Monday, July 23, 2012

Sequoyah Landing and the Little Tennessee River

  Last Friday afternoon we made our way under the bridge at mile 19 on the Little Tennessee River, the river that largely comprises Tellico Lake. The Sequoyah Landing Marina in right at the mouth of theTellico River and is home of the River Rock Bar and Grill, a floating joint right at the gas dock, where we pulled up to see what we could see.
  Billy the harbormaster met us at the boat and helped us get tied up. It was a breezy day and just right to sit outside at the grill there and get a bucket of cold ones and some appetizers.

  This picture is from the next day, but I'll put it here to give you an idea about the place.  That Friday afternoon there was still a decent amount of people there and we grabbed a high top table next to four other people and started a conversation by asking about the availability of grocery items in the area. We were told about a place called Sloan's about three miles away but I explained as to how we where only there by boat and wouldn't entertain a six mile round trip on foot. The explanation about being there by boat led to the rest of our story and where we were from. Three of the people there were visiting from Chicago and one fella let us know that they didn't like people from St. Louis. When will people just get over the fact that the Cubs suck and to not take it out on everyone from a town that consistently fields a winning baseball team?
  We laughed about that for a while and the St. Louisan hater volunteered his wife to take us to the store if the money was right. I told him we could make a deal and started the bidding at an amount in the neighborhood of twenty dollars. I said that we would only charge his wife $20 to allow her to drive us to the store, but we'd have to get a look at her first because she wasn't present. More laughs about that and we got along great after that. The ring leader of the group had moved into the area once he retired, and I asked from where, and learned that he was the owner of two micro breweries in Cinncinatti, having sold them to finance his current lifestyle of golf and boating. We discussed the beer business some until they all had to leave, only after we loaded them down with our cards that contain our blog information. They were considerate enough to not throw them away while we were watching.
  We finished our bucket and headed over to an anchorage referred to us by Billy the harbormaster and it was a beauty. By sunset a rollicking thunderstorm rolled in and we enjoyed the show. It was a severe weather alert but the real nasty stuff missed us on two sides. By midnight the show was over and we had a quiet night.

  We had made plans to meet some old friends of ours from our days on the Meramec River the next day. Sequoyah Landing seemed like a good place to meet them and they agreed. They had a three and a half hour drive from Salem, South Carolina and the route they took is on one of the most scenic roads in the east, highway 129, and a stretch of it is called The Dragon's Tail due to the number of turns and switchbacks. While they were on the way, we pulled up anchor and headed back over to the landing. The picture above was taken of Fort Loudon at the historic sight near Seqouyah Landing. If you look closely on the lower left, you'll see evidence of an early invention by the Indians. The name even sounds Indian, it's called a "Porta-Potti". Seriously, when funding is let loose by the State of Tennessee, the parks service is going to install walls around all four sides of the thing.
  Tom and Abby were right on time and they did us a great favor and made a run to Sloan's for some provisions we were lacking in. While they were gone, we met a guy at the dock in his houseboat and got a line on the local party cove. By the time Tom and Abby got back, the game was on!

  We have other friends who haven't seen Tom and Abby for years either, so I'm including this photo for them. I took the picture as we started our mission to reach the farthest navigable water for our boat on the Little Tennessee River. I was barely able to keep an eye on the chart plotter with all the laughing and joking going on. We picked up right where we had left off twenty-five years ago. Like Tom said, "Nothing changes".

  Those concrete things sticking up across the channel are the remnants of an old railroad trestle. This pretty much marked the spot for us to turn around, even the charts after this point don't offer much in the way of information. You can see the Smoky Mountains in the background in this picture. I cannot stress to you enough how beautiful the river is here.

  Our new friend Brian on the houseboat called us on the VHF radio to invite us to their raft up and they had a spot saved for us when we rolled in. We did as much damage that we could do in such a short time until we headed back over to the River Rock Bar and Grill while we still had a chance to get a parking spot.
  Brian had his spot reserved because he is a fixture at the place but we had to make do. A pontoon boat was taking up enough room for three boats at the gas dock when we showed up and I was able to offer him the chance to show his courtesy and scootch down some to let us in. He obliged and we took the place by storm.

  This is the last photo fit to show before things got, well, they got a little nuts. They had a great band playing and there was lots of dancing going on by those inclined to do such things. Holly and I mainly held court at the bar and told lies and stories to anyone who would listen. It was way past sunset when we all cashed our chips in. Tom and Abby had gotten a room somewhere down the road and we all said our goodbyes. We'll see them again when we make our way up the East coast and slip by South Carolina.
  We had gotten permission to stay at the gas dock that evening, but I didn't know it. We stayed anyway, but when we were finally able to roust ourselves awake by 8 A.M., I thought it best to move from the gas dock for the early morning boaters getting fuel.
  Brian brought his houseboat over to where we were anchored and we just sipped on some cold ones all afternoon, not really in any position to raise the bar from the previous day.
  By late afternoon, Brian returned to his slip at the Tellico Marina where he lives on his boat and Rosie made us a delicious dinner of sauteed shrimp and pasta. Sleep came early, in fact, sleep came during some T.V. watching and neither one of us had much control over it.
  We had a little mishap today on a cruise up the little Tellico River, but I'll save that for writing in the morning. Today my work is done.

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