August 31 (Monday)
We did 49 miles upriver today to an anchorage south of Chattanooga. Little Cedar Mountain anchorage was great and the weather wasn’t bad today. We didn’t have delays to day on the water so were at anchor early. Dave went swimming to cool off – Barb took one look at brown water and said no. It was a quiet afternoon and evening – something we live for. Spent time on the back deck enjoying the breeze.
August 28, 29, 30 (Friday - Sunday)
Can’t believe we got another travel day. The weather is still hot and humid. We did spend a couple of hours fighting the current but once through the Guntersville Lock, we were moving faster. It was an interesting morning. We had clear weather for two hours and then hit a wall of fog just before the Guntersville lock, but we did 44 miles to Scottsburo, AL in spite of delays due to current and fog. We have friends here and they were on the dock to greet us. This is a very lovely marina within a private community – well protected from winds and river traffic. Cocktails aboard Hallelujah tonight with Canadian friends Danny and Susan (Potest Fieri – NT 42) and DF friends Bill and Charlotte Rudy (Omega – DF 50). Lots of reminiscing and talk of future travels. We spent Saturday shopping, getting haircuts, and storing freezer foods (stocking for a month of travel). Sunday was spent finishing shopping, doing some outside boat work and making plans for the upper Tenn River. We may actually make it up river to new places. The picture today include: 1) the fog we spent time in after leaving Ditto Landing early in the morning – so bad Barb had to spend time on the bow. 2) The cliffs are getting taller as we are into more mountainous region. 3) The cave is a sanctuary for the endangered Grey Bat. We didn’t see any bats, but we also didn’t try to get close to the entrance either. 4) The six of us by Hallelujah (Bill, Charlotte, Susan and Danny on dock with us on the boat).
August 27 (Thursday)
Hey! Another day of travel. We go 63 miles (yes in high heat and terrible humidity) to Huntsville AL. Ditto Landing marina hasn’t changed from 2010. This was another long day with a bridge delay – not a lock! We had to wait three hours for a railroad bridge to finish repairs. And there was nowhere to anchor so we put on a lot of extra miles traveling back and forth along the Decatur industrial park – and maneuvering around barges and tows. At Ditto Landing we ran into a looper that we had met in 2010 – Tennessee Rover and their friends aboard About Time. They came over for cocktails and we talked about the loop. They also gave us some excellent information about the upper Tenn River (marinas and anchorages). No pictures today – sorry.
August 26 (Wednesday)
Today was a very short travel day as we needed to stage for the next few days of travel. We went through two locks today. The first is the highest lock on the Tenn River and the highest we have been on in all our travels (been through the Wilson Lock in 2010). We didn’t have any difficulty with this first lock – a change from lots of lock delays. Then a short couple of hours across Wilson Lake (only 15 miles long) and we went through Wheeler lock – again no delays. We were tied to a dock at Wheeler State Park by 10:30 a.m. We have been here before while attending an AGLCA rendezvous in 2010 and remembered that there are no dock hands to help with lines. Our problem today was high winds so docking became difficult, but we made it finally. We ate at the lodge, but found service and food poor. We spent most of the day inside due to heat – Barb did some cooking with all our wonderful Publix Food. The picture is the top side of Wheeler lock.
August 25 (Tuesday)
Didn’t leave early as we were only traveling 41 miles. We did laundry and had a nice breakfast. Little did we know that we again would have opposing currents that would greatly reduce our speed. We made it to Florence AL – Yes, we left Kentucky and Tennessee behind today – and were able to use the courtesy car to get to a Publix (wow were we surprised)! Over spent our budget but it was great to have food that we are used to in FL. The pictures include Grand Harbor which we spent only one night at this trip (spent lots of time there in 2010) and Hallelujah at dock in Florence (another stop we made in 2010 and spent time).
August 24 (Monday)
On the move again for a 55 mile run to Grand Harbor in Counce TN. While we didn’t go as far today, we spent more hours on the water than expected. First we had to fight current of about 3 knots (see picture of buoy), and then we were stopped at the Pickwick lock due to lock repairs. Fortunately the lock master let us tie up to the lock wall – which was a new experience for us We had to wait about three hours to get through. Then we had to make a mad dash to the marina as they close at 5:00. We arrived at 5:02 and the dock master waited for us so we could get keys and pay for our stay. The four pictures are of some interesting sights on the river today. First is the shoreline – interesting in that there has been a lot of flooding on the Tenn this year and the banks are cut back. Even today the water is high due to all the rain this part of the country has been receiving this summer. The second picture is of Cherry Mansion in Savanah TN. This house (built in 1830) holds historic status because it is built on an ancient Indian mount created thousands of years ago by mound builders. The house built of bricks made by riverbank mud has walls 18 inches thick. The house was also the headquarters of Ulysses S. Grant during the Shiloh battle. We also went by Shiloh National Military Park which we visited in 2010 on the first trip up the Tenn River. The third picture is of Pickwick Lock. We are tied to a small bollard in the lock wall – not the easiest thing to attach too – note the wall across from us with the black stripes – there are similar bollards in that wall but difficult to see. After getting one line on, the boat continued to move around, so Barb figured out a way to get a stern line attached – don’t ask how she managed as the bollards were 20 feet apart. With two lines attached, we didn’t move so much – but we still felt the current pulling at us.
August 21, 22, 23 (Friday / Sunday)
We are moving quickly upriver as we really want to be in the northern Tenn River by September if possible. Today we went 62 miles upriver to Clifton, TN. Left Kentucky behind but not the heat. This is a repeat of what we have been doing most of Aug. We get a good day of travel and move quickly and then have to sit and wait out storms. We did a fair amount of engine room work on this layover and found that simple jobs became more complicated – probably due to heat. The engine room isn’t part of air conditioned areas of the boat. There wasn’t much activity this year as in 2010, but we did meet a couple of nice boaters on their way down the Tenn River to Grand Harbor. They gave us information on anchorages worth seeing on the upper Tenn River. The picture is of the cliffs along the river. We are leaving the flat farm lands of Kentucky and beginning to see more steep cliffs as we get into Tennessee and the beginning of the mountains.
August 20 (Thursday)
We move another 37 miles to Pebble Isle Marina in New Johnsonville, TN. It is still very hot so no anchorages for us. We stopped here in 2010 and planned the short travel day so we could get some shopping done. We met a lovely couple on Cutie Girl (Janet and Bert Honchell) and went out to dinner with them. We hope to catch up to them on our way down the Tenn-Tom in Oct. The pictures today are historical in nature. We passed the old L & N railroad bridge that has parts removed in the river (passed this in 2010 also). Just past this bridge is an abandoned building used to ship grain the Tennessee River before the river dams were built. The building was so well built that attempts to destroy it failed. This is what is left above water after flooding the Tenn River to create Kentucky Lake (northern section of the Tenn River).
August 18-19 (Tuesday / Wednesday)
We did a 44 mile run to a new marina on the Kentucky Lakes – Paris Landing State Park. This state park and marina is very well maintained. We spent two days here as the weather was very hot and we had thunderstorms moving through the area on Wednesday. There is a coast guard station here so the channel into this marina is well dredged. We spent most of our days here inside due to heat and rain but did have entertainment watching the coast guard load a small ship with buoys that need to be placed into the river. We also did some inside work and Barb did some cooking as we had electric/ air conditioning and time. Always good to use fresh foods and prepare meals for the freezer. The picture is Hallelujah at the dock.
August 16 - 17 (Sunday / Monday)
We traveled 35 miles today to Green Turtle Marina on the Cumberland River. The Cumberland River is very narrow above the dam so we had to travel slow. We did meet a three by five barge and had to turn around to find a wide spot in the river so he could pass. We spent our time at Green Turtle cleaning the boat, ourselves, and laundry. The weather is hot and humid, so not too much work outside, but we did manage to do a fair amount. We also went to Patties for dinner (a must for this stop). Barkley Lock is the largest lock on the loop at 57 feet lift. As we will be traveling further north on the Tennessee River we will pass through the Wilson lock at 97 feet.
August 15 (Saturday)
We again did an early start so that we could get to the first lock. The Omsted Lock is being placed into the Ohio River, and all river traffic must proceed slowly with a leader tug through a three mile stretch of the river. We were lucky that we only had to wait about 30 minutes to proceed through the area. Otherwise it would have been 3 hours before the tow returned to do up bound traffic. It was interesting to see how the dam was being built. The river current was running about 3 mph so we had to use a lot of engine to get any speed. There were about 10 tows going north and we lost count of the number of tows heading south. We were able to get through the second lock relatively quickly also. The trip to our Cumberland Towhead was relatively quiet after all the tows we passed. The anchorage was very quiet all night.
August 14 (Friday)
We only went 48 miles today and anchored at the confluence of the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers. Based on information received, we may have to wait at the two locks tomorrow for long periods and the anchorages that used to be available were no longer viable stops. We had a rather relaxing day, as there were fewer tows, the current continued to be strong, and we now have a fan in the fly bridge to move air – still very hot and humid.
August 13 (Thursday)
We again left early to travel 109 miles south on the Mississippi to an anchorage that we knew from 2010. This day was full of barge traffic - both up bound and down bound. We even did a pass/overtake at the same time – between an up bound tow and a down bound tow. It was exciting! We stopped counting after 25 tows. The wake on up bound tows was huge and we bounced around a lot, but passing down bound tows wasn’t fun either. We were glad that it only took us 9 hours to do the 109 miles and the anchorage was great! We had a very quiet night for sleeping. But we had to reevaluate plans for tomorrow based on a text message from Biscuit about the Ohio locks.
August 12 (Wednesday)
It took us 4 hours to get through the two locks on the Mississippi which was longer than we expected. We were able to stay at our dock and wait for the first lock (which was about 3.5 hours) which was helpful on fuel. But at the second lock, the down bound lock door wouldn’t open so we sat in the lock for about 30 minutes until they got it to move. Thus, we missed lunch at the Blue Owl restaurant, which we had hoped to do in Kimmswick, MO. We did meet an interesting couple moving a large catamaran north to Detroit, MI. We talked with them for a little bit and got latest information from Fern as to what was happening down river. The night wasn’t very restful as barges continued to pass the marina and wake was strong. The MS River is running about 4 to 5 mph.
August 11 (Tuesday)
We woke up to a thumping on the boat. We found that we had snagged a 40+ foot pine tree on the anchor chain. It took us about an hour to get it loose as we had to get the dinghy down, lasso the tree with a rope and pull it up bound and away from the boat. Just a new experience for us. But of course Barb wanted the rope back, so we motored with the tree while undoing the lasso. Back at the boat, we were exhausted, but needed to move. So we set off and got to Alton, IL with strong winds and very little help docking the boat – not a fun day for us. Barb quickly went to the grocery store and then did the laundry. We are moving quickly as we have heard that the one lock on the Ohio is closing for a week and we want to get through it.
August 10 (Monday)
We started out early as we wanted to make a 95 mile run down the river so that we only had to anchor one night. Unfortunately, the fog was so thick that we turned back and tied up at the dock for a couple of hours. When we did get started, the fog was gone, but the heat and humidity was high. We did make it to Willow Island but not until 5:30. This is a very nice anchorage and well off the river so we don’t get barge traffic wave action.
August 8 - 9 (Saturday / Sunday)
We were pleasantly surprised today, we didn’t have to lock through, but drove over the wicket dam at Peoria as we moved to Havana IL and Tall Timbers Marina. We stayed here in 2010 and found it to be the same as then. Again the marina was still working to clean up from the flood. Spent an extra day as thunderstorms rolled through. Took time to do some interior cleaning and computer work.
August 7 (Friday)
We moved to Peoria, IL today but only had one lock – which we had to weave between barges to get in and out of the lock. We stayed at the IVY Club – which is a very nice place, but they were still cleaning up from the flood. We were able to get in as the water is still 4 feet above normal pool. The weather is hot so we are trying to move from marina to marina and use our air conditioning. The Illinois River current is running about 3 mph so travel is a little faster.
August 3 - 6 (Monday / Thursday)
Did another early start as the lock master at Brandon Road Lock said to come on down and he would give us a down bound lock between bringing up a tow and barges. It was an interesting experience to move around barges and into the lock and then wiggle out of the lock after locking down. The second lock wasn’t a bad wait, but the third lock (Marseilles lock) was really bad. We ended up anchoring up river for about 5 hours waiting for barges to come up bound. While waiting the Nina and Pinta (replicas) came along and moored off cells. As the three boats entered the lock, we were called the Santa Maria. We traveled 57 miles and it took 13.5 hours. We were so tired that we didn’t eat dinner – just went to bed. We are in Ottawa, IL at Heritage Harbor. A nice marina with a curtesy car. This was a layover stop so that the IL River flood could recede, we could get our mail, do laundry, grocery shopping, boat cleaning and rest. We did meet a gracious couple from MS on Biscuit who moved faster than us and texted back updates on river conditions. As we had an extra day (mail delayed ), we went to Starved Rock State Park and hikes a little (did this early in a.m. before temperatures climbed into upper 80s).
August 1 - 2 (Saturday / Sunday)
We got an early start to head down the Chicago Ship Channel that meets up with the Illinois River. Today is a big day as we need to get through two locks and under a fixed 19 foot bridge. While the bridge was ok, we had waits at both locks and then didn’t make the three bridges in Joliet so that we could tie to the free wall. So we had a lot of waiting today. Stayed on free wall Sunday due to thunderstorms. We met a couple from Canada that was moving their boat to Nashville. They came over and talked for a while.
July 28 - 31 (Tuesday / Friday)
We made the 31 mile run to Hammond, IN on Tuesday. Our first aha was that our trip log turned 10, 000 miles. This is since it was installed in May 2010. That’s a lot of miles for 5 years on a boat – especially since we haven’t been traveling 12 months of the year. The second aha was passing the Indiana Dunes Park and Barb’s home community of Ogden Dunes. This is the starting point for the river system cruising. The third aha for the day was no dock hands to help us in the stiff breeze as we entered Hammond Marina. But we made it. We had to spend time taking down electronic instruments on the radar arch to get to the 19 foot requirement for one fixed bridge. Due to weather we ended up staying here longer than we thought. While here, Barb did a Broadcast for the AGLCA on ports/ anchorages coming down the eastern Lake Michigan shoreline and she uploaded a paper version for loopers who don’t listen to the broadcasts. Kim Russo indicated that about 2000 people listen to the weekly aired show. It was an interesting experience. We didn’t venture far from the boat due to the distance to shore – about 4 blocks. This is the largest marina on Lake Michigan with about 1800 slips. We were on V dock. So we read and reviewed charts and books so we remember what we are doing when we leave. This interesting boat came in for fuel. It is a wood boat and didn’t have a bow thruster.
July 23- 27 (Thursday / Monday)
This was a good weather window to run another 36 miles south east to Michigan City, IN. The harbor is well protected from the lake but it is very large – so once again we were well away from shore facilities. We stayed extra days because it was cheap – we are still waiting for the rivers to go below flood stage. We did take our bikes out for bike rides but didn’t try and venture into town.
July 21 - 22 (Tuesday / Wednesday)
We moved 51 miles further south to Benton Harbor which is a new port for us. This was a very nice marina – secure from the lake and friendly harbor master. We walked to the beach to see sunset but we didn’t venture into town. We spent an extra day here as we need to slow down due to IL River flooding. We had couple from Emmy Lou over for cocktails on Tuesday and talked about the trip south.
July 10 - 20 (Friday / Monday)
We left Crosswinds and quickly moved to Holland MI to meet up with friends and use the one day of weather window. The winds did build but we had plenty of dock hands to get us tied up. We are next to Island Girl who we traveled to the Bahamas with. Amy, Patrick and Aspen had us over for dinner on Island Girl which was lovely after a long travel day. We then took the week to stock the boat, run errands, and have more people aboard to finish some insurance requirements. We did take time to relax. Barb and Amy ran around getting both boats ready for travel. We also did some minor repairs ourselves. Amy and Patrick left us one of their cars as they started north on Saturday. We met some loopers and had a cocktail party Saturday evening but got wet due to rains. We ended up staying due to weather and were very glad we were not on the lake on Sunday because an unexpected storm came in with 50 + mph winds. We finised fresh food shopping and prepared to leave. While in Holland, Barb contacted a former DeFever friend and got together with Shirley Cooper to catch up. We may see her in FL this winter.
July 5 - 9 (Sunday / Thursday)
We were again up early and off the dock at 6:00 a.m. We are trying to beat a weather system that is to arrive in MI in the afternoon. We made Whitehall and were at dock by 12:30, but had difficulty as the winds had already picked up. Bret Rosenthal came aboard on Monday and suggested a short term fix till we reach FL. He also suggested that Crosswinds complete the fix and they had all necessary equipment for fuel lines. We spent Tuesday and Wednesday working with Crosswinds and organizing shopping list for time in Holland. The temporary fix was completed Thursday afternoon and engines ran fine with no fuel leaks. We did walk and bike around town. Weather was cool and winds were up and down this week. We did talk with friends from Robin’s Nest for a few minutes, but didn’t find any other people that we used to know. The town is depressed and there were empty stores. The marinas had lots of empty slips.
July 4 (Saturday)
We again were up early and out of Leland to make a 90 mile treck to Ludington, MI. We called a diesel fuel system person in Whitehall MI and need to be there on Monday for him to come aboard and look at the fuel system. We again made Ludington but were tired. We did meet up with the Parker’s on their DF 45 pilot house – Solitaire. We talked with them for only a few minute and then we crashed for the night. We heard the fireworks but couldn’t rise from bed to see them. Way to tired.
July 2 - 3 (Thursday/ Friday)
We left really early this am – before 6:00 as we needed to get to Leland, MI today. Weather windows are one day only for this week so we needed to complete a two day to stay on schedule heading south. The 85 mile trip was uneventful except for watching the starboard engine burp. Not happy campers are we. We arrived early enough to get a slip and paid for two nights. The weather window closed during Thursday evening and were glad we were in a slip as Southwest winds built waves overnight. Boats going north were happy, we weren’t as we didn’t want to bash into 3-5 foot waves going south. Leland had their fireworks on Friday night, but we didn’t see much of them as they were inland and low. We did walk around town and found some interesting side streets this trip.
July 1 (Wednesday)
Spent one more day in Mackinaw City to wait for weather window. We stayed aboard today and rested.
June 24 - 28 (Wednesday - Sunday
We were up early and moved to the gas dock to get a pump out before too many boats got going. We made the 8:00 bridge and headed to Beaver Island, St. James Harbor – 33 miles NW of Charlevoix. We made it before lunch – cold outside of the fly bridge, but toasty warm inside as the sun was out. No problems on this run and a very quiet day on the water. We spent two days here and only had a couple of other sailboats anchor in the harbor. The new anchor held well as we had a 40 mph gust and didn’t budge. The weather continues to be cold so we are inside most of our days. We did take a dinghy run into shore on Thursday to dispose of garbage and motor around the bay. We did a 67 mile run on Friday to the Les Cheneaux Islands NE of Mackinac Island. We anchored in Government Bay for three days. Relaxed and took dinghy rides. Still chilly because of the lake temperature but the sun is shining which heats the cabin. We finally got to grill when the winds diminished on Friday evening. Cooking hasn’t been a problem but it nice to grill out. There are few boats in Government Bay – so it is very quiet and peaceful. There are more but different bugs so we aren’t outside eating. One thing we are noticing is that Hallelujah likes to sit in strange positions – she doesn’t face the trip line (anchor) but prefers to flow with anchor rode under the boat and trip line at the stern – we’ll have to figure out why someday.
June 17 - 23 (Wednesday - Tuesday)
As we made our preparations to leave Wednesday a.m. and head to Petoskey, Dave found the hot water heater was leaking – constant flow. It turns out the bottom of the tank had rusted through. We made the decision to stay here if Bergmann could replace it. We did get a pump out and fuel as it was pretty cheap here. A call to Bergmann with hot water heater info was good – they could get the heater second day express delivered and installed early next week. So we settled back into our slip and Hal (harbor master) was able to give us another week in Charlevoix. We are into cleaning and doing some of our to-do list – no it wasn’t a honey dew list, just items that we need to do but weren’t urgent. We also took time to do some sightseeing by land and water. Barb actually found a quilt shop in Charlevoix – very exciting! We met the very nice couple on the Viking 44 (Recess – Scott and Doreen Newcombe) next to us and they offered their car so we could drive to Petoskey and do our errands. We got our GFS cookies (hey!) and the parts we needed to finish installing new tall antennas and a few things from ACE hardware. We also found a bank and were able to get more money. On Thursday, as we were walking along the marina waterfront, we saw another DF 44 – Terrapin. We met Tom and Nancy Rea in 2012 while in Gore Bay, ON. We walked over to say hi and stayed awhile. They also offered their car for shopping. There are so many wonderful people that we have met so far this summer. We ended our stay with having Tom Rea do a safe boating check – got a green decal for the window and felt we would be good to go till Jan in FL. And we had dessert aboard Recess our last evening in Charlevoix-- great easy boat recipe that we both loved. Will have to get supplies in Holland on way south.
June 9 - 16 (Tuesday - Tuesday)
The fog was thick Tuesday a.m. so departure was delayed till we could see at least beyond the break wall. The trip over to Charlevoix was uneventful as we had some liquid weld that held the port heat exchanger from leaking. The engines purred, the lake was flat but the fog came and went all morning. We came out of the fog just as we got to the Charlevoix channel entrance and Dave made the bridge by minutes to spare. We called Bergmann and set up times for various people to come aboard. Then we settled in for the week. We made contact with two boats from the 2014 GLCC wilderness rally and had cocktails and then out to dinner on Friday. It was a great evening (Boundless – Tom, Elaine, and Jack (dog); Sonodora – Melissa and Sophie (dog)). Tom offered his car so we could shop. We continue to clean as the bugs are fewer here so starting the outside work. Bergman was over and by Saturday we had the replacement heat exchanger on the engine and the AC working. We are making plans to move on Wednesday to Petoskey because there are more stores there that we need for further supplies. We also met a couple on Francy Free (David and Francy). They have a 60 footer and are planning on going down the river system back to FL. We spent a couple of hours on Thursday with them going over the river route. Finished the week with daily trips to the grocery store to stock up for the next three weeks.
June 1 - 8 (Monday - Monday)
The boat was launched early this am at the Northport Bay Boat Yard. And we were off for the quarter mile trip to the Northport marina. All was well. We spent the first part of this week fighting bugs (thousands of them) and cleaning the inside of Hallelujah. With a couple of trips down to Traverse City to stock the boat for the first month of cruising. The car went south on a transport on Friday so we quickly moved into the boater mode – making lists and thinking about where along the way we would get further supplies. The week was cold and we had no heat except for a small space heater. We did go out on Sunday to do a test run, but returned to the marina after only a half hour as we found the port engine heat exchanger had cracked – water was spraying all over the engine. We also had the opportunity to try our new Rocna anchor – wow! It really works well. Calls back to Northport Bay Boat Yard gave us bad info – they couldn’t fix heat exchanger for about a week. Calls over to Charlevoix gave us good news – Bergmann’s could fix the heat exchanger this week and also will complete work on the AC units so we have heat. Finished work on Monday and prepared to move on Tuesday.