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Anchorages, Marinas and the Stowaways

God promises to love me all day,
    sing songs all through the night!
    My life is God’s prayer. (Psalm 42:8 The Message)

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Intuition Diaries: Cumberland River

October 24, 2018

Old Lock No. 6 anchorage

We left Defeated Creek Marina to head further down the Cumberland River, planning to find an anchorage 36 to 50 miles down river. The Defeated Creek Marina is nestled between a large campground and a picnic area that overlooks the shore of the inlet of Defeated Creek. I walked over to a beach area, and enjoyed the sunny afternoon, while Kokomo and Les relaxed at the boat. When I came back, I made us a dinner of beef stroganoff and noodles with a side of fresh pineapple, carrot sticks and cucumber slices. After dinner, I did a load of laundry, and wrote the previous blog post. It was nice to have free wifi at the marina, although they didn’t have a shower house, which meant improvising with warming up some water and washing my hair in the sink.

So far on this trip we have been alternating a marina stop with an anchorage stop. We like both options for different reasons. The amenities of a marina usually include a place to pick up ice or other sundries, a hot shower and free wifi. Sometimes they even have a courtesy car, if we need to run to pick up some groceries or an item we forgot to pack.

The beauty of the anchorage, a place where we anchor out or tie up to a remote dock, is the solitude. The Cumberland River used to have several locks and dams, but the upper section called Old Hickory Lake is mainly recreational now, until you get down to Gallatin, TN. Les had noted an anchorage called Old Lock No. 6, where we could tie up the boat for the night, and have easy access to shore for the dog, and stretching our legs.

We never know if a place will be just okay or fantastic or even magical. This was one of the magical ones. We pulled up to a pristine, yet primitive park like setting. A very nice fire pit, with firewood stacked nearby, if you wanted a campfire. Someone had left votive candles along the lock wall on the mooring cleats. And there was an old path up the hill paved with hand hewn stone. We each took turns exploring the path, and I planned to light the candles as the moon rose above the river.

We arrived around 2pm, and had plenty of warm sunshine to enjoy for the rest of the afternoon. Les did some work, while I read a book. And then I couldn’t sit still, so I decided to bake a pumpkin cake using our Omnia stove, a special pan for baking on top of the stove. (I had put together beef stew earlier, which simmered in the mini-crock pot on the cruise down the river. (It’s a crock pot that truck stops sell and has an adapter for the D/C outlet.) Dinner for two was served al fresco on the Old Lock No. 6 around 4:30pm. (We tend to eat early and go to bed early, something to do with a sailor’s life, I suppose.) After our warm pumpkin cake, we sat and watched the sun go down.

Les and Kokomo went back in the boat, and I lit the candles to enjoy for a little bit and take some photos. After my photo shoot, I joined them in the boat, and watched the full harvest moon rise, deciding not to take a photo. Instead I enjoyed gazing at the moon out the boat window, while I sat with my art supplies and puttered with making a couple collages, and adding some art work to my eco-paper journal. (Eco-paper making is whole other post, but I made a journal using the papers that some friends and I “printed” earlier this fall.) The pages are sewn into an old book cover, titled “Annals of The Former World,” which I love because the pages are made with fallen leaves and this past year’s garden foliage; remnants of a former world.

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October 25, 2018

Gallatin Marina

We woke to an overcast morning and leftover pumpkin cake. I fried some eggs and turkey sausage, while Les made our pour over coffees. (Of course, we fed Kokomo first. That’s the routine.) Since we were up and going, we cast off the ropes from the Old Lock No. 6, and headed down river towards Gallatin, TN, our next stop.

There was a little confusion leaving the lock wall. Les untied us and told me to drive straight ahead keeping the stern away from the wall, which I did pretty smoothly and without much anxiety. We continued straight ahead and Les entered the cabin. I asked him aren’t we heading down towards Nashville. Yes, he answers. But I’m looking around, and trying to remember which way we drove up to the wall last night. I can’t tell if we’re going upstream or down because the water is so still it’s hard to tell visually. I ask him again, are you sure we’re supposed to go straight. Yes, straight off the wall and then do a 180. Oh, I didn’t hear that part.

Thankfully, we hadn’t gone far, only a short distance before I realized my error. Although, Les did admit he might have left off part of the sentence. I knew my bearings were wrong, but I rely on Les to do much of the navigating. Lesson of the day, while Les is very dependable, it’s okay for me to know the big picture, too. If I were boating alone, I would have done more thinking and checking. Oh, and there’s that GPS map gizmo that shows us where we are on the river. I could have checked that to confirm my feeling that I was going the wrong way.

I’m happy to report that this time, we were having a good-natured conversation about navigation. Maybe we’re becoming seasoned boaters, or at least more gracious with each other. In the past, I would have gotten a little perturbed that our navigational language barrier, once again impeded our progress.

We cruised along noticing that the scenery was a little drab without the sunshine, but still enjoyed spectacular bluffs and smatterings of orange, yellow and red foliage on the trees. The bluffs edge right up against the river at times and the water is deep, so I ask how close we can get to them. Could we get close enough for me to touch the bluffs? Maybe, Les replies.

Along one section Les looks over at me, and asks you want to try to touch these ones. I smile. We carefully pull up, and I take photos, then put my camera down. I touch the bluff, and try to pick some of the little purple flowers, but the stern gets too close, so we pull away. Touching a part of nature that most people just admire from afar gave my heart a little leap. These are the magical moments of cruising.

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We near Gallatin, and I take a photo of power plant stacks and an abandoned boat, then the first rain of the trip begins to drizzle. We navigate towards the Gallatin Marina, arriving to the gas dock to buy some ice. We ask where the shower house is located, after paying our slip fee. The dock hands tell us the shower house was just newly renovated. And good news, the marina restaurant, Awedaddy’s, is open tonight.  While I love cooking on the boat, a night off is welcome.

As I mentioned in the last post, my reading aspirations on a boat trip are usually high. By our third night out, we had wifi again, so reading together fell to the wayside. I read to us over breakfast this morning to catch up a little. And now let me introduce, The Stowaways:

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