Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Cedar Creek to Beasley's Bend

  Our issue with the windlass seems to be solved. I made a call to the Good Automatic Windlass folks and while waiting for a reply, I checked on the circuit breaker to remind myself of how it looks in case the marina nearby had something that I could use.
  While investigating, I noticed one of the terminals on the breaker was loose, definitely something that could cause the breaker to trip. When I had installed the windlass a couple of years ago I had overtightened the connections on the breaker and had ruined it. Tom at Good Automatic Windlass sent us another one free of charge, so when I installed the new breaker I only tightened it about as tight as a mouse would if a mouse could use a wrench.
  We experienced no problem when hauling the anchor yesterday morning, so we are keeping our fingers crossed that the windlass is fine. I am going to remove the swivel at the shackle to prevent the anchor from hanging up in the roller again.

  After the storm on Monday, we anchored just outside of Pearson's Cedar Creek Marina and we again found the big ugly boat we had seen over the weekend. I found out later that the owner has brought this boat back from a much worse condition. He probably loves this boat as much as we love ours and I apologize for being so hard on her.
  I had called the marina when they opened and asked where to tie up as we were coming in to see about a part and to see what we might need at their store. The owner directed us in and just the man I needed to talk to caught us at the dock. Larry Morgan is the "service manager", retired from Bell South three years ago and just cannot get away. Larry showed me around and explained as to how the marina was just getting back to business after a major storm a while ago. Everything is new and very nice, but his shop was moved and he can't find anything. We both rooted through his electrical stuff and couldn't find a circuit breaker that we could use. He offered to drive us anywhere we wanted to go on his lunch break if we needed anything.
  I checked out the store while Rosie filled the water tank on Swing Set, and also filled our laundry tub in the bilge, an old cooler that we put some Oxy-clean and water in and let it slosh around for a couple of days.
  We promised to stop in on our way back through this area to sample the restaurant fare and we left with a very positive impression of the place. I hope we did the same for them.
  The homes are more like estates and mansions along this section of Old Hickory Lake and were very impressive. Once we got up into the skinny part of the river, the scenery was beautiful and the homes were more of the type we could identify with as ex-river dwellers ourselves. One place that appealed to me was a cabin sitting high on a bluff that appeared to  be about 10' by 20', with a nice porch and a big fireplace on one end. All that was missing was a jug of moonshine, and it very well could have been there but our view was from way down below.
  In our Quimby's Guide there is a general store advertised called Shady Cove Resort, the last stop for any business on the river proper before you get to the Cordell Hull lock and dam.
Rosie called them to see just what could be had there and get some direction as to how the approach was up the 2.5 mile creek. Her question as to if they had enough water to get into the place was answered by the boast that they had a 53 foot Hatteras at their docks and that "sure there was plenty of depth if we just stayed between the markers". They had snacks and would sell us a loaf of bread from the restaurant, so we decided to check it out because, well, because "why not?"
  As we snaked our way up a creek with questionable depths, I realized that the claim of being only 2.5 miles up the creek was designed to get you hooked, and not give up on the attempt to realize the truer destination, a bit further away. We rounded a bend and were met with a view of more campers than the sale lot at Camper World, and boat docks that had seen better days. We made a timid approach and as I finally arrived at the "gas dock", I had already decided to just drop Rosie off to make some convenient purchases and pick her back up, staying out in deeper water. A guy who could have been the owner came down to the dock and asked if we were tying up. I told him I would have but it was pretty shallow there at his gas dock, I was showing 3.5 feet and the churned up mud proved it. I did mention as to how we had called to receive some direction about coming into the marina and he claimed that he didn't know we would be "coming in this far". I all but said that I sure the hell didn't know where I was going to be coming and he offered to tie us up at the end of one of the other docks. I kept encountering skinny water as I approached a couple of different places to let Rosie off and that's when we both decided to chuck the expedition and buy a loaf of bread from a Stop and Gulp somewhere we could see from the waterway. The Hatteras could have been sitting on the mud as far as we knew.
  Once we passed through Gallatin, TN, the river became very narrow but still 60-70 feet deep in spots. I vowed to wait until 5 or 6 o'clock to start seeking out an anchorage and felt like anywhere just off the channel would be OK as we had seen no barges and only a couple of bass boats. The bluffs were high above us and each turn of the river gave us another reason to keep on. The lure of the next turn is an addiction for us, and our trips on the motorcycle offered the same attraction and we found it hard to stop on some days.
  At about 4 o'clock, we rounded a bend and we found the prettiest girl at the dance in the way of potential anchorages. A small island separated a narrow strip of water from the main channel and our chart promised very deep water. We felt is was a bit early to hang up our spurs for the day but the attraction of this spot was too good to pass up. We used caution and sneaked our way up beside the island and dropped the hook. We eventually dropped the stern anchor too as the wind couldn't decide from which way to blow around the tall bluffs and Rosie didn't want to be in the water around "snake city" that was getting too close to our swim platform when the wind shifted.

  Here we are tucked behind the island, safe from the current and any passing vessels during the night, both of which were not to be found. Nothing but birds and a drifting log or two has passed by. Before dinner we took our baths as nature had intended and I wetted a couple of fishing lines as Rosie made a quick but delicious supper. We sat in the cockpit until the sun hid behind the high bluffs and enjoyed an after dinner cocktail. Rosie beat me again at another game of dominoes as Holly watched.
  I woke early as Rosie slept in and there was as thick a fog as I had ever seen surrounding us. I was glad we were anchored where we were, but still no boats of any kind has passed by. I was trying to find the news on the T.V. after auto-programming our channels, but only got cartoons and infomercials. No need for the distraction, so we ate a scrumptious breakfast of bacon and pancakes with only the sounds of the birds and fish jumping for entertainment.
  Our loosely knit plan is to make our way to the Cordell Hull Lock and Dam, about 35 miles upstream from where we are at Beasley's Bend. The Cordell Hull lock is somewhat of a pain to get through, requiring a call before noon on the preceding day to lock through. We're not that regimented, so if there is no one there to accommodate us, we're just going to turn around and head back down river. The lock is at mile 315 here on the Cumberland, so we've made quite a trip of it so far. Rosie wants to head back and be in Old Hickory Lake near the action for the weekend, and there is a steakhouse/marina we want to check out in Gallatin on the way back, so by the time we cruise up to Cordell Hull reservoir and back, probably stay here again tonight, and spend a night in Gallatin at the Cherokee Marina, it will be the weekend before we can get back to Skinny Dip Cove.
  Meanwhile there is another bend ahead in the river and I'm getting anxious to see what is around it. We're in for another very pretty day and comfortable temperatures before some hotter weather this weekend sets upon us.


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