Wednesday, October 24, 2007

AGLCA Rendezvous at Joe Wheeler St. Park

After arriving back from Athens, we prepared for the AGLCA (America's Great Loop Cruisers Association) Rendezvous. Boats started arriving early and we helped get everyone into slips and settled. We got to meet new-to-us cruisers and, of course, worked on boats and dock cabling.

Bill and Birute on B&B stopped in for a couple of days prior to the rendezvous and we took them into town for provisioning. On our way we drove past a cotton field and, since they had never seen cotton growing, we stopped to discuss how cotton was grown and processed.

Everyone gathered in the evening on the docks where we shared stories and solved world problems.

By the weekend before the rendezvous all of the boats had arrived. We had 76 boats there plus others that drove to the rendezvous and stayed in the lodge. By rafting boats on the docks we were able to get all of the boats access to the docks without having to anchor out and dinghy in.

We met in the lodge for seminars with writers of the most popular cruising guides discussing the trip ahead on the loop. Meals were provided and offered an opportunity to get to know others. We were encouraged that there was a couple there that was making their last long cruise while in their 80's.

In the afternoons we had "Looper Crawls" where we held open house on our boats for others to come aboard and see different boats. We also had organized "events". We competed with Jim and Joan in the dinghy race. We had to have two person teams where the helmsman was blindfolded and the dinghy had to be run in reverse. If you have never tried to run an inflatable dinghy in reverse it is rather difficult even when you can see. It is particularly difficult when you are just receiving instructions from the navigator. I worked with Jim and Stacy with Joan as this is something you would never do as a couple.

After the rendezvous ended we headed towards our new home marina at Goose Pond Colony in Scottsboro, Alabama. Along the way we stopped to check out particular anchorages and B&B joined us the first night. We explored the area by dinghy and they departed the next day to start their journey south.

At our second anchorage we were joined by friends Jim and Joan on "Christine" and Pat and Pat on "Salty Dawg". They came in and rafted to either side of us and we had dinner together on our aft deck. We had my Grandmother's pound cake that is now famous all the way up the easternUS and throughout eastern Canada. They departed the next morning for Chattanooga and we said our goodbyes hoping to meet up with them again as they returned back down the river.

After their departure, we headed out for our new home port. Along the way we enjoyed the scenery along the river. We have been told that it only gets better the further we go up river. It was interesting coming in to a new marina where we will be staying for some time. I immediately made some repairs to our cable connection so we could get the ball games. We have already made a trip into town to explore and started meeting others on the docks.

This weekend we will have our first of what we hope will be many guests here in my brother Scott's family. We look forward to taking them out on the boat and showing them some of our new home territory.