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Swing Set

Aug 20, 201204:34 PM

Swing Set: Cruising Full Time

Upper Tenn-Tom Waterway

(page 3 of 3)

As we neared the entrance to the old river, we came upon two guys in a bass boat, obviously trying to start it. The motor was raised to the trailer position, and a person at the helm was cranking the ignition. The motor would occasionally bark back and sputter, but not start. I asked them if they needed to be towed somewhere, but they declined the offer. We then asked them how to approach the entrance of our intention, as the guide we have was not too clear on it.

There were two pontoon boats full of afternoon revelers on a sandbar at the entrance to the anchorage we were pulling into, and we still had 24 feet on our depth gauge and were heading for the spot in the river where the guide said to plunk the anchor, when nearly everyone on both pontoon boats started waving their arms in the international signal of "don't go there." Guide or no guide, when the locals get that animated about whatever it is I'm about to do, I quickly become a firm believer in whatever it is that they are currently believing in.

I yelled over if I should not go any further up the river, and they were all in agreement, so we dropped the anchor nearly, right across from them, and we didn't even stop drifting when one of them invited us down to his house "down the river in Aberdeen," to continue the great party they were having. I was about to ask if we should bring our own duct tape and chloroform, but instead just admitted to having a long day and we were going to just take it easy. We were asked if we "knew where we were," and I answered that, yes, we knew where we were. I wanted to add that we also knew what time it was, but figured it wouldn't wash too well under the circumstances.

Once our "company" left, we had a quiet evening. By the way, one of the pontoon boats had to tow the disabled bass boat down the river. Maybe they should have tried to start it in the lowered position, but what do I know? There was no TV reception, so we played a game of Scrabble and turned in early. The picture at the beginning of the blog is what we woke up to and we were ready to get on our way.

As I pulled out into the waterway channel, a barge was making way downstream. I called them and politely apologized for ducking out into the channel ahead of them and asked it I should wait for them to lock through before we did. The captain said that we would be there long before them and we should get on ahead.

After mile 336 going down, there are plenty of anchorages, but we found out that the guide we are using is out of date, to put it mildly. It was written in 1995. We transited four locks today, still doing 50 miles, and we intended to stop earlier, but the anchorage we found in the guide was all but dried up. We traveled another 20 miles and pulled into a better spot, but it must be said that the guide promised 18 feet of water in the slough we are in, but when we weren't even 1/4 of the way up in it, I called it quits when we got down to 4 feet. If some of our river friends back on the Alton Pool think about how just our section of the river has changed up there in the last 10 years, consider that the information in this guide is 17 years old.

Before I end this blog entry, I have to share the only picture I wound up taking this afternoon. We have it on good authority that Superman owns this particular cabin along the banks of the Tombigbee. We understand he is shy about changing into his swimming trunks.

We are on a good hook in some very quiet water. I think we will stay here for a day and recharge our batteries. The last two days have been enjoyable, but tiring. Tomorrow, we'll clean Swing Set up some and I'll modify the cover on the radar monitor to hold one of our books we are using.

I know we are miles from any civilization around here. We don't have any TV reception, but we have Internet. Last night, we were just upstream from a somewhat large town and there was little Internet service. I'm glad to be getting this post in and hope you enjoy it. But honestly, this waterway has to be seen to be appreciated. Don't let descriptions of it being boring sway you into avoiding it.

Now, I'm going for a late bath and Rosie is going to hold alligator watch for me...whether there's alligators here or not.

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