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.

On The Road Again…

This Thursday, the 28th, we’ll be packing up for another “road trip,” exceptin’ we’ll be on the river not a road.  We will once again be traveling alongside Fruition, and will be heading down river, making stops at Goose Pond Colony, Ditto Landing and Joe Wheeler State Park.

Earlier this summer, we took a great trip up river with Sue and Jim aboard Fruition.  Here’s our story on that trip:

Okay, this isn't Fruition, this is their dinghy...

I should post a photo of Fruition, shouldn’t I or should I, or shouldn’t I, should I, or shouldn’t I…?  Okay, here it is:

Fruition – 47′ CHP Trawler

After leaving Hales Bar (both Barefootin’ and Fruition‘s homeport), we spent our first night tied up in Chattanooga.  We met Laura and Roger, boating friends who live in Chattanooga, for a sushi dinner and then walked back down to the boat for a nightcap and relaxation.

Laura and I enjoyed cooling off, danglin our feet in the water, and feeding a goose family loads of stale Wheat Thins.  They were very appreciative of the snack.

The next morning, Laura and Roger came back aboard Barefootin’ and we all headed upriver to Agency Creek, off the Hiwassee River, to our Chattanooga Sail and Power Squadron Fish Fry. 

Anyone who has been out on the water has to agree that it is a freeing, relaxing feeling that is not easily put into words.  Whenever we take Barefootin‘ up the river to Chattanooga, as we round the curve at Mocassin Bend and look over at the backed up traffic on I-24, we smile at the enjoyment and peacefulness of water travel.Mackie enjoys some loving from Laura as we head up to the Hiwassee.Our dogs definitely enjoy boat travel as much as we do  : )

When we arrive at Agency Creek, we tie up to the dock.

Barefootin' tied up at Agency Creek for the night

 Fruition has already anchored out, as they left a day earlier than us.  Clint and I had hosted, with Mary and Dave, a Southern Tennessee Ladies’ Society Hawaiian Luau Wine Tasting at our home the night before, so Fruition had left homeport a day before us.

Dave, Kent, Mary, Clint, me, Gail and Gary at our STLS Luau Wine Tasting event

The CSPS Fish Fry was loads of fun; great food, lots of fellow boaters, and an informative but short meeting.  By late afternoon, all the members had left except Jim, Sue, Clint and I.  We would be staying the night on our boats. Changed into our swimsuits, Jim came over in the dinghy and took us out to Fruition.  It was a quiet and hot afternoon and we all enjoyed a long swim in Agency Creek.

Fruition anchored in Agency Creek off the Hiwassee River

After our swim, we all climbed back aboard Fruition and had a picnic out on Fruition‘s bow with the leftovers from the fish fry and toasted one another, celebrating a wonderful day together out on the water.

Jim later took us back to Barefootin’ where we tucked the dogs and ourselves into bed and let “visions of sugar plums” dance in our heads.  In the morning we would untie and head upstream with Fruition for a new adventure.