On the MOVE, again!!

Finally after a full month at the marina we are moving again, and boy did it feel good. We cruised about 55 miles from Mobile,AL (roll tide) to Perdido Key,FL.

The water was perfect, the company was even better. Back in our happy place! Dolphin everywhere!

Which way do we go?

Mobile, did you know?

Did you know that Mobile, Al is actually the home of Mardi Gras. Yes that is correct the first parade happened right here in Mobile.

The city has created a hopping downtown area in the historic district. The have done a great job preserving old buildings for today’s usage. The theaters have been either keep as is or converted to restaurants. The area seems to be doing quite well.

Sorry for the cut pictures, I didn’t realize what happened until I actually saved the video. But you will get the idea!

Ahhh Mobile

Update, we have decided to lay the boat down a month in Mobile, Al. Why you may ask. Well it all started on trying to logistically put the plan together to fix the actuators on the trim tabs. After many calls to several different locations with little help from any, we finally got a Marina/Boat Yard to agree to do the work. The problem is getting it scheduled! As the window for Marie to fly to Rhode Island and attend her nieces wedding was getting smaller and smaller, this bleed into our plans to meet friends in Pensacola who generously offered a slip while Marie was gone. We were not going to get to Pensacola on time so the moving target plan was formulated. We decided to stay at the slip for a month, Marie flys out of Mobile instead of Pensacola and goes to Rhode Island for a longer period of time, this is great because she now has more time to be with grandchildren. When Marie returns she will pickup a rental car at the airport and we will leave for New Orleans the following morning. A short drive and I will be in my first real bed in 8 months! Once we get back we will look at weather and prepare to go up to Pensacola and hopefully meet up with our friends, by the way we meet them on the loop. They are known as Nauti Jenny(Rick and Jenny) their boat name, just as we are known as RAMA.

10/19 We start out at first light and head down river to Windham Bar Anchorage for the evening. A nice easy transit in beautiful weather.

10/20 Off again quite early and head down river to our next Anchorage called Rattlesnake Bend. The river is remote and we really have no service at all. We are set up for a nice easy move only 7 miles tomorrow 10/21 into Demopolis, Al. That will give us 2 full days at Kingfisher Marina. Not a whole lot to see in Demopolis, but we prep for the next 4 day leg at anchor. We meet AnnaMaria the dock master at Kingfisher Marina, let’s just say she is as rigid as a heavily starched shirt! Rules, rules and more rules. Signs posted everywhere about the rules she just finished telling us.

10/23 We begin out final 200 mile decent into Mobile Bay. We depart Kingfisher before the sun comes up. So it is dark and we have fog but we need to make Demopolis Lock. We lock through with 6 other boats and transit through the fog headed to Bashi Creek Anchorage. The day turns out to be beautiful and when we show up at Bashi we are greeted by a very remote thin creek. We have two other boats with us so we enter and line the boats up in a line with bow and stern anchors to assure we remain straight and don’t float into shore when we swing. Marie and I dinghy over to a broken down boat ramp and when she gets off she finds guns shells. Yup this is something straight out of deliverance.

10/24 We leave the Anchorage at 7am and not soon enough for Marie! We are headed to Old lock 1 to anchor for the evening. We achieve another milestone we transit our last lock(coffeeville) of the trip! Another beautiful day for cruising brings us to our Anchorage. Accept folks we have a problem, there is not enough water in the Anchorage entrance to get to the area to drop the hook. We decide to move down river and stay at mile marker 96. We move outside the river channel and anchor in plenty of water. Not an ideal place but home for the night.

10/25 We depart again at 7 and head to our next Anchorage which is the Tensas River. We are about 39 miles away from Mobile Bay. This was a great place to anchor, boat headed west and we had a great sunset.

10/26 Yup you guessed it out at 7 once again. We need to hail a railroad bridge to open so we can pass. As we proceed down river I know that we are going to be moving into an area full of boat traffic. I am not talking small boats either, we are talking barges, Container ships, Military vessels. We just left the most remote part of our trip into ahhhhhhh! We made it though and arrived at Dog River Marina. Here we will get the boat repaired and sit for a month, but we have a plan!

Stay Tuned

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.

Bayside Lake to Columbus Marina

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!

Pickwick Lake to Bayside Marina

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.

Kentucky Lane/Tennessee River

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.


The Mississippi and further

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.

On the Mississippi

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.

Chicago to Ottawa Il.

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.