So Far, So Good…Day 1 and 2

After unpacking and putting away groceries, clothes, and odds and ends, we finally sat down, opened the computer and checked the weather.  It was already a gloomy, cool rainy day, so the Rear Admiral (me), after seeing no improvements in the forecast, was ready to relax and spend the night in our own marina.

Well, the Captain had other thoughts, so, I conceded.  We threw off our ropes, started the engines and off we went.

With Hales Bar to our backs we're off...

Now we head for the Nickajack Dam, I head below to find my rain gear, ugh.  I have this thing about wanting to be “barefootin'” when I climb to the front of the boat for locking through or other Rear Admiral (*) chores.  This would be my first work done with shoes on and I wasn’t looking forward to the thought of not feeling the “earth” beneath my toes.

We called ahead to let the lockmaster know we were coming.  We arrive, the waves have picked up because of the wind and the dam fighting against each other.  The light is red, we let the lockmaster know we are ready when he is.   The light turns to yellow, ah, green.   The waves make it hard for Clint to keep the boat straight, but in we go.  The doors begin to close behind us.  I climb up and get to the bow, getting the fenders over and set, grab my rope (I’m using gloves now) and my boat hook (mind you, we know this should have been done before we entered, but Clint didn’t want me on the boat while we were bouncing so outside the lock – I love that man!!) and we head to the starboard side of the wall…wrong decision…but, that we didn’t know at the time (duh!).  I throw the rope over the bollard, no problem.  The problem is that with the wind hitting our backside, my tying up at the mid-ship cleat, and a slippery boat all made for, I’ll be kind here, a stressful time.  (See!  That was so nicely said.)

Well, I’ll say no more, except we are both alive to tell the story, ha.

One soaked rear end, wet hair and freezing fingers and toes and we leave Nickajack behind.

Captain Clint...do notice that he is dry.

The CSX Bridge

...and, yes, the dogs are both dry and warm...

So, we move along, keeping an eye out for debris.  I’m wet, but, I’m happy.  We talk, watch, laugh and continue on down the Tennessee River.

As time goes by, we do begin to see dark, dark clouds ahead.  As the darkness moves closer to us and us to it, a lone bass boat goes flying past us.  He’s hightailing it in the other direction in the pouring rain.  I make the comment that he must be crazy to be out in this rain in a bass boat.  And, the waves were beginning to pick up.  Like I said,”Nut!”

Well, no more than 5 minutes later the dark cloud and Barefootin’ met face to face.  It wasn’t pretty either.  The waves were seriously 2-3 feet at times, the wind was whipping past in strong gusts throwing spray up.  At one point we totally lost visibility, a scary thing on the river where a barge could be “trucking” straight towards you.  Barefootin’, she was a champ, the waves and wind no problem for her (she’s made for much worse…not that I want to test that statement…EVER!)

In 20-25 minutes, we had reached our turn off the lake (Guntersville Lake – part of the Tennessee River, meaning there’s another dam ahead.  Oh, boy!)  For now we were closing in on our “home” for the night, not one second too soon either.  We traversed the shallow water coming into Goose Pond Marina.  By the time we got the boat tied down, lo and behold, the rain had quieted to a light drizzle.  Now, isn’t that just how life is sometimes.  I had to smile.

Monday morning we awake to more grey skies, we both head up to the showers as the water is working for transients yet, due to winter weather.  Cleaned up and ready for a new day onboard.

The captain planning the next segment of the trip.

Monday afternoon, the sleet, yes, I said sleet, has finally stopped.

The phone rings, and, bless them, Cindy and Mick are calling to see if we’d like to be taken out to dinner tonight. Are we blessed or what?  We say “YES!”

Stevarino's in Scottsboro (Rear Admiral, Steve, the owner of Stevarino's, and Cindy)

The Captain, Jen (Mgr. at Stevarino's), and Mick

We found a great Italian restaurant, stuffed ourselves and had a great visit with Steve, the owner of Stevarino’s in Scottsboro.  (There is also a Stevarino’s in South Pittsburg).  Jen, the manager, was great too.  Great service, great food.  They have New York style pizzas too.

Our "Saving Graces" Mick and Cindy

What a great end to a low key kinda day.  Mick and Cindy were just what the doctor ordered.  Thanks you two, for such a kind gesture of your friendship.  You are two very special people!

Night all.  Sweet dreams.

*  I had chosen to refer to myself as the Rear Admiral (rather than 1st Mate) just to be different and I thought it sounded so appropriate.  Seems, in my mind, that “rear” would mean a little on the lowlier side, compared to the captain.  I received a phone call from my oldest daughter last night to inform me that the Rear Admiral is above the Captain, hmmmmmm, well, any lady knows that’s really how it is. : )

Hello World!

“Waiting for permission to come below.”

Today we begin our new blog which will follow our travels on Barefootin’, our ’06 Sea Ray 300 Sundancer.

Our first departure from our home port, Hales Bar Marina on the Tennessee River in Hales Town, TN, will be this Sunday, March 21st, weather permitting.  Onboard will be the two of us and our two miniature Dachshunds, Mackie and Presley.

First stop – Goose Pond Marina, Scottsboro, TN – a great stop with a great restaurant.  The restaurant’s chef is an Auburn graduate – WAR EAGLE! – and the food is fantastic.  We’ll let you know menu specials and what we had and a critique.  You definitely want to have a meal there if you are ever in the area.  Great place for a family outing too (lodge and cabins, swimming pools, great fishing, beautiful golf course…need we say more?).

Check in with us when you can.  We’d love to hear from you.  Or, meet us along the way, that would be even better!  Just ask and we’ll let you know our planned stops.

Smiles,

Capt. Clint and “Rear” Admiral Leigh  (what does rear admiral mean anyway??)