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Sunday, October 3, 2010

October 3rd Clifton to Florence to Joe Wheeler

We have enjoyed the last few days immensely. The weather has been perfect and the Tennessee River is so diverse! From low-lying shores to colorful cliffs of stone....large and beautiful lakes such as Pickwick (my personal favorite) to Wilson Lake. These lakes were created by the Locks as were Barkely and Kentucky Lake. Incredible homes and modest homes adorn the lakes.

We played golf at Paris Landing State Park. Tennessee State Parks are really nice. We also went to dinner at the State Lodge and had a great meal for little money. Notice the two deer in the background in Jim's golf picture.

Clifton is a historic town on the Tennessee River. We stayed at a small marina along with our friends from Eastport, TN. Their friends from the marina arrived later in a Gibson houseboat. Houseboats are very common in this area. We do not see any vessels like this in our area for obvious reasons! They are flat bottomed and would not take the waves of the Great Lakes very comfortably. 13 transient boats arrived for the night in a harbor that you would not think could handle 1/2 that number. Made it fun for us as the crowd is diverse, as are the boats. We do see more trawlers than we would see at home and many are local boats. Our friends are Steve and Barb from Eastport. They are a retired Engineer and Teacher on a Mainship 34. We will be staying in Eastport on the way back to the Tenn-Tomm, so we hope to see them again as we pass through.

We cruised up the Tennessee River Saturday to Florence, AL. Cute town with such history. All long the rivers US history was written and in this area most of it revolves around the Civil War. Homes in the area are historic and the downtown is on the Historic Register. We borrowed the courtesy car and drove through the downtown and discovered a Frank Lloyd Wright house was built in Florence. Since it was located near downtown, we visited it as well. What a genius! We are becoming quite proficient at cooking on the boat and are enjoying cooking together! (surprise!) Our new stove is wonderful. Glad we made the change.

This morning we called Wilson lock and asked about traffic. It is possible to call the locks on the telephone and talk to a real person. The Lockmaster (keeper of the lock) told us to "come on down and we'll take care of ya". We "paddled down" and waited about 45 minutes while a sailboat came down the lock. This is a huge lock and locked us up 93 feet. We are getting better at locking up and know now what fenders to use and what height is best. We even have our assigned jobs. Buddy's job must be chewing leashes, because today he chewed through BooBoo's leash. He has already eaten two of his. (just like at home!)

15 miles later we locked through the Wheeler Lock. Another 43 feet. Jim and I talk about what the river must have looked like in the early 1800's. Must have been an incredible experience to forage through the forest and find such a might river and waterfalls.

Joe Wheeler State Park is a huge park and will be the sight of the Rendezvous for AGLCA. Americas Great Loopers Cruising Assoc. There will be quite a crowd for 4 days. We should learn a lot and make a lot of new friends. We are only here for one night on this trip up to Chattanooga.

Tomorrow we leave for Huntsville, some 52 miles up the Tennessee River. My cousin Brad, his wife April and new baby Drew live in Huntsville. I haven't seen them since April's shower some months ago and we are thrilled to see their new home and their little cutie pie, Drew. I have been watching him grow on Facebook.

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