Archive for October, 2010

October 11-24 Two weeks on Terra-Firma

Wednesday, October 27th, 2010


We docked in a little town 1 1/2 hours west of Nashville named New Johnsonville for 2 weeks while we rented a car & drove to Tryon.  We were able to get caught up on some business & socialize (imagine that!) with friends & family.  We spent time with Trip’s parents as well as many other friends.  Highlights included celebrating our friend Cee Cee’s 50th birthday with the birthday girl as well as Ron, John & Danae.  It was great to be able to include a hunt breakfast & catch up with our many hunting friends as well as being able to take in the annual “Shukin N Shagin” night at FENCE.  After a week in Tryon we went on our annual hiking trip to Snowbird Mountain Lodge in the Great Smokey Mountain National Forest with our friends Maude, Don & Phyllis.  That is such a treat with the leaves changing color & being able to enjoy the lodge, with wonderful fires, games and gourmet food- a very special place!  We then headed west & capped off our time away with a long weekend in Nashville, a place we had never been to.  It really is an enjoyable city with a great historic downtown & many beautiful parks.  We stayed in the convenient Church Street/West End area & were able to walk the dogs at Centennial Park which boasts the only full size replica of The Parthenon in the world.  We got to some great restaurants & had seats on Saturday night to the Grand Ole Opry.  We are not big country music fans but they really put on a show.  Featured singers included Blake Shelton, Trace Adkins, Jimmie Dickens (89 years old) & The Rocky Top Boys.  We then drove back to New Johnsonville & boarded “Tally-Ho” with our wonderful crew (Steve and Summer) who had gotten alot done aboard to begin our trip south to Mobile.

October 6-10 Leaving St. Louis & on into Tennessee

Wednesday, October 13th, 2010


We left the St. Louis area & cruised past the famous Arch heading south on the Mississippi River.  Our first lock was our worst experience out of the many locks we’ve encountered.  It was full of debris with tremendous current.  Captain Steve got us through unscathed except for torn fender covers, a minor fix.  Amazing barge traffic with the largest being a tug pushing 42 barges, all tied together, larger than a football field.  Also, great sights of old paddle wheel boats, some now turned into casinos.  Our first night was spent tied up to a group of old barges at Hoppie’s Marina in Kimmswick, MO.  We got a lecture from Fern (Mrs. Hoppie) about what to expect heading south.  Floating logs, major barge traffic, huge whirlpools, strong currents & no marinas for the next 300 miles….  The old town of Kimmswick was very interesting with 200 residents & 40 historic buildings in the National Register.  Another day on the mighty Miss with all her sights brought us to Diversion Channel, a safe cove off the river.  We lowered the tender, “Little Ho”, & ferried Dylan & Dugan to the muddy shore for some relief.  The next day we experienced the ferocious whirlpools & made it safely to a left turn up the Ohio River, a real relief.  The Ohio brought us past the town of Metropolis, home of “Superman”, with a Harrah’s Casino on shore.  Another night of anchoring out found us in the Cumberland Island Towhead, where the Cumberland meets the Ohio River.  The next morning we locked through a major lock that brought us 57′ higher & into Lake Barkley, a really beautiful reservoir.  We stayed at Kentucky Lake Dam Marina & encountered a huge bass fishing tournement on our arrival.  Kentucky Lake is “houseboat heaven”.  The vessel next to us was a houseboat over 20′ wide & 110′ long with 6 staterooms and a slide off the stern, something everyone needs!?!?  We cruised down the beautiful Kentucky Lake that had been dammed so there were old buildings still visible jutting out of the water & into the Tennessee River with amazing Fall foliage.  Tally-Ho docked at Pebble Isle Marina in New Johnsonville, TN (an hour from Nashville) where she will stay with our crew for 2 weeks while we return to Tryon for some foxhunting, visits with friends and family, our annual hiking trip to Snowbird Mountain Lodge in the Great Smoky Mountains & a weekend in Nashville on the way back to “Tally-Ho”. 

October 2-5 A long weekend in St. Louis

Tuesday, October 5th, 2010


Even though we had been to or through St. Louis several times we never really enjoyed it like we did this time.  We visited the famous “Arch” (the tallest monument in the world) & the Lewis & Clark museum below it.  Very informative about the famous expedition of Lewis & Clark, settlers moving west & the Indians we treated rather poorly.  We toured downtown & saw the orginial Missouri capital.  A visit to the Anheuser-Busch brewery was really interesting since the tour included the Clydesdales & the great old historic stables they live in.  Several of the buildings are included in the National Register of Historic Places.  We were so happy to be able to spend an evening with an old friend of Trip’s from school days in England.  It had only been 30+ years since he had seen her.  Anne & her husband Harry are still very involved with horses & Harry is a world renowned bronze sculptor.  One of his works being the larger than life Lewis & Clark likeness below the Arch downtown & along the Mississippi River.  One of the other highlights of our weekend was an afternoon at the Missouri Botanical Garden, considered one of the top 3 in the world with the largest Japanese Gardens in North America!  Really spectacular. 

September 27-October 1 Cruising Chicago to St. Louis

Tuesday, October 5th, 2010


After a great time in Chicago we set about the task of lowering our overall height for the 2nd time to get under what will be the lowest bridge (19’8″) on the entire “Loop”.  We were able to get our bimini & mast down to 19’6″.  It will be close but we decided to keep our fingers crossed & go for it.  We left Chicago & went down the Calumet Sag Channel to the Illinois River.  Captain Steve carefully waited until another boat’s wake settled down & slowly glided under the bridge with 2″ to spare.  Whew!  After that it was back to several locks which dropped us several hundred feet from Lake Michigan to the Mississippi River.  All the other bridges were some form of draw bridges & went up magically as we approached.  As beautiful as the Illinois River is, it has very different facilities to tie up at night than we enountered in the first half of our trip.  One night we tied up in the oldest abandoned lock on the river, built in 1872, in Henry, IL.  Seemed more like Mexico than the US.  Another night was simply tied to an old barge, loaded with lumber, outside of Beardstown, IL, a town that time forgot.  Tally-Ho screamed “where am I”?  We saw amazing sights including huge flocks of American White Pelicans & schools of Asian Carp, leaping out of the water in our wake as we approached Peoria, IL.  The weather was idyllic & we entertained all the barge & tug captains by sunning & reading in the chaise lounges on the bow.  Our Captain & 1st Mate, Steve & Summer, decided the Illinois River captains had never seen this before.  It was interesting to see beautiful farm land & houses built on stilts to accommodate the periodic flooding.  In Grafton, IL we docked by the confluence of the Illinois & Mississippi Rivers with the Missouri flowing in just down stream.  Amazing granite cliffs on 1 side with lowlands on the other.  We docked for a long weekend in Alton, IL, just outside of St. Louis.  The entire marina (buildings, docks,pool, etc.) are floating to be able to raise up as much as 30 feet during flooding.  Alton is a great little town with dozens of antique shops & fine restaurants.  A pleasant surprise.