Monday, July 16, 2012

Chickamauga Lake to Watts Bar

  The view from Kirk and Jeanne's home is spectacular. Harrison Bay is dotted with small islands and presents a great view at sunset but this picture is one I took at mid-day. Lots of traffic goes by on the way to the Island Cove Marina. We had plenty of fenders out and we did just fine. Island Cove is doing some major rebuilding as there were some recent straight line winds that demolished several docks there. I don't have pictures to share but I saw some and the devastation was unbelievable.
  Kirk arrived back home on late afternoon and had our five isinglass panels in hand, all wrapped up in protective paper.

  I installed the panels and Chad did a great job, better than any canvas job I ever got back in St. Louis. Notice the piping on the inside of the zippers? Fine tooth number 10 zippers were installed, something that should have been done in the first place. The zippers meet at the bottom in the middle, something I wanted originally. Our flybridge enclosure should be good for a few more years now.
  We had invited our four new friends to dinner to repay them for the hospitality they had shown us so far, but they are inclined to stay "on the compound" during the weekends, so we were invited for dinner there.
  All sorts of people started showing up and the deck party had begun. Mike and Lisa are chefs, along with all of their other talents, and they whipped up a feast for about 14 or 15 people. On the menu was grilled steaks bites, chicken, scallops, and jumbo shrimp, served with three different dipping sauces, "dirty rice", grilled vegetables, and a gargantuan salad. This all on short notice. If that wasn't enough, Kirk had thrown some ribs on his smoker when he got home and by 11 P.M., he brought them down the hill to where the party was going on at the guest house and we all dug into those ribs too. There was dancing to the music videos and some impromptu drum solos by those less inclined to actually perform drum solos, but they didn't last long mercifully. No one had the energy. Things wrapped up for us at nearly 3 A.M. but others held out for more. There was a lot of late risers the next morning.
  We were going to be enlisted to help move Kirk's Fountain powerboat, but he was unable to get his trailer that morning, so after some Bloody Mary's and final stories, we untied Swing Set and headed up the Chickamauga Lake at mid-day into an approaching thunderstorm. We promised to return on our trip back down the river as we were having some medicine and a couple of other things delivered to Kirk and Jeanne's home

  There is an abundance of beautiful homes along Chickamauga Lake. These are two of them and they sit upon a development that we had discussed the evening before. Now, these homes are mutli-million dollar babies and if a person has the number of nickels to rub together to build one of these:

  Why would you build it across the lake from this view? I'd pay more for a better lot and build smaller if necessary, and yes, the homes were built after the nuclear power plant construction.
  We got a few sprinkles of rain from the thunderstorm and we only made our way up the lake a few miles to where the Hiwassee River comes into the Tennessee River. We initially started up into the Hiwassee River to look for an anchorage but Mr. Quimby said that anything outside of the channel would be dangerous, and I usually take these precautions with a grain of salt, but in this case, the warning proved to be a good one. The Hiwassee River splits when it empties into the Tennessee and goes around Hiwassee Island. Across from Hiwassee Island is a small island on the opposite side of the channel of the Tennessee and there were several boats tied up around it for their Sunday afternoon boating pleasure. I say "island", but it was really just a shallow spot in the river with trees growing on it. No ground could be seen at all anywhere, just folks wading around in calf deep water.
  We threw our anchor out just behind that island, and in between another, in about 14 feet of water and very little current. We were done in from the night before and our long 23 mile trip that afternoon, so with an overcast sky providing a dreary day, we were happy to retire to our cabin for some reading and a nap.
  Some river traffic kept us bouncing for some of the night, but eventually things calmed down and all was quiet.

  The next morning Rosie rinsed out some laundry and hung it up to dry on our way up the river. The Clampetts were on the move again.
  Watts Bar Lock and Dam was 30 miles upstream and that's where we were headed. The river got narrow and we sat back and slipped along at our normal 8 miles per hour.

  We arrived at the Watts Bar Lock and the sun had begun to shine on us again. The lockmaster had invited us right on into the chamber and gave us a gentle ride up. He came out to chat and brought along a "goody bag" like the one we had gotten on the Cumberland River at the Cheatham Lock. He asked if we had already gotten one, and we said that we did, and to be honest about it, I told him I didn't know what I'd do with even more crayons. He got a big kick out of that and he admitted that the frisbees included in the gift bag usually wind up littering the lake anyhow. Some friends had brought a paddle wheeler through his lock a few months ago and he remembered it. He also clued us in on a good place to have dinner that evening, so when we left the lock, instead of finding a close anchorage like we planned to, we headed 18 miles up the lake to Blue Springs Marina at mile 547.
  That all happened yesterday and I wanted to post last night but we had no service, not even for a phone call. I have more, but I'll save that for tomorrow morning. Right now, we're going to attempt to watch a movie on our Netflix instant movie queue. 3G isn't always very G.

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