We’re are now doing a style of cruising I have named for my great friend Pat B. Harris.  Here’s how it works: 1) Leave at dawn; 2) Go as far as you can as fast as you can; 3) Repeat until destination is reached.  This is necessitated by the fact that Chattanooga is really not on the Loop — it’s 250 miles up the Tennessee, which means a 500-mile side trip total.  That’s about as much as Memsahib used to do in a year.

Also we spent too much time touristing in Chattanooga and then got caught in Lake Chickamauga for two days when the Tennessee was entirely closed to traffic for a 2,000-boat crew regatta.  The Head of the Hooch is one of the biggest rowing events, if not the biggest, in the world.  So now we are really hustling south, doing 60 and 70 mile days, a lot for an old girl like Memsahib. That means leaving at first light, John’s favorite time of day, since between the switch to standard time and coming back to central time, it now gets dark at about 4:30.

Twice we decided to press on and come in after dark to marinas we had been to before and that have a straight shot in from the river through deep water.  John is excellent in these situations, since 16 years of video game playing has made his coordination between telemetry and the steering wheel flawless.  Also helpful is the huge LED lamp used in fire rescue work (Vulcan Streamlight) that Molly got me for my birthday.  We can pick up a buoy at almost a quarter mile.

The weather has warmed up some, but we are still pretty much locked into marinas so we can turn on the heat.  We’ll be anchoring more as we hang a left tomorrow and head from the Tennessee into the Tombignee Waterway, a series of canals, rivers and lakes that will take us 450 miles down to Mobile.

The Tennessee has been a wonderful surprise.  It’s a spectacular river running through beautiful country with virtually no navigational challenges.  Next to Canada and Chicago, it’s my favorite part of the voyage so far.

Tennessee River Gorge is spectacular going upstream or down

6 Rms Riv Vu

Decatur, AL — this is where they put the Meow in the Mix

 

Colors are at peak along the Tennessee

Colors are even brighter down by the river in the lower areas

Ran into Hennick the German journalist again in Florence. Still can’t believe he crossed the Atlantic and has almost finished the Loop in this boat.