We are in a potion of the trip that is very remote and will have been at anchor for quite a few nights moving down to Mobile, Al. There are now services along this portion about 200 miles or so. So stay tuned because once we hit Mobile I will make a post.
10/6-10/10 We spent 4 great nights at Anchorage! We dinghied around to shore twice, swam and enjoyed the late summer temps. Worked on our first time ever 12 month tan! We did however have some boat issues. Our trim tab actuators blew the seal. For none boaters this will be boring, however FYI trim tabs help stabilize the boat in various ways. So I had to order the parts easy, the problem is we have to have the boat hauled out to replace the parts, this is the challenging part. So after days of calls looks like the haul out will occur in Mobile, Al.
10/11 We called the lock early and were in the lock by 7am. Whitten Lock will drop us 84 feet, unbelievable ride. The next three locks Montgomery, Rankin and Fulton will drop us another 90 feet. The wind picked up so locking became a bit of a challenge, however the competent crew handled the situation. With that said the wind was blowing north the current following south equals waves. Our Anchorage was going to be right out side the next lock but in open water. We decided to go into Smithville Marina. Let’s just say a picture is with a thousand words.
10/12 We are in the lock again around 7am for our transit to Columbus Marina (Mississippi). We will transit another 3 locks dropping us another 90 feet down. When we reach Columbus we will stay for a week. We ordered several different parts for the boat to arrive at Columbus Marina. Oh, forgot to tell you the raw water wash down(ordered a new one) pump broke or so we thought. I ended up fixing it, so we will hold unto the pump just in case it fails again. We have until 1/22/22 to return it, love Amazon!
6/29 We arrange a personnel tour of Shiloh National Park with a gentlemen by the name of Larry DeBerry. Now Larry is a local historian with some outstanding story telling capabilities. He also owns a small museum with many artifacts from the battle, amongst other war memorabilia. Our tour was about 4 hours and Larry walked us through the two day battle. As with Gettysburg I walked away touched with many emotions, as well as a lot more knowledge about this battle. After the tour it was back to the boat and off to our anchorage called Indian Creek. We spend two days in a beautiful cove on Pickwick Lake.
10/1 We head back down the river to Grand Harbor Marina. We spend 3 days because we need to prepare for the next legs of the trip. We reprovision as well as tour the area. We visit Muscle Shoals to tour the recording studio(so far a big highlight for me) and Helen Keller’s homestead. Sunday morning we attend church in a bar, that’s right BAR! Well let me tell you that it was amazing. The band was unbelievable, they must breed musicians in this area. The people we overwhelmingly nice and the pastor even mentioned us in the beginning of the word to thank us for picking their church to worship.
10/4 We have approximately 450 miles to Mobile, Al. We will be anchoring quite a bit as ports are going to be infrequent as we move down the river. We will be in some very remote areas so don’t panic if you don’t hear from us. We leave Grand Harbor and headed about 40 miles to Natchez Trace Anchorage. We spend two nights in a nice secluded cove, we saw two boats the whole time. We planned the remainder of the journey down to Mobile. Looks like we will hit sometime around the 27th barring any issues.
10/6 We pull the hook and travel a whopping 4 miles to Bayside Marina. We will spend the night and then head back out to the lake for 4 nights at anchor. The weather will be nice so this will be a very nice 4 days. Then we will pass through Whitten Lock on Monday a drop of 84 feet.
We decided to stay at Green Turtle Bay Resort for the week and found a few things to do. We took a nice hike in the National Park-The Land Between The Lakes. Just an FYI both Kentucky and Barkley Lakes are man made. There is actually a town on the lake floor in Kentucky, the folks just abandoned the entire town before they flooded it. We also visited the Hillbilly Garden and Toy Museum. I would tell anyone who loves boating to spend time on Kentucky Lake it is a beautiful place with lots of coves to spend much secluded time, wonderful place to boat. We spent 5 Days moving down the lake with the current getting stronger and stronger against us.
9/24 We departed Green Turtle and headed out to our first Anchorage, Kenlake State Park. Once we arrived and set the hook we were alone most of the time. A few fisherman going by but absolutely beautiful night.
9/25 We depart the Anchorage early in the morning and head to Paris Landing State Park with the intention to fuel. When we arrive we are told the slip fee is eighty five cents a foot, we stay, go figure! Seriously $.85 a foot, not worth dropping the anchor!
9/26 Early morning out on the water, another beautiful day. We transit to Birdsong Creek Anchorage. We are backed into a nice cove for the night. The temps jump up so while sit in the cockpit we have a nice outdoor shower hooked up, great way to cool off.
9/27 Now this is where it gets interesting. We travel down to Dauble Creek Anchorage. As we are pulling in and getting ready to drop anchor we are hailed on the radio. “ You in the Cutwater are you looping” I look around and say to myself god is that you? Another hail so I respond with “yes we are and where are you? The response back “well you know the boat you passed on the dock we are over there. We did the loop a few years back, why don’t you swing over for docktails(boater lingo for cocktails)” Well after settling in we hailed him (hey god) on the radio the plan was made accept now dinner is involved. Yup, Walt the voice from beyond says docktails at 5:30 and my neighbor is having dinner at 6:30 hmmmm now dinner? Did I mention we are in Tennessee? I quickly call a friend back in SC who is from Tennessee. Herman “Do they really make roadkill stew and what’s in it?” Walt comes over to pick us up on his boat and head over to his house. We meet Henry who will be our dinner host. Pat his wife whom we meet later is home working hard. Docktails are over and now we head to Henry and Pat’s house for dinner. We pack up the ATV and golf cart and off we go. Little did we know they are having a small pot luck gathering. There were 4 other couples there as well. We have a wonderful meal no stew and meet a great group of people! Who would have thunk that’s the way our day would end. A HUGE SHOUT OUT to Walt and his wife Debra, as well as Henry and Pat. Thanks for opening your doors to a wonderful experience.
6/28 Dauble Creek to Pickwick State Park was marked by a day of running the boat at a much quicker pace because we got sick of fighting the current. We locked up 57’ to Pickwick lake and have set up a tour of Shiloh battlefield for tomorrow. A couple of days early but we will make it work.
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9/13 We depart Alton very early, our voyage today will bring us to Kaskaskia Lock about 70 miles down river. We pass St Louis to our starboard side about 25 miles after departing Alton. In this brief time we quickly find out that the river is all about barges and work. The ride is boring with minimal wildlife to view. However once we get to the lock for the evening we are joined by a pair of bald eagles.
9/14 Again we depart very early for another long day on the water, approximately 90 miles. You may ask 90 miles long, hmmm, well moving at 9mph you see it becomes a 10 hour day. Our target for the night is Browns Bar and we should rest at anchor for the evening. The river is running at a 4 knot current and the anchor set like a champ. We are passed by several barges throughout the evening and into the night.
9/15 Next stop Pudacah Kentucky a move of about 70 miles or so. Once we reach Cairo, IL we will depart the Mississippi and head up the Ohio River, against the current. We have tamed the mighty Mississippi in just 3 days. You may be asking why so quickly. The short answer is that there really is not a whole lot of support on the Mississippi for recreational boaters. We needed to transit from Alton to Paducah approximately 250 miles without having access to diesel fuel. Upon arrival and a quick tour of Puducah we quickly realize this is a great little town and decide to stay an extra day.
9/17 We depart Paducah in the rain to transit the 40+ miles to get to Grand River Kentucky and the head of Kentucky Lake. We travel about 15 miles or so where we depart the Ohio river and get onto the Cumberland river. The transit on the Cumberland is marked with a heavy current against us. The rain is steady and as we approach Barkley Lock we are greeted with massive downpours. Well needless to say we got wet while locking up the 57 feet. We arrived at Green Turtle Bay Marina and Resort. We need to slow down a bit so we have decided to stay here a week. We immediately hit the spa and took care of some needed pampering. The weather is a bit iffy this week so this will workout great.
9/5 We departed Ottawa and headed to Starve Rock Lock. The lock master said we would have 30 minutes to get there, we arrived on time but they were not finished with the tug in the lock, we waited 45 minutes before the opening. We were headed to Henry for the night. We passed several Bald Eagle along the way. We tied up in an old lock for the night, very cool little spot but when we awoke the boat was covered with May flies
9/6 Departed Henry early in the morning and headed to Peoria the home of Richard Prior. Upon arrival at the city docks we were greeted by a total mess on the docks. Goose, duck and sea gulls poop everywhere, but it was a free tie up so take the good with the bad. It is Labor Day and the place is locked up tighter then a drum. We visited the museum and the Holocaust display.
9/7 We depart Peoria and arrive at the lock. They lock master told us to tie to the wall it would be a while. About an hour later the doors opened for us to transit. A long day at the helm had us arrive at Havana and we pushed through mud to get into Tall Timber’s Marina for the night. Exciting we passed several large flocks of American White Pelicans, along with numerous Bald Eagles((((((( again.
9/8 Early start because we have about an 80 mile day to reach our Anchorage which is Buckhorn Island. Barges, eagles and more pelican were the highlight of the day. We actually floated in the middle of a lock instead of tying up, worked out well. The lock master was kind enough to hold the lock until we got there or this would have been a long wait. Tip of the hat to him!
9/9 Buckhorn Island to Alton, oh by the way all these locations are still in Illinois. Another long day at the helm but we hit the Mississippi River today. We will sit down in Alton for 4 days in preparation for the next 250 mile transit to Paducah, KY. There will be not much to see or places to stop so we will try to transit this section in 3 days. We will however be going by the arch in St Louis the day we depart. Our stay in Alton has been marked by a heat wave however the marina has a pool and we spent all 4 days just relaxing poolside. What a nice break but it is time to move on.
8/31 Well we departed Hammond Indiana headed to Chicago, after Marie returned from Rhode Island. We cruised down to Monroe Harbor to grab a mooring ball for a couple of days. Well let’s just say the Windy City earned its name sake the first night out in the field. We rocked to 3 foot swells all night long. Sleep, not so much!
9/1 We relocated to another mooring ball in a much more benign location. Happy 14th Anniversary my love. We visited with another looper we haven’t seen since Cleveland. It was great to see Sand Dollar once again. Tom and Anita are taking their boat around the world once they finish the loop.
9/2 Time to head down the river but we start by going directly through the city, what a cool experience that was. We press on to Joliet, 40+ miles going 7.5 miles per hour. Great for fuel economy but makes for a long day at the helm. I really need to get use to this as this will be our standard mode for the next 1300 miles. Congrats to fellow loopers Rick and Jenny on Nauti Jenny, they crossed their wake and now have their gold burgee.
9/3 We travel another stretch of 40 miles to Ottawa, IL. We have decided to spend an extra day to tour the town and we need to provision some items before heading out.
8/19 We travelled from Muskegon to Saugatuck. We followed the river back into the harbor and anchored again for the 4th straight night. Being at anchor is so nice, a very different experience then being in the marina. Our Buddy boat was ticketed on his dinghy for speeeding in a no wake zone and throwing a wake., really in a dinghy? We visited the town which was a very nice, upscale area. We found some nice bargains on summer ending sales and grabbed a few items for Marie.
8/20 Up early and departed for our next destination St Joe’s. We will be socked into port for a few days the wind is going to kick up. Unfortunately the marina is on the opposite side of the river and it is quite a distance to town. He have about 6 other loopers here with us so we decided to have a pizza party. Great time sharing stories and hanging with two other boats from the area I grew up in Long Island, NY.
8/23 We depart St. Joe’s headed to Hammond, Indiana….just 12 miles from Chicago and we are now in Central Time Zone. The seas were very rolley polley on the way over. It was a 60 mile transit on lower Lake Michigan. Marie will be leaving to fly home tomorrow, for a visit with the grandchildren, amongst other things. I will be staying back to take care of maintenance, cleaning etc. We will hopefully depart for the mooring field just outside Chicago and make preparations to head through Chicago and start our journey down the river system, Mobile, Alabama is about 1300 miles from our location.
8/14 We departed Charlevoix at 7am after we unhooked out Danik Hook from the mooring ball. We should have known what the day would have been like considering the swells coming into the harbor channel. Well we braved it through some big seas and arrived in Leland battered and beaten, boy it was sure nice to end this day. We ended up staying in Leland 2 nights because of the WIND!
The upcoming week looks to be beautiful on the water!
8/16 We departed Leland and transitted to Frankfort. We grabbed a day dock and toured the town. We found the best ice cream, made right on the premises. Frankfort changed a lot since our last visited here 6 years ago. The have upgraded a lot of buildings and in my humble opinion have lost a lot of it’s quaintness. We decided to shove of early and traveled to Arcadia, about 10 miles south. Very sleepy town, but we found a great cove to drop the anchor for the night.
8/17 We departed Arcadia around 8am headed to Luddington. We entered the harbor and again grabbed a day dock so we could tour the town. At this point all the towns are really starting to look the same. I will say that Michigan’s parks are second to none! After we toured the Maritime museum we hopped back aboard and headed out to the break wall to anchor. Oh did I mention Michigan has great sunsets as well!
8/18 Up early and on the water. We are heading down to Muskegon, and another spectacular day on the water. Upon arrival we refueled, emptied trash, and took on water. Off the dock and out to the break wall for another night on the anchor. Oh, did I mention the sunsets! Once we put the hook down we dropped the dinghy and spent the day on the beach.
The plan was to go out and explore Drummond Island and then head to the Islands out to the west of Detour eventually ending up in St Ignace. Well, you guest it the weather changed our plans and we needed up staying in Detour and extra night. After reviewing the weather again, yup daily occurrence several times I might add, we needed to modify the plan once again.
8/7 we departed Detour and headed out to the islands to the west headed at St Ignace. We travelled through some beautiful waters and saw some other loopers at anchor. We rafted up with them for about an hour and had a nice visit. After departing we continued our trip through the islands and saw some very cool old Chris Kraft lake boats. They are so beautiful but soooooo much work, all wood. We eventually navigated out the west passage and back onto Lake Huron heading to St. Ignace. We passed the famous Mackinac Island to port on our way. We were socked into port once again due to winds. We were treated to a big party at the marina followed by fireworks in the evening. The following day we toured St Ignace which was a pretty cool little town. Up early on the first ferry the following day we headed to Mackinac Island. This was a great treat and a step back in time. NO let me repeat NO motorized vehicles on the island accept for emergency vehicles. You hear the sound of horse shoes hitting the ground all day. You all know that with that sound is the smell of horse dung. We visited several attractions including The Grand Hotel. Yup, grand it is Marie ordered a cocktail to the tune of $16.00! We experienced a severe thunderstorm at around 5:30, it poured for hours! We eventually got on the 7 pm ferry back to St. Ignace.
8/11 We get a late departure due to fog as we head out to Petosky, Welcome to Lake Michigan! Thanks for radar and AIS because as we transitted toward the Mackinac Bridge Marie said oh there is the bridge and I said where, her reply above your head! Mind you the bridge is the largest suspension bridge in the U.S. I knew we were there because I could see the big multicolor blotch across the screen. Thankfully the lake cooperated for the entire 57 mile move. Pretty flat until we were just outside Petosky Harbor. Wind is due to pick up again so I will be playing meteorologist quite heavily in the next day or two to hopefully get a small window or travel the 18 miles to Charlevoix our next stop.