Wednesday, October 28, 2009


Keith and Maryann drove from their home in Youngsville, LA, to Southaven, MS, on Wednesday, October 21. The folks at the check-in counter at the Comfort Suites were amazed by how much luggage was piled on their big cart. They obviously haven’t traveled with Maryann before! (She uses the excuse that, since she is a lifetime Girl Scout member, she is “always prepared.”) It rained that evening and the next two days. On Thursday morning, Chauffeur Keith drove Maryann to the Memphis Cook Convention Center for the first day of the Juice Plus+ Fall Leadership Conference, which was titled: Embrace-Share-Inspire. It certainly did all 3! That night Maryann, her good friend Laura Harrell and 4,000 others attended a Prevention Plus+ health seminar with Dr. Matt Brown at the Convention Center. Everyone had a GREAT time and learned lots! Friday and Saturday included classes and general sessions for Maryann from morning till evening. She very much enjoyed seeing her buddies from southern CA and meeting new friends from all over the world. After the Conference Wrap-up, the faithful chauffeur drove a few blocks to the annual River Arts Fest to see what there was to see. The day was cold and windy, so it wasn’t all that fun. Keith saved the day by driving to the Olive Garden in Southaven for dinner. Of COURSE the next day (Sunday, October 25) dawned sunny, dry and warm. After a yummy, hot breakfast, Keith, Maryann and the mountain of luggage piled back into the van and drove to Dream Manor at the Columbus Marina. It felt GOOD to be home, even though the pile of luggage and the many boxes of Christmas decorations had to be transported from the van to the boat. Thanks goodness for wagons provided by the marina! Ah well – they will be ready for the holidays; that’s for sure.

Thursday, October 15, 2009


Oct 14, 2009---Yesterday (13th) Keith and I picked up a rental car and drove 95 miles from Columbus, MS to Demopolis, AL. His big van has been parked there since we began our summer cruising 159 days ago. It has been a great 5 plus months as we boated 2700 miles! We returned to Demopolis and turned in the rental car.
Today (14th) Keith, Maryann and I traveled in the van from Columbus, MS to Youngsville, LA.
It will be quite a change to be home for a while!

Water in the Demopolis Marina is about 6' above normal pool level and still rising. Peak is not expected for a few days and then it will take a while for the water to recede.

It sure is obvious why the restaurant is built on pilings.

A tug in the background is taking on diesel at the fuel dock.

On the north side of the present marina a future expansion is in progress. Huge amount of sand is being removed to create waterways for about 400 new slips. It is expected to take about another year before dock construction can begin.

Beyond the trac hoe a dredge can be seen. Progress is being made toward opening the river access.


Oct. 13, 2009---Heavy rain still in the forecast for Tennessee, Mississippi and Alabama. This means TomBigBee Waterway will continue to rise and the amount of debris steadily increase. Lots of broken trees can be seen floating past the marina at a rate of 5 to 6 mph. It is time to reduce the risk of damaging props. Therefore we are going to keep the boat in the Columbus Marina for about one month. Blog may not be updated very often while we travel by land.

Seems each marina has a flock of canadian geese living nearby.
Perhaps they find plenty to eat and have lost the desire to fly south for the winter.

In the recreation area near the marina a monument pays tribute to two men who were instrumental in making the TomBigBee Waterway possible.

There a lots of boats in the marina.

Video shows water flow at the dam.

Monday, October 12, 2009


Oct. 12, 2009---Light rain this morning. Heard a boat call for downstream lockage at Wilkins Lock. Dream Manor and Sweet Dreams figured it would be a courtesy to the lock if we would join now instead of waiting any longer. Raised anchor and entered the lock at mile 376.3. "Veda L" joined us and three boats traveled together thru the next two locks. Amory lock at 371.6 and Aberdeen lock at 357.5. Each of these three locks lowered us about 30 feet. Just down from the last lock there was lots of barge activity. The tug captains were most courteous and shut down long enough for the three of us to get by them. After Aberdeen we let the Veda L pass us and we stayed with Sweet Dreams as planned. Several side streams feeding into TomBigBee were flowing rapidly and the amount of trash increased. We had to pick our way thru the floating debris. It was a relief to reach Columbus Marina at mile 335. Cruised 41.3 miles today. It seemed appropriate to
reach Columbus, MS on Columbus Day!

Folks along the bank admired the "Dream Manor".

Sunday, October 11, 2009


Oct. 11, 2009---Raised the anchor and traveled about 2 miles to Whitten Lock at mile 411.9. We followed two boats into the lock.

Since the next three locks are not far apart the lock master called ahead to alert the other locks that we would be there later.

Did not learn just what was going on at Whitten lock, but they sure had an interesting crane assembly in place.Lock may require some repairs. Coming downriver this lock lowered us 84 feet. It has the most lift of any of the locks on the Tenn-Tom.

"Sweet Dreams" is the boat we traveled with yesterday. Will likely be together until reaching Demopolis, AL in another 3 or 4 days.

"Gipsea" had anchored across the lake and joined us for the day.

Got in and out of Montgomery Lock at mile 406.7 with no waiting. This lock lowered 30'. Upon reaching Rankin lock at mile 398.4 we had to wait about 1 hour while they lowered a tow with a heavy load of rocks. After another 30' down we hurried to pass the tow. Lock master had suggested we beat the tow to the next lock. At mile 391.0 the Fulton lock was bringing up a tow. Did not have to wait long before the lock was clear. The three pleasure boats got right in and went down another 30'. Thanks to the locks and the tug captains for their cooperation.

We continued another 14.7 miles to Wilkens Lock at mile 376.3 and anchored just above the lock. Bill and Anne from "Sweet Dreams" promptly set their dinghy in the water and took their dog to shore for some relief.
It has been quite a day. Made a total of 37.7 miles in 6.5 hours.

Plan to make 3 locks tomorrow and reach Columbus, MS

As the sun set "Sweet Dreams" was sitting quietly at anchor with Wilkins Lock in the backqround.

Saturday, October 10, 2009


Oct. 10, 2009---Left Aqua Yacht Harbor Marina at 9:30 a.m. Cruised down the TomBigBee waterway 34.7 miles in 6 hours. Chose to run slower today with "Sweet Dreams" following us. Bill wanted to check his fuel consumption at a slow rpm setting of 1030. Worked okay for us too because we made the run using 2.98 gals/hr with rpm's at 1600 traveling 7.7 mph. That is the best fuel rate achieved this year! At mile 414 on Bay Springs Lake we turned port into the well knowm"five fingers" and chose an anchorage in 12' of water.

Shortly after getting into the main channel there were 3 barges full of cut up tires.

About two mles down from the barges is a very nice RV park.
The trees in the park show the fall colors.

There are several spillways with water coming over the top and spilling into the TomBigBee. There is a very extensive levee system along the waterway.


Oct. 9, 2009---Very rainy day. Plenty of wind to keep the boat bouncing against the dock at Aqua Yacht Harbor, mile 448.7. During the day several local boaters came aboard for a tour of "Dream Manor". We attract lots of attention wherever we go! A couple we met at Kenlake Marina August 24th were also tied up on the transient dock in their boat "Sweet Dreams". We had a good visit with Bill and Anne Taylor. They had made arrangements for the courtesy vehicle and invited us to join them for the evening. We drove to Corinth, Mississippi and had dinner together. Then went to the movie theatre and enjoyed a humerous show called "Couples Retreat".
Anne and Maryann pose with a wooden character!

Thursday, October 8, 2009


Oct. 8, 2009---Made 60 miles upriver in 7 hours. Current rather strong at 1.5 mph increasing to 3.0 mph as we got closer to Pickwick Landing Lock. Waited an hour for a tow to finish locking up. We locked up 55' with "Sterling Lady". We met these boaters at Pebble Isle and again last night at Clifton. Unfortunately they had a rope wrapped aroung the prop. Tow U.S. was waiting outside the lock to give them assistance. We crossed into the northeast corner of the state of Mississippi and decided to tie up at Aqua Yacht Harbor since we had not been in that marina on any previous trips.


Oct. 7, 2009---Finally, an abundance of sunshine! After eating rolls at the Gray Heron Restaurant, we said goodbye to our many new friends. Departed Pebble Isle Marina at 9:00 a.m.

Upon reaching the main channel a boat was seen going upriver. In 4.5 miles we caught up with them as they went under the CSX Systems Rail Bridge and State Hwy 70 at mile 100.5. We passed the “Ellie Jane” and continued up the Tennessee River.

At mile 116 Interstate-40 crosses the river.

State highway 20/412 crosses the river at mile 134.8 near the small town of Perryville, TN.
Upriver for the next 5 miles there are several large sand and gravel operations.

Appears one of the barges may have leaks as there is a lot of water being pumped out of the compartments.

An active dredging operation, filling barges with sand from the river bottom. From all the activity this must be an area of quality materials.
At 4:00 p.m. we tied up on the fuel dock at Clifton Marina. This marina is located at mile 158.5 on Roach Creek. Several transient boaters were already there. This was a wonderful day to travel so it was easy to cover the 62.5 miles in 7 hours.
Video clips show sand and gravel operations.
Sounds heard is from water displaced by our boat.