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!