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'

 

 

 

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)

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!

Here’s My Story And I’m Sticking To It

Well, somebody needs to pat me on the back, we’re at Goose Pond Colony Marina, I’m up before 6, coffee in hand, and struggling for over 20 minutes trying to get a connection, down below, then on deck, then back down below, moving the dogs with me (Lord knows they have to be glued to my side this morning) just so I can blog.  NOT that I’m complaining.

Okay, thing is, I gave up on connecting and just getting this down on paper this morning and will throw it online when I can…so here we go.

First, it just hit me this morning as I was pouring that first cup of coffee, that I had not explained something of great significance about our send-off last year by the Kuemmels and all that has followed since.  So, here’s the tale, we’ll begin with a short preface…

March 2010 Boat Trip to Mississippi

Last year in March Clint and I set off for our first Barefootin’ journey downstream. We traveled 452 land miles total, traveling down the Tennessee River, our last stop being Grand Harbor Marina on the TennTom, then back to homeport. We easily became addicted to this type of travel and I decided to begin my first blog (this one) all about our Barefootin’ travels.  I was actually faithful to write each day on this first trip (miracles do happen). After our journey had ended, we still went down to the boat for a few days each week. On one of these visits to Hales Bar to our boat is where this tale begins.

…We had packed up food, the dogs, and swimsuits and were back at the marina, to spend a few restful days on Barefootin’. Clint went to find a cart while I walked and pottied the dogs on arrival, our usual routine. The girls quickly took care of business and I headed down the pier towards Barefootin’. I saw a couple, around our age, pulling debris out of the water along the pier’s edge (a very worthy and notable cause at our marina).  I said “Hi” to the man as I passed. When I reached the woman I did the same and she turned around and looked at me. I had walked on past when the lady called out to me and asked if I was the one who wrote the blog and was our boat named Barefootin’? Amazed that some stranger knew this, I turned to answer “Yes.”

She and her husband had found our blog on the AGLA (American Great Loop Association) site that both us and they belonged to.  Now the fact that my blog site had even been put on the web site was new to me, though I was thrilled.  And, even more thrilled to find that this couple, Jim and Sue, had followed our travels day to day down the river.  Jim and Sue, on the other hand, seemed glad to meet the people they had been reading about.  : )

I tell you this little story for two reasons; one, to remind you and me that it truly is a small world, and, secondly, that these two were our “send-off” couple on our next trip in 2010 and have been our travel partners with us, aboard their trawler Fruition, for our two trips this year.

Jim and Sue giving us a send-off in 2010

Jim and Sue, and other great friends we’ve met through boating (Betsy, Ken, Laura, Roger) all up in Lynchburg for a weekender last fall.

Fruition with Sue at the helm, as we left Nickajack Dam yesterday after we locked through together.

So, there’s our story and I’m sticking to it!

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.

It’s A Rough Life

Waking with our usual morning routine, a light mist covers the water, a bird call breaks the silence, a fish breaks the water’s surface, we sit with our coffee mugs, soaking it all in.

Breakfast finished, we head across the bay to Harrison Bay State Park, to gas up ($1 cheaper per gallon there), and to get in a good walk.   It’s a scorcher of a morning, but, like most boaters, we know we need to stretch out the old muscles.  We head down a path marked “4.5 miles,” knowing full well we aren’t going to walk that far in this heat.

I figure this one is self-explanatory.

Well, you’d be proud, we did end up walking the full length, a few breaks for the girls (dogs) to take a swim and cool off.   As usual, we met people along the path and enjoy some good conversation.  Then, much sweatier than when we started, we climb back on Barefootin’, and cruise back to our dock at Island Cove.

Lunch, then a fun swim with the dogs (we did swim last night after we arrived also).  Then, it’s time to get cleaned up.  Our power squadron meeting and dinner is tonight, in the pavilion attached to the dock right beside Barefootin’.

Members start to arrive, some by boat, the visiting and laughter begins early.

Gail and Bob arrive with their granddaughter, Clair.

Norman arrives, he’s doing the cooking, jerk chicken, beans and rice, rum cake. Gail makes a huge salad with all kinds of goodies in it.  It’s a great night all around.

As we mingle on boats and the dock, some relax on John and Linda's "Southern Jewel."

Elizabeth and I meet for the first time. We have mutual friends, Sophal and Eileen at Hales Bar. Little did either of us know that soon we would become great friends.

Enjoying a wonderful meal and boat tales.

Laura, Sue (remember our great "send-off" at Hales Bar) and me...we're talking "Zumba," Sue and I commit to try it with Laura (our pro) at the Y in Chattanooga. Laura and Roger also have a boat at Hales Bar. We meet them for the first time here at the squadron meeting.

As the sun drops behind the hills, dark falls over the water, and the dock empties of its crowd.  All that remain are those who boated to the meeting.  We all enjoy a nightcap, talk about the meeting (oh, we and Laura and Roger all got sworn in tonight), the dinner, whatever.  A few more boat tales are shared, a little more laughter on John and Linda’s houseboat before we all head off to bed.  John has invited us all for blueberry Aretha Frankenstein pancakes in the morning.  Yes, I know, boating is a rough life.

Morning arrives, I cut up loads of fresh peaches, from our own little peach tree, we crab our coffee and walk nextdoor to the pavilion.  More laughter, boat tales with the added benefit of delicious pancakes, fresh peaches and juice.

The Breakfast Club (minus the cook John and us, to the left Bob, Gail, Claire, Linda, and Lloyd)

We help clean up breakfast dishes and prepare for another day heading up the river.  Our friends push us off and we smile.  We are blessed, truly blessed.

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?