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.