We wake to another beautiful day, Clint walks the girls. From below I hear him greeting our fellow boaters, I put the coffee on. Fresh peaches, from our little tree at home, are cut up to share and we head nextdoor for breakfast. The blueberry Aretha Frankenstein pancakes are sooo good!Breakfast cleaned up, we climb aboard Barefootin’, our friends untie our lines and shove us off towards our next destination, Blue Springs Cove on Watts Bar Lake. We cruise out of Harrison Bay and head back up river.The stretch from here to Watts Bar Dam is quiet and beautiful. We only see two items that stand out against the otherwise constant greenery.
The first item of interest is Cotton Port. Seeing it from afar, we have grand hopes of restocking our drinking water onboard.
Unfortunately, as we idle in closer to dock, we aren’t so sure we’ll be resupplying anything.The photo doesn’t do this place justice, the grass is a foot high, the lawn chairs are overgrown with vines, you can hardly tell the driveway from the yard.We tie up, still hopeful. Clint heads to the “store. ” I head to a shady area which was once a nice little sandy beach for visitors, to let the dogs swim and afterwards, relieve themselves in the shady grass.Mission accomplished I meet Clint as he leaves the store, empty-handed. He tells me all their refrigerated displays are empty, no water, no groceries to sell. But, the bright spot, he tells me is that the store has a few broken up 6-packs of beer. Clint goes back in and returns with two beers to go with lunch.We get back to the dock, ready to board and enjoy a quick lunch onboard. This dock, like the one at Island Cove, is surrounded by milfoil. I bend down, to unleash the dogs, Presley first. As I work at unhooking Mackie from her leash, we hear an oh-to-familiar splash to my left. Sure enough, this time Presley has decided to see if milfoil is solid ground and has disappeared beneath the grassy surface. I’m panicking, Clint’s panicking. We both hit the dock hard trying to get to her. Clint succeeds at grabbing her as she pops up, wrapped in the viney stuff.With our knees, toes, and ankles now skinned and bleeding, and little miss Presley dried off, we climb back aboard Barefootin’ for more adventures.Soon we see the Highway 30 bridge, the William Jennings Bryant Bridge, ahead. And, as we cruise closer, we view our second item of interest.
The Washington Ferry is the last commercial ferry still working on the Tennessee River.
Note: On our return trip down the river, we had the thrill of passing the old ferry at work (parked to the left in the above photo), pushing a small barge with concrete blocks and some equipment, down the river. Seeing it so close up was amazing, we are talking OLD here.“The river village of Washington was once the largest town in Rhea County and its original county seat. During the Civil War, the Washington Ferry was an important crossing of the Tennessee River and Federal troops used it extensively during their occupation of the region from 1863 to 1865.”
From http://www.Trail.com – Whether your passion for outdoor pursuits take you to the mountains or the lakes, Rhea County in Tennessee has what you’re looking for. Steeped in history, Rhea County was home to the 1925 Scopes Monkey Trial and once had the title of Strawberry Capital of the world. Located in the heart of southeastern Tennessee, Rhea County is the place to lace up your boots, toss out a line or retrace the steps of history.Read more at Trails.com: Natural Attractions in Rhea County, Tennessee | Trails.com http://www.trails.com/list_15595_natural-attractions-rhea-county-tennessee.html#ixzz0y0Vw1GLZIf you’re a history buff, you would enjoy searching into more Washington Ferry history.
At last, we arrive at Watts Bar Dam. No long wait before we see the green light flashing for us to enter.
Our lock through is a hot, but smooth one. As we untie, and head towards the opened gates towards the river, we see the lockmaster standing above. We wave. I notice he holds two frisbies in his hand and he yells for me to catch them.
Now, mind you, I’m months away from turning 60, on the bow of a not large vessel, and being honest, never was that good at “frisbie.” And, this man is wanting me to catch a frisbee while I stand atop a moving vessel!! Is he crazy?? I yell up to him, “No way can I catch one of those.” But, he throws one anyways. I miss. But, he still seems to think I am underestimating my own abilities and throws the last one. I miss. I throw up my hands as if in despair. We both laugh, and Barefootin’ heads “frisbiless” our the gates and into Watts Bar Lake. As I pulled in the fenders and put up the lines atop the bow, I couldn’t help thinking, “What a waste of two good frisbies!”
As we cruise into Watts Bar Lake, we are in awe of its beauty, small islands dot the both sides, the greenery is lush, the hills are multiplying as we go. When we pass inlets on the left, we can see the Cumberland Plateau in the distance. The water is deep and cooler and the milfoil has disappeared (we are relieved for the dogs’ sakes and ours). We cut through a long pass, taking a shortcut to the marina. Soon we are turning south into a long cove, Blue Springs is just around the corner.We dock, and immediately go ashore to explore and let the girls take a relaxing swim with no milfoil. Then it’s time to clean up and head for an early dinner. The restaurant is fantastic. We could have stayed here for a month, just so we could sample every great item on their menu. Yum! Dinner was followed with a walk around the docks, looking at all the different makes and sizes of boats. It’s just something that happens to you after you acquire a boat. ; )Night falls, we sit on deck and toast a glass of wine to another beautiful day on the river. Across the water, the restaurant lights glow in the dark. We take it all in, recalling the days events. The prize winner for today, we both agree, is our panic and Presley’s, when she jumped into the milfoil. Now they’ve both had a turn.
Waking with our usual morning routine, a light mist covers the water, a bird call breaks the silence, a fish breaks the water’s surface, we sit with our coffee mugs, soaking it all in.
Breakfast finished, we head across the bay to Harrison Bay State Park, to gas up ($1 cheaper per gallon there), and to get in a good walk. It’s a scorcher of a morning, but, like most boaters, we know we need to stretch out the old muscles. We head down a path marked “4.5 miles,” knowing full well we aren’t going to walk that far in this heat.
Well, you’d be proud, we did end up walking the full length, a few breaks for the girls (dogs) to take a swim and cool off. As usual, we met people along the path and enjoy some good conversation. Then, much sweatier than when we started, we climb back on Barefootin’, and cruise back to our dock at Island Cove.
Lunch, then a fun swim with the dogs (we did swim last night after we arrived also). Then, it’s time to get cleaned up. Our power squadron meeting and dinner is tonight, in the pavilion attached to the dock right beside Barefootin’.
Members start to arrive, some by boat, the visiting and laughter begins early.
Norman arrives, he’s doing the cooking, jerk chicken, beans and rice, rum cake. Gail makes a huge salad with all kinds of goodies in it. It’s a great night all around.
As the sun drops behind the hills, dark falls over the water, and the dock empties of its crowd. All that remain are those who boated to the meeting. We all enjoy a nightcap, talk about the meeting (oh, we and Laura and Roger all got sworn in tonight), the dinner, whatever. A few more boat tales are shared, a little more laughter on John and Linda’s houseboat before we all head off to bed. John has invited us all for blueberry Aretha Frankenstein pancakes in the morning. Yes, I know, boating is a rough life.
Morning arrives, I cut up loads of fresh peaches, from our own little peach tree, we crab our coffee and walk nextdoor to the pavilion. More laughter, boat tales with the added benefit of delicious pancakes, fresh peaches and juice.
We help clean up breakfast dishes and prepare for another day heading up the river. Our friends push us off and we smile. We are blessed, truly blessed.
We wake early Friday morning (whether we want to or not…we have Presley aboard, and she demands it). Clint walks the dogs, I make coffee, we rush around doing all the things one does before taking off on a trip. I batten down the hatches and we’re ready to head out.
Barefootin’ slowly creeps out and around the docks and alongside the cabins where we make our turn into the river. We hear yelling on shore and look over to see our friends, Jim and Sue, giving us a “send-off” from shore.
The air, I’m sure you can all relate, is already HOT, we’re sweating. As the boat picks up speed and planes, we are thrilled to have the breeze hitting us in the face. As we cruise towards Chattanooga, we continue to be awed by the Tennessee River’s beauty, though we’ve traveled this part many times now.
We only passed two pontoons and a few bass boats by the time we see Lookout Mountain ahead of us.
We slow as we pass through Chattanooga.
We are about to enter waters unknown (to us). The excitement begins!
Cruising past town, we begin to see lots of homes on the water, a golf course or two, The Fish House.
Do you remember my favorite part of cruising from our blog on our trip last March? …you don’t need to strain your brain to figure this one out…come on now…
Well, the locking through actually went fine…it always does now, it’s just the memory of that one “not so fun” locking through that continues to haunt me.
As we head on about 7 miles, we can see the tops of homes at Eagle Bluff, where we’ve played golf. (talk about a hilly course!) We take a starboard turn into Harrison Bay. Soon we are at our destination, Island Cove Marina. Barefootin‘ will be tied up here for two nights.
Time to walk the dogs. Clint and I both concur no need to leash them. We’re the lone boat on this dock, what harm could be done. It’s a pretty lengthy dock so we get into a rather deep conversation as we’re walking towards land, the dogs leading the way. We are so engrossed in our subject that we stop about midway down the dock, facing each other as we continue our discussion. (I know what you’re thinking, no, we weren’t arguing.) ; )
Seconds later, a big splash comes from behind us, where the water is thickly covered with milfoil (an invasive water plant). We quickly turn towards the splash, but see nothing…except that when we count, we are minus one dog!! We rush to where the water is still settling and up pops a little black nose, then big brown eyeballs, it’s Mackie wrapped in milfoil. Clint grabs her and untangles her feet and plops her back on the dock.
After the scare subsided, we both agreed she must have REALLY needed to “go” and just thought the milfoil was solid ground. Lesson learned.
The dogs walked and safely back on the boat, we view a new friend from the Chattanooga Power Squadron heading towards us on the dock. We are invited to join them and marina friends for cocktails and hors d’oeuvres at 6p.
Is this the life or what?
After too many months of day trips, 2-3 day adventures and nights spent sleeping at our marina on Barefootin’, we are off again on a longer expedition. This time we’re heading UP the Tennessee River to see what’s there.
As hard as it would be to believe, this morning has been my first chance to start my postings of the events of this trip. Trust me, there’s nothing boring about boating.
Our adventure began with us arriving at Hales Bar on Thursday afternoon. Once the air conditioning was going, we turned some music on for the dogs and headed back to Jasper to reprovision for our trip. We decided we’d run over to South Pittsburgh and enjoy one of Steverino’s salads for our dinner.
We arrived back at the marina, provisioning and walked the dogs. (isn’t this interesting, HA!) By then the sun was dropping over the hills across the river and it was time to walk over and join our friends on Fruition for a nighcap. I stepped up on the ladder and reached, tapping on the window to let them know we’d arrived, then we climbed the ladder to be greeted by the owners, Sue and Jim.
Now I’m going to tell you a little side story that I think is special. We went on our last big trip back in March. As most of you know, I did a post for each day of our journey. Weeks after our trip had ended, we headed down to Barefootin’ for a few days. As I was walking down to our slip, there were two people (whom I’d never seen to my knowledge) pulling debris out of the water with nets (I was immediately impressed, seriously). I was walking by them and they turned and said, “Is your boat that one over there, Barefootin‘?” “Yes,” I responded curiously. Then they proceeded to tell me that they had followed our blog which had been posted on the AGLA (Loopers) site. Amazing, because I didn’t even know it was showing up on the Loopers site and amazing, that strangers had enjoyed my postings. : ) Since this time, we have become great friends with Jim and Sue. Their boat, Fruition, is a 48 ft. CHP trawler that is now their home. …1 Friend, 2 Friend
Okay, on to our first evening before takeoff. Clint and I settled on the the couch and Jim told us that Betsy would be joining us. Clint and I have met and talked to her husband, Ken, but we’ve never gotten to meet Betsy. They are a whole ‘nother wonderful boat story. (Every boater owner has so, so many interesting stories of their own specific adventures, it’s great fun to hear them, if you like boat stories) Ken and Betsy’s trawler, created from a lobster boat scheme, was made from scratch by a man in Canada. He did the basics, Ken and Betsy are completing it still. (They have the pictures to prove it.) Point being, cool boat, and another fun story. (I could go on, but maybe you’ll meet them one day and they can share their own story with you.)
So, we have cocktails and snacks (I can’t remember how to spell the “fancy” word, forgive me) and met Betsy. Later, we all walked over for a tour of Betsy and Ken’s boat. So cool!