About Leigh

I admit to having a spotted past. One of painting lots, then not painting at all. I have worked for an ad agency, a printing company as art director, and have done free-lance and faux finishing work in past years. I have also had my share of non-creative jobs for the sake of survival (and health insurance). Painting was always something I did when I had some spare time. Being a mother took up my most cherished years. Now with children grown, and grandchildren far away, I am taking up my paintbrush and pushing myself to get down to the studio on a regular basis. I'm loving this long awaited time, feeling a bit like I'm exploring who I am - at 60 it's about time. I find myself soaking in whatever subject I am painting at any moment, but I am a people person, so figurative painting is probably my favorite. Each part of life's journey has rewards and challenges. Today, my challenge is to put on canvas the life that I feel so strongly in my heart. Thank you for visiting my blog. Smiling, Leigh

Time Goes By

So much has changed since my last post. I have let down my faithful followers. I dare not promise to be better at posting out of the fear that I’ll fail (but, my heart says I’m going to give it a go and hope).

So, let’s hit the keyboard and see what I can come up with to entertain the masses.

First, let’s figuratively open up Barefootin’ for a breath of fresh air and you can see how she looks in 2016. Scarlett welcomes you as you arrive and climb down the stairs into the living area. The master stateroom (whoop, whoop) and bath are aft, the quest cabin (blue bedspread) and bath are forward.

That’s all well and good, but we all know that a boat is all about being outside, enjoying all the beauty and peacefulness the water has to offer. So let’s head back up and outside.

This is what a new boater would call the backporch…and, don’t tell Clint (or Jim), but I can’t remember the boating term myself…it’s not imperative to know these things to enjoy a boat. : )                      …and, hold that tummy in Leigh!

A few steps up and forward and we arrive in the helm  –  I couldn’t stand it, snuck off and looked up the term for the backporch, “cockpit” – okay, where was I? Right, we’re up here in Clint’s favorite spot.

My man loves his river trips, loves everyone hovering around…and, he doesn’t object to that feeling of being in charge either. : )

I’ll give you more updates on the next post…I was thinking how boring this post must be until I remembered what’s all over television, surely this is a nice break from listening to the ridiculous political rhetoric. Eeeeeck!

The sun’s gone down, tomorrow we head for Barefootin’ and a game of golf if weather permits. It’ll be fun to catch up with everyone on the dock. There will probably be a game, or many, of Mexican Train or Bananagrams. I’m talking high competition here. Plus lots of laughter sent out over the silent water as the sun falls below the distant hills. And lastly, after neighborly goodnights, climbing into our cozy bed and being lulled to sleep by the sounds of nature.

Sweet dreams!

 

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Say “Hello” to The New “Barefootin'”

Last year, as a chill filled the air and the last leaves were falling from the trees, Clint signed the papers finalizing the sale of our beloved Barefootin’. With our boating friends dispersed and far away, we found our boating enthusiasm waning in 2013. A sad affair. Clint continued to dream of that bigger boat with more great adventures, but even he wasn’t drawn to the water much last year. Me, I spent last year mourning the dispersement of our boat friends and dodging anything “boat-y.”

The one optimistic boating event did not come about until late fall, after our boat sold. Clint decided to attend a boat show in Chattanooga. With winter approaching, he wasn’t planning on a purchase, he was just keeping his dream alive. For me, the boat show meant sushi at Clint’s favorite spot in Chattanooga and a chance to be supportive of Clint’s undeterred boating dreams. So, off we went. The result, hallelujah, we found the first boat, on this “second-boat-go-round,” that we both truly liked…

Clint is not one to jump into much without long contemplation (he and I are so alike in that way…I hear you all snickering!). So we took notes about “the boat” and asked lots of questions. Then we were off to eat our sushi.

So, enough on the senseless details, when spring arrived, Clint bought that boat.

Below – Our new Barefootin‘ as she happily awaits our first trip together on April 9th.image

This coming Tuesday we board our new Barefootin‘, spending the night on board. We are thrilled that our boating friends, Jim and Sue, will be joining us. Wednesday morning, together, we will pull in our lines and head down the Tennessee River on a 95 mile trip to Goose Pond Colony Marina, Barefootin’s new home.  Jim has volunteered to be, as he calls it, the deck ape. Sue and I will be working out travel safety for our dogs, who always boat with us. There will be new dog dangers to find and remove or resolve on this trip, guaranteeing that Clint and I can relax on future trips, knowing the dogs are traveling safely too. Onboard for her first ever boat trip is our newest addition, Scarlett.

imageAbove – Last week, all three of the girls (Presley, Scarlett and Mackie, hidden in the back bed) relaxed aboard while we cleaned, unpacked, and organized the new Barefootin‘. The matching boat beds, with blankets and toys included, were just one of our purchases as we settle in to our new boat.

Below – Despite the seemingly silliness of it, Clint and I had no doubts when deciding on our new “home port.” After all, home is where the heart is, right?  Smiling.

Trip photos and news will soon follow.Meet the new Barefootin'

 

 

 

Ding, Ding, Ding!!!!

FOR SALE

2006 Sea Ray Sundancer 300DA    $85,000

100_2094

  • LOA – 33.6’
  • Twin Merc Cruiser 5.0’s, Generating 512 hp
  • Cruises at 26 mph at 3400 rpm’s

This Sundancer includes:

  • Generator
  • Charger/Converter
  • AC/Heater
  • Water Heater (6 Gal.)

Cabin (Below): Sleeps 4 w 2 Curtain Separated Sleeping Quarters/2 TV’s w Cable Connections & DVD players/Stereo System includes CD Players/XM/AM/FM/Galley w Sink/Stove/Refrigerator/Cabinets/Table/5’ Sitting Sofa/Separate Sitting Area w The 2nd TV/3 Electric Outlets/Head w Sink, Toilet, Shower and Med Cabinet/Closet/Cabinets

On Deck: Sleeps 2/Table/Sitting Area/Cabinets/Refrigerator/Stereo Speakers/GPS-Chart Plotter/Camper Top w Screen and Clear Plastic Zip Ups/Windshield Wipers

This boat is in excellent condition and has been very well maintained.  Call Clint at 931-759-7483 with any questions.

 

Can I Just Say “Farm For Sale!”

know, I know, I’m suppose to be talking “travel, sunshine, fun, hiking, friends, picnics, and so on.”  Well, I’m sticking with the topic but in a different setting.  I promise it’s just this once, but can you picture yourself living on an amazing farm with green rolling hills, grandkids wading in the creek searching for crawfish and salamanders?  A picnic in the sunshine up on top of the ridge where you can see forever and forever?  Saddling up one of the horses for a morning ride before friends arrive for a swim in the pool with drinks and dinner as you laugh and talk on the huge porch overlooking the fields?  Watching the fireflies rise as dusk settles in and as you tire, opening the french doors to let in the fresh spring air as you crawl into bed?

All this because we have a 100 acre farm that is absolutely amazing, but life has taken on a new direction for us and this beautiful place is waiting to bless a new family with all it holds.

I’m spilling all this because I know there is someone out there who is looking for our farm, their next home.  If YOU happen to know that person/persons, now you can tell them that they can contact us right here.  (Now how easy is that???)

I promise to be back on target with my next post, and thank you for letting me get this out of my system.  What would I do without you?

Smiling,

Leigh

A Painful Realization

“And, then the pain of realizing that everything about our boating changed last autumn, right before Clint winterized our sweet boat.”    – Leigh B. Butler, from yesterday’s blog Winterized Boredom

Yes, that realization was about to hit me right in the face yesterday morning as I went into my closet, reached past a summer shirt that brought the recall of so many wonderful adventures on Barefootin’ floating through my head.

BAM!!  I remembered.  I remembered with a great heaviness that when we clean up Barefootin’ this spring and ready her for new adventures, something huge will be missing.

See, a few years back, because of my Barefootin’ blog, we met 6 wonderful new friends.  Boating friends that became any-ole-time friends.  We spent weekends together on our boats, we spent weekends together at each others’ homes (spread out over 200 miles), we spent nights on each others’ boats.  We’ve  cooked and eaten breakfasts, lunches, and dinners together.  We’ve enjoyed many a happy hour together. We’ve  laughed, we’ve cried, and we’ve  laughed so hard that we cried. We’ve gone on boating adventures for days on end, we’ve swam, we’ve hiked.  We taken boating courses together (see Chattanooga Sail and Power Squadron). We have fallen in love with one another’s pets.  We have truly bonded.  We are friends for life.

But, you remember the BAM, right?  You ask, “So, why the BAM?”

Let me explain.  At the end of last summer the boating part of our lives began to change, not for one boat owner, but for all.  And, for all, in very different ways.  Out of our 5 boats (yes, one couple has 2), only 1 boat of the 5 remains where our friendships began.  Due to life changes, life dreams, and a bit of poor marina management (I am being kind here), we have all moved to new places.  Imagine took a 600 mile trip and has relocated to a new marina (the owners’ work and home sale demanding the new location), Fruition has taken on the adventure and dream of a lifetime and begun its journey (5,000 to 7,500 miles, depending on your chosen path) as “Loopers” (visit   American Great Loop Cruisers’ Association), Three Wire moved on up to a fancy marina in Chattanooga and Family Ties (their second boat) continues to hold down the fort at our old marina (someone has to keep us posted) and Barefootin’, the runt of the group, she has moved a bit closer to Chattanooga out of loyalty to friends (maybe I’ll explain that in another post…but, don’t hold your breath).

Our Beloved Boating Friends: Lower, Sue, Betsy, Laura, me - Top, Jim, Ken, Roger, and Clint

So, there is my pain laid out for all to see.  Yes, we’ll make new boating friends no doubt and, yes, life will go on.  But, as the 2012 boating season approaches, my heart aches at the sweet friends I will miss this year.  We will always figure out new ways to visit and laugh and cry together, no one can take that from us.  But, the days of waking early and climbing up on deck with that hot cup of coffee steaming and looking through the morning mist rising off the river, to see a beloved friend waving and lifting their cup to you across the way will be sorely missed.

Our happy group (minus Jim who's taking the photo) aboard Fruition - Clint, Roger, Sue, Laura, me, Betsy, and Ken

Winterized Boredom

Most boaters, and all of us boaters in Tennessee, know that when the leaves begin to turn orange, red, and gold, it’s time to think about winterizing the boat for the year (unless you are a livaboard, you lucky dog!).  I’m no expert on winterizing, I leave that to the Captain and I’m sure he’d prefer it stay that way.  One of those special times that I totally keep my nose out of his business and let him do it his way.  : )   —gee, am I really that bad??

So, as you can guess, me writing this little post in February, our Barefootin’ has been winterized now since around Thanksgiving.  Clint has gone to visit her on occasion, make sure the electric is working, she’s still afloat, to sweep a few leaves off her bow, you get the gist.  Me, I haven’t seen her in months.  And, for months, I can honestly say that I haven’t missed her, until this past week.

This past week suddenly had me pondering her, the sunshine and the wind blowing and forming my hair into webs of tangles.  I realized how I missed the trips to fun eating spots, the parks with long walking paths, swimming and splashing with Clint and the dogs.  And, then the pain of realizing that everything about our boating changed last autumn, right before Clint winterized our sweet boat.

…the Super Bowl is beginning…tomorrow I will explain my boating heartache.

November 2011 – We’re Still Here!

I know, I know, you thought we must have sold our boat, or my fingers were paralyzed due to some boating trauma, or I was just too devastated that I have yet to be nominated for a Pulitzer prize for my blogging.  Nope, it’s none of that.  Like most of you folks, we just get too busy, me with my painting, Clint with his golf/farm upkeep, and, of course, our amazing social life (ha).

So, this morning as I sit in a toasty corner with my afghan and little dog beside me, I’ll give you an update on our Barefootin’ times of warm weather, the river, friends, and exploring.  Grab a cup of hot tea, a warm throw and let’s enjoy some catching up together.

This year we pretty much feel like boating is “old hat,” quite a change from our first long trip down the Tennessee River that I shared with you way back when.  Now we dock, refuel, lock through, raft up, and explore the river with confidence.  We have had lots of experience now, plus we’ve enjoyed taking classes through our USPS squadron in Chattanooga.  (If you are into boating, you should definitely consider joining your area’s power squadron.  They offer wonderful courses on boating from safety to maintenance to piloting.  Plus, like us, you’ll make some new boating friends for life.)

I do want to say here that one can never be too confident on the water, unforeseen things can happen, so despite our experience, we still have a great respect for the water/boating/and the dangers the two can cause.

That said, I’ll move along to the fun of it all.  First, we’ve made some wonderful friends through our boating.  There have been great times on the water that have lead to great times on land too.  We’ve eaten too much, gotten too much sun, laughed until we hurt, maybe had a few too many happy hours, hiked, danced, talked and explored both land and “sea,” and had overnighters in both boats and homes.  I could go on and on, but I’ll give you a break.

We took 3 wonderful trips this year with our boating buddies, Jim and Sue.  You can see snippets of our trips in past blogs (though I admit – gee, I already hear Jim laughing – that I never seemed to finish blogging about a single trip – I’m a Squiggly, Jim, remember that.)  Here are a few photos of our adventures (one to Wheeler State Park – downstream, one to Watts Bar Lake, upstream, and one shorty to Island Cove for 3 days).

So, with the sharing of our 2011 Barefootin’ adventures in photos, I’m sure that I’ve convinced you that “We’re Still Here.”

Stay tuned for many more adventures.  (a little bird told me that Clint has his eyes on a bigger boat for 2012)

I’m Behind, Imagine That!

Okay, if you’ve been keeping up with our travels, you must be thinking that we are REALLY enjoying Ditto Landing.  From all appearance, blogwise, we four are still there after almost two weeks.  Like they say, “don’t believe everything you read.”  I can justifiably blame being behind, waaaay behind, on poor internet connections.  You know the old sales pitch, “American Express, don’t leave home without it.”  Well, I’ll never leave home again without my Verizon card after this trip!

Enough griping, and back to the trip at hand.  We wake, potty the girls and say a good morning to Jim and Sue.  The night before we had all agreed that Barefootin’ would pull out first.  We would head on to Decatur to see if the Hard Dock Cafe would be open for lunch.  If so, we would let Fruition know, then hang around there, take the dogs on a long, long walk, dwiddle our thumbs and maybe go on another long, long walk and wait for Fruition to arrive.  (smiling as I write this, Jim)  With that agreed upon, we set sail alone and move out into the river.

Barefootin’ arrives in Decatur as planned and pulls into River Walk  Marina at mm305.5.  We tie up.  Dang, the dock is hot when you’re barefoot!  (The four of us boaters will make this assessment over and over again throughout this trip.) Mackie and Presley leashed, we four head up to the restaurant to gather info, potty, and stretch our legs.

We are bummed to find out the Hard Dock Cafe is closed Mondays, hmmmm, thinking now that I remember that from our last trip down this way.  (Ah, the memory of age…not so effective as it once was.)  Heading back down to the boat, we call Fruition to give them the disappointing news, then time to loose the lines, haul up the fenders and shove off.

A fun little thing about going through Decatur, is that short period of feeling like we’re a big boat when we call the railroad bridge and ask for passage.  The guys that work the bridge are always jovial and informative.  The one working today asks how soon we can be at the bridge.  Clint proudly responds that we’re moving 27-28 knots and will be there quickly.  A train is on its way, so we hurry towards the bridge as it rises before our eyes.  We feel so important.  Snicker.

Then, it’s onward to Wheeler where we will all be docking for two days.

You may not believe this, but Barefootin’ arrives at Wheeler first.  Dogs walked and pottied, Clint and I head up to pay our bill and see if I have wi-fi available.  (I guess you know the answer.)

Waiting on Sue and Jim to arrive, we decide to try out the pool on this hundred degree day.  A decision easily decided.  The pool is a balmy 90 degrees we guess. Yuck.  I can only say it felt “sorta” cool as you get out soaking wet.  That last about 5 minutes, then, you’re hot again.  Warm pool and lovely weather.

Time to begin looking out for Fruition, we climb aboard Barefootin’ and give them a call.  They are close.  We get some ice cold water and wait.

Here they come, and as always, Sue makes an impressive “landing.”  Jim guides her in with a language and signals they both understand.  Fruition tied up, it’s not long before Jim and Sue are in bathing suits and ready to cool down, ha, in the balmy 90 degree pool.  (We all left “being picky” at home.)    : )

Our trip’s “this and thats” are shared poolside.  Sue and I do more girl talk, lingering in the pool.   The guys, wimps, lounge in the shade.  Sue updates me on Shadow, their beloved cat, who has traveled with them since they bought Fruition.  She has been struggling the last few days, not herself.  We discuss her symptoms and the “what to do’s.”

 We all head to our separate boats, they are parked side by side, nice.  We’ll clean up and meet for dinner at the park restaurant.

A knock on the boat, Clint goes on deck to check it out.  It’s Joe and Kathy Benson, friends who have their boat docked at Wheeler year-round.  They want to know if we’d like to join them for dinner in town.  We’re all in, we have a drink below in the air-conditioning and Sue and Jim get to know Joe and Kathy a bit. Then, we pile into Joe’s car and off we go into Rogersville for a steak dinner.

During dinner, it comes to light, that Joe and Clint know loads of the same people from the work world.  (I am a gluton for punishment when it comes to “it’s a small world” kinda stuff)  Lots of laughs and bellies full, we all head back to our boats to be lulled to sleep by the gentle roll of the water beneath our hulls.

Sweet Dreams!

Catching Up

We awoke early, that’s just the way it is on the boat, for us anyway.  The weather was not the rainy, cloudy, dreary weather we had expected.  Instead, we woke to an absolutely beautiful morning.  I ate some granola and banana, Clint did the same.  We helped Jim and Sue push off and head on before us towards Ditto Landing Marina in Huntsville.

We did our assigned piddlin’, walked the dogs, cleaned up and headed out the channel ourselves.

We leave the Goose Pond channel, the sign gleaming in the warm sunshine.  Out on the river, the water is as smooth as glass.  We pass bass boats and catch up with Fruition.  We wave and move on ahead.  The plan today is to find a swimming hole and enjoy the water before heading through the Guntersville Dam and onto Ditto Landing.  What a perfect day for this plan.

We arrive before Fruition, as always, in a large quiet cove right past Honeycomb Creek.  We find the perfect spot, I nag Clint not to go too far in, nag, nag, nag.  We drop the hook and get on our swimsuits.  We call Sue and Jim to let them know we’re here.

About 20 minutes later, they call to say they are approaching.  We anxiously await their arrival and our swim…no Fruition…we wait a bit longer...no Fruition…we discuss, we call them on the VHS.  We’re asking them where they are, they are asking us where we are.  Hmmmmmm.  Okay, just where is everyone?  Turns out we are in different coves.  Since we are anchored already, we win and Fruition turns around and moves out of their cove and on down to ours.

Of course by this time, we’re all really sweating.  Fruition comes up on our starboard and we raft up, stern to stern for easy access.  We probably set a record for adults getting in water quickly.  Our dogs are addicted to riding on Sue’s raft with her, so in they go.One thing I can assure you of, on this trip ALL of us have appreciated every moment in the water, river, lake, pool or shower.  We all enjoy a long swim, the fun and laughter of friendship, and a good lunch onboard Barefootin’.

After much relaxation, we loosen our lines connecting our boats, Fruition starts her engines and moves on towards the dam.  We pull anchor and follow.  Sue calls the lockmaster  and we wait.  And, we wait.  This lockmaster is not a communicator.  We wait.  We wait.  Finally, we see the lock doors begin to swing open.  We wait.  The horn blows.  In we go.  No May Flies today, we left them all back at Hales Bar and Nickajack Dam, gratefully.  The above photo is Jim showing off his muscular build and cute little orange life vest.  Thank goodness for some humor and entertainment from Jim as once in the dam, we again wait.  We hear on our VHS’s that a sailboat is upstream a few miles and wants to lockthrough too.  So, we wait some more.  By now our swimsuits, unfortunately, have dried.  Sweat begins to pour off our bodies yet again.  It is extra hot with the sun high and locked with the dam walls.  You would not be envious, I can guarantee.

We do survive the wait, the sailboat at last arrives, and we have an uneventful lockthrough.  Once out, we enjoy the beauty that lies between Guntersville and Huntsville on the river.  There are magnicent bluffs along the way.  It’s a Sunday and the pleasure boats are out in droves!  And, no offense to anyone, but I do not think that they have taken a boating safety class.  Many are parked right in the middle of the channel, sometimes narrow channels.  And, with kids on rafts and floaties, right in the way of boating traffic.  Huge barges travel up and down the Tennessee River, and trust me, they cannot divert themselves to miss a small pleasure craft sitting in the middle of the river with kids playing all around it.

That crumping said, if anyone is ever interested in a safety course, do contact your area’s United State Sail and Power Squadron or the U.S. Coast Guard.  Both offer great classes and they are well worth the short time spent in a classroom.

We dodge all the boats, Fruition cannot weave around them as we can, but one way or another everyone lives through the heavy traffic of the day.  We arrive at Ditto, sweating profusely, tie up with some help from the marina workers.  We get more ice, drink lots of water, walk the dogs, sweat some more, but the dogs down in the air conditioning, they complain.  They are such faithful little tikes that they would prefer the disgusting heat if they can just be with us.  Sometimes, they do not get their way, I’d rather at least THEY be cool.

We shower, piddle, I try to get online, something is messing up my ability to do so, who knows what, but now I am sweating AND frustrated.  Much worse than just sweating.

Sue and Jim round the corner coming into the marina and they get tied up.  It dinner time, we all agree to showers and ordering pizza delivery.  Pizza ordered, we all split up and clean up.  Man, oh man, does a shower in cold water on Barefootin’ feel like heaven.  Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!

Deep dish pizza from Jett’s.  It is so good, even though Clint and I like thin crust, we eat with gusto.  I am not getting thinner on this boat trip…my only complaint thus far is too much eating.  Me, I’m a “eat my bigger meal at lunch and snack away at dinner.”  This trip, we are eating later and then pooped, we all head to bed on full stomachs.  Ugh.  But, besides my health considerations, the food has all been good and I’ve never been one to turn down food.  Unfortunately.

We had Oreos for dessert, a discussion ensued.  We know, but do you know where the name Oreo came from and when the first Oreo was made?

Now on to our next day as I try to catch up.

Rain, Rain, Go Away

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.

Friends wave us off and we head downstream towards Nickajack Dam.  It is no time before we see our “sister ship” and we move on up to join them.

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.

In no time, it’s upon us, just a summer shower and not a lot of wind, so wet yes, but none the worse for it.  We watch the GPS and move onward.

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.

Goose Pond Marina and Golf Course

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!