Monday, October 31, 2011

October 21-30, 2011 . . . "Grand Canyon" and Chattanooga

Upriver from Ditto SONATA passes Painted Bluff as we enter the southern end of the Cumberland Plateau.

Passing downbound tug WALKER pushing 16 barges is a gentle reminder that the economy is way down. On our prior trip up the Tennessee the river was busy with tugs and barges . . . now they are a rare site.

Thru the Guntersville Lock and on to our anchorage behind Goat Island.

Another anchorage graced by God's magnificient beauty. The evening and morning was only disturbed by a passing fisherman or the gentle breeze of a bird.

One of the many herons we see along the way.

In the background behind the Jackson County Park and Marina is the never completed Bellefonte nuclear power plant which was started in 1974.

After 23 years of faithful service the port engine shut-down-solenoid has decided to quit. A replacement has been ordered, received at Brandi's in Knoxville, and will be installed there. Must now shut down the engine by hand . . . what a great boat SONATA is, continues to be, all working well.

Thanks to the internet and a call to Rick (866-790-6464) at a new solenoid was ordered, shipped, received, installed in minutes and all is well. Ordered two solenoids at $91.00 each #1502 12L6U1 B2S1.

Into the Nickajack Lock and Dam we lock through with the tug BAKER and its scrap metal barge; the heron watches from the upbound gate; we then depart for our overnight anchorage next to Little Cedar Mountain.

Anchorage and on up to Chattanooga in the "Grand Canyon" greatly enjoying God's masterpiece of color that a camera just cannot capture:

Drawing near to Chattanooga SONATA passes the Chattanooga based tour boat, SOUTHERN BELLE making a down river "leaf" tour.

First looks at Lookout Mountain in Chattanooga.

The riverboat DELTA QUEEN is moored across the river from SONATA. SONATA is shown at the Bluff Docks, fourth boat back. Several loopers are with us at the dock.

It was great to have Brandi and Taylor come from Knoxville to join us for the week end in Chattanooga. A weekend of shopping, eating good food, movies, and a tour about the town.

Friday, October 21, 2011

October 15-20, 2011 . . . To Joe Wheeler and Ditto

The Natchez Trace Bridge over the Tennessee. The Trace began as an Indian trail from Natchez to Jackson, then extended to the northeast to Nashville. In 1934 Congress determined to preserve the Trace with the construction of the Parkway.

Into the Wilson Lock for a 95' lift. Arrival at the top of the lock and then exit once the gate is lowered.

After the Wilson Lock we were facing the Wheeler Lock so we could stay at Joe Wheeler State Park . . . but, before the park we determined to anchor in Six Mile Creek, before the Wheeler Lock. A beautiful evening followed by a slight fog in the early morning.

The Wheeler Lock and Dam . . . in, the lift and then out, all without problem or any complication. Another wonderful day on God's earth.

Joe Wheeler State Park for four days. When we checked in and walked back to SONATA we were surprised by passing the vessel C HORSE, Howard and Diana Cole. We met them in Ocean Marine, Portsmouth, just before we started the 2007/8 Loop. Then again for our first Looper Party in Deltaville; and again in Peterborough, in Florida, and now again in Tennessee. Bonnie and Diana played on the water. Dinner on board SONATA (oops, sorry Howard the photographer, Charlie, took the picture too close). Dinner with Howard, Diana, and Jerry from SWEETGRASS. A very relaxing and enjoyable stay.

The Brown's Ferry nuclear generating plant . . . the world's largest in 1974.

Bonnie at the wheel on our way to the Ditto Landing Marina.

Just outside Ditto Landing Marina; we have arrived completing our day's travel, free overnight if you purchase 100 gallons of fuel . . . we can do that.

The next morning we had a little fog . . . and waited until after breakfast to start our travels to the next lock and anchorage. God has provided us with such a beautiful, changing gift.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

October 10-14, 2011 . . . Road trip to Madison, mini-family reunion

On Monday the 10th Mary Ruth and Bud came by Grand Harbor and picked us up for the ride to Barbara's home in Madison. Tuesday we enjoyed the Stockett's home and food and on Wednesday we went to Jackson and lunch. From left to right: Charlie, Bonnie, Barbara, Bud, Mary Ruth, Nicholas, John and Dorothy.

The lunch location was just south of the Old Capital Building.

Thursday we were all packed into a SUV and off to Mt. Carmel.

John had "his" stone prepared and it has been placed next to our mother's grave.

We sat on our parent's tombstone and had Bonnie take our picture; Charlie, Dorothy, Barbara, John, and Mary Ruth.

In preparation for the trip down to Mt. Carmel Charlie attempted to locate, William Odie Bonds, the fellow in charge of keeping the cemetery. An internet search for his phone number revealed Mr. Bonds, died on October 3, 2011. His relative, R. I. Landers, 3092 Hamburg Road, Roxie, MS 39661 601-384-5485; and his wife, met us at Mt. Carmel to show where Charlie's 8 grave plots are located. As it turns out Charlie's are one grave site to the right of William Odie Bonds. Four immediately to the right (skipping one plot), and then the other four immediately under the first four, a block of 8. William Odie Bonds is buried next to, Odie Lee Bonds and Willie May Cole Bonds.

John drove us back to SONATA berthed at the Grand Haven Condo/Marina. And, after one night aboard he waved good-bye to us and returned to Virginia. The plan is he will join us again after Thanksgiving.