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Friday, October 2, 2009
7:50 a.m.  Departed Tellico Harbor Marina (our home marina)
4:00 p.m.  Arrived at Terrace View Marina (Spring City, TN)
Distance travelled:  approx. 70 miles

Here we go!  (Again!).  After a 1-1/2 year delay, we are embarking once more on the Great Loop Adventure.  Most of the day we travelled in rainy weather, with winds gusting at times to 23 mph.  After the front moved through at approximately 3 p.m. we had sunny weather for the remainder of the day.  Travelling with us are 2 other boats – Watauga (Bill & Nancie Rogers) and Last Dragon (Ben & Sharon Birdwell with their son Christopher).  The fourth boat, Sundancer (Ray West & Delila Callahan) will leave Tellico on Monday and join us further on down the river.

Our first lock through at Fort Loudoun was excellent.  We will very shortly post pictures of the Fort Loudon Lockmaster here (after we get them from our camera), as we are convinced that he is the most cheerful and accomodating professional on the TN river system.  All lockmasters have been great, but Fort Loudon has always gone out of their way to make the process smooth, uneventful, and rapid.  Who can ask for more!

Fort Loudon Lockmaster Terry Foreshee.  A professional with a sense of humor.  Best of all worlds.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

7:55 a.m.  Departed Terrace View Marina
3:30 p.m.  Arrived at Island Cove Marina (near Chattanooga, TN)
Distance travelled:  approx. 60 miles

Soon after departing the marina we encountered fog but by the time we got to the lock about 1 hour later, it had lifted.  We had a somewhat breezy but sunny day the whole distance.  Some of the foliage has started to turn color and with the clear, sunny day the scenery was spectacular.  Our friends, Mike & Helen Moran from Marietta, GA travelled to Island Cove to visit with us.  Together with them and the other boating members in our flotilla, we enjoyed dinner at the marina restaurant.  It was a wonderful way for Ken to celebrate his birthday today.  

Clockwise from Sharon Birdwell at table end nearest, Ben Birdwell, son Chris Birdwell, Mike Moran,
Helen Moran, Brenda, me, Bill Rogers and Nancy Rogers.  Great way to start a trip and have a birthday!

As previously stated, more pictures will follow soon.  We are moving along at a fairly strenous pace to get through the Chattanooga lock which will begin severly restricting passage starting Oct 5th.  As such, we are pretty tired at the end of each day right now due to the long distances travelled.

Sunday, October 4, 2009
8 a.m.        Departed Island Cove Marina
12:30 p.m. Arrived at anchorage at Little Cedar Mountain (south of Chattanooga)
Distance travelled:  50 miles
Weather:  low 57, high 66; rained all afternoon and night

All 3 boats left the marina and got through the Chickamauga Lock without any waiting.  Just after passing through we met a tow with 5 barges so we were lucky we got there before him or we would have waited 5 hours.  One of the boats, Watauga, stopped at downtown Chattanooga and will stay there for a couple of days but catch up with us later on down the river.  Tellico Lady and Last Dragon carried on down the river to our anchorage at Little Cedar Mountain.  It started to rain soon after we got there and rained all night long.  Ben, Sharon, and Chris Birdwell brought (via dinghy) a pork loin to our boat for dinner.  We all then watched a DVD together before calling it a day.  Captain Ben and crew braved the elements (rain) and successfully dinghied back to Last Dragon with all crew accounted for.

 Monday, October 05, 2009
7:25 a.m.  Departed anchorage at Little Cedar Mountain
1 p.m.       Arrived at Goose Pond Marina (Scottsboro, AL)
Distance travelled:  49 miles
Weather:  low 56, high 66; cloudy and sometimes breezy (especially when we were trying to dock)

We had an uneventful trip down the river.  The only thing of note was a deer that swam across the lake in front of us.  After arriving at our marina, Sharon and I took a 2-mile walk.  The remainder of the day was spent doing a little bit of laundry and reading.  Last Dragon is leaving tomorrow morning to carry on down the river but we plan to stay one more night at this marina.

How would you explain running into a deer at 8 mph

This is the control cabin of a typical Tennessee Rivre towboat. (They actually push).

Tuesday October 06, 2009
Tuesday, October 6, 2009  -another day at Goose Pond Marina
Weather:  low 54, high 75; bright overcast with 5 mph breeze   

Together with loopers we met here (Betsy & Rick) we borrowed the courtesy car and visited “Unclaimed Luggage” in Scottsboro.  This used to be only unclaimed luggage but now is almost like a discount store with very little unclaimed luggage (maybe that means luggage is not lost as much as it used to be?).  Tonight we had dinner at the marina restaurant with fellow loopers Betsy & Rick Johnson (Rick ‘n Roll) and Jim and Cyndi McKay who are making their annual journey to Orange Beach, AL.
Ken, Brenda, Rick Johnson, Betsy Johnson, Jim McKay, Cyndi McKay

Wednesday, October 7, 2009
7:55 a.m.  Departed Goose Pond Marina
1:45 p.m.  Arrived at Ditto Landing Marina (near Huntsville, AL)
Distance travelled:  44 miles
Weather:  low 68, high 82; sunny day with some breeze at times

We had a wonderful cruise down the river to our destination today.  The weather became increasingly nicer as the day wore on.  After settling in we walked around the marina area which is huge and also includes a campground. Many locals also come here to fish and to just enjoy the area – some fish, others walk or bike, and others sit on the benches overlooking the river.  Tomorrow, we will cruise to Joe Wheeler State Park to join Last Dragon and probably wait a few days for Watauga and Sundancer to catch up to us.
Funky little panorama made at Ditto Waterfront park.  Did not do scene justice.

Thursday, October 08, 2009
7:15 a.m.  Departed Ditto Landing
1:15 p.m.  Arrived at Joe Wheeler State Park (Rogersville, AL)
Distance travelled:  57 miles
Weather:  low 60, high 85; sunny with clouds

We had another beautiful day on the water.  The big plus was that we did not have to go through any locks today.  We passed Wind Rose (Denver & Denise) going upstream.  When we arrived at our destination, Sharon & Ben (Last Dragon), along with other loopers here, including Jimmy Tant, helped us get into our slip.  We plan to stay here until Monday so there will probably be no further updates until later on Monday (also our internet service is not great here so we won’t use our computers too much).

Friday, October 9, 2009 - at Joe Wheeler State Park
We had a tornado warning late this afternoon so we gathered up Miss Molly and headed for the lodge.  A tornado apparently touched down further north; we had winds of approximately 38 mph.  Other than ripping our new (2 weeks old) U.S. flag off the back of the boat, all was well.

Saturday, October 10, 2009 - at Joe Wheeler State Park
Nancie and Bill Rogers (Watauga) arrived today so now we have 3  boats in our flotilla.

Sunday, October 11, 2009 - at Joe Wheeler State Park
This was just a relaxed lay day, time for cleanup, fill tanks, go for walks, etc.

Monday, October 12, 2009
We are still at Joe Wheeler.  The weather was rainy so we decided to stay another day which allowed Sundancer to catch up to us.  Now all 4 boats of the flottila are finally together. Kathy and Rich Hawbaker (Sea-Pup) stopped on their way back to Tellico Lake.  Nancie Rogers (Watauga) made a stew, so all 10 of us got together for dinner, thanks to Nancie.  We called it a mini Knoxville Power Squadron gathering as we are all members of that group.

Bill & Nancie, Ken & Brenda, Ben & Sharon, Ray & Delila, Rich & Kathy

Dinner thanks to Nancie.  A little cozy, but lots of fun, and the galley slaves working for beer.

Another boat named 'Seas the Day' also came into the marina.  Captain Ron Frye said he was on his way to our marina, Tellico Harbor, where he plans to keep his boat on B dock (he thinks maybe slip 23 or near there).  So, "B-Dockers" -- get ready to welcome a new member and his beautiful Mainship.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009
7:50 a.m.  Departed Joe Wheeler
12 noon    Arrived at Florence Harbor
Distance travelled: 20.8 miles
Weather:  low 63, high 73;  pouring rain from 3 p.m. onward

We did not have to travel far today but we had 2 locks to transit so wanted to leave early in case there was barge traffic.  Once again we were lucky as we did not have to wait for traffic.  The 2nd lock, Wilson lock, is neo-classical in design and has a drop of 93 feet which is the biggest drop on the TN River system.  

This is the entrance ahead to Wilson Lock for our 93 foot descent.

Inside the Wilson Lock.  Sundancer left, Watauga on right, Last Dragon out of site on my left.  Note the interesting type of entrance gate.  It slides up and down instead of doors.

Look at the size of the downstream gates!  This was a picture taken (not by us) during a maintenance period.

We were lucky to get through when we did as a large tow with 15 barges later went past the marina where we are staying - had we been later we probably would have had to wait at least 6 hours to get through.  After getting settled, Nancie, Brenda, Sharon, & Delila borrowed the marina courtesy van and went to Walmart to re-provision.  Now we are all settled in our individual boats out of the pouring rain.  More rain is predicted for tomorrow so we will stay here and do some sightseeing  of Florence  by marina courtesy van.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009
We stayed at Florence Harbor Marina today and did some sightseeing using the marina courtesy van.  First, we visited Ivy Green which is the birthplace of Helen Keller.  Learning about her many accomplishments though she was deaf and blind was a very humbling experience.  Next we stopped at the Alabama Music Hall of Fame, a very interesting and informative museum. We learned that this area known as Muscle Shoals was the home of many recording studios with artists such as The Rolling Stones, Bob Seger, Willie Nelson, Paul Simon, Rod Stewart, Lynrd Skynrd, and Linda Ronstadt recording albums here in their early days. After a delicious lunch at The Dish in downtown Florence and walking the main street, we then toured The Rosenbaum House which is a home designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.  This Usonian-style home was Wright's vision of an affordable home for the average American.  It was a most unusual and interesting design as was the story of the Rosenbaum family who had it built for them.
The only Frank Lloyd Wright home in Alabama.  Very worthwhile visit.

Thursday, October 15, 2009
7:30 a.m. Departed Florence Harbor
12 noon   Arrived at Grand Harbor Marina/Counce, TN
Distance travelled: 41 miles
Weather:  Low 56, high 73; rainy, windy, sunny, cloudy

Just as we left Florence it poured with rain and continued for about 1-1/2 hours.  When we arrived at Grand Harbor we actually had sunshine for about 10 minutes.  

The beautiful Grand Harbor Marina.  We were very well treated here, and would recommend this marina.

The remainder of the day was cloudy and became increasingly cold.  The trip on the water itself was nice.  After settling in, Brenda, Nancie, Sharon, & Delila went for a walk.  We met other Looper boats, "Where's Linda" and "Joanne Marie".  Our flotilla group, along with Pete & Linda (Where's Linda) were picked up by van and taken to Freddy T's for dinner - a unique and very good restaurant in a small town.

The "Loopers" at Freddie T's.  Pete and Linda on the left are a great addition to our group.

This will end our Tennessee River portion of the trip.  Now, we head south on the Tenn-Tom Waterway to Mobile Bay and the Gulf of Mexico.  You will need to use that button on our logbook page from now on.  Here is our location:  Just click on it http://tinyurl.com/yhp24rs

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