Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Shameless Self Promotion... for a good cause

Back in 2016, I started a book series. Two novels of series exist, and you can find them on Amazon under "Jax Daniels", my pen name. Due to life, I have only written the 2 books, but a third is now underway.

The first, The Dead Man's Deal, has recently gotten some interest. A promoter is putting together a "story bundles" -- 10 books that have the same kind of themes -- and my book got included.

This bundle's theme is "cozy fantasy," meaning nothing horror-y or gory, and when the story ends you feel good rather than traumatized or afraid-to-turn-out-the-lights.

If this is up your alley, I'd love for you to check out the bundle. It's tied to a charity -- when I know which one I'll let you know. Moreover, anything I make from the bundle will be donated as well. That will be to a charity of my choosing, either one for breast cancer (as I am a survivor) or multiple myeloma, (as my father suffers from it). Maybe both!

Anyway, if that sounds interesting, the bundle will comes out Oct 20, 2021, in about a month. If you are interested reply here and I'll keep you informed.

(If you want a sneak peak at the book you can go to the website WinkiWitherspoon.com or flip through the first few pages on Amazon.)

Monday, September 20, 2021

Terrace View to Lenoir City, marina

We also need water. But the only water at Terrace View was on their fuel dock and, well, it was icky. So we only stayed the one night and headed out to Fort Loudoun Marina, just above the lock.

After a wet dog walk and some lattes we headed out. It rained throughout the day sometimes drizzly, other times steady. Despite the weather the views continue to get better, from massive expanses in the lakes to narrow channels weaving between brush-covered rock walls.

We ate at Calhoun's here at the marina.
These ducks were begging for food.
Look close and you'll see fish doing the same.


As we traveled Russ called the marina. Many times. Future boaters note: There's this weird behavior with river marinas that they do not answer their phones. And if you can get a hold of them they'll give you instructions like, "Go to the fuel dock to get instructions." We have heard that a number of times.

This marina was no different. Russ called, left messages. Apparently they did call him back but we were in the lock at the time.

This is the last lock up for the season. It's also the last new lock. From now on we know all the lock from here to Longboat Key.

We hailed the lock on 13. We hailed the lock on 16. Finally we called the lock on our cell and got a response. As we were locking through someone else hailed on 16 -- he answered them right away! Such is our boating experience. The lock was another small chamber but a 72 foot lift! It was impressive.

This is from yesterdays lock, Watt's Bar. 48 feet high. 
You can see the water bubbling as the lock fills. 
Even if FF time, it took a while.

Docking was a bit of an adventure. We had to get instructions from the guy at the fuel dock (rolling my eyes). T5 was our slip number (T for "transient"). The way the marina is laid out it took a bit of wiggling, twisting, and maneuvering down a long fairway to get to the slips. They were, however, unmarked. One on the far side read A3, which make me think we were in the wrong spot. We started to back out when a local chatted with Russ, explaining, no, that was correct. We got docked with about 3 feet under the keel.

From Fort Loudoun Lock (which is a little bumpy) to
our slip in the marina.

We'll be here a couple of nights. Lots of laundry to do after our guest left.

...and I will get ready for a special announcement.

Total lock count: 60

Sunday, September 19, 2021

Grasshopper to Terrace View, marina

I got to say, one of the weirdest things about the rivers is getting packages. On the loop (or anywhere on the east coast) this isn't even a thought. If you need something you'd just look ahead a couple of days and pick a marina, then have Amazon ship there. True, Covid has impacted Amazon's ability to do reliable 2 or 3 day deliveries, but on the rivers there are many, many marinas that just won't let you ship stuff to them. This marina, Terrace View, wasn't on our "boy, we want to go there" list, but they did accept packages.

Additionally, after nearly 10 days of anchorages or walls, we seriously needed to pump out. 

The dinghy dock at Grasshopper.
Russ is in the tender, waiting for me.
We raised the anchor around 8:30 am. Grasshopper was another great anchorage; quiet neighbors, lots of water, easy in and out. Rainy day, all day, so it was nice being inside. 

Watts Bar Lock is the only lock we did, which raised us another 59 feet. We happened to set up for a port side tie (so all the fenders were on the left side of the boat) which turned out to be a great call. There were 3 floating bollards on the port side, and only 1 on the starboard side, and it was right up front, which can be a little turbulent when the chamber fills. I noted it on our Quimby's guide for when we come back down.

Dreary day on the water.
We hailed the lock early, but at about a mile out the lockmaster realized he was prepping the chamber the wrong way. (I heard Russ tell him we were headed UP at least 3 times). So we had a small delay while he flipped it for us.

Watt Bar Lake is the most beautiful we've seen thus far. Lots of little islands and bays. We are jamming our way up to Knoxville, but we'll putter down and take advantage of this pretty anchorages. And watch the fall colors descend on the hills.

At least that the plan today.

Total lock count: 59

Saturday, September 18, 2021

Booker Washington Park to Grasshopper Recreational, anchor

Our guest left us in the late morning, late enough that we didn't want to put in a long day. We started engines around 11:30 and traveled to another anchorage, about 2 hours away.

We stayed in Booker Washington Park for 3 days, and cannot recommend the place enough. Very protected, convenient dinghy dock, nice (and clean) public bathrooms, and friendly people. Right there on the dinghy dock is a bait shop, which made it handy for Jesse to do some fishing.

After threats for rain for days, it finally happened. We traveled and set the anchor in rain. 

We don't mind. We like the sound of it on our roof.

inQuest on the little bay at BTW Park.

Pretty sunrise.

Roiling skies. Got no rain, though.

We spied deer on the bank one morning.

I call this one "Lone Heron."
Blue Herons are quite solitary. They do not 
flock or gaggle or group. Even if there is another
nearby, they are not "together". But...
they are everywhere. From Canada to Florida,
from the Altantic to the Mississippi,
just look around, and you'll see a Blue Heron.
PS. Not the prettiest sounding bird by any means.


Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Chattanooga to Booker T Washington Park, anchor

Jesse will be leaving us Saturday, flying out of Chattanooga. As a result, we don't want to travel too far so we can keep the Uber ride back simple.

But we did got through another lock. This one was a might confusing. It's very small, only 360 feet long and 60 feet wide, so most tows need to break down to get through. Which is why they are building a BIG chamber. All the construction, however, made navigating into and through the lock a bit of a challenge. 

Chattanooga is the starting point for the Trail
of Tears. This fountain marks the very start.
The running waters are the tears. It's also a water
fountain for kids and families. And Jesse, in this case.
Once on the other side we chose to anchor near the Booker T. Washington Park. It's sheltered and has a very handy dinghy dock. We think we'll stay here a couple of nights. It is quite peaceful. Besides, remnants of Nicola are headed this way.

While a short day we changed our recording rate from 1 frame 
every 5 seconds to 1 frame every second. 
As a result, this is the whole day, in 4 minutes.

The above video is interesting around 1:45 where we approach the lock. We were instructed to wait by the railroad bridge and he'd blow the horn when we could come in. Due to the construction it wasn't at all clear where the lock even was let alone how to get into it. I kept asking myself, "How do tows do this?"

Total lock count: 58

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Shellmound to Chattanooga, marina

We didn't try to get a crazy early start today. The next section of the Tennessee was called "The Gorge" and said to be very beautiful. So we wanted to see it, which would have been tough in the fog that started the day. Russ went for a run and we waited a couple of hours, having coffees and breakfast, before we headed out.

Gray misty, foggy morning
There were a couple of small tows we encountered. The only water "hazard" was The Suck. The Tennessee narrows considerably and deepens. We lost nearly a knot in the area and tracked over 125 feet of depth (by the time I got my camera out to shoot our reader is went up to 108). Historically, before this was Nickajack Lake, it was a serious problem. It caused a whirl that spun your boat, then sucked you into the rocks. This characteristic of the river was remarked on by Johnny Cash. For your listening enjoyment: 

Otherwise the focus of the day was on the Gorge. The hills soared into mountains with chiseled rock faces towering high above us. Lots of pics and movies to share.

Lots of vistas

While over "The Suck". It was 125, but I couldn't
take the picture fast enough.

At Chattanooga. This bluff used to hold the foundry.

inQuest on the Tennessee at "Nooga!"

Mostly, ya'll get to see the infamous Jesse!

Passing a tow. Once done, the view gets amazing.

Docking in Chattanooga. So smooth.


Sunday, September 12, 2021

Town Creek to Shellmound Campground, town dock

At the last minute we changed our plans to meet some looper friends in Chattanooga. As a result, we decided to put in a longer day today, and finish the trip there tomorrow.

The anchor came up easy and we headed out early, right after coffees. While the lock was only 54 miles away (and we planned on anchoring right next to it or just above it) there was a decent current against us that grow in strength the closer we got to the lock. Additionally, we lost an hour once we crossed into the Eastern time zone. So the 6 hour day turned into an 8 hour one.

The distant sun
Only one lock. Nickajack. I love saying that! The lockmaster was very happy to get the lock ready. I got the feeling it was a slow day, and he was thrilled to lock someone through. Jesse did the line handling under Russ's supervision there. Next lock I'm gonna let "the boys" handle it and go take a nap.

Bringing up the anchor, sun and fog.
I love the reflection in this shot.
Luckily the lock went smoothly and we docked on a free dock in the campground. We barely fit on the thing, which is about 40 feet long. We got 4 lines on just 2 cleats. Good there's not weather expected.

PS, we're also officially in Tennessee.

Total lock count: 57

inQuest on the Shellmound dock.
We barely fit.