Aug 6, 201202:34 PM
Swing Set: Cruising Full Time
We left our anchorage behind Burns Island on the upper end of Guntersville Lake with intentions of traveling about half of the 75 miles to Honeycomb Creek, where we wanted to be late Friday afternoon or Saturday morning to meet up with David and Jeanie, the couple we met at The Docks at Goose Pond Marina on the way up.
Let me tell you that the trip down the lake yesterday was one of the most pleasant we’ve had in a few days. There was a nice breeze blowing on our bow all day that made for cooler temperatures on the flybridge. There are few homes on this stretch of the Tennessee River, and we found it refreshing. The mountains are tall alongside the lake, and in spite of more industry than we’ve seen lately, we both thought it was a scenic trip.
It was a good thing there was a breeze, as it was still hot. We stopped a couple of times along the way and took a dip behind the boat, just shutting down the engines long enough to get wet and get out. We’re running low on sandwich bread but had enough to make sandwiches for lunch one last time. We can always resort to a hearty cup of soup in our stainless mugs for lunch as we cruise. We did that a couple of days ago, and we liked the change. It was mid-afternoon when we decided to go ahead and cruise all the way to Guntersville in one day. It would make for a long day, but it would give us a whole free day near the town to sightsee a little and maybe pick up some things we needed for the weekend, namely beer.
We passed the entrance to Goose Pond Marina. In the picture, you can see the narrow channel through the weeds that grow in the lake here. I mentioned them on the way up but didn’t get good pictures.
Just past the entrance to Goose Pond Marina is the channel cut through the weeds to get to The Docks, a nice restaurant that we stopped at on our way upriver. Another spot we didn’t get a picture of earlier. I’ve learned to charge the camera battery more often.
I made us each a small cocktail for an early happy hour in celebration of our decision to cruise late into the afternoon. We don’t need much reason to celebrate, as you might have gathered. We were still celebrating, and on our second cocktail, when the head wind we had been enjoying all day turned into quite a gale. The lake is very wide in some spots, and the wind can really whip up some waves. Nothing like the Great Lakes or anything, but white caps are something we don’t see much of, so it was exciting. Rosie asked me if I was scared. I said I wasn’t. She said she wasn’t either. We might be too dumb to be scared, but whatever the reason, we’ll go with it.
Holly wasn’t too scared, either. Here she is looking rather relaxed as she waits for Rosie to return to the bridge after a trip down below. We got a few sprinkles, not even enough to zip up our new zippers on the bridge enclosure. I kept an eye on the weather radar, and most of the bad weather was going around us.
We were going to go on past the town of Guntersville a few miles to Honeycomb Creek, but I saw a nice potential anchorage in Short Creek, which is just past the Guntersville State Park. The park itself is under reconstruction due to a tornado last year, but the uninhabited cove we chose to drop our hook looked just fine. We sat outside until the sun went completely down, and we didn’t even turn on the air conditioning last night to cool down the cabin.
On Friday morning, after breakfast, I addressed some minor mechanical issues, and then Rosie and I left Holly in charge and went to explore. Our first stop was Guntersville Marina, where, under a threatening sky, we pulled in with our empty water jugs and a bag of trash. We were just walking up to the marina office when the proprietor came down to meet us. I asked Allen if they had a parts department, as I was going to get a spare 20-amp circuit breaker if they had one. He said they didn’t have a parts department, as they just order parts as they need them for their service department. I then asked if we could dispose of our bag of trash and fill up our water jugs, to which he gave us permission to do both.
My Internet search of a grocery store led me to believe there was a market just behind the marina, but I was wrong. I had my wires crossed, and Allen told me that the market I had mentioned was a couple of miles down the cove. I asked if there was a dock near there where we could tie up the dinghy and walk to the market, and he said he had a better idea. Allen gave us the keys to their courtesy vehicle and let us drive to the store. He even declined my offer to fill it up, because he had just done that.
The “market” turned out to be just a liquor store. The man running the counter looked at us like aliens when we asked about getting some bread. “Bread?” he asked.
“Yes, bread. Like a person would make sandwiches with,” I said.
“We’re a liquor store. We don’t have bread,” was his reply. They were only a liquor store, but they had plenty of racks full of pork rinds and bags of potato chips, and when Rosie asked me if we were going to get some snacks there, and I said, “No, this is a liquor store, so we’re only going to buy some liquor.” Well, we did also buy a 12-pack of Coke.
We went to the gas station next door and got a precious loaf of Bunny Bread and some chips at Yukon Gold Rush prices and drove back to Guntersville Marina. We could have driven to a grocery store further down the road, but Allen was nice enough to lend us a vehicle and we didn’t want to overdo it.
When we got back, we thanked Allen profusely and promised to write something nice in our blog, so here it is. Running into nice people like the ones at Guntersville Marina is only one of the great things about our travels. If you are ever through this way, stop in there.
We took the dinghy back to the boat and got this picture of Swing Set all by itself in Short Creek. We think this is a very pretty cove and are glad to be here. We unloaded our purchases and gathered up Holly for some more sight seeing, and possibly lunch somewhere. When Holly saw her leash and knew she was going in the dinghy, she was ecstatic. The leash means a walk, and she really likes a walk. It’s something rare for her.
It started to sprinkle on us as we cruised up the lake past the state park. The devastation was evident from the tornado, but the park was obviously being rebuilt. I was looking for a “Bait and Beverage” store that showed up on our search for a supermarket, but when I saw it, I was thinking what was for sale in there was mostly “bait,” and we turned around. We went back down towards the town of Guntersville and towards another marina across the lake from Guntersville Marina that we had seen on the way upstream. The marina turned out to be the Guntersville Yacht Club and was for “Members Only." They had transient dock space, and there were two very nice boats tied up at them, but honestly, I would have to be hard put to tie our boat up at the broken down docks there. They probably wouldn’t allow us in there, anyway.
We shot back across the lake to the municipal docks, and there was a family walking back to their cruiser that was tied up there. I asked them if they had just come back from lunch, and they said that they had and told us where it was, just a couple of streets over.
As it was lunchtime for us, we clipped Holly to her leash and started our walk. We passed the 336 Cafe”and walked the entire length of the business district there. Old Town Guntersville is very picturesque, there are lots of antique stores and small clothing shops. We didn’t see any bars, but I had to wonder about the number of bail bonds scattered around the town.
We walked back to the 336 Cafe, and Rosie went in to see if we could sit outside on the patio with Holly. Not only were we given permission to dine outside with Holly, we were invited to come dine inside. We know how she barks at people, so Rosie politely declined the offer to sit inside, as the place was packed with customers.
We took a picnic table on the patio, and I raised the umbrella, as it was starting to sprinkle again. Holly and I waited while Rosie went in to order. Holly sat next to me quiet as a mouse until Rosie came out with our food. Holly got her own cup of ice water, and while we enjoyed one of the best smoked ham and bacon club sandwiches we ever ate, Holly lapped on her ice water occasionally but didn’t fuss or beg for any of our food. When folks walked by on the sidewalk, she looked but didn’t make a peep. I think she might be sick. No, not really. But you should see her walk on her leash! During the whole walk, and especially on the way back to the dinghy, she pranced alongside me, but I keep her on a short lead, like she was in a parade. We get a kick out of her.
We were both full as ticks, but I didn’t want to go back to the boat just yet. On my search for supermarkets, I saw where there might be a Piggly Wiggly just around the corner from where we were, but under the bridge and in the back of a huge cove just downriver. We cruised under the bridge, and as we approached the back of the cove, we came upon a vision similar to what the Spanish Conquistadors must have experienced the first time they laid eyes on the Aztec temples. Rising up from the foothills below the nearby mountains was not only the Piggly Wiggly, there was a Dollar General, a Goodwill Store and a place called Fred’s. I don’t know what Fred sells, but I wanted to buy something there.
When I asked Rosie if we shouldn't perhaps tie up the dinghy and go on over to the Piggly Wiggly, I could tell that she was not as enamored as I was to get to the grocery store. I was about to resubmit my request when the Mercury outboard began to make that sound it makes when something is grabbing at its ankles, and I looked over the side of the dinghy to see the giggly weeds poking their heads up just inches under the waters surface. The prospect of getting trapped in the clutches of the giggly weeds brought me back to reality, and I decided to turn the dinghy around and get back into deeper water. Thoughts of a trip to the grocery store became secondary to having to drag the dinghy across yards and yards of shallow water to get back to the channel.
Once the bass boats quit making trips back to the backwaters of Short Creek, we had a quiet night after a nice dinner of frozen fish that we got back at Wal-Mart in Florence. I won't be buying fish again in a package that only shows a picture of what's inside.
On Saturday morning, David and Jeanie showed up, and they had another couple with them, Tracey and Sandra. They tied up and, in spite of an iffy weather forecast, we had a real nice time with all of them. David and Jeanie brought us a case of Bud Light, and we put it to good use, along with a whole bunch of neat stuff to munch on. We talked about meeting up the next morning, but Rosie and I weren't sure if we could make the call.
Sunday morning came, and the weather looked promising, so we emailed our friends and told them we'd meet them near where they keep their Baha, Nauti Behavior, on rack storage at the Sunrise Marina in Honyecomb Creek. By noon, David and Jeanie were pulling up, and we had another day of floating, sipping on cold ones and telling stories. I had mentioned on the previous day that we were missing having fried chicken for dinner, and they broke out a big bag of KFC and all the stuff that goes with it. We had a real nice late lunch, and they even gave us some extra chicken we didn't get to.
David and Jeanie left, as it looked like some rain would move into the area. They make frequent trips to Florida, so we are pretty sure we'll get to see them again.
Took a few days for me to get caught up with the blog. We had some long travel days, and our anchorages have had spotty Internet. I'm writing this as we're running down the river near Bluff City, Ala. I'm doing a quick proof read, so there may be more mistakes than normal. I hope you get over it.