We all rise early (us, our dogs, Sue, Jim and Shadow, their cat), in preparation for our first day on the water. Everything has been planned, probably too much planning for this old girl who loves “wingin’ it.” But, I’m happy and all is well, no complaints when we’re about to take off on Barefootin’.
We all had dinner last night on Imagine, Roger had grilled hamburgers and Laura had made all the fixins’. Roger’s son, Andrew, was there with his daughter, Melody, and by the end of the evening it had been decided that Andrew and Melody would set sail with Fruition in the morning. Laura and Roger would drive and meet us all for dinner at The Docks (a great place to eat) in Scottsboro, AL, at Goose Pond Colony.
Around 8am, Clint and I went over to untie Fruition‘s lines and watch Fruition move out of their slip and begin our trip. With both of our trips together, it is almost unspoken now, that we (Barefootin’ crew) piddle a bit and take off after Fruition. They are a trawler, or as Clint teases, a “crawler,” so we always leave late, but still beat them to our destination. We are there to untie them from the port we are leaving and there to greet them at the next port when they arrive. (Clint says we are spoiling them)
With our duties done, we head back to Barefootin’, and piddle (as we are suppose to do), chat with some of our marina friends, walk the dogs one more time, wash the breakfast dishes and we’re ready to go. We had gassed up and pumped out late yesterday, so we were ready to join Fruition out on the river.
We arrive at the dam soon after, call the lockmaster, and request a lockthrough. He is ready for us in 10 minutes, so both Jim and I go out to let down fenders and prepare our lines.
It is a very, very easy lockthrough. We tie up across from Fruition. I never even use my boat hook to push away from the wall once. That’s a first. Instead, I busy myself, using the boat hook, to break up the spider webs on the bollard, and play with bunches of May flies trying to free the few still alive from the webs, a rather intricate job to say the least, and I am sure one that all boaters would prefer me to not do. But, hey, I am who I am. I can’t just sit here bored, looking at all those thousand (and that’s NO exaggeration) of May flies without trying to help a few. (they only live for 24 hours, so why shorten that small life cycle if I can assist their freedom in any way??)
Soon the dam doors are opening, the horn blows and we’re moving ahead. Clint calls and let’s Fruition know that we’ll see them at Goose Pond, “call us if you need us.” And, we’re off and heading down the Tennessee.
The river has become a familiar area for us by now, still beautiful, full of wildlife and changing landscapes. Lots of bridges, of such varying styles, to pass under between here and Goose Pond. It is not long before we see storm clouds brewing as we approach our second bridge of this leg, time to batten down the hatches.
Jim and Sue are far enough behind us that they miss this small storm. We had all checked the weather and discussed it before leaving port earlier (a must when you’re boating). We open the helm and cockpit canvases again and continue downstream. Both the dogs have slept through the rain.
We enjoy the ride, chat about the homes, scenery and wildlife along the river and before long, we have the Goose Pond Colony channel in sight. It’s a shallower channel, one you want to follow precisely. The water lilies are blooming, making a welcome carpet for us as we glide towards the marina.
We arrive, the friendly, helpful guy, Jason I believe, comes out to greet us and tie us off while we refuel. Then we move over and tie up at our home for the night, our slip.
Always our first event after we get secured into our slip upon arrival is to walk the dogs. They have been to Goose Pond lots of times now and feel right at home, know there favorite little spots to explore. I seriously think we could unleash them and they’d make their way off the docks, relieve themselves, and head right back to the boat. They always know which boat is theirs which I find rather cute. : )
Clint and I get settled in, and to the west we noticed a large black cloud is forming a substantial mass. This is one that we aren’t going to skirt around, nor is Fruition, who is still making their way down the river. We give them a call on the VHS to let them know what’s heading our way.
Sure enough the storm hits Fruition while they are on the river. They had no ill effects from it with the exception of Melody, Roger and Laura’s granddaugter (6), who is aboard and rather freightened by the orders to close this, open that, can you see starboard, port, etc. Andrew, her father, reassures her that they are staying afloat and all is well. The trip down the river on Fruition is, no doubt, a trip that she will remember with fondness throughout her lifetime. What a kind gesture by Sue and Jim, to invite Andrew and Melody along for a fun day traveling downstream on a 47′ trawler!
Fruition arrives, it’s still raining. Clint is there, umbrella at work, to help tie them up at the fuel dock. Once fueled, Fruition, with Sue again at the helm, heads over to tie up at our dock for the night. It’s not long afterwards, that the rain dissipates, and we are all able to chat out on the dock. Laura and Roger arrive by car (remember their boat, Imagine, was unable to make this trip…next time!). We all walk over to The Docks restaurant for an absolutely delicious meal. Several of us had shrimp and grits (Falls Creek grits, by the way), some crab legs, pork medallion and a chicken alfredo…Melody had chicken fingers, you might have guessed, huh? : ) The laughter was plentiful, the talk enjoyable and the food complemented the evening perfectly.
Goodbyes and hugs were done afterwards, Laura, Roger and their crew headed back to Chattanooga. We and the Kuemmels head to Barefootin’ to discuss tomorrow continued journey and the weather outlook. The forecast is more rain. With our goodnights, we settle into bed in our separate boats. Our last thoughts before we drift off to sleep…
Rain, rain, go away!