Tuesday, August 7, 2012
Joe Wheeler Reservoir to Wilson Lake
We had a long day yesterday, starting out at 8 A.M. and traveling the whole length of the Joe Wheeler Reservoir. In our opinion, it's the least scenic of all the lakes along the Tennessee River. There is lots of industry, meaning smokestacks and power lines galore.
One interesting thing was that we hadn't seen any towboats traversing the river for days or weeks, but when we came up on the stern of one of them yesterday, it was the first time we had done that in over a month for sure. I called them on the VHF and told the captain how fast we were going and if we could pass him, if so, on which side? He said it didn't matter to him, that we could pick one. He was making a wide left turn on a bend, so we took the "two whistle" and passed him on his port side. We just got to his bow and here come another tow upriver, so we had to bump up our speed to get over and out of their way. First time we did that in three months. The captain of the upbound tow stepped out of his pilot house with a pair of binoculars and waved as we went by. Must be lonely out here on the river.
When we got to Decatur, Alabama, we called the railroad lift bridge there and asked for passage. The lift bridge operator said the call for us had already come in. It seems that the tow boat we had passed was nice enough to call the bridge and tell him that we were about four miles ahead of him and we'd get there before he did. We didn't even break stride and the bridge began to lift. It's amazing what a bikini on the flybridge can do. Maybe we'll both start wearing them.
General Joe Wheeler State Park and Lodge is just a few miles from the dam and that's where we found ourselves by 5 P.M. We parked at the transient slips and after some nice hot showers we went up to the restaurant for dinner.
Not many people were around on a Monday, but this is a big stop for the Loopers in October, I think. I can see why; they have lots of transient slips and lodge rooms for the overflow.
We had a nice dinner and then we took Holly for a rare walk all the way down past the last set of docks in the marina. By the time we got back, she was tired and so were we. We pulled Swing Set out of the slip and headed for the back of the cove to a very quiet spot and set a hook. There wasn't any T.V. reception to speak of, so we watch a Netflix movie since the Internet service was passable.
In the morning we had Cheerios with fresh peaches that we got from our friends in Huntsville, David and Jeanie. Thanks again! Then it was time for a haircut for Holly. She gets better behaved with each haircut, but trimming her nails is an ordeal. If she could spell ASPCA, she just might call them one of these times. Pictures are forthcoming.
We lounged around reading and playing in the water until mid-afternoon and then we headed for the lock. After a call, we learned that nothing was going on there so we were signaled in as we approached the chamber. We weren't sure if we were going to lock through at Wilson Lock or not, but we found a secluded little anchorage in sight of the lock.
The only structures in this little cove is a pavilion, part of Camp David. The two signs on each side of the property prove it. We didn't see a summit, or any world leaders, so we dropped the hook and swam around some.
On the other side of the cove, the ground is covered with the bane of the south, Kudzu weed. There is evidence of some great structure here, but you can't tell what it was do to the weed growth. Rosie said that she didn't think those weeds were doing the trees any good. This is so.
The generator is cranking and the air conditioning is pumping its guts out, and Rosie is making something good to eat. This will be a good place to spend the night if a storm doesn't pop up because there isn't enough room to put out much scope. It's still a good anchorage we didn't expect to find, which makes it all the much better.
There is one drawback, however. This lake is lined with homes from bank to bank and we stumbled upon one of the few mildly secluded spots on the whole 16 linear miles of this waterway. Even though we didn't know about it, the locals do. One ski boat came in with six or seven younger people and they all seemed to be pretty close friends as they all share the one cigarette they had. Another lone person came in on a PWC and went way back to the end of the cove and sat there for quite some time, maybe in prayer since Camp David is in the vicinity. None of these things bother us unless we are in the way for some other activities later that we may not want to be part of. Might make for a good story next time.