Saturday, October 9, 2010

Tennessee River

Our trip down the Tennessee River was very enjoyable.  Full of great scenery, beautiful waters, less tow barges and really nice people everywhere we went.  We anchored out all week long and felt like this was exactly what the trip would be like. 
This is an anchorage in Cane Creek where half of the railway bridge was taken down and they were building a house over the tracks. 

On the other side of the entrance to Cane Creek was an abandoned dock.

We went from hot sunny days to really cool evenings. It didn’t stop the kids from fishing though.  We popped bubbles to keep our energy going and stay warm while we were fishing.

It turned into a dance party and it really scared the fish away.

A homemade river paddleboat passed by one afternoon. 

Jaxon takes his school work very seriously.

Ryann with her usual dress attire - a life jacket.  The kids have never complained about putting it on, we’re so lucky.  It’s automatic just to grab them before coming out of the boat. 

The rock formations were found in various forms all down the river way.

Morgan lost her tenth tooth. She was very concerned that the tooth fairy might not find her that she left a note in her journal for her.

The town of Clifton was a day stop for us. Waiting for the fuel truck to arrive, we biked into town. There are a lot of historical stops down the river and battle sights for the Civil War.     

Waiting for the fuel truck at the marina we put our hooks in hoping to catch a keeper…Ryann found these fish eggs to study. She’s not afraid to pick up anything.

We saw a lot of animals down the river.  There were a dozen cows right by the water and soon after Craig spotted a fox and then what looked like a coyote. 

Extreme Carnival has been going on all this week that includes several imaginative games that Morgan and Ryann put together. Craig and I have attended every night, buying our tickets, playing games, earning a punch card to turn in points for prizes in the end.  When homework is done for the day or there’s a study break, it’s the first thing they want to do.  

Every morning there’s been thick fog that’s burned off by 9:00 am or so.

Leaving our anchorage in Swallow Bluff there were two goats on the island finding warmth in the morning sun.

The Pickwick Lock held us up for over four hours. Luckily we were able to tie to a “cell” and have some fun catching fish.  There were fishermen everywhere, but we were able to catch two big catfish. The girls each reeled in one and they were pretty heavy so it was exciting.

Craig is chief in charge of getting the fish off the hooks. We’ve been fishing everyday now, but haven’t kept any. Our latest task has been catching grasshoppers for bait...the fish love it (and the kids love catching the grasshoppers)!

Ryann and Jaxon by the “cell” we were tied to.  We were able to fish, make dinner and talk to some local fishermen before it was our turn to lock through.  The Tennessee River trip south is considered upstream so our locks have felt so different (filling up the chamber with water now).  

Ryann loves to takes her little bare hands and rip the nightcrawlers apart.

Exiting the lock into Pickwick Lake there were some of the most beautiful large homes on the water yet. 

As we anchored in Dry Creek for the evening with our Looper friends in “Satisfaction” we saw yet another beautiful sunset. 

Ryann reads to Jaxon everyday from her school books.  They are so close and can connect on so many different levels.  One minute they’re playing pretend, another gaming with Nintendos, reading books to coloring or singing and dancing.  She insists most days on teaching him his schoolwork too.  He trusts her and they seem to be the best of friends. 

I’ve been captaining the boat a lot more these days.  Now we’re heading upstream at a slower pace, no logs to dodge and tows to contend with.  It’s peaceful and great scenery including my “boat boy” Craig (hehe) that scrubs the boat while underway.  Complete with his hose in holster (using river water). 

The Wilson Lock and Dam pictured here is the largest lock we’ve been through. Raising us 93’ you can see to the left of the picture what once was a double lock system used long ago. 

It seems that blue herons/cranes like to hang out at the locks a lot as we see them everywhere (must be good fishing/eating).  Pictured here are four (Morgan spotted the fourth one on the far right).

During this trip it seems that ALL of our routines have changed.  One thing is consistent…every time we tell the kids that a lock is coming they head for the bow of the boat.  They’ve made up a dance routine and song (luckily we have a great captain that doesn’t mind the chaos on the front of the boat during a time where he needs to be communicating with the lock, following the signals, contending with currents, etc.).  However, once we’ve tied a midship line to a floating bollard the kids sit down and enjoy the ride.

Between the Florence and Joe Wheeler lock we all (except Jaxon) took the opportunity to cool down in the refreshing water for a quick swim.  The heat has been intense, but finding ways to cool off has been easy!