Friday, December 11, 2015

One step closer

Today December 11, 2015 is my last work day. I am on leave til January 15, 2016. I will then become officially retired for the second and last time. To top it off I will receive my first social security check in March 2016. Forty-three years and Eight months in one profession and I am calling it quits.

Now the fun part is getting real. Plenty of time to work on our boat. October 2016 is fast approaching. We are so ready.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Robin has stated that I need to post stats for the trip.
Our boat is a 1986 42' Jefferson Sundeck.
Weight is 39,000 lbs.
Powered by twin 200 hp Perkins diesels.
Perkins Diesel engines are in many of the older Massey Ferguson tractors.
We left Fulton MS on Sunday 8-9-15
We traveled to Chattanooga, TN returning to Fulton, MS on 8-21-2015

Total miles traveled                  620

Total engine hours                      78

Total gallons of diesel              342

The above stats for our trip to Chattanooga are a great measuring tool for engine hours, miles traveled and total gallons of fuel consumed.

Diesel prices for this trip were as follows          

Midway Marina        Fulton, MS.        $ 2.99/gallon
Goose Pond Marina  Scottsboro, AL   $ 3.00/gallon
Ditto Landing          Huntsville, AL     $ 3.35/gallon  included a nights dockage, ($ 42.00 discount)

Friday, August 21, 2015


We are not only "home" in our home port of Fulton - we've also made our way to our land home!  Not much has changed since we left 12 days ago - but the grass is taller!!

We pulled into Mid Way Marina around lunchtime, topped off the fuel tanks and made the way to our slip.  So nice to see our boat neighbors - who are always willing to catch a line & assist us - many, many thanks Ron & Margaret!!

We grabbed a quick bite of lunch & started the off loading process - yes, we feel like we're moving every time, but it's so worth it!  Several trips to the car & we were headed to the brick & mortar home!

We pulled in the drive a little after 5:00 local time. Our dog, Dug was sleeping on the back porch & Charlie had to wake him!!  Apparently his time with the house sitters - who also own Dug's father & brother - was well-spent!!  There are not enough words to thank Michael & Claire for ALL they did for us the past 2 weeks!!  House sitting & dog sitting on top of their own responsibilities at their home was a lot to ask!!  They provided us peace of mind knowing that Dug was in good hands...and having his own family reunion!!  Thank you both - from the bottom of our hearts!!  You are precious to us!!

Once we unloaded the car, some friends called & we went to dinner - GREAT to see them too!! So we are finally home for the evening...

Tomorrow will be spent in the yard & the laundry room....and the phone store!  I received my replacement phone & installed the SIM card incorrectly (go figure) I have a phone...but it still isn't active.  Maybe this is a sign????

To all of you who have followed us on this maiden voyage...THANK YOU!!!!!  We have enjoyed our vacation more than you can imagine.  I hope by reading of our adventure it may spark you to step outside the "normal" & try something new and domestic!!  This fantastic country offers so much for our enjoyment pleasure & you don't have to journey far to find the unknown!! May blessings to you!!

PS - I'm trying to convince Charlie that some of you would like to know a few stats...engine hours, gallons/mile or gallons/hour, etc.  So there may be one more post (from him) in a few days.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

And we are at Bay Spring Lake in New Site MS!!  A 12 hour day with an average speed of 8.9 mph would make most people crazy but we've really had a great day.  The clouds rolled away for a little while this afternoon and that was a welcomed change of scenery!  There was more boat traffic than we expected but most were fishing - given the weather conditions, we understood that advantage!

To celebrate our (presumed) last night on the hook we grilled steaks, boiled corn (thanks Ralph!) & steamed Brussel Sprouts for dinner - again another delicious meal from the kitchen & bow of The Lower Place!!  One of the convenient parts of traveling by boat (or camper) is that every meal has the opportunity of being "home cooked" and every night you sleep in your "own bed".  Home is where your pillow is!!

Granted, the home cooked meal part takes a little planning but we mapped out our grocery needs, individually wrapped and froze what we could & loaded up the kitchen before we left our home port.  Much like you would if you were at home....imagine that?

Tomorrow we head to Fulton - we have 3 locks to maneuver and historically we've been allowed to just travel from lock to lock without waiting.  Prayers that tomorrow will follow history!! And once we get to Fulton - the real work starts!  Off loading the boat, packing the car, driving home, unloading the car...hmmm...much like coming home from vacation!!

It's been a wonderful 2 weeks and we will have additional posts tomorrow & for several days to come.

May God grant you a peaceful and restful night. Sweet Dreams!!

UPDATE:  Well, we past JP Coleman State Park around 2:00 central time. The wind is at our backs so The Lower Place is motoring across Pickwick Lake without much resistance - it's a little choppy but that's fine.  The sun is breaking through some remaining clouds - wearing sunglasses is a welcome change!!

I've been driving a couple hours so I'm on break for a little while. The mind starts wondering in different directions while spending time alone in the fly bridge and while our maiden voyage is not quite over, I've complied the Top Ten List of...

THINGS WE LEARNED ON OUR VOYAGE (in no particular order)

1. After 24 years and 11 months of marriage we still make a great team and continue to learn from one another

2. If you require glasses, contact lenses...or hearing aids...on land - chances are these items are still necessary on the water. Just sayin'

3. Six hundred and sixteen miles (round trip) on the water requires a plan - only to be changed without warning or your personal approval...Roll with it!

4. An AM/FM radio with a USB port is essential on the fly bridge

5. Cell phones don't float

6. Clouds and rain are weather - just like sunshine and heat - God, thank you for variety!

7. Marinas are great but not always required

8. A full make up routine is not a daily requirement - eyeliner, mascara and Rodan & Fields Lip Balm is mandatory!

9. Washing clothes is necessary but once a week is acceptable

10. A trusted and committed husband with an open mind and big heart - the love of your life - is the perfect beginning and end to any journey life may throw your way.

Happy Thursday Friends!!  My break is over....time to help the Captain navigate the boat traffic of Grand Harbor Marina on Pickwick lake!!
It's Thursday!!!! We were underway by 7:05 am  - headed to Wheeler lock. We locked through without delay and had the same experience at Wilson lock!!  Wa HOOOO!!  By 10:15 am we were headed to Florence then onto Pickwick. Yes, a VERY cloudy day & intermittent rain throughout the morning & early afternoon...but it's still a day on the water!!  SMILE!!  The Lord is in control - always!

The predicted "strong storms" weren't as bad as we expected.  In fact, we could have stayed at anchor without concern.  But it was nice to use an actual swimming pool at Joe Wheeler State Park!!  Yes!!  Between rain showers I was able to get in an actual swimming pool...chlorinated water, I could see the bottom, there were stairs & ladders, pool furniture, concrete surround. I swam laps & did a few other water exercises I remembered from days gone by!!!  So refreshing!!!  Thanks for the memories Corey & Martha!!  You would have been proud!!

And now, the pictures I promised yesterday....the northern edge of Alabama is full of God-kissed beauty and mankind has left his mark as well.  If you weren't sure where Meow Mix originated...Decatur AL is the answer.  And let me be clear - it's made fresh, on location! Whew!!  If I lived here, I'd make sure I was on the upside of the wind!!
Decatur AL - Home of  Meow Mix
 As we travel back to our home port it's important to know the green buoy should be on our right - but Charlie says it's OK to leave a little distance between us & the marker.  Hey, a girl needs to make sure she captures the details!!

As we were coming through Decatur AL the railroad bridge was down because a train was approaching.  We were far enough away to see the train crossing yet we were also slow enough that we didn't have to stop.  Once the train completed the crossing, the bridge master raised the tracks so we could pass through.  It's amazing how well everyone works together on the waterway - it's almost like common sense is appreciated and respected.

Some markers are fixed in the channel & provide an actual mileage notation.  Also, Osprey &/or Eagles find these particular markers a great location to set up residence.  Now that's asking a lot from a realtor - but location, location, location is the sign of a happy homeowner!!  This one had a nest on top but I was driving & snapping pics too - so  I didn't pan out far enough...sorry about that!

As we past Florence Harbor it felt strange to not pull in & stay awhile.  But Fulton is just "down river" - we made the trip in 13 hours once.  But today I think we will set our sights on the Bay Springs Lake area in New Site MS.  We are looking for a long day today, hoping to cover some significant distance.  The past 2 days we stopped early and that was nice but it's time to start looking to the finish line.

Of course, we always have a plan (so we have something to change later in the day) but right now we predict our arrival in Fulton sometime on Friday...of course, that's just "a plan".

Make your plan today and embrace the opportunity to change it - especially if it benefits someone else!  Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Wednesday, August 19

Still on our return trip home and today we've had ZERO rain during our travels!  We were approaching Joe Wheeler lock, heard some radio chatter & noticed a dark horizon (again). Charlie called the lock master and asked about the wait time. It wasn't going to be long so we were ok with that.  Then Charlie asked about the Wilson lock in Florence - you know the BIG MONSTER we encountered a 5 hour delay on the outbound journey?  The lock master responded with "Well they don't have power right now. We've been trying to call them on the phone but there is no answer - so we don't know when their power will be on."

Since we've been down this river before and based on the dark horizon... Charlie called Joe Wheeler State Park!!  Yep, they have room in the inn (slip).  So 56 miles after we started - we docked!  Joe Wheeler is where we anchored on the way to Chattanooga (in the dark) so it's nice to see it in daylight hours!

Nice place!! A hotel/lodge, cabins for rent, camp ground and who knows how many walking/hiking trails?!?  Again, if you're looking for a great get-a-way without jet lag - check out north Alabama and all the natural beauty it offers!!  Absolutely gorgeous!!

Just as we tied down & settled the boat...the rain started.  The good Lord is really looking out for us & we give all the glory to Him for our safety!!  The lady at the registration center said this area was predicting strong storms tonight - I'm thankful we are in a slip.

I have some GREAT pictures from our travels today Huntsville (Ditto Landing) to Rogersville (Joe Wheeler).  I just don't know how to get them from my iPad to the laptop - I'm so technology deficient and simply don't care enough to spend a lot of time learning about it...that's sad...  But maybe later this afternoon I will get my mind right & try.

So once again it was an easy but short travel day & we are doing well.  Honestly, trying to drag out this week as long as we can...good times!!  Be blessed in all you do & say!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Check this out...just as we arrived at the Guntersville Lock & I was fully prepared in my rain gear to work the lines...once again, the good Lord smiled down!!  The clouds parted & a glimpse of blue was revealed!!  Charlie caught the image quickly because we knew the sunshine would be short lived!!  By the way, once we were secured in the lock I HAD to come out of that jacket...the temp jumped!  Thank you Jesus - we needed a little break in the weather and Your timing, as always is perfect.

Check out the BLUE SKY!!!
Approaching Guntersville Lock.
Hello Ditto Landing in Huntsville AL!!!  We arrived in Huntsville around 2:00 with sunny skies and a VERY dark line on the horizon. Common sense told us to spend the night.  After topping off the fuel tanks, filling the water tanks and pumping the holding tank we moved to the transiet dock.  Since lunch was delayed, it was time to fire up the grill!!  Black & Blue burgers and steamed squash....YUM!!! Wonderful flavors and with lunch at 4:00...dinner will be light.

Just as the burgers were finished that dark line formerly on the horizon was right on top of us!  Thunder, lightening and hard rain came down and we were tucked safely in slip #6...again, big thanks to the good Lord.

Around 6:00 we headed out for a much needed walk - kind of steamy air after the rain - but the sun was peaking out again.  The marina has paved roads & sidewalks so the wet/muddy areas were easily avoided.  We also discovered a camp ground on the premises so if you're interested in seeing this area by highway....get in the camper & come on down!!

We are looking forward to another relaxing night and hope & pray all is well with family & friends at home.  Enjoy your Tuesday evening...Big Hugs!
Back on Track Tuesday...for the moment!!

Looking back on a great weekend!  See you later Chattanooga!
So here is a few pictures from yesterday's departure in Chattanooga.  Note the monochrome color between the sky & water, no, I'm not using a black & white filter looks exactly the same!!  Although today we have the weather variety of clouds, no rain, hard rain, wind...and then the cycle starts all over.  BUT - it's still a day on the water, I'll take it!

Surprising how Monday & Tuesday can look similar...SMILING!!!

For obvious reasons picture taking will be minimal as I can't stand the thought of dropping my iPad overboard...hey, it can happen!!

Our anchor spot yesterday was wonderful - quiet, isolated and protected, just what we were looking for!  A couple storms past through and only made us sleep a little deeper-it feels great to sleep so sound.  We were up a little after 5 waiting for daybreak (because we knew the sun wouldn't break through)!  By 7:15 the anchor was up and we were on our way.  As I type this we are crossing Guntersville Lake and approaching the lock in a little while.  I've been surprised by the fishermen (women) we've seen today - they mean business in Guntersville Lake!  This weather isn't my ideal fishing weather but they are probably thinking the same thing about us...ha ha!

We have discussed where to anchor tonight and adopted a wait-and-see approach based on the Guntersville Lock. We may get there & have a 3 hour wait OR he may tell us to roll right in!  Regardless, we are looking forward to another night on the hook.  All is well on The Lower Place!  Be Blessed!

Yes -it is Tuesday.  When we anchored on Monday we had no cell/Internet service. So this is a day late...hopefully today I will have time to figure out importing photos from my iPad and Charlie's phone.

Monday Monday Monday

Yep - it's "Return Trip Monday". We started our return trip today from lovely Chattanooga. We had a steady - hard rain the entire way to Nickajack Lock. But no thunder or lightening so we motored right through it.  At the lock we were delayed for barge traffic, so we dropped anchor (in the POURING rain) & had lunch.  Once we finished lunch, the rain lightened & I headed out on deck to check the lines & fenders...lo & behold the rain stopped!! I quietly prayed that the lock master would call & say "Come on down"!!  About 10 minutes later, the rain still interrupted, the good Lord answered my prayer!!  I heard "Nickajack Lock to The Lower Place, Channel 14"  Charlie answered & Mr. Lock Master said he was filling the lock & we could make our way to the Starboard side in about 10 minutes!!  YAY!!!  We locked through WITHOUT everything was soaking wet but that was fine with me!! I was out of the rain gear!!  Although I'm ever-so thankful to Frogg Togg and their rain suits - A MUST HAVE!!

Not long after we cleared the lock, the heavens opened again & that was alright with me.  We are safe & secure driving in the fly bridge or lower helm. We have radar & AIS to alert us of "large targets" (read: barges around the curve) in the event of low visibility. So other than a gloomy day, everything is moving right along.

We will find a place to anchor by late afternoon since we don't expect the weather conditions to improve - we want to be secured before nightfall.  The cloud cover is thick so darkness might come before sunset in our world.  Of course, whenever we anchor there is no promise for phone or internet coverage...just know that no news is good news and we are safe.

That's about all to report from The Lower Place this afternoon - we plan to be back in Fulton by Friday...but you know how a plan can work!!

Use today to start a positive habit - Monday's have a bad reputation - let's try to change that!
Be blessed!

Sunday, August 16, 2015

It's Sunday and the day is almost over!  We've had a fun-filled day with LOTS of walking/running & stairs, fun with friends and perfect weather!

The morning started off feeling a little strange with no church service to attend and missing our church family.  But I saw a sign about church services at the baseball stadium last night (AT&T Field). So I dressed for a morning run & headed UP the hill to check it out although I didn't have any idea of a time.  As I approached the top of the hill I heard a sermon being broadcast over the PA system. I slowed to a walk & stood around outside for a few was the end of the message.  But I'm glad I heard a portion.

I headed back out on a short route to get the day started.  Charlie was working on something electronic with the chart plotter & didn't mind one bit that I left him behind!  A mile & a half later I was back at the boat and he was gone!  I thought I saw someone who looked like him leaving the dock on the far end (on foot) but I didn't recognized the shorts.

We talked about going to the Flea Market later in the day - so I thought he'd be ok with that adventure...even though it was 15 blocks from the Visitors Center (2 miles from the boat - one way).  I thought I'd find him there...  Farmer's Market

That place is FANTASTIC!!  Who knew a flea market/farmers market would be bigger than a mall in some MS towns!!  If you ever come to Chattanooga - it's a must attend!!  Of course, I had no money with me & no car so the idea of making a purchase wasn't an option.  But I did keep looking for Charlie - a needle in a haystack. After 30+ minutes I gave up, refilled my water bottle & headed back to the boat.  The weather was perfect & traffic was not an issue so I took a different route back...all streets lead to the river!  I turned off my Garmin at 5 miles...I thought that was enough distance & the rest of the route was bonus!

I found Charlie at the boat!!  He did try to find me but didn't realize the farmers market was so far away so he figured I'd be back eventually...he was right, as usual!

Our friends from Hendersonville were not able to visit today so we had the afternoon to hang out & wait for our Starkville friends...they arrived!  We ate an early evening appetizer & headed out to the Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Stadium (on foot) to see GARRISON KEILLOR'S A PRAIRIE HOME COMPANION AMERICA THE BEAUTIFUL TOUR.  I had never heard of this person before but WOW - what a great, family friendly,  wholesome show...and 3 hours!!  Impressive!!  Thank you Andrew for the suggestion and the introduction to an entertainment option!  Good times!

Monday morning we will cast off to start our trip home. So I will continue to keep you updated of our adventure.  I will miss Chattanooga and all this wonderful city has to offer.  If you are ever in the area, take the time to stay downtown, park your car, wear some comfortable shoes & start exploring.  We always felt safe, citizens were helpful & so willing to share their local suggestions.  Sure you can log on to the official fun site and that's a great starting point, but talking to the locals is really where you get to know a town!

Thanks Chattanooga for a SUPER weekend - we will return!!

Saturday, August 15, 2015


Robin's phone is overboard!!!  We were heading to the outdoor concert in the dingy, I reached out to grab a cleat to tie up & felt my phone slip out of my pocket.  Since I only have 2 hands & planned to keep myself from falling face first into the concrete dock - the phone was sacrificed.  But hey, it was in a zip-lock if it washes ashore, it should still work!!

A new phone is scheduled for delivery on Monday the 17th to my billing address.  So - no phone for me!!  And that means no pictures for you! Unless I can figure out how to load Charlie pics & use them.  But I'm not sure I want to think that hard!

Still having fun even if I don't have a phone...Huck Finn didn't have a phone...just sayin'.
Yes - it is Saturday and in Chattanooga, this is a solemn day. Not far from our dock is the memorial service for the 5 service men murdered on American soil.  Our hearts are with their families and associates. My intention for this entire blog is to keep it upbeat, positive and FUN!!  With all due respect to the events of today - I will resume the "fun zone" in an effort to prove this is still the land of the free AND home of the brave.  We are blessed to live and play in this country and to all military and first responders and their families...THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart - I understand your sacrifices.

So this morning started off with a 2.4 mile swim down the Tennessee River!!!  No, I watched from the Starboard side of the boat.  Each swimmer had a spotter and according to one of the spotters this was a qualifying swim for an upcoming Ironman event.  The weather was cloudy & sprinkling rain.  My favorite kind of weather for running!

The boats you see are "spotters" - it's hard to see the swimmers - but they're there!
After the swimming thinned out and since we've lived on this boat for 7 days - it was time to do a little laundry.  That may sound routine to most but let's just say it took some planning.  First, we had to search "laundromats close to north shore, Chattanooga, TN" and we found one WITH a yelp review - who knew??  Great!!

Once we mapped out the walking directions, the clothes were sorted, loaded in a water resistant duffel bag along with detergent and a roll of quarters.  All that was loaded in the beach wagon and we were off to the 24 hour Coin Laundry facility 1.6 miles away. Did I mention it was sprinkling rain.
Here's the security gate from the dock side - it's secured with a 4 digit security code issued to us upon arrival.
This is the other side of the gate. Charlie is pulling the "laundry wagon" up the ramp.

I promised pics of the path from the boat to the river bank.
Here's the first flight of steps.
He carried the duffel & I toted the wagon UP STAIRS!
The green overhang is the bottom of the Veterans Bridge-heavy traffic today.
Whew! Finally made it to the ramp section - back & forth, back & forth
The glass bottom pedestrian bridge - dogs aren't big fans of this crossing.

FINALLY!  Made it to the foot bridge - this bridge is .50 miles long.
Note the wet surface - but it was just sprinkling rain...
Fun fact: It's true, this is a small world! Remember the super nice lady who offered to give us directions yesterday?  Well, who do we meet on the other side of the bridge this morning??  Yep and her name is Sarah!  She is a walking/talking tour guide of downtown Chattanooga and so very friendly!!  Great to see her again!

Shortly after the chance meeting with Sarah we arrived at the laundromat! It was not crowded so we got right to work.  A couple hours later, we stopped at Krystal's to use the facilities and I had my first-ever Krystal burger!  It wasn't bad, so now I can say I explored a "new taste"!
There were some really neat looking restaurants on our route but we weren't sure how welcomed we would be dragging in our loaded wagon of clean laundry - although the folks a Krystal didn't seem to mind at all, hmmm...

Upon returning to the boat, the dock is filling up!!  We now have 4 more neighbors & Jill (the dock manager) tells us 5 more boats will be coming in this afternoon.  After meeting everyone and making the decisions of who's boat need to be moved in which direction - everyone is settled and there's plenty of room for the others to pull in.  Of course we will help with the lines if necessary - that's what boat neighbors do!

We took the dingy out this afternoon to explore a little bit - fun, fun, fun.  There is suppose to be an open air concert tonight just down river from us.  We plan (& you know how that goes) to ride down in the dinghy and tie up to a public dock to enjoy the music.  Should be a blast!!  Here's a few pics from "dingy level" on the river.

The dingy (aka The Side Yard) ready for a short adventure!
Here's hoping your Saturday is fun, relaxing but productive and above all shared with someone you love.  Life is short, make the most of everyday and make sure those you love know it!!  God bless you family and this nation.
Dingy fun, fun, fun - even in the rain!

Friday, August 14, 2015

Our view from the fly bridge - you can see the rain effect on the river.
And the rains came...just as we returned from the store the black cloud we were watching opened up and we could smell that rain was on the way.  I cleaned the fly bridge & just started on the aft deck and BOOM!! thunder & lightening rolled in. Charlie was cleaning the Isinglass so mother nature rinsed the outside clean but we still have a few places to finish.  But the aft deck is covered so I continued with my to-do list.  The storm eventually past but the outdoor concert was cancelled & the ballgame (I heard) was delayed.  So I took advantage of the weather & read for a couple hours this afternoon - so nice!!

We offered the paddle boat folks some shelter but they were headed to the pier
Dinner time rolled around and the rain slowed to a sprinkle. While we have plenty of food on the boat and I'm a real fan of eating my own food, we ventured out.  Back across the foot bridge (.5 miles - 1 way) we went - exploring.  My only goal was to eat something locally owned...Taco-Nooga called our name!!  Well actually, it started raining harder & Taco-Nooga was directly across the street & they had empty tables!!

Highly recommended & the walk back is a bonus!
Really neat place, diner-like atmosphere, clean & locally owned.  Of course, they had...tacos but this place wasn't the usual "Mexican food"!!  Authentic, freshly cooked and super friendly folks...good deal!  Oh and price?  Less than $20 - yep, I can eat my own food next week.  We wanted to continue our exploration after dinner but saw another dark cloud approaching - back to the foot bridge we went.  Tomorrow I will wear my Garmin to track our mileage (quietly) and take a few pics of the journey to & from the is amazing.

One thing about a boating vacation - if you don't like to walk/work/move most of your waking'd better just rent a condo & drive.  We LOVE the constant challenge of having something to do in front of us.  We have different talents and abilities so together we can accomplish most of the tasks...if we can't, we know who to call!!  Have a super evening - praying for clear weather tomorrow!
Our first full day in Chattanooga has been...well, full!!  The morning started off easy & that was nice. We watched a rowing team at practice...and learned that Chattanooga hosts the biggest collegiate  rowing regatta in the world!  And why not with all this great water?!  I'm sure they ignored us since we were drinking coffee on the aft deck starting off slow. But after a breakfast of scrambled eggs & biscuits we were off and walking!

First point of the day was to find the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Auditorium. That's where we will be on Sunday night. What an adventure!!  First we searched the directions on the Internet, then we found the visitors center and spoke with a super nice guy named BoB - that how his name tag read.  Of course he encouraged us to use the free shuttle but it was nice weather, cooler temps and low humidity...why not walk 7 blocks (or miles as some folks thought)?!?!  We were fine...

We stopped at an intersection to check the phone & make sure we were on the right track. Charlie's phone was tracking us from Birmingham AL...walking!  We cracked up.  Just then a lady got out of her car & offered to help us with directions.  She was super friendly, with a We chatted about the various areas & fun things to do. She shared about her love for paddle boarding and we told her where we were docked, so she might float by later.  We thanked her for her kindness & parted ways.  I commented about her well-toned arms and Charlie responded, "She had arms?"  By the way, we did find the auditorium - in case you were wondering.

Never let it be said that Chattanooga doesn't have HILLS!! We have worked out today!  After our morning foot tour we headed back to the boat for lunch. The weather was still cloudy so we ventured off to the grocery store with the ice chest and beach wagon in tow.  Well, we were headed to Publix about a mile away but within a 3/4 of a mile we spied Chumies Ice Cream and directly across the street was Walgreen's...jackpot!  We stopped for a scoop (or two) and I must admit (not being a fan of ice cream) the Strawberry Balsamic was tasty and Charlie found a new favorite of Coffee Toffee.  Since we really only needed bread, water & ice Walgreen's was an acceptable stop.  Now pulling the wagon BACK across the footbridge with 20 lbs of ice and a case of water was a different experience. But we made it and ever so thankful for the ramp options the city offers - I'm aware the ramps aren't there for wagon pulling boat dwellers, but it does help!

Yes, I promised more pictures...but since I'm not married to my phone and we discovered Charlie's camera requires a cord to download to the computer...and the cord is at home...there are no pics for this post either.  So sorry, I promise I'm trying to do better...but hey, this is vacation!

Tonight we may go a local minor league baseball game - box seats for $10! I will have my phone then.  Until next more, complain less & do something nice for someone when they aren't looking!!!  Be blessed!

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Hello Chattanooga!!
Nice Condos greeted us from the waterway...Honey I'm Home!!

We arrived around 6:30 (central) to a bunch of paddle boarders circling the city dock. They were real nice & stayed out of our way while docking - brilliant move on their part.  Charlie did an AWESOME job docking the boat!! We were in quite a current with the wind behind us.  He parallel parked the boat on the port side! That's a HUGE deal!!!  Especially since I jumped from the boat to the dock to tie it off!  Good times!!

Once we secured the boat & connected to shore power, we headed off to explore before dark.  Cool thing about this City of Chattanooga Dock is we are the only boat and we are behind locked gates (code access only).  We started walking (uphill) and discovered a great pedestrian friendly downtown area.  Lots of dog-walkers, joggers, folks with kids...nice area.   But since we are in the Eastern time zone we headed back to the boat to avoid dark.  We do feel secure and looking forward to hanging out for a few days.

The Lower Place looks so lonely on the City Dock
Our view from the foot bridge-awesome!

Hello Thursday!  The day started early - cast off at 7:15 am however I would like to visit Goose Pond Colony Marina again!  I get the feeling there is plenty of running/walking trails around that piece of property and plenty of live aboards to meet!

I started off driving for a couple hours this morning and it was CHILLY!!  Sixty degrees when we left the marina and factor in the wind...brrrrr!!  Who would have guessed?!?!  But by lunchtime it felt like August again. Around mid morning I retired to the cabin & started arranging and cleaning!

 We've been on this boat since Sunday afternoon & everyday I think "I might get to that today"...well "today" finally arrived.  I had a mental list of things I wanted to get done "before the trip" and the list kept growing but time didn't stand still & finally it evolved into "I will get that done before Chattanooga"!!  So without boring you with the OCD details I'm known for (like having the spices in alphbetical order) let me just report - the list is complete!!!  And it was completed prior to the Nick a Jack lock so I missed about 3 hours of photo ops, sorry!  I did take a few with Charlie's camera so I will load those for the next post.

We had ZERO wait at Nick a Jack lock & the only boat going through...NICE!!! We will be in Chattanooga by 5:00 (central) pending no complications.  YAY!!!  The views from the river since we locked through are simply georgous and I can only imagine the God-kissed beauty by late Sept early Oct!  It's like a tree covered canyon on both sides of the water...creation - it's real!

We are looking forward to our stay in Chattanooga AND looking forward to seeing old friends while we are there!  Long-time friends from Hendersonville NC are planning to drive over on Sunday for a visit & tour.  Then Sunday night we have plans to meet a couple from our hometown who are driving up for dinner and a show - we will join them.  Such fun on the horizon and such joy in our hearts!
There is no doubt we are blessed every single day we open our eyes.  Being able to share this adventure together in good health & clear minds is something neither one of us takes for granted.  We enjoy every moment and give God the glory for our blessings!!  May you have a fabulous rest of your day!

PS - Some are asking about stats for fuel mileage/usage etc.  I will have those numbers for your viewing pleasure on a single post later.  In case the cool kids aren't interested!!  Smile!!

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Guntersville Lake has lived up to its reputation!  Beautiful crossing, stately homes and a GREAT place to tie up for the evening.  Goose Pond Colony Marina is top notch!!  Navigating into the marina was a little challenging due to what I've named "Kudzu on the water".  There is some type of grass growing so thick it looks like a floating mat of grass.  Great for the fish but could be problematic for water vessels.  However the Marina is SUPER!!

This guy was fishing from his paddle boat in the channel!
Note the thick Lilly pads & grass.
Upon our expected arrival J P  was waiting for us at the fuel dock - once we topped off the tanks, we pumped out the holding tank and filled up the water tanks...all in one stop!  Then we moved the boat to the transient dock and once again, J P was there to catch our lines & make sure we were secure.  The was quite a cross wind that kicked up as we approached the fuel dock but Captain Charlie had everything under control which is great for this deck hand!!  I was hoping from Port to Starboard at the various docks, not knowing to which side we would be tied.  It was a positive experience all around...YAY!!

Our friend Larry lives in Guntersville and he met us at the marina!  We walked to The Docks restaurant and had a wonderful meal.  Since we all ordered something different (steak, shrimp & grits and gumbo) I can honestly say EVERYTHING on the menu is super!  Clean plates was a testament to the quality of food.

It feels good to be settled early tonight. The weather is very noce - low humidity & expecting lows tonight in the low/mid 60's!! We'll take it!  Have a super pleasant evening and a Great Thursday!  Pending no delays...we should be in Chattanooga tomorrow - we are approx 75 miles away!! Sweet dreams!
Guntersville AL Lock
Hello Guntersville Lake, AL!!!  We made it!!  Locking through around 2:25pm means we have several hours of daylight left to find a suitable anchorage for the evening...before nightfall!!  Imagine that??

The day started early and I might say a LOT less humid - perfect weather.  The afternoon heat has increased but that's to be expected...August 12th in Alabama,

Today has been so much more productive than yesterday but I still won't say we've had a bad day...this trip has been phenomenal thus far.  I have faith we will continue with optimistic attitudes and God's blessing.

The route from Joe Wheeler to Guntersville provide a variety of sights of both creation & man made.  Here's a few:

The Kennedy Barge from Tuesday!
Yeah, we past them at 12 mph

I will call on His name for every mountain I can't climb...

Jet skiers enjoying our wake - she was screaming & waving! Too funny!
Thank you to those who've called (or tried), texted or emailed!!  We appreciate your support & words of encouragement - or questions of our sanity!! We continue to be blessed and encouraged by The One who truly has provided this adventure!  Please keep the prayers coming...
Anchor down at 10:50 pm somewhere across the channel from Joe Wheeler State Park.  Secured the boat, cool showers & much needed rest.  Nope, didn't see the heavenly showers, I was disappointed in myself for not trying harder to stay awake but it was a long day of short distance (26 miles).

I wish I could report how beautiful the anchorage was at sunrise or how convenient the State Park was to reach with the dinghy...but no.  My wonderful husband woke at 5:00 & quietly went about the business of starting his day.  At some point just as daylight was waking me, he was pulling up anchor & we were under way at 6:20 am.  Yep, I slept in until the crack of 7:00 am!!  He's so precious!!  So no pictures of the evening spot but I can confidently report we are headed due EAST!!  Wow, the sun is SHINING!!  Thank you Jesus!

According to Chart Master Charlie we have a full day of driving with NO locks until Guntersville AL (72 miles).  So there is a real opportunity that we will complete our travel plan of TUESDAY today!!  Not too bad...

May you seize every opportunity to quietly do something nice for someone today...have a great Wednesday. Be blessed

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Heading into Wilson Lock-we are alone, YAY!
Today is still Tuesday August 11 - the day that will NEVER end!  Guess what?! It's 9:00 local time and we are tied to a lock wall - no kidding!!  We made it through Wilson lock 5 hours after we tied up...apparently we changed time zones or something.

At the TOP of Wilson Lock - depth finder reads 123'
We can see Wilson Lake on the other side of the gate.
Then we motored on to Joe Wheeler lock (the other side of Wilson Lake)!  What a beautiful crossing - the homes, docks, cooler temps & breeze made it so pleasant.  What we didn't expect was another 2-3 hour delay at Wheeler lock.

We did get permission from the lock master to fire up the grill & cook dinner while we waited. So grilled chicken & roasted new potatoes were on the menu for tonight paired with Starkville Sour Dough Bread (YUM - you must try it!) - no salad tonight since we've snacked on fresh fruit all day!  Either we were hungry or it was exceptionally tasty - either way, delicious!

And we continue to wait.  We really hope to get through this lock tonight - I REALLY don't want to start Wednesday "waiting on the wall".  Plus, the lights are so bright (think BUGS) and we planned to anchor out so we had a better chance to see the star show from heaven tonight.  Come on lock master - we have a plan! LOL!!

We are completely safe and our boat is fully equipped to travel after dark safely. While we both would love a cool shower & unwind from our day of "waiting" it is not meant to be just yet.  But it is just a few hours until yes, this day will end eventually.

YAY!! Lock Master  just radioed....he will have the lock ready in 15 minutes...gotta go!!  Thank you Jesus for safe travels & good nights!!
Tuesday August 11 - Rules of a responsible boater...

1.  ALWAYS have a plan. A plan is necessary. A plan is essential. A plan is the mark of a true Captain.

2. Prepare to have you plan changed/cancelled at the discretion of particular those wearing official uniforms and with bar lights on their vessels.

Upon waking we discovered TVA scheduled today to pull lines across the river and the bridge near the Harbor is still under maintenance.  Double delay...for our own safety, of course!

But we have made the best of it. I spent the morning preparing lunch (hoping to eat while underway). Also trotted off on my "fun run" trying a few new stops.  At every park bench, I spent 1 minute doing step-up, lunges, squats or push ups.  Each bench was a new exercise and the running between benches kept my heart rate up...THANKS Cleo for a GREAT idea!!!  I was pretty much alone in my adventure although several "on duty" folks were just shaking their heads...I'm sure they were jealous they couldn't join me.  I was soaking wet upon my return to the boat but feeling super!  Yes, it's hot in Florence AL.

We spoke with TVA and local police about the possibility is getting away today & both felt certain that when each authority took their lunch break we could leave.  YAY!! Enough time to wash a load of laundry...this is the life!

Wilson Lock - it's a MONSTER!
So at 12:20 we left the Marina & headed toward Wilson lock (about 15 minutes) and got in line to lock through.  Those who are unsure what that last sentence really's like waiting for an elevator to move you to a higher/lower elevation. Pleasure boats (like us) have the last priority of locking through.  YEP, it's a work week and there is a barge waiting as well. As I type this we are tied to the lock wall with an expected wait time of 3 hours. And for those who are thinking "Why didn't they call the lock before they left the marina?"  We did - you have to be tied to the wall to get you place in line.  We are #2!!  Life is good...glad we had a plan!

The Kennedy Barge - yes sir, you may go through first.
So with today's alternate/delayed travel plan we will probably spend tonight anchored out somewhere between Wilson Lock & Guntersville (that's a long distance) & motor on tomorrow. We will still be in Chattanooga by the weekend - because that's part of the "plan" - but if you know us at all...the journey is always better than the destination!  Isn't that true in life as well?

The moral of the story is to be prepared & be prepared to adjust.  We have all our provisions so what's a little time on the wall?  Hmmm...maybe wall sits?  You know who you are and you LOVE 'em!!

Have a super Tuesday & may your afternoon be "waiting wall free".  Be blessed!

Tied to the wall - cozy!

Monday, August 10, 2015

Feels like HOME!  We made it to Florence Harbor Marina & tied up approx 4:40pm.  It was so nice to see a familiar marina and surroundings.  Shortly after we were settled, Charlie's brother & sister-in-law pulled in from Lexington TN!  What a welcomed surprise and familiar faces!  We had a wonderful dinner with them & an even better visit.  We so appreciate their effort to meet us in is cool!

Speaking of cool...according to the most recent forecast, we are looking at lows in the "low 60's" in Chattanooga the later part of this week.  Ummmm, it is August, right?  We'll see what the future holds.

I didn't get many pictures this afternoon, after the clouds moved out, the sun was shining brightly & I was crossing Pickwick Lake deep in thought about God's creation. One pressing question is: How can the waves keep rolling when the wind stops blowing?!?!  There was no breeze! I even ventured off course a few times to catch a little wind....nothing, nadda, zip.  Interesting thought for a 5 hour crossing.  Do you have any ideas?  Would love to hear them.

Tomorrow we head further on our adventure - planning to make it to Guntersville AL.  According to a few charts we are looking at 100+ miles.  Not a bad distance but we have a couple locks to navigate - our schedule will have to sync with the lock master.  Should be an interesting day...

I plan to start my day with a fun run around my old route. We had the boat here from January to June & I had the best time running in this area.  It was a great starting point after foot surgery in November. Looking forward to a Terrific Tuesday!!

Rest well friends...zzzzzzz.

Lunch time!  Ok - so much for "excessive heat" in our world. We pulled up anchor & headed out around 7:00 AM in overcast/cloudy conditions...equals lower temps!  A couple hours later we saw pretty green & yellow indicators on the radar but ONLY experienced brief rain - nothing severe...thank you Jesus!

Around 12:00 noon we officially entered the Tennessee River!  We're about 40 miles from Florence and at the lightening speed of 9.0 mph we should be there by 5:00...quitting time!  Yes, today will be a long riding/driving day but with the weather conditions it's not bad at all. And remember this...a rainy day on the river is still a day on the river!

Robin? Yes, trying to figure out what to do with my time has been a challenge.  I've been doing a lot of driving while Charlie has been checking various systems (engine temps, radio signal, TV signal, etc.) so Pandora has kept me company - Thanks Mandisa, Building 429, Casting Crowns, Jeremy Camp!!!  The whole crew has been great!  When we switch drivers I've found various ways to get in a little cardio without running & doing some strength training...all fantastic ideas from super trainers - you know who you are!!  If I can figure out how to remove the captain's chairs on the Fly Bridge I could spend a lot of time doing squats, leg lifts, calf get the idea.  But I doubt that project will EVER happen! There's just a lot of energy I'm not sure what to do with - time will eventually work all this out.
This would be a GREAT climbing challenge!

And I still don't know how my phone pictures end up linking to the lap top - but then again I don't understand how a 39,000 lb. boat keeps me above the water either, so I just roll with it!

Here's a little smile from heaven just before we pulled up anchor...hope your Monday continues to be blessed!

Sunday Evening Sunset

Don's ask me how I loaded this - it just happens, so I let it! But I'm relieved to know sharing pics does not require my brain power!  Yep - it's a MONDAY morning but I'm not so stressed about it, my prayer is that your Monday is fill with positive opportunities!

We had a peaceful night on the hook and this morning we hear there is a heat warning issued for our area of the state...well, it is August!

Today we will check everything mechanical and after breakfast head toward J's Landing in Muscle Shoals AL. That's our original stomping ground with The Lower Place,  Great folks in the Muscle Shoals/Florence area - hope we get to see a few people.

And because it's easy to get a picture of a sunset - here's a "Welcome to Monday" shot of today's sunrise...just in case you missed it.

Monday August 10, 2015

Sunday, August 9, 2015

It's been a fast & furious weekend but we are officially underway to Chattnooga!  After a hard-working day at home on Saturday and a wonderful church service Sunday morning we loaded the car & headed to the boat at 1:00.  It was perhaps the hottest day of the summer so far & we hauled our "stuff" to the boat, iced the bottled water, gatorade & colas, checked the engine fluids & cast off at 4:00 (local time) from Fulton MS!  Whew...

Our goal was to anchor somewhere "close to Bay Springs Lake".  Three locks & 4 hours later, we dropped anchor just before sunset in Bay Spring Lake across the channel from the Marina! YAY!!!

This will be a short post tonight - it's been a long day but we are doing well. I have some great pictures but can't seem to upload them from my phone. But at least we have internet & phone service...thanks Verizon!! No issues with the boat thus far.  And we look forward to tomorrow & sharing our adventure with you. God Bless!

Sunday, July 19, 2015

As we prepare for our upcoming trip to Chattanooga, a new dingy was in the plan.  Saturday was "test drive" day & Dug thought it was GREAT!  We are looking forward to our adventure...22 days and counting.

Stay tuned...

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Photo of our future home for a year or longer

This is our 1986 Jefferson 42' Sundeck
    and future home as we begin our Loop in fall of 2016,

Saturday, June 20, 2015

We are planning our trip to Chattanooga
And practicing the blogging
Trip planning is easy not sure of the blogging