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Old 10-07-2017, 06:15 AM   #21
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Sorry Marty but I got behind on my postings and we are at Cuba Landing this morning heading for Clifton today. Our plan is to hunker down at Clifton and wait out the storm.

Bob
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Old 10-08-2017, 02:52 PM   #22
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Friday 10/6/17 Travel Day #5

Yesterday we decided to take a lay day and do some boat cleaning. We had been on the go for four days and needed to do a wash down and try to get rid of the spiders we brought with us from Blue Turtle Bay aka Blue Spider Bay. We had a 50 mile run to Cuba Landing and got off the dock by 8:30. Very little traffic on the river just lots of Bass Boats. The view from the bridge was great and at 10 mph we made good time. We passed two tows one going each way and the conversations with the Captains was, as always, very congenial. There is always an abundance of wild life to watch and there are several Wild Life sanctuaries along the River and Lake. We are traveling on Kentucky Lake and will be for three more days. The waters upriver of each dam carries the name of the dam. The next dam will be Pickwick and then we will be in Lake Pickwick. The entire TVA system is set up this way. We arrived at Cuba Landing early afternoon and after tying up two other boats came in for the night. One of them had been with us at Paris Landing and would be traveling with us tomorrow. We enjoyed docktails together and talked about the days travels. We all wanted to get an early start because there was talk about Nate and we were planning on waiting out the storm at our next stop.
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Old 10-08-2017, 03:13 PM   #23
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Saturday 10/7/17 Travel Day #6

Off the dock at 7:30 with 43 miles to travel. We are headed to Clifton Marina for the next two days. We plan on waiting out Nate before we head on. Clifton Marina is considered to be one of the friendlies marinas on the TVA. The owner Gene Davidson purchased an old marina around 2002. Pictures show the old buildings sitting on the mud during the time of the year when the river was at winter pool. Winter pool is about five feet lower than summer pool. Gene dug out the harbor and now there is at least seven feet of water during winter pool. The pictures in the marina office show the removal of thousands of yards of dirt. They have great transient docks, both covered and uncovered with power and an excellent fuel dock. Because of the storms approach there were about seven boats in for the night. All were Loopers except us. As we traveled up river we passed a floating mining operation extracting sand from the river bottom. As I passed by I could see the results of their work on my sonar screen. It looked like furls from a plow. This operation was going on ten years ago when I came through here. After they mine the sand it is transported to the shore where it is off loaded and graded before being trucked away. Some times the barges become part of larger tows and go hundreds of miles before being off loaded.
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Old 10-08-2017, 04:12 PM   #24
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Seems I remember a few years ago, perhaps 2012 or so, the marina and area were for sale with plans for a luxury resort community. I found it a bit odd for the location, but glad the marina is nice as a good stop was needed in that area. We didn't stop there on our way through. Will have to sometime.
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Old 10-09-2017, 09:41 PM   #25
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Monday 10/9/17 Travel day #7

Because of our concerns regarding hurricane Nate we took a lay day at Clifton Marina. Clifton Marina is located about 50 miles down river from Pickwick Tn where the river takes a sharpe turn to the east. There is a Lock at Pickwick that is 1000’ x 110’ and one might think no way will you have to wait here. We will talk about that later. Off the dock at 8:30 with six boats in a row that stretched for about a mile and as soon as we left the marina we hit heavy fog. Morning fog is not that unusual around here so we all run with our radar on and are use to using it. It was easy to keep track of everyone and also see all the markers. About two hours later the fog lifted and the sun came out making for a beautiful cruise. There are not a lot of houses along the lake/river but you will come upon small clusters of houses on the shore. Even when they are built on high ground the first floor will be on stills ten feet high. Back at Paris Landing they have a gauge the shows the normal water level for winter and summer pools. It also show the heights for record floods that are about twenty feet above normal summer pool. All the marina docks float and the spud poles that hold them in place are at least twenty feet high. Mother nature is not always easy to get along with. Remember TVA was created to try and prevent this from happening but man can only do so much. We arrived at the Pickwick lock and dam about 2:00 and ended up waiting two hours for a large tow to lock up. I mentioned Nate as our reason for a lay day well over night the water level came up about 12 inches and the current picked up to around 4 mph. While waiting at the dam I was able to stay in forward and hardly move. my normal idle speed is between 5 and 6 mph. With the increase current I was only moving at 1 mph. We finally made it out of the lock by 4:00 and made it to Grand Harbor Marina on the Tombigbee waterway about one mile from the Tennessee River/Pickwick Lake. More about the marina tomorrow.
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Old 10-11-2017, 09:31 PM   #26
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Tuesday 10/10/17 Travel Day 8

Grand Harbor is a Five Star Marina. From the moment you arrive and you are met at the dock to the moment you leave and the Harbor Master, Needly Potts, waves you off you know you want to come back. Several of the boats we were with at Clifton made it to Grand Harbor. Some staying for just one night and others staying for several days. Since we only had a 50 mile run and no locks we didn’t get off the dock until 10:30am. Cloudy skies and mild temperatures made for a very pleasant day. Pickwick Lake is about fifty miles long and several miles wide in places with a very pretty shoreline and some beautiful homes to be seen. We passed several tows but no locks meant no waiting for the tow to clear. We arrived at Florence Harbor Marina, Florence, AL only to find several boats that we had been with several days before in Clarksville TN waiting for us. Florence Harbor has a restaurant that is becoming a destination by itself. We had dinner there and enjoyed our first meal off the boat in over a week. We had wanted to stay two nights but because of the Loopers gathering taking place at Joe Wheeler State Park we were planning to leave in the morning. There have been rumors for the last week that Wilson Lock was going to be shut down for major service and once the happened we would be stuck 350 miles from home. We were told we would not be forced out but we may have some one rafting off us because they had several boat due tomorrow.
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Old 10-11-2017, 10:13 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by Tellico Bob View Post
Tuesday 10/10/17 Travel Day 8

Grand Harbor is a Five Star Marina. From the moment you arrive and you are met at the dock to the moment you leave and the Harbor Master, Needly Potts, waves you off you know you want to come back. Several of the boats we were with at Clifton made it to Grand Harbor. Some staying for just one night and others staying for several days. Since we only had a 50 mile run and no locks we didn’t get off the dock until 10:30am. Cloudy skies and mild temperatures made for a very pleasant day. Pickwick Lake is about fifty miles long and several miles wide in places with a very pretty shoreline and some beautiful homes to be seen. We passed several tows but no locks meant no waiting for the tow to clear. We arrived at Florence Harbor Marina, Florence, AL only to find several boats that we had been with several days before in Clarksville TN waiting for us. Florence Harbor has a restaurant that is becoming a destination by itself. We had dinner there and enjoyed our first meal off the boat in over a week. We had wanted to stay two nights but because of the Loopers gathering taking place at Joe Wheeler State Park we were planning to leave in the morning. There have been rumors for the last week that Wilson Lock was going to be shut down for major service and once the happened we would be stuck 350 miles from home. We were told we would not be forced out but we may have some one rafting off us because they had several boat due tomorrow.
Wilson Lock had it's daytime shut downs earlier this summer. If it does so again, the trick is you either get there and clear at night or you get there early in the day and wait all day for them to resume locking.

Here are the details for this time courtesy of Waterway Guide.

Beginning on 16 October 2017 through 22 December 2017, Wilson Main Lock will begin a series of daytime closures to navigation traffic during working hours from 0600 to 1800 daily. These closures are necessary for the installation of the lower land valve by maintenance crews.
Wilson Lock operates on a 24-hr schedule and it is anticipated that any queues that develop due to the repair work will be cleared on a nightly basis.
Wilson Aux Lock will not be available during this time. For questions or further information contact Wilson Lock Master at (256)764-5223.
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Old 10-12-2017, 04:53 AM   #28
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Tellico Bob. I am really enjoying your post / following your trip. It’s my first read in the morning. Thank you so much for taking the time to allow me to follow along on your trip!
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Old 10-12-2017, 07:06 AM   #29
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When we came up through Wilson Lock in June, We stayed at Florence Marina and went through EARLY.... That worked out best for us as there aren't many good anchorages on Wilson Lake.
Also we just found out that there will be occasional closures of Chicamauga Lock as well. I spoke with the Lockmaster and found that they will be able to have lockages, but might be delays.


Wm Mayberry
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Heading South beginning Monday 10/16
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Old 10-12-2017, 10:21 AM   #30
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As you probably know, there is a 3-day Loopers' event at Joe Wheeler on Oct 16-19. There may be some space available. You likely will know some of the attendees. Sea Duck II Edit: Scratch that. You have already addressed the Loopers' get-together.
- Looking forward to seeing you on Tellico Lake and thereabouts.
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Old 10-12-2017, 01:50 PM   #31
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The loopers are going to have some long days getting through Wilson Lock when they leave. At least going the way they'll be going there is Florence Harbour after. When we went through the other way, heading to Knoxville last spring, we got through in the middle of the night. I think around 2:00 AM and we anchored in the Wilson Dam Anchorage until morning.

It's a small disturbance but nothing serious. Just have to plan accordingly and every night I saw they caught up with anyone there by 4 or 5 pm. I did see a late night arrival one night have to wait another day.
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Old 10-12-2017, 01:52 PM   #32
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When we came up through Wilson Lock in June, We stayed at Florence Marina and went through EARLY.... That worked out best for us as there aren't many good anchorages on Wilson Lake.
When we were there, that system worked some days and not others as there were days when you didn't get through just showing up early morning. Or did you get in the queue prior to that?
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Old 10-12-2017, 04:19 PM   #33
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Wm, We will be stopping the night of the 16th at Island Cove Marina. Island Cove is just above the Chickamauga lock and dam. Great marina. Maybe we can meet up.
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Old 10-12-2017, 05:07 PM   #34
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Wednesday 10/11/17 Travel Day 9

The word on the dock was that as of 6:30am Wilson was not going to be locking any boat through today. While in the Harbor Masters office I hear the Wilson Lock Master talking to a boat that wanted to lock down and that she was ready for them. I called the lock, verified that they were open for business. A quick trip to Publixs and we were off the dock by Ten. It is only a short trip up the canal to the lock and it opened soon after we arrived. The lock is 600 x 110 and has a 94 ft lift making it the lock with the greatest lift on the TVA system I knew there was a boat in the chamber but it was hard to see him when the gates opened. We entered the lock and started up but because of the height it takes a while. The other thing that is unique about this lock is that instead a set of gates that swing open at the top the single gate including the walkway drops down under the water and you drive over it. We were soon on our way to the Joe Wheeler lock about 15 miles away when the port engine alarm sounded and a quick look at the gauges told me we were over heated. I turn the engine off and went below to check and found antifreeze sprayed around on everything. Nothing could be don’t at the moment so we proceeded on one engine through the Joe Wheeler Lock and on to Bay Hill Marina for the night. Bay Hill Marina is trying to change its name to Lucy’s Branch but since they still answer the phone “Bay Hill Marina” I am not sure what they are doing. Tomorrow we will address our problem.
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Old 10-12-2017, 05:53 PM   #35
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Their website is Lucy's Branch.

It wasn't time for the closure of Wilson yet. It's the 16th. They locked both recreational and barges through during the day today. Word on the dock was like a game of pass it around where it ended up with a small bit of truth only.

As someone now living in FL it was nice to see Publix around Florence. Did you go to the one in Florence or the one in Muscle Shoals?

Sorry for your antifreeze bath. At least you made it through Wheeler Lock and to a marina.

We never have been to Lucy's Branch. We'll wait to hear your thoughts.
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Old 10-13-2017, 10:21 PM   #36
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Thursday 10/11/17 Lay Day

Once into the marina I ask “since you are a full service marina” do you have a mechanic who is diesel qualify? Yes we do and he soon showed up at our boat. A quick survey by “qualified mechanic” told me he was not my guy. So what else is new. We had lost all our coolant and did not know where the leak was. Checked all hoses on the engine and nothing was obvious so with the coolant on hand and distilled water I stated to refill the engine. Three gallons later I new I wasn’t close to being full so I shut down for the night. Since I have been cruising for over sixty years I have learned that you meet some of the best people that live on this planet out on the dock. As I walked down the dock early in the morning I met John Pierson just arriving to do some odd jobs on his boat and he just said “HI how are you today”. Well one thing led to another and the next thing I knew John was driving me to O’Reilly’s auto mart to pick up antifreeze and distilled water. Kim who I had talked to saw me walk through the door and just knew I wasn’t local and that I must be the guy who called about heavy duty antifreeze. The next thing I knew a guy standing next to me said he was full up today but if I still need help tonight to give him a call. He was the local guru on Cat 3208 diesels. Back to the boat and with in an hour I found the leak, fixed it and had time to clean up before lunch. The only reason it took to noon to fix the leak is that it takes a long time to pour ten gallons of coolant into the engine. We could have left and made it to our next marina except we needed a pump out and so what can I say. Two hours later, not pumped out and no one knew why the pump out unit wasn’t working today, too late to head out on a forty-five run so we paid for another night. I think this marina has great potential but they seem to be chasing business away faster than new customer can come through the door. The owner has no previous marina experience and I saw no sign that anyone else on the payroll did either. They had no idea how to tie up a boat to a dock. When trying to give instructions from the bridge I may have well been speaking a different language. The gas dock has no water available to be used when pumping out or to wash down if needed. Most of the docks are empty and the few boats still there show no sign that anyone cares. So the best I can give them is a 1 out of 5.
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Old 10-14-2017, 08:07 PM   #37
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Friday 10/13/17 Travel Day 10

We were off the dock by 8:30, a half hour later then we wanted but when you have a full holding tank some things just take longer. A beautiful day with clear sky and no wind. Are next stop would be Ditto Landing Marina in Huntsville Al. I never would have guest at the amount on industry located along the river. Barges by the hundreds, both full, waiting to be off loaded and empties waiting to go back down river to be refilled. We did pass one fifteen barge tow, some empty and some full heading down river. Three of the barges were full of scrap metal and others were covered so no way of telling what they were carrying. At one point we came to a railroad lift bridge that we could not pass under. A quick call to the bridge operator on channel 13 and a fast response that he saw us and would raise the bridge as soon as the train traveling across it was clear. The rest of the trip was uneventful and by three we were at the gas dock. Ditto Landing offers free transcendent dockage if you buy 100 gals of fuel, so even if I didn’t need fuel I can always put on 100 gallons to save fifty bucks. Having radioed the marina on 16 I knew they would meet us at the fuel dock.. Markus met us and took over the pump out project and started the fueling . What a difference a day makes. After finishing the pump out and fueling we went to our slip and took care of some housekeeping chores.
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Old 10-15-2017, 06:04 AM   #38
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Wm, We will be stopping the night of the 16th at Island Cove Marina. Island Cove is just above the Chickamauga lock and dam. Great marina. Maybe we can meet up.
We may not make it that far down tomorrow. But may meet you somewhere as you head North and we head South.

Safe travels,

Wm Mayberry
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Fixin to head South
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Old 10-15-2017, 07:06 AM   #39
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Wm., We will be staying at Terrace View on Tuesday and then make the 77 mile run home on Wednesday to Tellico. Keep in touch.

Bob
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Old 10-15-2017, 07:15 AM   #40
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Saturday 10/14/17 Travel Day 11

We got a good start on the day and pulled away from the dock 8:15. Ditto Landing is right off the River so your back on the main channel within minutes. We had 15 miles to the dam and another 30 miles after our lift up. Even before we left the marina I noticed a high number of Bass boats being launched. Yes this could have been a normal Saturday occurrence but I think not. Bass Tournament, prize money and you would not believe there there were this many Bass Boats in the world. For the next seven hours we saw hundreds of people fishing away and hoping for that big prize. I called the Lock Master and found out there was no commercial traffic so the gates were open when we arrived. From the time we motored into the chamber to the time we motored out was under twenty minutes. Some kind of record. I called up to the lock master that we were secured and looked back to see the gates were already closed. I have been really enjoying the last few days because the only part of the Tennessee River we have not traveled was Pickwick to Nickajack. I had no idea that Gunersville Lake was so beautiful. The only thing that could have made it better would have been a blue sky with lots of sun shine. Even with the clouds it was spectacular. The beautiful homes that lined the broad lakes. The many coves with hidden treasures. Boat house like I have never seen on the TVA waterways before. It reminded me of the Saint Lawrence River or the Adirondack Mountains. Being an old wooden boat guy I could only imagine the treasures they held. My very first cruise on the Tennessee River was in 2007 in my 1926, 26’ triple cockpit Chris Craft from Pickwick to Nashville. I have always wanted to come back to complete this link and if I had known what I had missed I would not have waited ten years. The miles went by too fast and we were soon nearing Goose Pond Marina. There was nothing on my Garmin Chart Plotter that showed Goose Pond. My old 2007 version chart book did show the marina but no channel info. We did find the correct channel after going down the wrong one. They are only a quarter mile apart, and very shallow. My sonar is set to tell me the water depth under the keel not the total depth and because of the weed growth I saw way to many negative numbers. I did stir up lots of mud but no bumps off the bottom. Soon we were at the dock and greeted by marina personal that knew what they were doing. Goose Pond is a large resort snd I wish I had more time to stay and enjoy all they have to offer but we must leave in the morning.
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