Oct 24 2008

Distressing news this morning.  There will be definite frost in this area of Northern Alabama within 3 days and temperatures will drop to the 30’s.  Time for us to move on. 

Loopers are constantly in search of perfect weather and for the most part, they find it.

We waited until the light rain subsided and made our way about 13 miles down river to the Turtle Point Yacht Club in Florence, AL.  We locked down with this "home made" yacht fashioned from a pontoon boat.  The name was "Dad's Idea".  If you ask me, they should have listened to Mama. 
We visit the Turtle Point Yacht Club (on Wilson Lake)every year during the W C Handy Music Festival.  As always, they made us feel very welcome.  Thanks, Rip!

Tomorrow, weather permitting, we will travel about 80 miles to the top of the Tenn-Tom!

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Oct 25 2008

Exciting Day! New Water!  The Tennessee River is lovely but we have spent 3 ½ years exploring it and we are ready to see new sights! So we cranked the engines and let those 3208 Cats purr.  Soon we were roaring down the ditch at 8 knots (approx 9 mph) just like those Cats thought they might have been cheetahs!

Long Day on the water.  Spending the night at Bay Springs Marina.

Photos today have been placed in the Gallery: (1) Wilson Lock, the deepest drop on the TN and I think also on the Loop.  It’s 93 feet deep. (2)  The only Frank Lloyd Wright built house in Alabama sits on the bluff across the river from Florence.

Cruise down was a color cruise.  The trees are turning.  Beautiful.  Brad met everyone at Bay Springs this Saturday afternoon within 20 minutes of docking.  Shaking hands and kissing babies.  Wonder if they need a new Mayor. 

They were grilling on the dock.  Best ribs I have ever, ever tasted…..recipe to follow.  Tony you are a Master at the Grill!  We hit the sack early, but could hear the 70’s tunes playing for awhile.  Got to love Abba!  

No wi-fi here and couldn’t get the broadband to connect.  They kept telling us we were in the boondocks!  Guess they were right!.

 

BBQ Ribs

Meaty Ribs (he said buy Rib tips if you can find them)

Soak in salty water for 45 minutes

Dry rub for pork

Grill on slow heat for 1 ½ hours

Wrap ribs in heavy foil and pour a beer over them before you seal.

Back on slow grill for another 1 ½ hours

He served without any kind of BBQ sauce.  Fell off the bone and melted in your mouth.

 

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Oct 26 2008

Cold this morning!  6 AM I crawl out of bed long enough to turn on the VHF radio and listen for chatter.  Sure enough, I hear a push tow headed down river announcing that he would wait for one cruiser lock down before he took over the lock for several hours.  I looked out the window and saw him passing Midway Marina where we were tied up.  Fire drill time!  If we missed this “window of opportunity” to get a lock down, it would be 3 or 4 hours before we could pass down to the next river level.   Nice of the tow Captain to let us pass him and be on our way.  Four boats out of Midway made the jump.  Commercial traffic has priority on the river.  I unhooked power, t v cable and threw off the lines in my nightgown and a sweatshirt while Brad cranked the engines, turned on the bridge supply and electronics for us to pull out.  3 Locks and 36 miles later we arrived in Aberdeen MS by noon and spent the afternoon visiting historical houses.  (The Magnolias House was awesome.  See photos)

The Lockmasters work together on sequence and have each lock ready, open and waiting on each group of boats as they get to the lock, providing there is no conflict with traffic moving up river at the same time.  

 

The Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway was the largest most expensive Army Corp of Engineer’s project ever and  took 14 years to complete, opening in 1985.  They linked the Tombigbee to the Tennessee River by digging a ditch that required they move more dirt than was moved in building the Panama Canal. The entire waterway is 450 miles long and has 12 locks, successfully giving boat traffic an alternative to the Mississippi River.  It’s narrow, has hairpin turns and barge traffic.  OK children, let’s be careful out there!