My apologies! I should have posted these next few blogs at least as soon as we got home. Instead, I am doing it after we have been back at the boat for almost a week. Sorry! -tc
Sunday: Today is Tracy’s birthday. Her birthday present was the ticket(s) to see Hamilton in Chicago, but it’s still a special day nevertheless. We know we’ll be staying here at Green Turtle Bay for about a week, so there really isn’t any work that has to get done today on Kailani. So it becomes a day of rest. Duette arrives later in the day and we make plans to have dinner again at the Commonwealth Yacht Club for Tracy’s birthday.
At 6:15 pm we meet at the restaurant and Bill, Paul, Diane, Tracy and I have a nice dinner with Mark waiting on us again. At the end of the meal, Mark brings over a piece of cake for Tracy with a few candles on it and its a nice cap to the meal for her. We return to our boats and Bill says that he’ll be shoving off tomorrow as he really needs to get as far ahead of the cold weather as possible.
After dinner, Paul and Diane come over and we finish watching My Cousin Vinny. We all have a great laugh and turn in for the evening.
Monday: Today is the observed day for Veteran’s Day and Sea Wolf’s refrigerator dies. So Paul looks around for a replacement and decides to stay here for the rest of the week based on the repairs and the weather. The forecasters are actually saying that there might be snow when we wake up Tuesday morning. I hope that isn’t the case because Tracy and I have to get back to Paducah early Tuesday morning for an appointment at the Orthopaedic Institute. We will be taking the courtesy car from Green Turtle Bay and I will pick up the keys before they close for the day today.
We walk over to the Ship’s Store and check out the sale going on in the store. Tracy buys some cleaning supplies and some line for chasing water when it rains. And it’s a good thing that she buys it because as ewe are walking out of the store, the rains start. It’s not cold enough to be snow, so that’s a good thing, plus the rain is not freezing on the docks. But the rains make the rest of the day dreary no less.
At 4:35 pm I walk over to the store to get the keys and all the lights are off in the marina office. The sign on the door confirms that the store closes at 4:30 pm everyday, not 5:30 pm so now I’m in a jam. I need to get Tracy to the clinic first thing in the morning and we don’t have the keys for the courtesy car. Tracy tries to get her appointment changed to later in the day while I try to get in touch with the owner of the marina to see if he can come down and open the office so I can get the keys. Tracy finds out the appointment must stay or it won’t be until the end of November to get another one and I don’t get a response from Green Turtle Bay. So as a last resort, I call up our new Gold Looper friend Byron and he comes over to the marina with his personal car and tells me to take it tomorrow and use it for whatever we need to do and just re-fill the gas tank at the end. He refuses any other offer I make and he just wants to make sure we get our responsibilities accomplished. This is another example of the friendliness and helpfulness found on the loop. He even shows me a way to get around the commuter traffic in the morning to insure that we’re not late for our early morning appointment.
Tuesday: My alarm is set for 5:00 am today so we can be ready to leave by 6:30 am. I get up a bit before the alarm goes off and as soon as the coffee is brewed, I get out of bed, take care of my morning business and walk Frankie. There’s snow falling but the dock isn’t that bad for slippery. I was worried about that for Tracy’s sake with her leg ailing as it is, but I’m comfortable that she’ll be safe getting off the boat and into the car. By 6:35 am we’re driving out of Green Turtle Bay headed back to Paducah and the Orthopaedic Institute. We take it slow on the highway and by 7:20 am we’re sitting in the waiting room for our 7:50 am appointment. Even though we are there early, it doesn’t work out on the other end as it isn’t until 8:40 am that they’re calling Tracy’s name. She’s been real concerned about this appointment because if the MRI doesn’t confirm some sort of trauma, the long term diagnosis could be bad, but when the PA comes in he confirms that Tracy has a herniated disc and a loud sigh of relief fills the exam room. The herniated disc coupled with the lack of agonizing pain gives the PA and Tracy an encouraging level of comfort as to treatments and procedures going forward, so all in all, today’s news is rather great and at least for now, we can get on with our cruising as long as Tracy is comfortable. There is no need for surgeries, long term physical therapy regimens, etc.
So while we have the car, we scoot over to WalMart in Paducah and fill the rear of the borrowed Tahoe to return to Kailani. Once the groceries are loaded aboard Kailani, the afternoon is for staying warm and chatting with other loopers still here freezing. We make arrangements to borrow the courtesy car again after dark to go into town to see the town all lit up for the holidays. We talk with Paul and Diane and agree to go out for dinner to Cracker Barrel, then stop to view the lights. Paul has never been to a Cracker Barrel while Diane remembers them from the days when her family used to go to Florida. So we drive out to Cracker Barrel for their home cooked meals and shopping at the country store. Tracy gets some Christmas shopping done and then we drive thru Grand Rivers to view the lights. The town does a nice job decorating the downtown area complete with carols playing and we take some pictures, then return to the marina for a few episodes of Game of Thrones aboard Sea Wolf. There is a winter storm advisory for tomorrow afternoon into Thursday, so we mentally prepare for a couple inches of snow. I guess we’re getting used to it as this will be the third snow storm we’ve lived thru since moving aboard Kailani.
Wednesday: The morning is a bit cold, but snow isn’t expected until later this afternoon into Thursday, so Frankie gets his walk and we check in with Paul aboard Sea Wolf and he’s still waiting to hear if his propane lines will arrive at the RV store in Paducah today. Tracy goes down into the Galley bilge for a quick inspection of the raw water intake strainer for the air conditioner pump and after a bit of checking and verifying, we turn the Salon AC on, set it to heat and it works! And yes, I really did work on the heater from down there. -tc
Soon the Salon area of Kailani is a toasty 70 degrees and jackets can come off in comfort. With the Salon heated by the on board systems, the little space heaters can now be strategically located in other areas of the vessel for heat and again, Kailani does her work for our comfort and convenience.
By 1:30 pm Paul is getting confirmation that his parts are in and we can take a vehicle to Paducah to pick them up. We get one of the marina courtesy cars and head out in a mild snow. Traffic is rather heavy on the highway due to the wet surfaces, but as we approach Paducah, the highway turns dry and traffic moves slightly better. Soon we are pulling into Youngblood RV and Paul is getting his parts. The guy at the counter has been working so close with Paul, that when he rings up the 5 parts, he also provides a hand-drawn sketch of the installation procedure and gives Paul a 10% discount for his patience and business. We get back in the van and drive back to Grand Rivers. As we’re approaching the business area of town, Paul remembers that he was supposed to pick up pizza for dinner, so we pull into the Village Market because they make pizza at the deli counter. When we walk in around 4:40 pm they let us know that they’ll be closing at 5:30 pm for the weather. I decide to get pizza for Tracy and me and by 5:15 pm we’re walking out of there with our pizzas.
The pizzas are ‘Hunt Brothers Pizza’ and it’s the first time for both of us and the pizzas are quite tasty, warm and hit the spot. Tracy and I download a movie, ‘Django Unchained’ and dig into our pizza. After the movie is over, Tracy has an urge to clean and carpet shampoos half the Salon. I imagine that once that half dries tomorrow, she’ll do the other half of the carpet. We turn in to a toasty Stateroom with electric blanket heating up the bedsheets.
Thursday: There really doesn’t seem to be too much snow this morning, but the sky is gray so there could be more snow before the day is over.
We’re getting close to departing Green Turtle Bay as our plan is for a Saturday departure and a week of cruising to get to Aqua Yacht Harbor in Pickwick Lake for next weekend. It’s certainly doable mileage wise and the extended forecast looks like it will not be a hindrance either. So if we can get to Aqua Yacht Harbor by next weekend, its a possibility that we’ll be able to hook up with the crew of Journey again as they are returning from their home next weekend and the repairs to Journey will be complete. So within a week, we may be cruising again with our great friends, Dale and Merna. They’ll enjoy Paul and Diane too. It’s also entirely possible that we’ll meet up with Bill aboard Duette again between here and there since he travels at a much slower pace and he left here four days ago and has only cruised for two of those days for the weather.
Friday: Today the weather breaks, the sun shines and it’s again pleasant to be in Kentucky! Want to know how warm it is? Bill Gary, the marina owner tells his staff to turn the dockside water back on today! A few loopers take advantage of the weather and shove off heading south on the Tennessee River while Sea Wolf and Kailani remain in port one more day to get some responsibilities completed. Paul is still working with his refrigerator replacement project and he needs one more part from the RV store in Paducah while Tracy has her appointment today with the zero gravity therapy pool at the Revive Clinic in Paducah. So the four of us pile into the courtesy car at noontime and head for Paducah. We drop Tracy off at Revive then Paul, Diane and I go to the RV store then get lunch at Red Lobster. After picking up Tracy we all head to WalMart one more time for last minute purchases before heading back to Green Turtle Bay.
The evening is spent relaxing aboard Kailani, then one more meal at the onsite Commonwealth Yacht Club where we get a chance to be waited on by Mark one more time and we say our goodbye’s to him. He’s been great serving us since last Saturday night. Tomorrow morning, we’ll refill our fresh water holding tank, get a pumpout, and head south on the Tennessee River. We have reservations at Paris Landing Marina in Buchanan, TN for tomorrow evening and it’ll be good to get more miles under our keel.
Saturday: This is it, after a week here in Grand Rivers, Kentucky we are moving south and what a day it is. When I walk Frankie at 7:30 it’s already 55 degrees and sunny. So Sea Wolf is at the gas dock getting fuel and a pump out at 8:00 am and we’re right behind him. After getting Kailani pumped out, Robin and Sandy throw us our lines from the dock and we’re headed for Kentucky Lake. Our destination today is Paris Landing State Park in Buchanan, Tennessee and it’s a cruise of 38 nautical miles south on beautiful Kentucky Lake. Kentucky Lake was formed by the Tennessee Valley Authority with the opening of Kentucky Lake Lock and Dam and it basically took nearly 100 miles of the Tennessee River and flooded it into beautiful Kentucky Lake. As we leave our marina, we turn into Barkley Canal and 1,000 yards later we are turning south into Kentucky Lake with the sun beating down thru the now opened helm windows.
Even though Kentucky Lake is a large expanse of water, navigation thru it with a vessel of our size requires us to stay in the marked channel which is basically, the original river bed of the Tennessee River. It’s so tempting to take short cuts thru straight line navigation, but it would just end up grounding the vessel in shallow water. Also, the whole area is clearly a recreational boaters paradise, but quickly you realize that this recreational area must be shared with large commercial tugs that we’ve been cruising with ever since we left Chicago 650 miles ago! We still have another 650 miles to share also as today is the halfway point in our cruise from Chicago, Illinois to Mobile, Alabama.
We pass Sea Wolf after about an hour into today’s cruise and then we really only see bass boats (gettin in some last licks for Catfish) and two barge/tows today. At 1:15 pm we’re pulling into Paris Landing State Park where we’ll get fueled up at a great price. We pull up to the fuel dock and take on 150 gallons of fuel, then move over onto our slip for the evening. We’ve gone 325 nautical miles using 150 gallons of diesel, so we’re still being very economical with our fuel consumption.
This marina is a beautiful facility with a restaurant on site and also has campground facilities, hiking trails, a golf course, a lodge and the harbor is also home to a Coast Guard Station. Presently there are two work vessels docked there with their decks loaded with nun and can buoys. I suspect that once the strong currents subside, they’ll be out on the river replacing and resetting buoys that have been moved by mother nature from high waters and currents. They’ll have a big job ahead of them this year as we’ve spotted many off-station and missing buoys.
Tracy and I go into the floating dock restaurant and have some fresh cooked burgers and tacos to satisfy our Saturday afternoon meal, then return to Kailani for some r and r until Sea Wolf arrives.
During our lunch we found out that 23 miles away in the town of Paris, Tennessee, there is a 1/16 scale replica of the Eiffel Tower, but alas, there is no taxi service, nor Uber or Lyft. We almost got one of the marina employees to take us there after work, but he said he had a family party to get to after he got off work. Oh well, we’ll just have to see it from Google Pics!
Sea Wolfe arrives and we help them dock right in front of us on the transient pier. Then we all enjoy the rest of the pleasant sunlight and agree to turn in for an early start tomorrow.