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Our dream of cruising on a boat Around the Great Circle Loop and beyond has the drawback of leaving our friends and family far away from us for an extended time. This blog is intended to keep you up to date on our travels and adventures, and encourage you to join us for some part of our trip as we make our way around the waterways of the eastern US, Canada, the Bahamas and the Caribbean. Click on the archived posts below to follow our journey. Our dog, Ben, has been helping us write this blog since he has more time!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

My Tennessee Walker

Hi All...Ben here in the Tennessee River,
After our big rendezvous at the Joe Wheeler State Park with the Loopers, we decided to keep on going up the Tennessee River to see the pretty fall leaves and check out the town of Chattanooga, Tennessee. The first night we stopped at Riverwalk Marina.

Crazy marina was plopped down on an island right in the middle of the river with a bridge connecting it to the land on both sides to a little town called Decatur, Alabama. I was resting peacefully on watchdog duty (not sleeping, mind you), while Izzy and Jeff were at the Hard Dock Cafe that evening with Jan and Nicoline from "Blue Arrow". As I was daydreaming about squirrels, the boat door opened and in came Mike and Debbie Grayston - our CA neighbors that had visited us in the Chesapeake Bay last spring.

I barked real loud so they'd know I was on duty.  They patted my head and gave me a good scratching, dropped off their luggage in the v-berth and I gave them directions to the Hard Dock Cafe so they could meet up with Jeff and Izzy.

We're in the south now,

and the people talk funny around here and  use some terms I haven't heard before. One of them is something called a "Tennessee Walker".  Now I know what that is...it's Debbie! She takes me for walks at least twice a day.

I hope she stays and becomes the Mississippi Walker and the Florida Walker too. 
I think Mike is the "Tennessee Driver",

cause Jeff likes to take it easy while Mike steers,

and sometimes I can convince Debbie to take me to my "Yard"

The next Day we went to Huntsville, Alabama in the pouring rain and cold. That's where there is a Space Center that Mike and Jeff were hot to visit. We got a cab to take us there and I took a lot of pictures to show you.

Here's Jeff in front of something that looks like my old igloo dog house

This is the bottom end of a big rocket that's hanging on the ceiling.  Hard to get everyone in this picture, so Izzy helped me. That's Mike and Debbie, Jeff, and Nicoline and Jan from "Blue Arrow".

I had to practically stand on my head to get this one, so Izzy helped me again.

I think Nicoline is catching up on her sleep inside this capsule

Debbie is ready for takeoff.  I think that must be Mike above her...?

Jeff and Jan tried their hands at flying the plane in this simulator.

Jeff crashed with a big explosion.

The Shuttle is a lot bigger than Izzy.  She's standing under it in her yellow shirt trying to look as big as the plane.

This is the rear view of both the Shuttle and Izzy.  Now she's glad the Shuttle is bigger.

Mike, Jan and Jeff looked at this Stealth for a long time.

I usually go to the nose end first.

 We came home early because there were heavy storm warnings and a tornado watch. Jeff wanted to put out more lines so the boat would be sure to stay tied to the dock.  Good idea.  Everyone came to our boat to ride out the storm and have tacos. 

The tornado passed us by without any problems but left us with a cloudy morning to leave Huntsville, AL and travel to Goose Pond Colony Marina in Scottsboro, AL. 

Here's Mike getting fenders and lines ready for the lock.

The leaves were turning pretty colors of red, orange and yellow

And they were even better when the sun finally came out

Cocktail time on the flybridge

before a dinner of shrimp and grits, steaks, and pecan pie at The Dock restaurant across the street overlooking the river at sunset.

We decided to stay at Goose Pond another day so we could borrow the marina courtesy car and go to Walmart.  Izzy needed groceries, Jeff needed a haircut before Izzy started giving him a pony tail again, and  I needed wine, beer and dog bones.  I'm not allowed in Walmart, so I gave my list to Mike and Debbie.  They made some great selections in the wine and beer department and wheeled their cart to the checkout stand.  The check out guy looked at them and asked, "What day is today?"
Mike foolishly said,"Sunday."  To which the check out guy said,"Sorry, we can't sell beer and wine today". 
Ho hum...if Mike had only said "Monday"...  He'll know better next time.  

There's a nice nature trail along the river where we walked and looked for squirrels. 

That night everyone went out for Mexican food at Margarita's.  Here again they ran into the issue of no alcohol sales on Sundays, but there was lots of laughing and some tales of a wild car ride over the curb and some "diet cokes" that were pretty strong!  I'm glad I was safe and snug in the boat. 

We left Jan and Nicoline at Goose Pond the next day, so they could have their engines fixed while we went on up the Tennessee River to Chattanooga.  We crossed from Alabama into Tennessee somewhere along the way.  Maybe that's what Mike and Debbie are looking at in this picture.

I don't know what it looks like, so I couldn't help.
Pretty soon we came to a lock, and I got a chance to go down to my yard.
Tough to get any privacy around here.

This long legged guy appeared to own this lock.  He flew around in there the whole time we were in it.  I guess he though we would take a fish or something.

My favorite time of the day..."Five O'Clock Somewhere"- I usually get cheese and crackers

Izzy took a lot of pictures of the pretty leaves on this winding Tennessee River on our way to Chattanooga, so bear with me for a few more...I think she likes the colors. 

I have to admit, it is a pretty spot, but I'm not ready to give up on returning to Irvine to chase the ducks around the lake someday.

Another night we stayed in Hales Bar Marina where there were some cute little  floating cottages all lined up across from our boat.  No one was in them that night, but the  marina guy said there was a real big party there over the weekend.

We must be close to Chattanooga

When we got to Chattanooga we parked the boat right on the river walk in front of the Aquarium
where Jeff and Izzy and Mike and Debbie spent a few hours looking at fish.  I couldn't go but I didn't mind...fish aren't my thing.  They had a nice view of the river from there.  Our boat was parked just past that big bridge.

Chattanooga has lots to see and do near the river front.  We went up an Incline Railway to the top of Lookout Mountain

where we saw a diarama of the Civil War Battle in Chattanooga, and Jeff shopped for flags.

From the top of the mountain we could see three different states, and the winding river way down there that we had traveled on.

There's also a deep cavern in the mountain with a big waterfall inside called Ruby Falls. Jeff and Izzy went in to see it.  Looks like a giant shower. 
We said good bye to Mike and Debbie here in Chattanooga and they flew back to California.  Izzy said we'd be seeing them there in Irvine when we drive back for Christmas  in December.  Yippee! I'll get to see my old Woodbridge Lake again soon!  Hope the ducks will remember me.
I'm going to take a nap now and dream of my old neighborhood.