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'

 

 

 

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!

Is This The Life…?

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.

We are so blessed with the greatest friends!

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.

Cormorants, one of my favorite birds

Tennessee green, as my mom always says : )

My travel companions

We only passed two pontoons and a few bass boats by the time we see Lookout Mountain  ahead of us.

Mackie, checking out the progress we've made this morning.

We slow as we pass through Chattanooga.

The Chattanooga Aquarium

Chattanooga is a town of many bridges, each unique.

We are about to enter waters unknown (to us).  The excitement begins!

The Hunt Art Museum, first time ever to pass it by water. Pretty impressive setting, huh?!

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…

You guessed it. Locking through! And, here we go again. Chickamauga Dam is less than a mile from us. We're about to throw our rope over the bollard and rise 48' more feet above sea level. Shall I say "fun?"

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?

1 Friend, 2 Friend, 3 Friend…

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.)

 

Betsy, Sue and Jim

 

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!

…3 Friend.