Thursday, October 15, 2009

Cumberland River 10/1 - 10/14

We went above Nashville for a few days after the currents had subsided a bit and anchored in Drake's Creek.  We noticed activity on the other side and found out that there was a "Camp" being set up at the house of Daniel Smith, the oldest stone house in Tennessee.  We dinghied over the next morning and found out that there was a large group of "reinactors" camped there in period gear and attire.  We saw many displays of period work including musket ball making over a wood fire and lace work that we hadn't seen since our visit to Belgium. 

We headed in to Blackjack Cove Marina for one night to pick up our friends Bill & Gail Stuenkel and Chuck and Chris Hewitson from Gig Harbor and Vancouver Washington.  They will be traveling for 8 days down to Kentucky Dam Marina.

The people we met on the houseboat at Nashville had offered their car for us to go to the airport to pick them up.  Some of the finest people you care to meet live along this river. 

We celebrated their arrival and the reconnection we felt by seeing them again.  We first met them on our "Loop" trip and the three boats traveled together for a few months.

Stacy had Chris driving almost immediately and we headed downstream back to Nashville.  They had visited Nashville by car during the loop and were interested in seeing the city again so we docked at the downtown docks and walked into town. 

They had visited the Wild Horse Saloon on their previous visit so we headed there after hearing some local talent in some of the other honky-tonks.  Chuck and Chris tried learning a new line dance while those of us with no rhythm just watched.

We left Nashville and headed down to the Riverview restaurant for lunch and then to Harpeth River to anchor for the night.  The Harpeth River anchorage is probably the prettiest anchorage on this part of the Cumberland river.  Everyone independently explored the river by dinghy while others just relaxed.

On the way there we passed a waterfall that was not there on our way up.  This just shows how much rain had fallen in the area while we were upstream.

From Harpeth River we headed back to Clarksville and spend one night there in the rain.  We still got out and explored the town.  After Clarksville we anchored at Dover Island and the four of them dinghied to town and to Fort Donelson.  We had once again escaped the heaviest of the rain but we could see the effects of it in the change of water color and current. 

To pass the time in the evenings or rain or just to do it, we played Mexican Train dominoes.  Bill thought it a "stupid game" since he didn't win but it is a good way to spend an evening with friends.

Our next stop was Lake Barkley State Park where we once again docked in front of the lodge.  Chuck had been wanting to fish so we picked up lures at the marina and he fished from the dock.  He caught one small Largemouth Bass.  Notice the water color in the photo.

Since they all like to hike, we sent them on the trail to the beach area.  On the return we noticed that Chuck had only one pant leg.  We soon found out why.  They had found a quantity of geodes along the shore and had no bag to carry them so Chuck zipped off his pant leg and made a bag.  Lake Barkley State Park is a good stop.

We had a surprise in store for everyone after Lake Barkley State Park.  We headed back to Kuttawa where we sent everyone to the local museum for local history.  Stacy and I had visited the museum on the way up and made arrangements for them to open on a Monday for our guests.  We had met some local people on our trip up and they had asked us to stop back in on our way back down river and we would have a fish fry.  We told Bill, Gail, Chuck & Chris that we were taking them to a special place for dinner that night and that "no, they could not pay for it".  They were quite surprised when we walked up to the park pavilion and everyone was there to greet us.  We had fish, spaghetti, slaw, chili dogs, beans, corn pudding, and unbelievable desserts. 

The girls walked up to town and looked at houses.  Stacy picked one out that she likes.  As Chuck said, the houses and setting made him think we were on some movie set.  The setting was just that but it was the people that made it such a great stop.  We could not have met any more hospitable and gracious people than we met at Kuttawa. 

Along the way we once again saw our rare white pelicans.  Only this time there were quite a few more.  I have not seen pelicans fly as a flock and did not realize that they flew in formation similar to ducks and geese.

After a great evening in Kuttawa we headed for our final stop at Kentucky Dam Marina.  One of the early highlights of their loop trip was a stop at Green Turtle Bay and dinner at Patti's 1880.  We got the courtesy car from the marina and drove over to Patti's for a late lunch/early dinner.  We all had the same thing we had before - 2" pork chops (a specialty of Patti's) and it was just as good as we remembered.

Later that evening Bill prepared Margaritas to evoke memories of time together in Cabo and the next morning we said goodbye to our friends.

We left as soon as they were away and headed upstream for a long day to Pebble Isle.    We had a wonderful visit with our friends.  We so enjoy their company and fellowship and hope to see them again in the not so distant future. 

We are making a few long day runs to get to Wheeler State Park so that I can drive back to Athens to take care of some things. We are currently pushing against a flooded Tennessee River with close to 3 mph current. We plan to be at Wheeler on Saturday and I will drive back to Athens on Sunday.