Saturday, September 14, 2013


Sep. 8, 2013---Thought it might be good to make a final note. Believe it or not we got all the packing done and Dream Manor secure. It was about noon when the 4mcgees said their goodbyes and went separate ways leaving Demopolis in the rear view mirrors. Allen and Carol enroute to Youngsville, Louisina. Keith and Maryann on road trip to Montana and then home to Las Vegas. Will resume the blog when we return to the boat. Hope it will not be too long before we are back on the water.
Thanks to the readers who shared comments. It is always great to hear from those of you who are following the blog. Thanks again for riding along with the 4mcgees.

Saturday, September 7, 2013


Sep. 5, 2013---Spent all morning just taking it easy and winding down from the 967 mile boat trip. May not be far in a vehicle, but it is quite a trip on a boat. Afternoon was a trip to the laundry. Got caught up on washing clothes.

Sep. 6, 2013---Keith and Allen drove to Meridian, Mississippi to donate blood at United Blood Services. Maryann and Carol are selecting items to be taken home.

Sep. 7, 2013---Started packing things to the vehicles that are do not need to be left on the boat.
 Covered seats on the boat. Stored some of the outside items in main cabin. Not much too write about, but a busy day just sorting and packing.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013


Sep. 4, 2013---Raised anchor at 6:30 a.m. Eased out of the shallow embayment and headed down the Tombigbee waterway at mile 287.4, continued to Heflin Lock at mile 266. Lockmaster had the gate open for our arrival. Just does not get any better. Water was so smooth the days journey was incredible.  Watched a deer swim across the river. Arrived Demopolis at 2:30 p.m. Took on fuel and returned to assigned slip called home, in Kingfisher Bay Marina at mile 216.7
Not a bad 8 hour day covering 71 miles.
Near top of photo at edge of darker shadow is head of deer swimming.

Lighting not so great. Look close in center of photo just below lighter
colored part of tree and see the deer getting out of the water. 

Seems a must to take pictures of the white cliffs. Railroad near
town of Epes, Alabama. These cliffs are named Jones Bluff.

Co-Captain Keith seems happy with his turn at the wheel.
Perhaps feeling good about nearing Demopolis, AL
ending 967 successful miles.

Crew riding in comfort watching TV.

Taking on fuel at Demopolis.


Sep. 3, 2013---Took on 254 gallons of diesel. Left Columbus Marina at 10:00 a.m. after a visit with "T" and Jimmie. Immediately down from Columbus is the Stennis Lock. Followed a single tow into the lock and went down together. Lockmaster requested we leave lock ahead of the tow, since we would be traveling faster. Continued down river 27.9 miles to Bevill Lock. Apparently getting prepared for closure on September 5th some work was already in progress. A large Coast Guard crane was working in the lock. Had a 3 1/2 hour wait before getting down through the lock. Out of the lock at 5:00 p.m. the sun was getting lower in the west. Water was smooth as glass and the evening run was very pleasant. Reached Cochrane Cut-Off at mile 287.4. Slowed down to a snail's pace and attempted to enter the embayment. Ran aground. Had to reposition about 70 feet farther downriver. Much of the opening has a sandbar built up that is just out of sight below surface. Picked the right spot with 6 feet of depth and entered the embayment. Went in until the depth was about 5 feet. Set anchor at 7:00 p.m. and called it a day. Only traveled 47.6 miles today, but it took 9 hours.
Tow followed out of Stennis lock.
Coast Guard working on Bevill Lock.
Loading metal from barge into trucks.
Picking up metal fragments from barge.

Red day markers reflecting on the water in evening sun.
Anchored in Cochrine-Cut Off.

Monday, September 2, 2013


Sep. 2, 2013---Another big 10 hour day. Awakened by hard rain at 4:00 a.m. thinking this is not good. Lucky the rain quit about 5:30 a.m. Started engines, disconnected from shore power and made final preparations for departure from Bay Springs. With aid of flashlights and searchlight we untied from the T-dock and moved out on the dark water at 5:50 a.m. Occasional lightning helped to illuminate the channel markers. Made way to the main channel and entered the Whitten lock. Having called ahead the gate was open. All day the lockmasters were very helpful and opened the gates as we approached each lock. Went through 7 locks in 77 miles in 10 hours. Just below Amory lock about mile 369.5 there were 3 barges floating unattended in middle of channel. Attempted to slowly pass on the right descending bank. Nearly got in trouble as the water depth went to 2 feet and props were digging in the mud even though it was still about 30 feet to the bank. Lucky to get back in channel and go around the barges on left descending bank. Stayed very close to barges and got past in water depth of 12 feet. West side is sanded in because of work area on east side of river where tugs push barges up against the bank. Prop wash from tugs has narrowed the channel. What a workout today! Arrived Columbus Marina at 4:00 p.m. Glad to be tied up for the night.

Whitten Lock

Columbus Marina office

Before sunset



Sep. 1, 2013---Visiting with other boaters last night we learned 3 locks (Aberdeen, Stennis, Bevill) will be closing September 5th at 6:00 a.m. They will reopen Sept. 14th at 6:00 p.m. This caused quite a change in plans. In order to reach Demopolis, AL by evening of the 4th before the closures it wil be necessary to put in a couple of long days. Departed Clifton at 6:10 a.m. Went up the Tennessee River to Pickwick lock at mile 206.7  and was lifted up 55 feet to Lake Pickwick. Continued to mile 215.2 and crossed three corner spot where Tennessee, Alabama and Mississippi meet. Turned starboard and started down the Tombigbee Waterway at mile 450.7  Will be counting down. Reached Bay Springs Marina at mile 412.2 at 4:10 p.m. after a busy 10 hour day. There were so many boaters on the water it was a challenge to keep track and avoid swamping small boats with the wake created by Dream Manor.

Saturday, August 31, 2013


Aug.31, 2013---For those who are following the travels of 4mcgees, here is the latest plan. Had great visions of going north to St. Paul, MN or somewhere on the upper Mississippi River. With all the delay and headaches from generator problems we are returning to Demopolis, AL. It is getting late in the boating season and there are land things to be done. Also starting to cool off in Minnesota. Will tackle the upper Mississippi another year. Today covered 62 miles in 8 hours up the Tennessee River to Clifton Marina. Many boats on the river kept us busy watching people play. All types of watercraft going in all directions. Looked as though everyone must have gotten their boats started for the Holiday weekend!
Homes on bluff for river view.

Common sight all day.
Boats gathered together on sandy beaches. 

Saw lots of things being towed today.

Personal Watercraft were plentiful.

Boats near huge pile of sand recovered from
main channel by dredging.

Playing and sunning. This will be a day of sunburns.

Cliff dweller!

Friday, August 30, 2013


Aug. 30, 2013---Nixon Power Service, generator specialist arrived at 7:00 a.m. After numerous checks of the various components the control board was next in line for consideration. Low and behold one of the wiring harnesses on backside of controller was barely connected. It was too loose to make contact and came completely unplugged when controller was moved. Generator tech said "can we be so lucky that would be the only problem"? Sure enough when properly plugged in the generator ran fine. Some lessons are simply expensive. However not having to buy parts was a blessing.
Control board shows engine has run 1616 hours.
Behind this board was the separated connection.

Generator housing reassembled.

Keith is preparing to set dinghy in the water.

Thursday, August 29, 2013


Aug. 29, 2013---Another day studying on the generator. Pictures suggest it is open for surgery.
Good place to stop and wait for the technician to arrive in the morning.


Aug. 28, 2013---Not much to say this day. Decided it would be a good time to change oil and filter on the generator. Still anticipating it will run sometime in the future.
As sun sets at Pebble Isle Marina
it is good that Dream Manor is plugged
into shore power.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013


 Aug. 27, 2013---Installed new water pump belt and new alternator belt on the generator. Tested and installed new fuel pump. Figured fuel pump would solve the problem. Not so! Aggravating generator still refuses to run. Spent entire day trying to determine the problem. Will have to sleep on it and perhaps tomorrow will be better.

Quietly docked at Pebble  Isle Marina.

Monday, August 26, 2013


Aug. 26, 2013---Disconnected electric fuel pump on generator. Made jumper wires to connect directly to the battery. Found pump runs but will not pump diesel fuel. Used courtesy van to make a trip to Paris. That's Paris, Tennessee! Stopped at Paris Winery for Maryann to taste a few choice samples. Must have been good as she purchased several bottles. Continued to Enterprise & rented a vehicle. Had lunch at Subway. Tried two parts stores attempting to locate a fuel pump. Returned to Pebble Isle Marina and made several calls before someone could identify the pump part number needed for the generator. Ordered from NAPA.   
Paris Winery

Field of grapes being harvested.

Very nice foliage in the flower garden.

Sunday, August 25, 2013


Aug. 25, 2013---Departed Green Turtle Bay Marina at 9:00 a.m.  Went 1 mile up Cumberland River and crossed over to Tennessee River. Went up river to Pebble Isle Marina. It was quite windy for half the day. Great time for sailboaters. Saw more boats today than had been seen all together in past two months. Apparently everyone realizes the "fun in sun season" is about over. Sailboats, houseboats, speedboats, pontoon boats, personal water crafts and various other boats were plentiful today. Wind let up about noon and the water became vary smooth. Pleasant 74 mile journey. Arrived Pebble Isle Marina at 5:45 p.m.  
Sailboat towing PWC.

Houseboat towing pontoon boat.

Another colorful sailboat.

Spotted this tug about 5 miles ahead of us.
Traveling nearly the same speed as it took about 40 miles
in 4 hours to overtake it.

Dream Manor basking in the evening sunlight at
Pebble Isle Marina.

Saturday, August 24, 2013


Aug. 24, 2013---Planned an early start today because of all the tows waiting to get through Lock #52. Knew there would be some waiting time. Attempted to start the generator. Tried various things and several attempts. Beastly contraption absolutely would not start! Knowing the house batteries would run down before day's end, chose to return to Green Turtle Bay Marina on Barkley Lake. Went back up the Ohio River 11 miles and turned starboard for channel to Cumberland River. Enjoyed a peaceful return to Barkley lock. Lockmaster nearly had the lock ready by time we arrived. Lifted up 57 feet to Barkley Lake. Went a mile and turned starboard to Green Turtle Bay. Pumped out waste tank and settled into a slip by the marina office. Most important thing was connecting to shore power to get all the batteries recharged. Traveling up river it took 7 hours to make 42.7 miles.
Sunrise on Ohio River at Paducah, KY
Reflection resembles a cross.

Gates opening to Barkley lake on Cumberland River.
Lock is a mile from Green Turtle Bay Marina.

Friday, August 23, 2013


Aug. 23, 2013---Had some final errands today. Picked up a few more supplies. Of course laundry has to be done at opportune times. While driving a rental it was a good time to wash clothes. Turned in the rental and had Enterprise drive us back to the boat. Walked to Shandies for lunch. Rain showers this afternoon made for good napping
Shandies located at street level in C.C.Cohen building

Looking down Broadway at opening in sea wall.

Dafford has painted many sea walls in cities along
the rivers. In our travels we have seen a lot of them.

Working on this scene.

Beautiful display of Paducah history.

This mural represents locks common on Ohio River.
. Giving generator a good test. Will travel Ohio River tomorrow.