UPDATE #28 10/22 thru 10/31
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period 4/1 thru 10/21 has been covered in Updates 1 through 27.
#28 10/22/06 through
As you may remember, we have been traveling and exploring along the
Cumberland River in Kentucky and Tennessee.
At the last UPDATE, we had spent the night at Green Turtle Bay Marina
in Grand Rivers, KY. We now
continue our adventure from the Cumberland River.
SUNDAY GREEN TURTLE
BAY MARINA, KY TO PARIS, TN
After a very enjoyable evening in Grand Rivers, Kentucky at the Green
Turtle Bay Marina, we were underway again.
The marina, located on the Cumberland River in Lake Barkley, is one of
the most enjoyable stops along the “Loop” route.
Exiting the marina channel at Mile 31.7, we would only travel this
river for less than a mile before entering the Barkley Canal.
This one and a half mile canal connects Lake Barkley with Kentucky
Lake. As you may remember, the
huge dam just three miles downriver from there formed Kentucky Lake.
At Mile 25.4, we started upriver on the Tennessee.
This river is only one of four that flows “backward”. In other words, you are traveling upstream when heading
south. Kentucky Lake is very wide
and has an unspoiled, rural feeling to it.
All of the land to the east is conservation property established by
President Kennedy. No private
development will be allowed. There
are numerous “gunkholes” and serene anchorages located in little bays.
I can remember very well the enjoyable times that my kids and the
family sailed and cruised in these secluded spots.
We transited the state line at mile 60.3 thus
entering the State of Tennessee.
Our departure time had been 10:30 am under
overcast skies and 40 degrees temperatures. We operated three hours from the upper helm station and two
hours at the lower helm. At 3:15
pm, we were pulling into Paris Landing State Park in Tennessee.
It was another very chilly night.
Judy prepared one of my favorite dinners.
It is comprised of boneless Chicken breast sautéed in a mushroom gravy
sauce. It is always so tender and scrumptious. Tonight she served it steaming hot with herb stuffing and
corn niblets. She sure knows the
way to a man’s heart.
After dinner, Fred worked on catching up with the log UPDATES while
Judy watched video episodes of “Married With Children”.
The new TV sure is nice.
MONDAY PARIS LANDING
STATE PARK, TN TO
PEBBLE ISLE, TN
The night had been clear and cold.
Although it was forecasted to be below freezing, it only got into the
high 30’s. It sure is nice to
have heaters on board. We have use the two small, ceramic heaters for the most part.
We also use the main heat pump when we want to warm up the whole boat
At 8:55 am, we were underway from this tranquil
spot. Just as we cleared the
harbor, four small deer were spotted at the waters edge.
All along the banks, we are treated to a parade of beautiful colors as
the foliage displays its fall wardrobe.
By 3:15 pm, we had woven our way into the channel for Pebble Isle
Marina. This place has drawn
accolades from nearly every “Looper” for their charm and hospitality.
Already at the transient dock, “Trinity”, “Triton’s Trumpet”,
“Gold Watch”, and others were secured.
Some of these folks had already been here two weeks.
Gold Watch liked it so much that they have decided to keep the boat
here all winter and resume the trip early next year.
Our dear friends from Rockport, Texas, Sam and Donna Jansma, liked it
here too. They now keep their
boat here permanently and commute the 16-hour trip by car.
Hopefully, we will get to visit with them in early November when they
travel this way.
The marina offers transients the use of a courtesy car for errands.
We borrowed it for an hour or so to make a Wally World run (Wal-Mart).
Also here permanently are Al and Linda Fronczak,
from “Adventure II”. As you
may remember, we had the pleasure of meeting them on the Illinois River and
again in St. Charles, MO. We kind
of heard a rumor that they may get the urge to visit Florida later this year.
We had a lovely evening aboard AMARSE just chatting with Al and Linda.
TUESDAY PEBBLE ISLE
MARINA, TN TO
CUBA LANDING MARINA, TN
Last night has been the coldest one yet.
The forecast freeze warning was accurate this time.
With temperatures below freezing, a low “sea fog” had developed
over the warmer water. With the
colorful foliage backdrop, it is a truly beautiful sight.
A coating of frost and ice covered the boats and the docks making
conditions very slippery.
Our planned departure for 7 am had to be delayed until 8:40 am.
Ten minutes later, we rejoined the channel at Mile 96.1 under nearly
About 11 am, the boat started to wander off course erratically.
I disconnected the autopilot to find that we had no steering.
I tried the lower helm to no avail.
The autopilot was inoperative too.
were very near to Cuba Landing, TN. Using
differential thrust from AMARSE’s twin engines, I maneuvered her through the
narrow channel and up to the dock.
The helpful folks from the marina were on hand to help.
Their mechanic, Billy Baugas, was there and jumped right in on the
problem. He quickly diagnosed the difficulty by finding a massive leak
in the autopilot hydraulic pump. The
leak had allowed all the fluid to drain out.
It appears that an allen-head screw had come loose and then the
pressure had rolled an o-ring. With
a couple of attempts, we were able to re-seat the o-ring. Here is a picture of
arduous task of filling, bleeding, and restoring the system followed.
We used what special fluid we had and then resorted to using an
alternatively approved ATF DEXTRON/MERCON III.
Within a couple of hours, the situation was resolved and we were back
in shape for travel. It was now
afternoon and, after a little test run, we returned at 2:15pm to stay the
Judy discovered that the missing two quarts of fluid had run down into
her food locker and had made quite a mess of things.
We spent the next couple hours cleaning up the spill mess.
It was better to have found it now rather than later.
The extremely helpful folks at the Cuba Landing Marina lent us the
courtesy car for the evening. They
recommended “The Log Cabin Restaurant” located 10 or 12 miles away.
It specialized in country cooking and was very enjoyable.
Judy’s choice of catfish and my choice of country-fried steak were
excellent. It only took a quick
glance into the dessert case to convince us to order the pecan pie.
Let me tell you, my friends, that is how to make real southern style
pecan pie. The filling was rich, dark, and loaded with pecans.
I could not have made it better myself.
MILE 115.5 Tennessee River in Blue Creek at Cuba Landing Marina.
LANDING MARINA TO CLIFTON, TN
I was up early at 6:15 am to turn up the heat and put on the coffee. I must admit that I snuck back under the covers for another fifteen minutes until the cabin warmed a little. I consulted the equipment manuals and followed the directions to reset the auto pilot settings and calibrations. At 8:05 am when we cast off the dock, it was still a cold 40 degrees with a high overcast and calm wind. It only warmed to 55 degrees but it felt much colder in the dampness. Judy’s recipe for hot chicken soup was a welcome lunch treat.
At 3:15 pm, AMARSE had lines holding her to the fuel dock at Clifton
Marina. This location has a
relatively low price for fuel so we filled up with 226.2 gallons.
The marina had us move to the over-night spot and then lent us a car to
pick up some items at the local market.
Fresh salad, spinach & cheese ravioli in
butter sauce with parmesan cheese, and meatballs were a delicious dinner
Both “Trinity” and “Triton’s Trumpet”
were already there at the marina.
THURSDAY CLIFTON MARINA,
The inclement weather arrived just as forecasted.
When they are committed enough to say that the chance for rain is 100%,
you can begin to believe that maybe they mean it.
Judy prepared a fabulous breakfast of French Toast.
We would not be traveling today so we worked on boat stuff inside and I
continued my work on the logs in an attempt to catch up.
The rainy, cold weather required a special menu to stave off the dismal
conditions. I made a big pot of
my special recipe “Chili”. It
was meaty and it was great. Judy
baked up a batch of corn muffins. Yummie!
The rain continued steadily throughout the night.
The forecast was for more of the same.
This is a good place to be.
We set up the new TV in the main salon and slid
in a DVD disc entitled “Crimson Tide”. This movie, starring Denzel Washington and Gene Hackman, may
well be one of the best movies I’ve ever seen.
Full of action and suspense, you find yourself on the edge of your seat
more than once. If you haven’t
seen it, I highly recommend that you watch it as soon as you can.
FRIDAY CLIFTON MARINA,
Yep, the forecast was right on again.
Rain and more rain. I had
enjoyed the French Toast breakfast so much yesterday that Judy thought that an
encore performance would be fully appreciated and it was.
Again, I worked on the logs. It
is the wonderful comments that so many of you have given that fuels my desire
to continue writing these updates. We
borrowed the courtesy car for a Wal-Mart run to the city of Savannah about 20
Friday night is a special evening here at the
Clifton Marina. Tammy, the main
operations person here, prepares a “Fish Fry” event. Local people from miles around mosey in to satisfy the
irresistible urge for “catfish”, hush puppies, and cole slaw. Judy said it was great. I
made a meal out of the ice-cold beers from the cooler.
SATURDAY CLIFTON, TN TO
At 6 am, we heard the first of the fishing boats signaling the
beginning of the weekend fishing tournament.
By 6:30 am, the tiny harbor was abuzz with the unique sounds of many,
many outboard motors on several dozen bass boats.
At the precise time of the official start, they all roared off in quest
of those illusive finned creatures. I
hope they all had good luck. The
weather was clear, calm, and temperatures hovered around 40 degrees.
At 6:55 am, we were off to rejoin the Tennessee River at Mile 158.5.
As we passed Mile 197.8, we could see a bit of the National Cemetery at
Shiloh National Military Park. It
is a solemn reminder of that horrendous two-day battle that took place in
April, 1862. In this early
engagement of the Civil War, 13,000 Union soldiers and 10,500 Confederate
troops paid the supreme sacrifice in these fields and woods nearby.
The reality of a long, harsh, and devastating war was now evident.
The current continued to increase as the river narrowed and we neared
the end of Kentucky Lake.
At Mile 206.7, the Pickwick Lock and Dam stands to create another lake
above. We arrived at the lower
gate at 1 pm. Within 55 minutes,
in the company of “Rascal”, a vintage Chris Craft motor yacht, we entered
the upper pool known as “Pickwick Lake”.
It received its name from the Charles Dickens’ classic “The
Within a few miles, we had reached the intersection of the
“Tenn-Tom” waterway and the Tennessee River.
After a delightful phone call from our dear friends, Phil and Rose
Stewart on “Wingz”, we had agreed to meet them today at Aqua Yacht Harbor
Marina just a few miles down the Tenn-Tom.
They have completed their journey up the Tennessee and will be heading
south toward their Florida home now. At
3:15 pm, we arrived to find them already in their slip and waiting for us.
We had a wonderful afternoon chatting and catching up on all the news
since our last get together in Canada.
We dined together at the St. Clair Café at the
marina property. What could be
better than good friends and good food?
N34 59.409 W088 14.881 YELLOW
CREEK near TENN-TOM MILE 448.7.
10/29/06 SUNDAY AQUA YACHT HARBOR, IUKA, MISSISSIPPI TO JOE WHEELER STATE PARK, ALABAMA
The fall time change took place overnight making the sunrise time an
hour earlier. UGH!!
At 6:05 Central Standard Time, we were underway in the early dawn.
At 6:30 am, we had rejoined the Tennessee River at Mile 215.3.
Beautiful patches of sea fog emerged from numerous embayments along the
shores of Pickwick Lake heightening the magnificence of this Sunday sunrise.
The placid morning was highlighted by the colorful foliage changes of
the deciduous trees decked out in fiery reds, vivid yellows, and deepening
We passed under the Natchez Trace Bridge.
It known for its unique style of design that served as the original
pattern for later bridges. Judy
and I had ridden across the top of the span on one of our motorcycle trips
last year. This is a completely
different perspective of the same bridge.
Our first lock for the day was the Wilson Lock at Mile 259.4.
The main chamber lock, completed in 1950’s, is the highest,
single-lift lock east of the Mississippi River.
Unfortunately, the gates of this mammoth were severely damaged in a
barge collision some months ago. Fortunately,
the original, small, two-chamber lock is still operational.
Because of its size, only one single barge can pass through with each
locking. This has created a huge
backlog for over 100 barges currently awaiting sequence.
With the lower priority for pleasure craft, very long waits are not
uncommon. With a few phone calls,
we learned that we could possibly be lucky enough to lock through with only an
hour or so wait. We jumped at the
opportunity by arriving at the lower wall at 11:40 am.
Miraculously, we entered the first lock at 12:15 pm and exited the
second lock stage at 1:25 pm. A
60-foot Jefferson Motor Yacht, “Rebel Yell”, had joined us for the lifts.
These huge gate doors form the back lock wall of the upper lock.
The first stage in this lower lock will lift us above the concrete
sill, the doors will open to allow us to enter the second chamber then close
to allow the water to fill the lock and lift us up through the second stage.
The turbulence within the older locks was quite intense.
It surpasses any that we have seen so far.
Thanks to Judy’s great techniques, we managed to have a relatively
comfortable and safe locking. (Notice
the swirling water in this next picture.)
To complicate matters even more, the lockmaster has staged the next
barge right up at the gate. We
will maneuver around it and the barge will be pushed into the awaiting lock as
we motor out into Wilson Lake.
Our next lock at Mile 274.9 was the Wheeler Lock and Dam.
Being fully operational, we experienced no delay and the cooperative
lockmaster had the gates open for our arrival.
After entering the chamber at 3 pm, we were on our way on Wheeler Lake
about 48 feet above our entrance only twenty minutes later.
The scenic beauty of Wheeler Lake is spectacular.
At 3:50 pm, we backed into slip #4 at the Joe Wheeler State Park in
Rogersville, Alabama. It is a very lovely place tucked into a fabulous creek area
that is very protected and tranquil.
When “Liberty Belle”, a 34-foot American Tug, entered the harbor
boasting the AGLCA burgee, Judy and I walked over to assist with their dock
lines. During our introductions,
we realized that we were in the distinguished company of Fred and Joyce Myers.
As many of you know, Fred Myers is the author of several of the
guidebooks that we reference on a daily basis.
It is through his exceptional work that we have been able to enjoy this
trip so fully. His comprehensive
guides provide the technical and logistical suggestions for anchorages and
marina facilities for travel along the Cumberland River, Tennessee River, and
the Tenn-Tom Waterway. Perhaps
even more importantly, he includes extensive historical commentary that brings
the waterway to life. I
thoroughly enjoy reading about the origins of this varied topography, the
highlights of the Civil War military expeditions, and the development of the
navigation systems that have made this delightful cruise possible.
Judy and I were thrilled at the Myers’
invitation to join them for dinner at the Lodge. I could not have enjoyed the evening more.
Fred and Joyce are a wonderful couple whose attitude toward life and
living is both joyful and adventuresome. Fred’s efforts
and insight have made all the difference to maximize our appreciation
of these natural wonders.
MONDAY JOE WHEELER STATE
PARK TO GUNTERSVILLE, ALABAMA
The clock showed 5:55 am as we slipped away from the dock.
Ten minutes later, we had rejoined the main channel in Wheeler Lake of
the Tennessee River at Mile 277.0. With
sunrise a full hour earlier now because of the changeover to Standard Time, we
had both found it somewhat difficult to “rise and shine”.
Somehow, we did and soon we were happily enjoying this glorious
A little after 9 am, we called for the railroad bridge in Decatur, AL
AL is the home of this famous name product.
The scenery is spectacular wherever you look.
The camera is extremely limited in its ability to capture even a small
fraction of the color and beauty. The
place is truly a feast for the senses.
All around us were the buzzing sounds of the outboard powered bass
boats zipping around. It must be
tournament time as many boats were covered with the advertising of their
At 2:30 pm, we were loitering at the lower gate
of the Guntersville Lock. We had
called and radioed in advance, however, the lockmaster was not willing to do
anything until we were in sight at his arrival point.
We had to wait 20 minutes while the operator prepared the lock for us.
Oh, well, at 3:07 pm, we eased out into Guntersville Lake at Mile
By 4 pm, we had turned left off the river at Mile 359.4 for the jaunt
back into the creek for Alred Marina. We
were met by Russ, the dock manager, and treated quite well.
We didn’t need much and were content to just relax on the boat for
Judy prepared a nice Meatloaf dinner with mashed herb potatoes and
gravy. Pecan pie topped with
whipped cream, along with a cold glass of milk, was served for dessert.
TUESDAY ALRED MARINA,
GUNTERSVILLE, AL TO
GOOSE POND COLONY MARINA, SCOTTSBORO, AL
With only a relatively short distance to travel today, we waited until
7:45 am to depart the dock at Alred Marina.
AMARSE returned to the channel at Mile 357.4.
The shoreline in this area has been developed more than some lower
sections. There are many lovely,
expensive homes and some areas with only modest homes.
All of them seem to have a fantastic view.
At just 10:30 am, the staff of Goose Pond Colony Marina and a couple of
our dearest friends greeted us. Milton
and Jimmie Neitsch are a couple of the greatest folks we’ve ever known.
They have been very long time friends of Judy. She was closely associated with them in Victoria, Texas where
they all were in the restaurant business.
They worked together to make their businesses stronger through the
Texas Restaurant Association. The
close friendship resulted not because of what they were, but who they were.
These folks are some of the most caring and loving people of all time.
Milt and Jimmie have an inside warmth that reaches out and embraces
you. We sure do love them.
We have anxiously awaited this moment for many
months. We both departed from
Houston, Texas, around the same time. They
were delayed about a month. We
kept in touch, however, we never could quite connect at the same place.
We passed somewhere in Canada without knowing and thy managed to run
just ahead of us. Now, as they
are headed downriver and we are headed upriver on the Tennessee, the time has
come. How wonderful it is to see them again!
Their boat, an Eagle 40 named “Our Way”, now rests here at these
docks while we visit.
AMARSE is looking good too as she rests at Goose
Let me introduce you to Tim and Jane Macierowski.
They have been running along with Milt and Jimmie on this section.
Their boat, “Janie O” is a SeaRay cruiser hailing from Connecticut.
The six of us enjoyed a dinner at “The Dock” restaurant here at the
marina. It is highly regarded by
boaters that frequent these waters. After
the enjoyable experience of sharing the evening and a meal, the tired cruisers
all returned to their vessels for some well deserved rest.
The rain had begun and would continue throughout the night.
The next installment UPDATE will continue with
our voyage into Guntersville Lake, Nickajack Lake, and Chickamauga Lake along
the Tennessee River.
As you see, I have finally caught up with the
dates on the UPDATE emails. Just
imagine, you are now reading current events.
Hopefully, I will not get so far behind again. Thanks for your
ATTENTION: SPECIAL NOTE:
My Verizon AirCard that operates my computer
internet still operates slowly and sporadically.
The coverage areas are not as good as we had hoped.
We will be sending out updates when we can.
Judy has Cingular Wireless cell phone service.
It seems to work even better than the Verizon Wireless.
Judy can be reached at 361-550-5353 and Fred can be reached at 210-296-4933.
We can be reached at either number.
Please call us if you like, we’d really like to hear from you.
is pronounced "AM-ARE-SAY". Our website is: www.amarse.net
it out while we will attempt to keep you informed via email
We would like to hear more about what is
happening in your lives. Let us
know as we very interested in what’s going on with our friends and family.
Please call or email us with your thoughts and comments and ideas too.
Reed and Judy Law
Fred H. Reed
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