We have pretty much closed the first half of Memsahib’s Voyage, 2,921 miles so far in 5 months.  We did the same distance in about 5 hours flying to LGA from Mobile, but that’s cruising.

Warmed up a bit after Pickinsville, and we spent a night on the Tenn-Tom in a beautiful anchorage called Tombigbee Ox Bow just below Howell Heflin Lock.  I thought my northern liberal constitution might go through some sort of lock on its own in a place named after Senator Heflin, but I guess my memoryof his memorable Watergate grilling of John Dean and others kept my blood pressure under control.  John Stennis Lock was a bit stressful, too, but the Deep South has been such a friendly experience for Memsahib and crew that politics can be put aside.  (If they ever name a lock after Mitch McConnell,  it might be a different story.)

We were going to leave the boat in Mobile for Thanksgiving, but ran out of time 200 miles short of our goal, so left her in Demopolis, AL, a very popular spot since it is just above the “no hurricanes” line.  The marina is brand new, with a great clubhouse/laundry/lounge facility and really great docks.  It’s paid for partially by the fact that Demopolis is a huge towboat refueling facility and these days you can make a fair amount filling up a 30,000 gallon diesel tank.

They are actually expanding the facility the Alabama way — marking off a soybean field and digging her out.  When I marvelled to my Demopolis friends about this approach compared to the decades of permits and hearings that would take in CT, they explained that the DEP, EPA, Shoreline Commission and Wetlands Authority in Alabama is pretty much a guy named Buck who is somebody’s nephew and somebody else’s grandson, and who takes these things pretty casually.  I think I saw Buck over at slip E7 in the new marina.

Demopolis and the marinas all over Alabama are full of retired Yankees, because it’s fairly warm in the winter, it isn’t high-rise Florida, and because things are just plain cheap.  We went to the fanciest white-tablecloth restaurant in Demopolis and he top item on the menu (a superb rib-eye) was $18.95.  There was no way to spend $50 for two.  But then again, the wine list was somewhat limited — red or white.

Great to be home for a while to see Molly, Fredi and friends,  even though I get lost in our house.  Lots of work, too, since we finally sold it and are doing a lot of packing while we have the chance. Sad to see piles of trees everywhere, and when I went down to the shore to drop some things off, the extent of the water damage even in a “mild” hurricane was frightening.

Breathtaking — on warm days, why go to a marina when you can stay here for free

You can’t see the club and pool, but this is a really nice place

Marina is getting even bigger as they dig out this field

Pumps do 7,500 gallons per hour, but it still takes all night to fill a tow