Wednesday, December 16, 2015

October 27 - November 13, 2015 ::: Fort Loudoun, Tennessee, to Madisonville, Louisiana

From Fort Loudoun the trip plan to Chattanooga was revised due to the presence of a tug pushing six barges.  SONATA after refueling at the Fort Loudon Marina, some 400 plus gallons of diesel, remained overnight.  During the night the tug with its six departed the Fort Loudoun lock and headed south, the same direction SONATA was to travel.  We made the decision to pass the tug on its way to the Watts Bar Lock, however, we arrived at the Watts Bar Lock as the tug was working his barges down through the lock in multiple lockdowns.  The lock master allowed SONATA to lockdown while the tug was moving barges on the up side.  In order to remain ahead SONATA continued past the Watts Bar Lock on to Chattanooga ... arriving at about 2300.  The tug with its six barges spent the next day moving through the lock just above Chattanooga.  We would have had to wait for a day to finally make it to Chattanooga.

From Chattanooga SONATA then moved with haste on to a few stops between Chattanooga and Grand Harbor.  At Grand Harbor we remained two days and met up with MANANA to continue down the Tombigbee Waterway.

Departing Grand Harbor we had to wait for the fog to lift.  Once we could see 500 plus feet we were underway for Midway Marina.

On way to Midway Marina we went through locks in the fog and when the fog cleared to allow a pleasant journey to Columbus.

Prior to arriving in Columbus Charlie made a phone call to one of his college roommates he had not seen in ... many years.  Tom Coleman called back and Tom and his wife Francis McLean joined us for dinner in Columbus.  Francis and Charlie attended the first twelve years of school together in Jackson, it was a grand time for many walks down many memory lanes for the three. 


The phone booth that has been observed in the many trips down the Tombigbee ... remains along the riverside.  It remains "out-of-service"?  We had a beautiful white egret follow us along the way down the river and spotted an eagle perched in a tree as we continued South.

Continuing down the Tombigbee SONATA passed the "White Cliff of Epes".  These cliffs follow the name of the nearby town of Epes which was known as a transportation and business service center.

Bobby's Fish Camp.  A legend along the river.  A couple of floats alongside the river, with some power added, a fuel pump, and one water faucet.  We had six boats tied up for the night and enjoyed a catfish dinner prepared in the restaurant.  We all departed the next day ... down the river toward Mobile.

The river twists and turns.  You can travel 15 miles on the river and only proceed three miles south.  Little fellow needs to be straightened out ... if you want to be efficient.

In Mobile we stayed at the Dog River Marina.  The restaurant across the Dog River opened just to feed our crowd.  A wonderful evening with MANANA and AMERICAN PIE.  There were two other boats crews that joined us for dinner.  


 The next day we were off for Gulfport, the Rigoletts, and Madisonville.  Gulfport has a new marina as a result of the hurricane destruction.  A well built marina and a nice visit.  Charlie's family vacationed here when he was a kid.  

As we departed Gulfport a weather front passed over us and the dolphins ran alongside the bow.  A nice trip as had by SONATA.
After the front passed over and the dolphins departed we continued West behind a tug and its barge.  We passed through the CSX railroad bridge and the mouth of the Pearl River to spend one night at the Rigolets Bait and Seafood Market Marina.  A quiet stay ... no other transient boats in the area.
Following the one night stay in the Rigolets we crossed Lake Pontchartrain to the Tchefuncte River and the town of Madisonville, Louisiana.  A quick two day visit, we then departed via Delta Airlines on Monday the 16th for Virginia; a Virginia Thanksgiving to be held in our Admiral's Landing Condominium in Portsmouth, Virginia.

October 15 -27, 2015 ::: Knoxville


Bonnie became a Soap Maker's assistant and she and Brandi made over 200 bars of soap for Brandi to sell for Christmas ... Quite an involved process but, oh, the wonderful scents and ingredients!

The view from Brandi's front porch with the mountains in the background is always so beautiful and peaceful.

Ivan, Taylor's boyfriend, Taylor; Ivan's parents, Mark and Sharon; Raquel, Taylor's BFF, and Brandi joined us on a  Sunday afternoon cruise for a stretch down the Tennessee River and back to Knoxville.

Jonathan, Brandi and Taylor came over for dinner the night before we departed on our trip back down the Tennessee to the Tombigbee Waterway.

We say goodbye to  Knoxville on a rainy  Tuesday morning having enjoyed fun times with family and friends ...