Wednesday, May 27, 2009

PANTHER CREEK

May 26, 2009---Filled the fresh water tank and pumped out the waste tank. Washed the boat and took a few pictures. We left the marina and traveled about 4 miles to Panther Creek on the Alabama side of Lake Pickwick. In the cove there was a good place to anchor in about 9 feet of water with plenty of room for the boat to swing about the anchor. There are a few items on order to be shipped to Grand Harbor. We plan to stay near for a few days. Carol caught the first fish! Size is not important.





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VISITING

May 25, 2009---Spent much of the day visiting with Fred & Joan Myers. Fred is a well known author in the boating world. He is an avid boater and has written several books on traveling various inland waterways.

This was the last day of the Memorial weekend and the marina stayed rather busy most of the day.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

DINGHY INSTALLED

May 24, 2009---Finished mounting jack stands on the stern platform to support the dinghy. The project is complete!




































It is quite busy at the marina even though intermittent rain storms cause folks to hunt shelter as best they can. Pontoon boats are very popular as they carry several people at one time. Activity in front of the docks has kept our boat rocking all day. Boats of various sizes and description run back and forth making continuous wake. Toward evening the sunshine broke thru the clouds like a reward to all the boaters.




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SAVANNAH, TN



May 23, 2009---Made a driving trip to Savannah Tennessee to pick up various supplies. The route took us over the Pickwick dam. After Savannah, went south east to Waterloo Alabama. Since we plan to be in Alabama for a good part of the summer we all purchased Alabama fishing licences. Made our way back to Mississippi thru Iuka and returned to the marina.

Windy conditions kept many of the weekend boaters off the water.

DINGHY

May 22, 2009---Replaced the oil pressure sensor on the generator. This should correct the problem of the generator going down on LOP when there is no mechanical pressure problem.

Received our dinghy! Two of the maintenance personnel at Grand Harbor Marina unloaded the equipment from the shipping truck with a small fork lift. With their help we put the 11 ½ foot-long “Achilles” hard bottom boat on a trailer and inflated the air chambers. We installed the 20 HP 4-stroke Honda engine on the transom. After putting oil in the engine and some gasoline in the fuel tank we were ready to go. Using a golf cart equipped with a trailer hitch, the trailer was towed to the boat launch and with some excitement Keith & I put the boat in the water for the first time. The Honda engine started immediately and we made our way thru the marina to the “Dream Manor”. Installation and adjustment of the lifting harness took a few tries before the boat was balanced. It was quite a thrill to use our davit for the first time! It worked great as the boat was lifted from the water and set on the stern platform. We began installing the supports under the boat. As it was getting late in the evening we decided to stop work and give the ladies a ride around the marina. Carol and Maryann enjoyed their first ride.

MISC TASKS

May 21, 2009---Used the marina’s courtesy car and drove to Corinth, MS for groceries.

May 20, 2009---Removed metal trim around stern platform. 4200 marine sealant was used to seal the top cap seam. The metal trim pieces were re-installed. Hopefully this will stop the water from pooling inside the platform and dripping from the underside thru the center light fixture.

Getting service work done on the Kohler generator just ahead of Memorial Day weekend is not going to happen. Therefore we ordered a new oil pressure senor to install ourselves.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

KOHLER

May 19, 2009---Spent time on the phone getting the attention of Kohler personnel. Still do not have arrangements finalized to get a service person to come to our boat and investigate the problem.

Monday, May 18, 2009

FRESH WATER

May 18, 2009---As we slept the stern anchor had come loose and the boat was turned 180 degrees from previous position. Sure was a good thing the bow anchor held and there was room to turn! The wind had died to a gentle breeze and the sun shined brightly. We pulled in both anchors and went back to the Grand Harbor Marina to fill the fresh water tank. While at the marina a neat little house boat went by. It looks like a duck blind but it is actually a hot dog stand.






We moved up river to a small cove called the "Falls". The wind on Pickwick Lake was brisk enroute to the cove. We delibertly grounded the boat on a sandy/gravel bar and hand carried the anchors to the opposite side. It was quite pleasant out of the wind and facing the lake. Captain Keith looks sharp on the bow.
The boat was made secure and the intention was to spend the night. However the Kohler generater was giving us problems and could not keep it running. Released anchors and returned to Grand Harbor Marina.
Looks like someone finally walked the plank! I was lucky it went to land. Behind Carol in the shadow of the trees can be seen the small waterfall that gave this cove it's name.


RAINY

May 16-17, 2009---Awoke to a downpour on the 16th! Certainly not a day to travel, but fine for indoor games. Played a lot of cribbage. The 17th was so windy that we had to drop a stern anchor to help hold the boat in place. Even with two anchors there was plenty of motion. Another day of TV and games.

AWAY FROM MARINA



May 15, 2009---Spent time with Chip Lucas getting his advice for good anchorages on the Tennessee River. He is Site Manager at the marina and also a captain who delivers boats up and down the river systems. He has vast boating knowledge. We decided to venture away from the marina and anchor in a cove about 1 mile away on a branch of Zippy creek. It was a nice evening with plenty of time to grill some pork chops. You can see a boat in the background with fishermen in search of the mighty bass.

NAP

May 14, 2009---Hung around the marina and washed the boat. Took a long nap! A really tough day for the 4 McGees.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

GRAND HARBOR AGAIN

May 13, 2009---Slept in a little and had a fine breakfast. Pulled anchor at 9:30 a.m. and traveled 36 miles in 3 ½ hours. Maryann exercised along the way. The water is much cleaner and the rolling hills add to the view. A very interesting pattern is created where the water flows over the leve and cascades down a divided erosion control. Looking at the Garmin chart plotter by the fly bridge controls you can see the speed is 12.5 MPH in 17.9 feet of water, traveling north at 359 degrees. Arrived at Grand Harbor Marina on the entry to Lake Pickwick and tied up in the same slip as we were in last fall.. We are still in Mississippi but you can look out the window and see Tennessee on the north side of the Marina. Look east, Alabama is about a mile away. When weather conditions are suitable we plan to travel new territory on the Tennessee River.

FIVE FINGERS






May 12, 2009---What a great day! Left the Columbus Mariana at 6:30 a.m. Out in the channel it was a relief to find very little debris in the water and the current not as strong. Boating had become easier. We caught up with “Pharm a Sea” at the first lock of the day and traveled together through seven locks. Total lift for the day was 264’. The Whitten lock was last and the most single lift of the day raising 84’. Just upstream of that lock at mile 414 we left the main channel to the starboard side. Water depth was greater than 50’ and we had to go nearly to the end of one of the five fingers to find 13’ of water in a secluded cove. We went past an anchored Trawler named “Captain and The Kid” that had left Columbus yesterday. We set anchor at 6:30 p.m. It was a good 12 hour day having made 79 miles.

Monday, May 11, 2009

CONTINUED STAY



May 10 & 11, 2009---Stayed longer in Columbus, Mississippi than originally planned. It has rained every morning and the wind has been brisk. It appears the front has fully passed for now. Hope to continue northward in the morning. We visited with the folks on the "Pharm a Sea" and the "Gold Watch". They also plan to continue in the morning. The proud geese were showing off their little one's.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

COLUMBUS, MS

May 9, 2009---Performing the morning tasks of checking engine fluids we noticed the other two boats were already gone. Leaving our safe place at 7:00 a.m. and turning into the main channel showed nothing had changed. There was still plenty of debris floating down the river. We caught up with the two Trawlers at the Tom Bevill lock (mile 306.8). When the gate opened to let us out there was lots of debris. We had to slide over some of it. The props caught. It took a few bumps forward and reverse to work the beast out from under the boat. I pulled the tree trunk out from under the swim platform by hand. The blasted thing was about 4" in dia and 8' long. As Keith eased forward and increased the rpm's there was no vibration. Whew!--Lucked out.


We again passed the two trawlers. Almost friends, we have come to know the boats by their names: "Gold Watch" and "Pharm a Sea". They were left well behind by the time we reached the next lock. The gate was open at the Columbus/Stennis lock, mile 334.7. Several bass boats passed us by and rushed into the lock. When I entered the lock one of the boats finally moved to allow room. It took me a few trys then to get our boat over against the wall on the starboard side. The anxious fishermen began making remarks about my driving skills and then cheered when the boat was close enough for Keith to secure the line on the floating bollard. When the gate closed behind us there were 24 bass boats in the lock.



A couple of them held onto our boat. They said there was only an hour left before weigh-in is the reason everyone is so anxious. Looking over at the dam side the rushing water could be seen coming thru the control gates. Back to the lock as the gate opened the bass boats rushed out. They seemed glad that we were the last out. Really we were not in a hurry because of weather concerns the decision to pull into the Columbus Marina and spend the night had already been made. It was a short traveling day as we tied up at 1:00 p.m. The Dream Manor looked good from the balcony above the fuel dock. The Gold Watch and Pharm a Sea must have also been concerned as they too decided to stay in Columbus. As I am writing this blog the weather front of concern arrived with a vengence. The wind blows hard and rocks the boats as the rain pours down from the heavens. Looking out the windows into the night there is very black as there are only a few lights visibal at the marina. This is our first night back in Mississippi as we remind each other we were here last November 19th 2008.

HEADED NORTH-Cochrane

May 8, 2009---We took on fuel and said our goodbyes to the great folks at the Demopolis Yacht Basin. Everyone there was very helpful and kept watch on the Dream Manor during times we did not live aboard the last 5 1/2 months. Everything done? Let's go boating.

As Keith maneuvered from the fuel dock into the channel at 9:00 a.m., the dodging of floating debris began immediately. An old rusty hot water tank floated into the marina. We took turns all day steering around as many of the floating old weathered tree branchs as possible. Still an occasional thump told us not all had been missed, and underwater demons were at work. Fred (owner of Demopolis Yacht Basin) refers to all the dislodged materials as "lift bait". When props are damaged he gets to use his lift to pick the boats out of the water to do repairs. (I seem to remember the experience we had last year.) Steering with watchful eye we are hoping to escape any damage.

70.7 miles up the Tombigbee Waterway at mile marker 287.4 we entered an open area out of the main channel near the Cochrane Cut-Off. The water averaged 11' deep compared to the 42' depth in the main channel. At 5:00 p.m. the anchor was dropped into the soft sandy/mud bottom. It proved to be a good spot. The plow anchor dug in and held the boat securely in the steady current. Two other boats chose to anchor in the same area. One we had passed just before the Heflin lock. We waited a short time for them to join us in the lock at mile 266. The lift was only 20' as the river is about 10' above normal pool. This means there is a lot of flood water which accounts for the floating debris. There were interesting sights along the way. The old abandoned trailer house was vacated for good reason! Notice how green the trees are compared to last fall.