Heart of Gold

Fall 2004

October Cruise Log  

10/01/2004  Really surging in the harbor this morning.  I was up most of the night putting on extra lines and adjusting things to keep us from banging on the pilings.  Neighbors boat  parted a line and he's not here so I replaced that.  20 kt wind coming out of the NW is the worst for us as it pushes the big waves right down the channel and into our little harbor.  Mary and I are headed out to b'fast and errands.


10/04/2004  Had to remove the port side raw water pump.  Was glad I did  as it was ready to fail anyway.


 10/09/04  6:50 am  Well we're still tied to the dock.  No big deal yet.  I decided that if the port side raw water pump was in bad shape that the stbd one might be too.  Sure enough!  Anyway, I've got all the parts on order for a complete overhaul of both pumps plus spare parts.  I was told by the Marina that the parts would all be in on Monday.  I'm going to check over there after UPS shows up today but if they show up anytime the first of the week, we'll still be fine.  Only thing left to do after that is to fuel up, pump out, load the bike and we're out of here.


10/17/2004 10:00 pm  The boat is rocking like crazy here in the slip.  The lake has waves as high as 10 feet and some say up to 14.  Those are big waves.  They are so big that they are crashing over the wall and getting the Coast Guard station wet.  I hope they settle down so we can leave tomorrow.  Greg has looked at the weather for here and Chicago and we may have a small window late Sunday night to make it across.  Lets hope the weather people are right.


10/18/2004  9:30 am  We made it across the lake last night.  With the help of Ben Dorstewitz we went over to West Basin and loaded the Harley onto the back of the boat.  It was a relief for me when it didn't go into the water.  They tied it down and covered it.  Greg did some last minute check, we thanked Ben for all his help and gave him a hug good-bye, and we took off.  As we left St. Joe the freighter Richard Riece was also leaving.  We traveled within a half mile of them all the way across.  It was surprising how much traffic there was.  There were at least 3 other boats heading in the opposite direction.  We all said hello to each other.  We were taking the waves on the port side till about half way across and then started taking the waves on the starboard side until we got to Hammond Marina where we got in about 2:30 am.  So everything that was thrown to one side of the boat was conveniently thrown back to the other.  It all worked out.  It was cold.   Our boat was nice and warm and toasty when we got up this morning to a gray, windy morning.  It is really windy now and raining.  More like sleet possibly turning into snow.  Calumet River is only a mile from here.  The dock master showed up around 8:30 and said he would unlock the gate and let us go up and visit the casino if we wanted to, so since it was so crappy we decided what the hell.  We were sitting in front of a slot machine drinking Bloody Mary's by 9:30 am and then headed over to the crap's tables.  By 10:15 we had lost $200.00 and decided to head for the river.  But the casino was beautiful and we did have fun.


10/19/2004  8:30 am.  This morning we are at the Harborside Marina in IL somewhere   south of Joliet.  Yesterday we went from Hammond to the Calumet River.  It was only a mile trip but it was a wild one.  I don't know how high the waves were but they were hitting us on the starboard side like a Mack truck.  Once in the river we ran into Rasta Dave.  He was in a newer Carver.  We traveled together through the bridges he took off after that.  We got to the first lock and it was uneventful, only a 1 foot drop.  Our main concern for the day was to get through the 19' bridge without tearing down the whole top of the boat.   At the bridge we found tons of barges and tow captains that were moving them around with great skill.  Of course at this time the wind picked up and was blowing us around in this narrow area of the river.  We were between two captains that were trying to pass each other with barges stacked two wide.  They suggested that we slip into a hole between two other barges.  This is when we discovered our sail boating friends who were in the middle of this hole and had no idea that they should get out of the way.  We also discovered that listening to their radio wasn't something they did.  I motioned them to get out of the way and we slipped into the hole just in time for the tow captains to pass.  The tow captain of the Bob Crowley told us to follow him under the bridge as they passed each other.  We got in behind him and did as we were told.  They moved slowly and it was an effort for us to stay straight in the river with the wind blowing us around.  Very slowly, but very surely we made it under the bridge with a foot to spare.  Greg and I were thrilled to get that behind us.  We celebrated by having a bowl of chicken tortellini soup that I had made in the crock pot.  It was delicious.  We cruised along dodging barges, eating soup, and reveling in the fact that we made it through the bridge.  When we got to Lockport Lock we ran into Rasta Dave again.  He had been waiting there for hours.  The lock master was waiting for the tow captain of the Myra Eckstien to come and lock through.  Of course we passed the Myra Eckstien back at the low bridge.  So we knew we were all going to wait.  We tied up to a wall near by and Rasta Dave rafted off of us.  We invited him into our boat and fed him soup.  He told us he was an engineer for the EPA but had gotten his captain's license and was working toward doing that for a living.  We had our doubts.  We traveled with Rasta Dave and Myra Eckstien through the bridges of Joliet and the next lock.  It doesn't matter how fast your boat goes when it comes to locks.  Your not going any faster than the tow captains.  We got into Harbor side Marina around midnight.  

10/20/2004  8:15 pm  This morning we left Harbor side Marina and so did the "Sherry Amore."  Another Carver from Chicago.  We traveled with them through 2 locks.  They, like Rasta Dave, don't understand the concept of wake courtesy.  They swamped us and everyone between Harbor side and the first lock.  Which is why they were still waiting at the lock when we got there.  It just goes to proving my point again, that it doesn't matter how fast your boat is, your not going any faster than the tow captains and lock masters will let you.  The faster you learn some courtesy to both, the faster your boat will go.  After the second lock the "Sherry Amore" took off headed for Peoria for the night.  Our destination was Henry Harbor Marina in Henry, IL.  We love it here.  We got in around 6:00 pm tied up to some tree roots and rocks, plugged into some electricity we found, and went to supper.  The amazing thing about our last two suppers has been the price.  Last night we had the spaghetti special for $2.95 each, which included garlic bread, and tonight in Henry we had the all you can eat wings buffet for $5.95.  They had 6 different kinds of wings and it included the salad bar.  Unbelievable prices.  Then we walked to the grocery store for a few things.  There are a bunch of white geese near our boat and they must have gotten into it with a skunk because the geese are really honking and the aroma of skunk is very powerful.  I hope they quit soon.  There is nothing quit like communing with nature.

Captains engine room notes:  Miles traveled since leaving St. Jo, 185. Fuel used, appx 150 gal (which includes about 22 hrs run time on the gen set).  Also I noticed a small amount of diesel fuel had dripped from the bottom of the port injector pump (about a shot glass full??) I tightened a couple of nuts that I could reach.  I'll keep an eye on it.  Otherwise everything is running perfectly.  I ran an extension cord from the inverter to the salon and today Jane is going to use it to power the crock pot.  We are going to begin to use inverter power more until we see how much we can put on it without draining the batteries too much.  It's a question of not knowing the output of my alternators and how much they can keep up with the drain we put on the inverter.

10/22/2004  7:50 am  Discovered yesterday morning that the white geese weren't geese at all.  They were pelicans!    The pelicans are migrating south and are traveling along the Illinois river.  We have seen hundreds if not thousands of them.  They are beautiful.   We also have seen bald eagles.   We left Henry early and got as far as Peoria when Greg discovered a bolt had fallen off of something in the engine room.  He quickly figured out that it was trouble.  We pulled into the Ivy Club marina where Greg fixed the problem and we filled up with water.  We were on our way again.  It was another gray day so I fired up the crock pot again and made some chili.  We ran into some heavy barge traffic around Havana but we got through just fine.  Only had to deal with one lock and we didn't even tie up, we just floated down.  We have had several Alfred Hitchcock moments with the seagulls.   They like to follow the boat because we stir up the fish and they dive after them.  They are fun to watch.  Last night we got into Beardstown and ended up tying up to a 42' Kha Shing called " Good Times " owned by Tooty and C.J. from Holland, MI.  They are headed to FL with their nephew Jayme.  This morning we left early and are traveling to with 4 other boats to the first lock.  Our plan for the day is to get to Grafton and stay at the Piere Marquette state part.  We are hoping there is enough water depth there for us.  If not we will go to plan B...whatever that is.


10/24/2004  10:30pm  We didn't make it to Piere Marquette.  They said there wasn't enough water.  We ended up staying at Mel's Riverdock Restaurant at mile 20.  The food was good but we didn't have water or electricity.  But it was getting late and it was better than nothing.  We left early this morning and made it to the Mississippi River where we have finally seen some beautiful fall color.  We are still traveling with "Good Times," "Love Story," "Another Adventure," and "Outhouse."  I took a great picture of "Outhouse" and its captain.  Its amazing what we do to entertain ourselves during our journey down river.  Another Adventure parted with us to go to Alton.  Went through two locks without having to wait.  It was nice and helped us to make good time. Outhouse and Love Story both had boat trouble today.  St. Louis was not very busy and we went through there without any trouble.  Greg and I made it to Hoppies around 4 and the rest came in about and hour and a half later.  We have decided to stay here for two nights.  Another boat might be joining our group , "Lady Jane."  I think we have talked them into staying another night also.  We are planning a cookout for tomorrow evening.  Some are going into town for parts and some of us are going to  the grocery and I need an office supply store.  Printing pictures takes up a lot of ink.  We also ran into "Serendipity" from St. Joe.  It is a green Shucker that we saw at the Venetian Festival.  They seemed nice.  Hoppies still has that old van with the recliner in the back but it doesn't run anymore.  They have a new van.  Its nicer.  We borrowed it to go to dinner at the old log cabin place.  It was good but a lot more expensive than we remember.   Greg talked Hoppie out of an old search light from a derelict boat.  He had to remove it himself but is now happily restoring it and we'll get pictures when it's done.


10/26/2004 8:00 am  The past few days have been really enjoyable.  The sun has been out and warm.  We spent an extra night  at Hoppies in historic Kimmswick, MO.  Took the new van to Wal-Mart with Kay from Love Story and Tootie and Jamie from Good Times.  Greg, Bill from Outhouse, Kay and Fred, and I went to Kimmswick and visited some of the shops there.  Kay and Fred didn't stay long but the rest of us got ice cream and I bought some bakery goods at the Blue Owl Bakery, cheese and fudge.  Later that evening we all got together for a cookout .  Hoppie and his family joined us for supper.  We had great food and a good time was had by all.  We left early that morning headed to mile 49 on the Mississippi where Fern Hoppie told us there was a good anchorage.  The day was beautiful and we were all making great time.  We got in there around 5:00 pm.  There were five of us.  Finally, Love Story, Good Times, Outhouse and us.  Love Story rafted onto to us for the evening.  Greg took down the dinghy and wanted everyone to go to shore for a campfire but the bank was just too muddy and then it started raining.  It didn't stop him and Jamie from building a fire anyway.  They both came back with really muddy shoes.  After supper Kay, Fred and Terry came over to our boat and we had Bailey's on ice and some Kahlua.  It rained off and on but was warm.  We had good conversation and lots of laughs.  Terry told us a foreskin story but it was actually about something else.  I can't remember what.  This morning we got off around 7:00 am and shortly after we got on the river it started to rain.  The aft head is broken and the radar isn't working this morning.  Eventually I hope he gets both to work.  Especially the radar.  We have a spare toilet.  They are predicting rain off and on today.  I hope it is mostly off.  We are headed up the Ohio today.        

This evening, with the suggestion of C.J. from Good Times, we located a beautiful  anchorage on the other side of Towhead Island at mile 923.  Once we got onto the Ohio River our speed slowed by 4 mph as it did for the others.  It rained off and on for a while and was cloudy most of the day.  Greg and I decided to go on and get to the mouth of the Cumberland but the others found an anchorage farther down the river.  So we are on our own tonight.  As we were fixing supper a storm started to roll in, but missed us completely.  We watched the lightning and listened as the thunder seemed to roll down the river.  We were just on the edge of the storm.  As we laid on the front deck of the boat and watched the storm there was a clear sky on one side of us and the storm was on the other.  We got to enjoy both.  The moon is almost full and the clouds are crossing over it.  It is a wonderful cool evening with a nice breeze.  I would love to sleep out on the deck tonight.  I hope it won't rain.  


10/29/2004  8:00 am  On Wednesday we made it to Green Turtle Bay in Grand Rivers, KY.  Our trip down the Cumberland river was beautiful.  We saw something swimming across the river and discovered it was a deer!   We slowed down so we wouldn't swamp him and then stopped to watch him get across.  When he got to the other side it took all his strength to get out of the river.  He stood there for a minute, climbed up the hill, took a last look at us and then trotted off.  That was our excitement for the day.  We ran right into the lock and locked up with Serendipity .  We got into Green Turtle Bay about 3:00 pm.  Love Story came in about two hours later.  Good Times, Outhouse, and Finally got stuck at the lock because of barge traffic.  They got in around 8:00 pm and we helped get them into their slips.  Outhouse was running on fumes and everyone was tired.  It is a nice marina with cable and intermittent internet service.  But they have cable!  I still missed Survivor and CSI.  Just too much fun to be had with all our new friends.  On Thursday we piled into a courtesy van and went to Paducah for supplies.  Most of us thought it was funny that it took us all day to get from Paducah to Green Turtle by boat and only about a half hour to get there by car.  We were acting like we haven't seen a store in years.  It was funny.  Good Times and Outhouse had to leave today so Greg and I offered to let Jayme stay with us for a few days.  We thought he might like a little more shore leave.  So he went to town with us.  Jayme and I hung some Halloween lights on the boat that we bought in town.  That evening we had reservations for 12 at Patti's 1880 Settlement.  They are famous for their pork chops.  Everyone from Serendipity, Love Story, July Indian and us went.  We waited for the van and then started walking.  The van finally picked us up.  They put us all in our own little room and everyone had the pork chop except for Jayme and Terry.  They split a steak.  It was good.  We are going to stay here one more night along with Love Story.  Everyone else is leaving.                                                  9:00 pm Tonight we find ourselves the only ones left here at Green Turtle.  Love Story decided to leave at noon.  Jayme and Greg washed the boat today and I worked on the web site again, and of course laundry.  The boat looks great.  They also decorated the boat for Halloween.  We went for supper to the yacht club here and it was great. We will be getting underway in the morning.  I can't get my e-mail to work so I can't answer anyone.  So I really hope you can read this.  We are really having a great time but I still miss the kids.  It is just a funny time of adjustment.  I am glad for internet and cell phones.


10/30/2004  8:00 pm  Well, it was a wonderful day.  We left Green Turtle Bay and headed for Kentucky lake.  The sun was out and there was a stiff wind all day long.  The boat was running great.  We decided that we would stop into Pebble Isle Marina for the evening.  Mile marker 96.1.  We spotted the marina inside a protected cove and were heading for it when we found ourselves on land.  Somehow we missed the channel markers for the way to get into this beautiful protected area.  Lucky for us the great people of Pebble Isle saw us grounded out front and came out in their jon boat to access our problem.  After some poking around, looking for deep water, they decided to get reinforcements.  In the mean time Greg tried to get us free and we just stayed stuck.  As we were sitting there waiting for reinforcements we heard Love Story on the radio telling Serendipity that we ran aground.  A few minutes later we heard Love Story had also ran aground.  So we all had our problems that night.  After several lines breaking apart, the houseboat " Survivor " finally pulled us into deeper water.  We followed them in and thanked them profusely.  We went to the restaurant and had supper.  Greg and Jayme got a tour of a 72' Hatteras and it was pristine.  Of course somehow I missed the tour.  On the walk back to our boat we had the pleasure of watching the moon rise over a mountain.  It was absolutely beautiful.  It was the perfect ending to a perfect day on the river.


10/31/2004  10:00 pm  We traveled down the Tennessee River today with little or no traffic.  It started out raining and eventually cleared up.  Jayme did some lounging on the front deck of the boat.  We also saw some beautiful cliffs and homes along the river.  We got into Cliffton Marina around 4:00 or 5:00 pm. (with the time change who knows what time it is).  We took the advise of Randy at Pebble Isle and what good advise it was.  The hospitality here is beyond description.  Serendipity and Love Story were already here.  When they found out that Greg and I were golfers they told us about the local golf course which is a Jack Nicklas designed course.  I knew we would never leave here until we played.  They gave us the keys to the courtesy car and Kay, Fred, Terry, Greg, Jayme, and I piled in and went out to supper.  When we got back to the boats I started burning some CD's that we got from Rick on Serendipity.  Jayme wanted some tropical music.  Fred and Terry came over and helped Greg with some navigational software.  Jayme and I burned CD's and watched "Evolution."  It was funny to listen to the three of them working on the computer together.  At one point I thought Greg was going to break Fred's fingers but they finally got the software to work and everyone was happy.  Just another wonderful day.

Heart of Gold

November Cruise Log

11/01/2004  10:00 pm  Greg got up early and the others were already up and getting ready to leave.  He saw them off and said we would meet up again in Pickwick.  We decided to stay another day.  We weren't sure if Jayme needed to be back or not because we couldn't get in touch with C.J. and Tootie.  The three of us went into town and had breakfast and then drove out to the golf course.  They weren't busy so we went back to the boat, grabbed our clubs, and headed back to the Bear Trace Golf Course.   We got two golf carts and Jayme became my caddy for the day.  He quickly learned what clubs I needed and he drove the cart.  He was an excellent caddy.  He also found more balls than we lost.  Another bonus.  It was a beautiful course but the sand traps were more like sand bottomless pits .  It was bad when you got into one of those.  They were so deep you couldn't see the light of day and with each swing it got deeper.  We drove past one hole and all you could see was the top of this guys head trying to get out of the pit.  It was more of a challenge for me than Greg .  But we all had a good time anyway.  When we got back to the marina we had messages that Jayme had to get to Pickwick.  C.J. and Tootie needed to move on.  So the three of us borrowed the courtesy car again and drove him down to Pickwick.  We all got together for a good-bye supper and exchanged cards and addresses.  It was a nice evening but a little sad for me.  It was nice having Jayme with us.  He reminded me of when my kids were in middle school, and how funny they were, and how much I miss them.


11/02/2004  11:30 pm  It's election day and it is raining as we leave Cliffton Marina.  Our stay there was wonderful.  The marina is spotless and the people are incredibly hospitable.  I hope we stop there again in the spring.  We got into Pickwick around 2:00 pm.  It was an uneventful ride up the Tennessee today.  Mostly cloudy with the occasional rain.  We didn't even come across any barges.  When we got there, Greg unloaded the Harley.  He really wants to ride that thing before we leave here.  Love Story and Serendipity got here yesterday, and Good Times left here early this morning.  We decided that we would have a cookout at our boat.  Fred, Kay , and Terry , from Love Boat; Rick and Kathy from Serendipity; Greg and I, all had brats and we all threw in some salads and had a wonderful supper.   It was raining but this is the last time we will be getting together.  The rest of them will be traveling down the Tennessee Tombigbee waterway and we will be staying on the Tennessee River.  We had a nice dinner.  Rick brought out a bottle of moonshine one of the locals at Clifton had given him.  Then things got funny .  You should never mix alcohol and cameras.  Our attempt at a group picture was a valiant one and we all wanted to be in it.  We reminisced about the fact that Rick, Kathy, and us, were from St. Joseph, MI  and knew each others boats but had never met until Hoppies on the Mississippi.  Serendipity is leaving in the morning and Love Story is staying here with us another night.  I am glad that they decided to stay.  I have really enjoyed spending time with Kay .  She has such a wonderful outlook and Greg has enjoyed figuring things out with Fred and Terry.  We have enjoyed being with all of them .


11/03/2004  10:30 pm  We lazed around this morning then Greg and I got on the Harley and went looking for golf courses.  We checked out two and decided to go to Shiloh Falls Golf Club.  We went back to the boat to get Fred and Kay.  Fred hasn't golfed in several years but Kay is a golfer.  Fred was the official caddy and drove Kay's cart .  I really missed Jayme being my caddy.   Greg and I both golfed pretty bad, but of course I was the worst golfer .  I don't like golfing in front of other people, its embarrassing.  We all had a great time and lots of laughs.  Fred even teed off a few times.  After the first 9 we had a snack at the club house.  The golf course was beautiful.  Hole 15 was their signature hole and it was spectacular.  The tee box was on top of a cliff and the hole was across a creek about 165 yards down.  We teed off and then had to take the carts to a staircase and walk down 106 steep steps.  They had a tram that went down but it was out of order.  Behind the green was a waterfall and it was beautiful.  We took our time on that one.  At the 17th hole the golf marshal came looking for us to make sure we were still alive.  I think we must have set a course record for playing the longest 18 holes.  He asked us if we were golfing or having a picnic.  We were really enjoying ourselves and took our time.  The course was wet and on the 12th or 13th hole it started to rain.  I was covered in mud and Kay's feet were soaked.  My ball consistently found a puddle to go into and I made a big splash hitting it out of there.  It was all just too funny.  We got back to the marina, had a cocktail, picked up Terry and went out to dinner.  The golf pro suggested a restaurant and it was wonderful.  We got back to our boat and talked, laughed and said our good-byes.  Love Story was going down the Tenn-Tom and we were going up the Tennessee River.  I hope one day we run into each other again.  I feel so fortunate to be able to meet so many good people.  Boating has been so good to us and blessed us with so many good friends .


11/04/2004  8:30 pm  We left Pickwick this morning.  Greg loaded the Harley back on the boat and we were off.  It was drizzling and cloudy all day.  There wasn't much traffic on the river and just a gloomy day.  I took a two hour nap while Greg played with his new software and drove the boat.  We decided to go to Florence, AL today.  It is a wonderful marina.  We checked in and Greg went up to the little bar and had a couple of beers with some of the local people.  The cook brought them some fried oysters.  I stayed on the boat and watched CABLE TV!!!  He got back to the boat and took a little nap.  We went back to the bar and had supper there.  We ordered some fried oysters and they were fantastic.  Tonight we are staying in and I get to watch "Survivor" and "CSI."  It is cold and rainy so it is a good night for that.  Don't know how long we will stay here or what we will do tomorrow.  How exciting is that?!


11/08/2004  10:30 pm  Florence Harbor Marina is absolutely wonderful.  The bar and restaurant here are great.  We have been here since last Thursday and have enjoyed every minute of it.  Ron makes the best fried oysters and can make a great steak.  On Saturday and Sunday Fonda fixed us a huge breakfast.  She also let us try a new recipe she was working on called "potato balls."   Man, were they good.  Yesterday Greg and I got on the Harley and went exploring.  We found a Robert Trent Jones golf course but decided not to golf there.  It was still kind of under construction.  We rode past beautiful cotton fields .  If I lived here I would have to have my own patch of cotton .  For some reason I just love cotton fields.  The ant hills here are huge too.  We went into a field to look at the cotton and then Greg discovered a sign that was face down, and after we saw it we got out of there.  Went downtown and visited the University of North Alabama campus.  They have two lions, Una and Leo , that are the mascots .  They are right on the campus in a well cared for habitat.  The campus also has a beautiful fountain .  The weather here has been wonderful.  Days in the high 60's and nights in the low 40's.  We have put on nearly 150 miles on the bike since we got here.  Tom, Trevor, and Bess on the Lady Jane , who we met at Hoppies, came in yesterday afternoon.  We went out to dinner with them, and Warren and Betty on the Sea Angel.  We all ordered the spaghetti and meatballs at Ricatoni's, which was fabulous.  Today we did a little shopping and I found a wonderful little yarn shop downtown and we had lunch at Trowbridges.  It was just like the old lunch counters you would find in the back of a drug store.  Same kind of food.  Soup and sandwiches.  They also had ice cream too.  It was really neat and we loved it.  Greg started fixing the storm damage today.  He really hates that it looks all beat up.  I know he will be glad to get it fixed.  I think we will probably leave here Wednesday morning and find an anchorage for the next few nights.  That will really be fun. 


11/09/2004  7:00 pm  Today was another beautiful day.  Greg worked on the boat and I walked to town.  Florence has a very nice downtown.  I found a nice fabric store and found some very nice cashmere for rug hooking.  Later in the afternoon we got on the Harley and went to Lowes for some supplies for the repairs.  On our way back we ran out of gas.  Greg coasted into a brick and tile place but they couldn't help him so he walked across the street to a janitor supply place.  Luckily they had a lawn mower with a spare gas can.  Greg thanked them and gave them some money to buy donuts for the morning, since they wouldn't take any money for gas.  I love this town.  We will probably leave tomorrow but it is getting harder and harder to go.  We will see what happens.  I think about our friends on Love Story from "Canadia" and how much they would have loved this place too.  I hope the rest of our group is having as much fun as we are.


11/11/2004  10:00 pm  Well it is Thursday and we are still in Florence.  We just can't seem to leave here.  Greg says we are going to leave tomorrow.  Who knows.  We have had a great time here.  Yesterday we did some housekeeping and ran some errands.  We went out to dinner with Dennis and CindyColeman.  We first met them at Pebble Isle Marina.  They have a 37' Carver aft cabin named " Somewhere In Time ."  I think they got here on Sunday and were going to leave on Monday but they are still here.  They decided to wait so they could watch us load the Harley back onto the boat.  Cindy has a video recorder and is hoping to win $10,000.00 if we happen to drop the bike into the river.  Its funny how peoples motivations change here on the river.  I know our priorities have drastically changed the longer we have stayed on the river.  They are from Austin, Texas and are headed for Green Turtle Bay.  Today it rained all day and we just hung out at the boat.  I knitted and Greg napped.  Later, close to supper time, Greg  went to the bar here and met Mike and Bud .  They were a couple of guys from a marina in Decatur.  I came up later and LaDonna fixed a fantastic Bloody Mary for me.  She has been so nice to us and I just love the Bloody Mary's.  Ron cooked another steak masterpiece for Greg and some fried oysters and shrimp for me.  It was fantastic!  I blame him for making us fat.  Well, I think Greg wants to leave tomorrow, but who knows what we will do.  We really like it here so its hard to tell what we will do.  We were supposed to leave on Tuesday.  Who knows?!


11/14/2004  5:00 pm  Well, we finally left Florence yesterday.  Terry said he hoped to see us again in the spring.  The night before that we had dinner in the restaurant with Henry.  Earlier he let me use his car to go to town.  Henry and Greg became good friends and had a wonderful time with each other.  I know Greg can't wait to see him again next year.  We also met some people from Texas, the O'Bryants ,  who were in a motor home.  They are thinking about trying their hand at boating.  After dinner I went back to the boat and Greg went back to the bar for karaoke night.  I knew Greg would be in good hands with the girls.  I don't think he sang but he did enjoy everyone else.  The next day Terry helped Greg load the Harley.  We went to the gas dock to get a pump out and Greg called the lock and there was going to be a several hour wait.  So we went up to the bar where we had a final drink.  LaDonna fixed me a Bloody Mary and we said good bye to the many people we met there.  Belinda , the manager said she would put us on the waiting list for slips and felt confident that we could probably get one for next year.  We were sorry we couldn't say bye to Tanner but maybe we will see him again next year.  Deanna said she would pick me up at Joe Wheeler's Marina on Tuesday and bring me back to Florence.  With a final wave goodbye we left.  I will miss everyone there.   We went the few miles to Wilson Lock and had to wait a little bit.  Wilson Lock took us up 93'.  The turbulence in the lock was bad but we were not in the thick of it.  We finally were lifted to the top and waiting for us to get out was a tow with 15 barges to go down.  The friendly deck hands waved at us.  When we got out of the lock we went on for a few more miles and decided to find a cozy anchorage .  Total miles for that day was 8.  We nosed the boat into shore and tied it up to a tree.  We still had 6' of water under us.  Greg cooked steaks and it was a beautiful evening.  In the morning we did a few chores and took a dinghy ride.  We just lounged around and were lazy the rest of the morning. Before noon we headed for Joe Wheeler lock with one lone visitor to see us off.  We didn't have to wait and locked right through.  We found the anchorage right off our favorite hole of the Joe Wheeler golf course.  Our total miles for today was 11.  We unloaded the dinghy and explored the area.  We found a bunch of golf balls, I think even some of our own, and I found some neat shells and I think some kind of fossils.  I saw some kind of ducks but I really don't know what kind of birds they were.  Greg is cooking steaks again tonight and we will be listening to the wildlife around us tonight.  It is so cool.  It is also a clear night so we will be able to see a ton of stars.


11/15/2004  8:00 pm  We picked the perfect anchorage.  This morning we did some chores around the boat and decided to stay here a second night.  We got in the dinghy and did some exploring .  We found golf balls around the 14th hole and then came back to the boat to have a little lunch and start something in the crock pot.  We struck out to do some more exploring and commune with nature.  We turned the motor off in the dinghy and just paddled around.  I have been wanting to get a picture of a loon but they have been really tough to photograph.  We did see a wild turkey .  Then Greg spotted two more.  They were beautiful.  We also saw more of those strange looking ducks .  I have got to find out what they are.  We came up on a deer drinking from the river.  It was so peaceful.  There was also a raccoon and a squirrel .  We even spotted these cute baby raccoons .  They were all coming down to the river for an evening drink.  Tonight the sky was so clear again we could see the Milky Way.  It is hard to believe that there are that many stars in the universe.  It makes a person wonder how we could possibly be the only ones.


11/16/2004  8:00 pm  Today we left our anchorage and went into Joe Wheeler State Park Marina.  Deanna came around 10:00 am and picked me up.  She invited me to come to her " Red Hatters " group.  But since she isn't over 50 she was wearing a pink hat and lavender shirt.  We got to Florence Marina early to help set up and get ready for the ladies to come.  It was good to see the marina again.  I really miss that place.  About 20 ladies came to the meeting and they were wearing their purple clothes and red hats.  Deanna also arranged for some entertainment.  The Sharp Sisters sang some wonderfully inspirational songs, did some dancing, and had showed us their clever sense of humor.  We all enjoyed a lunch prepared by Ron.  After lunch we were  surprised by a visit from Elvis !  We all really enjoyed that.  When the meeting broke up Deanna and I went shopping and ran into Pitty Pat and the three of us went to Logan's for a couple of drinks.  Deanna drove me back to Joe Wheeler and I thanked her for a wonderful day.  I did find out what those black ducks were.  They are coots .  They are kind of like ducks but their not.  I am still trying to get a clear picture of them and the loons.  I hope I can get one before our trip is over.  This has been a great day.


11/17/2004  10:00 pm  We played golf today at the Joe Wheeler golf course.  The weather was overcast but no rain.  We played 18 holes and then went back to play the back 9 again.  We just love the 14th hole.  Mike Davis caught up with us here.  We first met him at Pick Wick and have run into him off and on ever since.  He stayed with us in Florence.  He is quite the conversationalist.  We took the Harley into Athens and had supper at "Catfish Cabin."  They have the best hushpuppies.  All in all it was a great day.


11/18/2004  8:00 pm  This morning Greg finished working on the damage and got a coat of primer on it.  He is feeling much better about it.  We also met Jade Howe, Harry Carlip, and Katz , another live aboard couple.  They are heading for Florida and are taking their time getting there.  We couldn't put off leaving for Bay Hill any longer and we finally got underway.  Mike left early afternoon headed for Decatur.  We said our good-byes.  Greg and I left a little later and headed for Bay Hill.  It was a gloomy day and looked like rain.  We got to Bay Hill and unloaded the bike before we went to our slip.  As soon as we got tied up it started to rain.  We plugged in and connected to water.  I started some laundry and Greg cooked hamburger patties on the grill.  We made an early night of it.


11/19/2004  11:00 pm  Today we borrowed a truck to go to Decatur and pick up the Penske truck.  We were going to take the Harley but it was still raining.  When we got back we loaded all the stuff that we had in the kids room, like bike stuff and golf clubs, and my hooking stuff.  I started cleaning the kids rooms and straightening them up.  I finally got to meet Sandra, of Sandra and Steve Johnson , our new dock mates.  She is a blast and made me my first hypnotic martini.  It was fabulous.  I had put on a crock pot full of chicken tortellini soup and invited her to have supper with us.  Steve was in Chicago until late so she came by herself.  Sandra and I ran into town to pick up more supplies for the hypnotic martini's.  We drank, ate, and laughed until late.  It was a good day despite the rain.


11/20/2004  11:00 pm  It was another gloomy day but that was ok.  I worked on cleaning the boat and Greg loaded more stuff into the Penske.   We visited with Steve and Sandra off and on.  Steve showed Greg the new sanitation system they have on their boat.  I would love to have one like it.  Greg showed Steve some lighting tricks.  The four of us decided to go out to supper.  They knew a sushi place in Madison.  It was fantastic.  They had the sushi on little boats that floated past you and all we had to do was pick it off the boat.  Greg even got into eating sushi.  I loved it.  We had a great evening.  Greg and I feel really good about leaving our boat in their hands.  I know they will keep a good eye out for it.  I got more pictures of the coots but never got a good picture of a loon .


11/21/2004  11:00 pm  We headed for home today.  We got up early and finished loading the rest of our stuff into the Penske.  Greg gave Steve the key to the boat just in case they needed it for anything.  They joined us for breakfast in Athens and we said our good byes.  Greg and I both don't like that it is over.  I hope we can make lots of return trips to Bay Hill over the winter.  We really had a great time.  What a way to start our new life.  We headed for Frankfort, KY to pick up Greg's mom and then home.  We finally got home about 9 and the dogs were thrilled to see us.  It is good to be home again.  We pick up the kids on Monday and Tuesday.  Now we have to get ready for Thanksgiving.