71 Grand Rivers, KY to Gumdale, TN

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Exquisite quilts of every description are on display in the quilt museum in Paduach, KY. Many were works of art, or tributes to sewing skill and patience. We wandered the museum with differing views. Ruth was inspired to continue quilting and improve her skill. I tried to convince her that her quilts would qualify for the museum, but then we couldn’t enjoy them.

Two days by car and we were on the Chesapeake at Solomons, MD for the Trawler Fest. We were looking for the trawler that would pick us. Two hours into the show one did, a unique boat, an Endeavour TrawlerCat 36′ Catamaran. It reached out and said, “here’s the space, features, and uniqueness you are looking for and can almost afford. Pick me.” We were practical, continued to explore other boats, came back and checked it out some more then went back to the motel to think it over. The next day we looked again, took pictures and made plans for sea trials once we are in Florida. That completed, we bailed out and started back to Kentucky with a short side trip to Annapolis to look at a second catamaran trawler, which was nice, but not what we wanted.

Fall colors raced by as we headed home distracting us from our discussion about whether we wanted to buy a new boat– a catamaran at that. Little things like figuring out how to sell our present boat while living aboard and traveling makes for an interesting problem. Hardest of all is convincing ourselves that we should change boats especially since we are so fond of Tranquility.

Ruth cleaned and waxed Tranquility’s sides. I repainted the waterline. The stuffing box packing was changed and with a new cutlass bearing we were back in the water–boat people again. Sure feels good having a home that rocks a little. We got the yard dirt off the deck and took off to enjoy anchoring out again.

Tranquility in Sugar Bay

Sugar Bay captured us. Off to one side a branch from a snag below broke the surface. Slowly it filled with turtles out to catch some sun. A great blue heron explored shore occasionally voicing its displeasure at some annoyance. A whisper of a breeze swung Tranquility on her anchor. We’d glance up to enjoy muted pastel colors of fall foliage. Later the bay opening and Kentucky Lake beyond had swung into view, and we could see passing tows. Evening brought deer to the water’s edge. Spider webs along the rail sparkled with shiny drops of water they’d captured from the thick morning fog. Slowly the sun won the battle to raise the fog curtain over mirror smooth water. We stayed a second day enjoying a repeat performance of nature’s show.

We poked along slowly enjoying Kentucky Lake and the Land Between the Lakes. Here is outstanding cruising and anchoring. The Land Between the Lakes is mainly parkland and free of housing. Coves ideal for anchoring run the entire length of the lake. Their popularity for boating was evidenced by the huge marinas jammed with houseboats and all kinds of cruising boats. During summer, the coves would be filled with people anchoring out. Now in late fall, we had the place to ourselves. We could pick and choose any number of interesting places to spend the night. Occasionally during the day we’d share an anchorage with a fishing boat. Then in the evening, the fishermen would fade away, and we had each cove to ourselves.

We pulled into a houseboat slip at Paris Landing for a few days to ride out threatening weather. To help houseboats dock, finger piers extend out on both sides of a slip, quite a contrast from the ICW where many slips had only stub piers or no piers at all. Rain came pouring down, four inches in all. We loved the excuse to just snuggle in and spend a rainy day reading and doing all those little miscellaneous things we save up for a rainy day.

E-mail brought a treat. I’d written a letter to Quimbys, the cruising guide for the rivers. I’d made some suggestions for improving the magazine. A nice e-mail came back indicating they liked my suggestions and would include them in the next edition. A second exchange with the editor and he indicated he’d like me to edit down our Illinois River journal entry for publication in a future edition of Heartland Boating. That’s now waiting for publication.

I threw off the dock lines and guided Tranquility as Ruth powered us backward out of the slip. At the end of the slip Tranquility bounced back as if still being held by a forgotten dock line. Annoyed and embarrassed that I’d forgotten a line, I rechecked and found nothing. The depth sounder indicated 4 feet below the keel, but Tranquility would go back just so far and stop. Something underwater was holding us. My guess was a cable so with a mask and fins, in the water I went. There I found an underwater bar connecting the ends of the two long finger piers. Our keel was about an inch deeper than the bar. Apparently when we’d gone into the slip, the rounded nose of the keel hit the bar and slid over it pushing the floating finger piers down slightly. Going slow, we never felt the hit or noticed the piers move. Now the sharp edge of the keel back prevented it from riding back over the bar.

Plan A was to round up people and have them stand on the finger piers to sink the end down. However it was early and not many people were around. We tried Plan B. Ruth went forward and sat as far out on the bow pulpit as possible. I went back in the water and checked clearance. Now we were within a quarter inch of being free. Standing on the bottom with the keel on my shoulder I pushed up and pulled the bar back. An inch of keel went up onto the bar, and I went up for air. Now it was easy to just push Tranquility over the bar and out of the slip. We were free and on our way again. Later we learned another boat, Happy Wife, had the same problem. They used Plan A and got free with people standing on the finger piers to sink them and the bar.

The Tennessee River runs through wilderness. Towns never grew up along the portions of the river we traveled making for a mixed blessing. We loved the wilderness, but were frustrated with the spotty cell phone coverage. We’d decided to go back to the Chesapeake again, this time to the powerboat show for a second look at trawlers. It became a challenge to even find someone who’d rent a car. The small local rental people wouldn’t rent to us because we don’t have a car; and therefore, no car insurance. Major rentals like National, who sell daily car insurance, were a hundred miles away. Finally Enterprise agreed to deliver a car to the marina if we’d rent for a week. We’d been planning on doing that anyway so we set it up for the marina at Gumdale, TN. Even the marina was out in the middle of nowhere. The nearest town, a very small town was 5 miles away. The rental car showed up, we secured Tranquility and took off for Annapolis, MD.

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