lunch we walked six blocks up town to the Country Music Hall of Fame. Although neither of us are country music fans it was a very interesting two hours tour, it is very well done. On the way back there was an ice cream shop, how could we resist on a 90 degree afternoon.

Wednesday, June 25

We got up to another nice morning, though already in the low 70s at 7:00 AM. We had breakfast and walked along the river front. We got this picture of Memories tied to the Municipal Dock.

Just beyond where the Delta Queen is tied up is a replica of Fort Nashbourgh. After touring it we headed back to the boat and got underway.

It was a short 16 miles back to Rock Harbor. We got pumped out and then into the slip where the boat will sit until we come back in September.

While we are gone, Gibson will take care of a couple minor warranty items and also a repair item. I didn’t enter in the blog, when we last fueled at Green Turtle Bay while still tied to the fuel dock, a 57 foot cruiser came in and had trouble getting into reverse. His anchor tore and bent one side of our front rail and also put a small nick in the gel coat.

Tomorrow we clean up the boat and pack up; we will leave here by car early Friday and plan on being back in White Bear on Saturday morning.

For those of you watching for fuel economy data we are leaving with the tanks unfilled. We have just over 300 miles since the last fill and a few generator hours. My best guess is we will take about 80 gallons, so right near four mpg. Actual numbers won’t be available until we come back and fuel in September.

Gallitan Marina

Saturday, Sunday, June 21- 22

With high humidity and chance of thunderstorms, we decided that Gallatin Marina was a lovely place to be. It helped that transient docking was only $.60 per foot. We went for several walks to stretch our legs and to see the beautiful marina grounds

Saturday afternoon I got the dinghy out and went exploring. . Although the marina does not appear to big as you come in, it goes way back into a cove and there are a lot of slips. There are houseboats 9x by 20 feet, large cruisers but there are also a lot of small slips with runabouts and pontoons, and some of everything else in between.

The couple that runs the marina also run a restaurant that is open only Friday night and Saturday and Sunday mornings (until 2:00). It is open only Memorial Day to Labor Day even though the boating season is almost all year around. This allows them to use college help. Saturday morning we had a pleasant breakfast sitting on their patio. Sunday morning we watch a parade of 35 to 50 boats from outside the marina that came in for breakfast. It was a very busy place.

Late Saturday afternoon we had torrential rain and a pretty strong electrical storm, thankfully no strong winds. All the moisture produced thick fog Sunday morning. The spiders seem to be extra active in the fog (maybe it is the high mositure). It burned off quickly but it was humid all day. The lake was wall to wall boats from mid morning to early evening we were happy tied to the slip.

To Old Hickory

Thursday, June 19

It was another picture perfect morning, clear, cool and calm. We had a leisurely breakfast and got underway to cruise through downtown Nashville and up to Old Hickory Lake. Diana got this picture of the entrance to Rock Harbor as we left; it includes the sign for the Blue Moon Lagoon, the restaurant that we had dinner at Tuesday night.

As we approached downtown we past this lovely waterfall. It was 15 miles to downtown then an additional 25 to the lock at Old Hickory. The direct miles is much less as the river makes several large horse shoe turns thru the city.

Here is a picture of the downtown skyline as we approached it. The twin towered building belongs to AT&T.

This is a picture of the city waterfront park and the municipal dock. We have a reservation at the dock on our return next week.

At the end of the dock is parked the fire boat.

Beyond downtown is the Gaylord Opryland complex. It includes riverboat tours. The smaller boat is the Music City Queen; the other is the General Jackson. The General was loading passengers for a cruise as we past. A little latter we heard her announce on the radio that she was departing and heading back toward downtown.

By mid afternoon we approached the Old Hickory lock. It has a lift of 60 feet. We waited only about fifteen minutes while they emptied the lock and in we went.

It turns out that all of the local herons know that the turbulent water of the lock produces great fishing. Not only were there eight or ten on the inside of the upper gate when we entered, when we got to the top there were a couple dozen lined up on the sidewall.

We did a little exploring of the first couple of miles of the lake and found a semi secluded bay behind a small peninsula and a couple of small islands. We dropped the anchor and spent a quite late afternoon and evening.

Friday, June 20

We again took our time getting up and underway. It was another lovely morning. The temperature was cool, no wind, and a light overcast. The overcast kept the temperature down all morning; Diana had to put on long sleeves to sit in the fly bridge.

We had a short day planned, with only about twenty direct miles to the Gallatin Marina. We cruised slowly, about 5.5 mph at 1200 rpm, up the lake. Old Hickory is a beautiful lake with a lot of development along much of its shoreline. There is everything from nice small lake homes to, large homes, to beautiful estates. This is not necessarily one of the largest but Diana liked it.

For my Minnesota readers it is like Lake Minnetonka and the St Croix River combined with the occasional heavy, large traffic to beware of.

Not far up the lake is Drake Creek, this is a side channel that runs about three miles up from the main channel. We took the side trip and went on up most of it. This was the one section of water I was slightly familiar with. Our boat was a test platform for Gibson and Yanmar to test the small diesels. The tests were done out of the Drake Creek Marina. Last December I flew to Nashville for the final engine trial. Today was a lot more pleasant than upper forties with drizzle that we had in December.

Near Drake Creek Marina is a small island that is a large rookery for cormorants and egrets.

We continued on up the lake, exploring a couple of other side areas (there are many) until we got to Camp Creek, the channel that Gallatin Marina is on. The channel branch into two before the marina and since it was early we went exploring up the other channel about a mile before going to the marina. One side of this area has only been developed in the last few years. It is all very large homes, with beautiful landscaping. There is a golf course included and it appeared that some of the homes actually have waterfront and overlook the golf course on the back side.
Finally a little after three we called the marina and got directions to our slip. We got tied up and got the shore power connected. The sun had partially broken thru and with high humidity the AC felt good. We tidied up the boat and had a relaxing evening.

Another great day.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

More Nashville

Wednesday, June 18

Today was another gorgeous day mid 60 early with a high of 82, light winds, clear skies and low humidity. We again did the tourist scene. We drove across town to The Hermitage, General Andrew Jackson’s 1200 acre farm.

The House was completed in 1836 in the Greek revival style. They give a guided tour of the house and provide portable audio devices that describe what you are looking at as you walk the grounds and out buildings. It is very well done. Diana of course was most impressed with the gardens.

From The Hermitage we went to the new Gaylord Opryland complex. It is a huge hotel, convention center, theaters and a large shopping mall. We drove around it all but decide there was nothing we wanted to see enough to endure that much more walking. So we stop and had a light lunch.

On the way back to the marina we drove through downtown and along the water front. We plan to spend a night there at the city dock next week. We couldn’t find parking near the waterfront so we didn’t stop.

When we got back to the boat we had a nice visit from Kelly Sovine, the sales manager for Gibson. He lives just a mile or so from Rock Harbor. He said he was reading this blog and enjoying it.

Tomorrow we are off early to do the 40 miles of the Cumberland through Nashville and up into Old Hickory Lake. WiFi access is unknown there so there may not be another post for a few days.

Rock Harbor - Nashville

Monday, June 16

There was some fog this morning, but we were in no hurry and before we were ready to leave it had burned off. We headed out of the lovely new Harpeth Shoals Marina and continued up river. It was another beautiful morning.

Since we had only about 18 miles to go we held the speed to about 6.5 mph and enjoyed the beautiful scenery.

About an hour up river we came to a shipyard where they build new barges. It appeared that they were about to launch a new tank barge. There was a whole crew under the barge that appeared to be checking that it was sliding properly on the ways. We decided that this was worth seeing and stop just up river to watch. Unfortunately they seemed to be having problems. The whole crew would hurry to one of the ways disappear under the barge, then spread out again, then gather in another spot. After half an hour of watching we decided it might be all day and continued up river.

We again had butterflies hitching a ride. There were four of these interesting little fellows that took a free ride.

The country side coming into Nashville has lots of rolling hills and is very scenic. Although it was a lovely day on the fly bridge it was getting near 90 and we had to turn the generator on so the deck hands could have some AC. We had reservation at Rock Harbor Marina for three nights and pulled in about 12:30 to the fuel dock and got a pump out, the fuel tanks are still well over three quarters.

After the pump out we went all the way into the furthest dock and got into our slip. Rock Harbor used to be a stone quarry, thus the name. It is almost circular with a narrow opening to the river. Here is a picture of the edge looking across from our slip.

Rock Harbor is where we moved the van to on Saturday, so after we got settled in we went grocery shopping and found a laundry. Not real exciting, but part of traveling. We had shrimp dinner on board and turned in early.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The next two days are days ashore. We looked at the guide books for what to see in Nashville and decided it was far more than we had time for. So we picked a couple for today that were not far away and left others for tomorrow.

Our first stop was the Cheekwood Botanical Gardens and art museum. This former estate of one of the Maxwell coffee company has an interesting collection of art work and a permanent loaned collection of Faberge items. It is amazing.

They also have beautiful grounds with a huge variety of plants and trees. The pictures say more than I can.

After a quick lunch (and rest for the feet) we went just down the road to Belle Meade Plantation. It was started in the early 1800s and run by four generations of the Harding/Jackson family. (No relation to either President Harding or Jackson.) It early on became a thorough breed stud farm. It came to an end 100 years later when Tennessee past prohibition and outlawed gambling, killing the horse industry, plus health issues of the family member in charge at the same time.

The day could not have been better the high temperatures and humid finally broke. We had low 80s with dew points in the fifties. It was a great day to be outside.

While we were relaxing and resting four tired feet, the crazy deck hand that normally sleeps all day and roams all night decide it was time to explore. He must have heard us say that the couch was a hide a bed, so he tried to hide in it.

After relaxing we walked to the other end of the marina to the Blue Moon Lagoon, a floating restaurant within the harbor. We had an excellent meal sitting outside enjoy the beautiful evening.

Another great day, we are learning to enjoy retirement.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Harpeth Shoals Marina

Sunday, June 15, 2008

By midnight last night it was very foggy and when we got up this morning there was less than 1/8 mile of visibility. The picture of the 49 foot trawler on the dock in front of us was taken after the fog began to lift and they were off a few minutes later and we were not too far behind them. Along with all the moisture and no wind the spiders had a very busy night. The picture is just one of about a hundred webs on the boat this morning.

The fog was clearing rapidly and we were underway by 8:45. The river was narrow with just a few fishermen for about twenty miles, then we went thru the Cheatham Lock and the whole river changed. We caught up with the River Girl, the boat docked in front of us last night, a nice couple from Charlotte, NC. They had been ahead of us but the lock wasn’t ready so we caught up with them.

Above the lock the banks were lower, the reason is too lengthy for this blog, and there were lots of campers (trailer and tent) for about a mile.

There was a lot of pleasure boat traffic and the river was very busy on a lovely Sunday afternoon. The temperature was in the upper 80s, light winds and less humidity than we have seen in weeks.

A couple hours above the lock is a brand new condo, marina complex, Harpeth Shoal marina and Braxton Condos. The marina is just completed and they hope to start occupying the first condos in August. The only thing missing at the marina was they weren’t setup to charge transients yet, another free night.

All in all a spectacular day.

Clarksville, City Dock

Friday, June 13

Since we were 30 miles further from or reservation at the Clarksville, TN city dock than we had planned originally, we were up and away early this morning. By 6:30 we were backing out of the slip and ahead out of Little River. It was a pleasant morning with the temperature in the low 70’s and enough cloud cover to hold some of the sun off. We ate a light breakfast underway, and enjoyed a pleasant morning on the last of Lake Barkley and on into the Cumberland River.

As we got further up the river there started to be some elevation to the surrounding shoreline, see picture. There is also a noticeable decrease in the water bird population. The ospreys just disappear and the heron population is much thinner. My guess is that it is a reflection of a much smaller food source. In the lake there are lots of changes in water depth and huge areas of shallow water, while in the river it is channeled and a rather uniform depth from shore to shore.

The captain is always on the lookout for debris in the water, though we are seeing much less than earlier in the trip. The small log seen this morning seemed to be moving across the river. The admiral quickly identified it as mammal with the help of the binoculars. Sure enough when we got to it, it was a squirrel. We don’t know if the acorns are thicker on the other side of the river or maybe he thinks there are more girl squirrels there.

Here is a picture of the captain hard at work driving the boat and navigating all at the same time. He even had time to get a picture of the admiral hard at work.

Since there was a 60% chance of showers for the day, we considered ourselves lucky to get tied before any rain. We had not been settled in more than five minutes when the first light shower hit. When it ended we hurried to the bridge to secure everything there, get the bimini down and the covers on since it looked like it might blow.

We had a car rented for the night. We picked it up, had a light dinner, and headed back to GTB to get Diana’s van. It is about 75 miles and we were only 20 miles out when we ran into a huge thunderstorm. The wind was moving the car around on the road, there was torrential rain and lots of lighting. By the time we exited at the freeway at GTB the sun was out and we had a beautiful full double rainbow (cameras back on the boat). We got the van and headed back the way we came. We were driving into the back of the storm and there was more lighting then I have seen in a long time. Fortunately no more high wind and only heavy rain.

Saturday, June 14

We got up this morning and double checked in the daylight that there was no storm damage we had missed in the dark last night when we got back. We then took both cars and headed for Nashville. This was a shorter trip then last night, about 60 miles. Daylight and no rain made it a lot more pleasant.

We found Rock Harbor Marina where Gibson recommends we leave the boat when we come home. They will do some warranty work and repairs while we are gone.

We returned the rental car and enjoyed the afternoon walking along the Clarksville water front. The city has down an excellent job of creating a park along almost a mile of river.

The Deck Hands continue to be great help standing watch and keeping a sharp eye on things.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Barkley State Park Marina

Thursday, June 12

This morning we thru the schedule overboard again. We had planned to go halfway to Clarksville, TN and anchor out tonight. We have a reservation at the city dock in Clarksville for Friday and Saturday nights. It was already near 80 and forecast for low 90s when we got up. We decide to stay in a covered slip and plugged in with the AC running rather than having to run the generator all day and night to have AC.

After careful examination of the bird book that the Kilanders brought us last week, Diana decided the bird we have seen several of, sitting on channel markers, is a Black Crowned Night Heron.

We took advantage of the shaded slip to give the boat a complete scrubbing. After a little rest and a late lunch we got the dinghy out to go explore more of the Little River. Just as I got it in the water there was the rumble of thunder. We left the dinghy covered and attached to the davits while a small thunder shower with little wind past on by.

When the shower was over the temperature had dropped from 93 to 85 and it was a pleasant dinghy ride even if it was very humid. We went about three miles further up the river in a very winding marked channel. It was beautiful scenery and we could have gone several miles further but we decided that six miles in the dinghy was enough.

The first picture is the Lodge at the State Park, about half a mile beyond the marina. The second is a scenic point on a large island. The third is the marina office, store and fuel docks. Plus on the left is Jolly’s Dairy Bar and Grill. We decide a milk shake was a good way to end the dinghy ride.

We will be up and away early tomorrow it will be about eight hours to Clarksville and we not only have dock reservations but a car rental also, we will use it to get are car and move it on to Nashville.

Lazy days on Lake Barkley

Tuesday, June 10

We took our time getting underway this morning, doing some chores, posting the previous blog entry and making phone calls for transient docking and a car rental later in the week. We finally got underway about 10:00. It was a beautiful morning with a light refreshing breeze, and partly cloudy to keep down some of the intense sun.

We motored slowly up the lake about twenty five miles. We pulled out of the main channel into a partially marked side channel that leads to a couple of bays in the Land Between the Lakes. We had anchored here last week in Taylor Creek so this time we went for the other bay, Brush Creek. It is about three hundred yards wide by a mile long with a couple of little side bays.

I rigged a trip line for the anchor and we anchored right in the middle of the bay in about ten feet of water. A trip line is a short line with a float (empty gallon milk bottle) that attaches to the front of the anchor. Should the anchor snag on something and not want to come up, by pulling on the trip line should release it. This is probably needed less than one in hundred anchorages but when it is, it can save having to cut the anchor lose. I have want to try this earlier but not taken the time to rig it.

After we were sure the anchor was holding and gotten the gear was cleaned up, we got the dinghy down and went exploring along the shoreline of the bay. It was heavily wooded and there was a small creek at the head of each little bay. At the head of the main bay there was a small partial clearing with a couple of tents and a fire pit. There was no one around so we assumed they were of hiking. It looked pretty primitive.

When we got back since the dinghy was out, we got out the cleaning supplies and while Diana very slowly pulled the dinghy around the boat I washed the water line. Sitting in the water the boat develops a stain and marine growth in a ring just above the bottom paint. It was a slow uncomfortable job leaning over the side of the dinghy reaching down and in under the deck of the boat which was hanging over my head and shoulders much of the time. It actually cleaned up easier than I thought it would and we were done in about an hour.

We retired to the shade of the front deck for lemonade and ice tea and watch a pair of osprey flying by. We had seen their nest on the shore in the dinghy ride. Pretty soon we saw them again and there was a young one with them. It appeared it was his first day out of the nest. He would flap his wings furiously and gain some altitude then try and glide and descend at an alarming rate only to repeat the furious flapping. He finally headed for the nest and after two failed attempts to land, or crashed, into it.

We had BBQ pork tenderloin on the mid deck on a gorgeous evening then watch the last of the clouds clear just as the sun was setting.

Wednesday, June 11

Today was a short relaxing day. We spent a leisurely morning at anchor with the weather, around 70, calm winds and clear skies. Other than cleaning the nights accumulation of bugs from the fly bridge, we just took it easy.

About 10:30 we got underway and slowly worked our way the two miles out to the main channel then up river a few miles to the mouth of Little River. Little River has a buoyed channel that goes many miles up the river. About two miles up is the Lake Barkley State Park Marina. As the name implies the Very lovely marina is within a state park. The docks are just a few years old and they have covered slips for transients. The marina is run on contract by a private corporation.

The first picture is an interesting island where the Little River channel leaves the main channel. If you look closely there is a blue heron standing on the rock looking for a meal. The herons are as plentiful as the osprey. The second picture is an interesting house on the shore of Little River before the marina.

We got into our slip and went down and settled up with the office, only $ .60 per foot per night, a great deal. Right next door was a covered deck that served food so we had a cheese burger and a shake for a late lunch.