Friday, May 21, 2010

Babies, Graduations, Weddings and boating with the Rays

After we got back to Athens we attended our Nephew Andrew Brannon's graduation from the University of Georgia. 

We then went to the wedding of our Nephew Caleb Tingle and saw there for the first time our new Great Niece Sophie Tingle, daughter of J and Kendra Tingle.

The wedding was wonderful and we had a great time.  Isaac Ray and I participated with many others in saluting the couple with giant sparklers as they left. 

The next morning I headed for the boat and Stacy went back to Athens to attend the Baccalaureate service for our niece Emma Tingle.  On Monday Stacy brought her sister Susannah and her five children (Dana, Hannah, Gretchen, Jennifer and Isaac) to the boat.  We left on Monday afternoon for Jones Creek where we anchored  for the night.  Jennifer, Isaac and I sounded out the entrance with the dinghy.

The first order of business was dinghying to shore and climbing to the Pinnacle, a rock outcropping on the top of a nearby mountain.

After returning to the boat the kids swam and used the dinghy deck as a high jump platform.

Of course, no trip to the river would be complete without hair shampoo in the lake.

We left Jones Creek the next morning and headed up through Nickajack lock.  It seems most of the trip was spent reading - something the Rays really enjoy.

Jennifer and Isaac were the primary helmspersons and kept a good watch.

Isaac did a good job negotiating the tow and barges.

We all donned our required life jackets for our trip through the lock.

Once we anchored at Little Cedar Mountain we played in the dinghy and swam again.

 The next morning we pulled anchor and headed back to Goose Pond Marina.  They left from there and had an 11 hour trip back to Pennsylvania.

We had a great time with them on board. 
Memories, Memories, Memories

Tenn-Tom with Eagle One and back at Goose Pond Marina

We stopped for a visit at the museum of the Snagboat "Montgomery" and the Bevill visitor's center that was built as a combination of three different plantation houses. 

The snagboat was the last active duty steam powered vessel used by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on the river systems.  It was used to remove snags (fallen trees, etc.) from the river to keep the river safe for navigation.  It was saved from being scrapped and set up as a museum.

The boat was operated by a small crew and the "pilot house" was used for the pilot and the snag crane operator.

After leaving the museum and visitor's center we anchored and waited for Jim and Sue Starke on "Eagle One" to catch up to us.  While we were anchored we suddenly saw a plane flying right toward us almost on the water.  At the last minute it would pull up and fly over the boat.  This plane did this a few different times and we were only able to get this one not-so-good photo as the time from hearing the plane until it had passed us was very short.

Jim & Sue came by us and we headed to Waverly Marina where we topped off fuel (best price on the Tenn-Tom) and stayed for the night.  We had their famous cheeseburgers overlooking our boats and then headed out the next day.

After anchoring, we toured the creek on "Eaglet" and realized that we could have anchored much further up the river if conditions warranted.  As it was we were fine where we were and just stored the information in our memory.

Stacy wanted some the wildflowers (or were they weeds) along the banks so Jim pushed us into the bank so I could cut some of the flowers for her.  They lasted a surprisingly long time in a vase.

At the next lock we found out that a tow had been released ahead of us and that we would be waiting on each lock that day for the tow to be locked through ahead of us.  Commercial vessels have priority.  We were going through 5 lock in one day and this was going to put us into Bay Springs in the dark.  The lockmaster called us and arranged for us to go into the next lock with the tow if there was room and then be able to get ahead upon exiting.

The next lockmaster and the Tow captain agreed to let us into the lock and there was barely enough room to tie on the last bollard.  We were quite concerned that Jim would not fit since he was towing his dinghy.  The door just did clear and the tow allowed us to go by him as soon as we exited the lock.

We anchored in Bay Springs for a couple of days and just relaxed.  Bay Springs is a beautiful part of the river system and I fully understood why everyone wants to anchor there.  We played "Mexican Train" dominoes and visited some of Jim's friends at a local marina.  The water was still a bit too cold for swimming but the water is surprisingly clear compared to the Tennessee.

As we came on up the Tennessee we were held up at Wheeler Lock for a few hours waiting for a large tow to be locked down.  We were able to play an entire game of Mexican Train waiting for the locking.  We did notice that the water released from the lock was released into this large cylinder.  It was interesting to suddenly see this boiling water next to us.

We left Jim & Sue at Bay Hill marina (their home) and made our way on up river to Goose Pond Marina (our home).  After securing the boat we made a mad dash to Athens Georgia to see about renting our houses for the next year or so.  On the way back we stopped in to see Ken & Darcy Searle at their home in Roswell.  They sold "Just Us" while we were with them in Panama City and we missed traveling back up the Tenn-Tom with them. 

Since arriving back in Athens it has been a whirlwind.  We have one house rented and are working on the other.  We have been trimming trees, clearing flower beds, repainting, resealing decks and performing all the other requirements of turning over houses.  Our nephew's wedding was last Saturday and we attended a wonderful event before heading back to the boat for a trip with Stacy's sister and family.