Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Tennessee, Little Tennessee & Tellico Rivers

We finally made our trip up the Tennessee river to Knoxville and took in the Little Tennessee and Tellico rivers as well.

My nephew Andrew and his girlfriend Holly came to Chattanooga to travel with us to Sale Creek in Chickamauga Lake.

Downtown Chattanooga was having a rowing regatta while we were there and we watched as all of the various kayaks and canoes passed us.
After we departed the docks in Chattanooga we went through Chickamauga Lock and entered Chickamauga Lake. We anchored in Sale Creek and enjoyed our time swimming and touring the area in the dinghy.Even though we carry sufficient water, there is just something about taking a bath in the lake.
We had worked out with a friend in Chattanooga to shuttle Andrew's car to Sale Creek so that we did not have to backtrack. This was a great plan and we were able to drop Andrew and Holly off.

We remained at Sale Creek and waited for friends Bo and Carmen on "Old Grumpy" to join us. They came in and rafted to us and we enjoyed our evening there.

We departed Sale Creek and headed up to Watts Bar lake and anchored again. This time we toured the area in our dinghys. When we tried to leave, I pulled the anchor and found that we had hooked a tree. This can be a very difficult situation but it turns out that the chain had just dragged under the branches and the tree fell away from the anchor.

We headed on up the river and stopped at Blue Springs marina in order to get a belt for Old Grumpy's generator. We found one that fit, made the repair and had a good pizza at a new local restaurant.

The next day we planned to meet up with two boats that were traveling the river ahead of us. RoyEl and Colonel's Lady were coming back down river and we made a plan to meet at Little Paint Rock Creek. We arrived first and dropped our anchor and rafted Old Grumpy to us. Later on RoyEl and Colonel's Lady came in. They were originally planning to raft to us as well but the wind had increased and we did not feel comfortable with 4 boats on our one anchor so they anchored separately and came over by dinghy.

We had orginally met Colonel's Lady while we were in Jacksonville. They came into the marina with an engine down and we took them into town to get supplies and then had dinner at Cracker Barrel. It was good to catch up with them again. We met RoyEl at the Great Loop Cruisers Association rendezvous last year. They are attending again this year and were cruising the river ahead of the rendezvous.

The next day we headed toward Ft. Loudoun Lock. On the way we saw an eagle that was eating a fish on the edge of the river.

At one of our anchorages, Stacy had Carmen, a former hairdresser, cut her hair and then we swam in the cool water.

We went into Ft. Loudon marina to watch the Georgia/Alabama football game and became thoroughly depressed with its outcome. Otherwise, the marina was good and we had a good meal at Calhoun's restaurant. On our way there we passed a large building that we found out is a new facility for Christiansen Yachts to build mega yachts. Reportedly, the facility is being built specifically to build Tiger Woods' new yacht. It will be interesting to see how this progresses.

We traveled on up to Knoxville and spent a couple of nights on the free docks downtown. We had gone as far as practicably possible on the navigable waters of the Tennessee River.

We specifically chose a time to arrive in Knoxville when there was not a University of Tennessee home ball game. We came to find out that the "Volunteer Navy" sets up a week in advance and one person came by to ask when we would be leaving as they needed to move a 110 foot houseboat onto the docks for the game the next week. Since we were leaving the next morning, they were happy.

There is real beauty along the river and it is obvious that the construction of the dams and locks flooded entire farms and lands. The best signs of this are the various silos visible above the water.

There is a great deal of development on the rivers and there are some unbelievable homes built along the river. One that was of specific interest to us was a house that was nestled in between two large rock bluffs.

After departing Knoxville, we headed back down the river to the Little Tennessee river at Ft. Loudoun Dam. We headed up the Little Tennessee and stopped at the Sequoyah Birthplace Museum. They have a free dock there and we rafted our two boats to the dock. The museum traces the history of the Cherokee and specifically of Sequoyah, who created a written version of the Cherokee lanquage.

While at the dock we took the dinghy over to the recreated Ft. Loudoun. This was a British outpost that was only used for about 4 years. The site has been studied and the buildings rebuilt. They have re-enactments here throughout the year. The views from the Little Tennessee are wonderful with the Applachian range as a backdrop.After leaving the museum dock we went just a few miles to visit with some friends Ken and Brenda Bloomfield. We met Ken and Brenda at Goose Pond marina when they were traveling through. We rafted our boats to the end of their dock and visited with them for a couple of days.

While there we took a trip on their boat up the Little Tennessee as far as you could go (about 30 miles) in a boat our size.

After we had breakfast on Old Grumpy, they left us to head back down river. They needed to be back at Goose Pond before we did so they made a bee line back.

On our way back we took all of the shortcuts that were marked. The last one was a bit tight and I wouldn't recommend it as it only saves a couple of miles but you are going so much slower that you really don't save much time.

We anchored again at Little Cedar Mountain before making our last day run back to Goose Pond and were greeted by a flock of turkeys that flew by us from one side of the cove to the other. The next morning they all flew back.

The trees are starting to change color and Stacy saw a good photo op when we had some dark clouds form a background for sunlit trees in our anchorage. The Tennessee river is just beautiful this time of year.

We will be headed to Joe Wheeler State Park next week for the Great Loop Cruisers Association rendezvous. We should enjoy more of the color change in that trip.