Sunday, September 23, 2012

Up the Tennessee River

Days on cruise:  184

Distance traveled:  73.1 miles

Travel time:  7 hrs, 55 mins

Total trip odometer:  4,038

Today marked a couple of milestones: we passed from Kentucky into Tennessee, marking our 15th state since we began this journey, and also passed the 4,000-mile marker! It’s hard to believe we’re approximately 2/3 of the way through the Loop. It doesn’t seem that long ago it began.

We pulled out of Green Turtle Bay promptly at 7:30 before the last of the morning fog completely lifted, but there was plenty of light, though the glare on the made it difficult to distinguish red and green markers from one another.


Late in the morning we traveled under the Eggners Ferry Highway Fixed Bridge, below, still in Kentucky.


Back in January 2012, we remember seeing the photo below of this same bridge. A ship transporting rocket parts ran smack into the bridge, knocking out one of its’ spans which fell onto the ship below. Bet the insurance company wasn’t happy, a captain lost his job, and the span was quickly re-built as no public money had to be found to get it done.


The Tennessee River is one of the few in the country that flows north, meaning we were traveling south on the river, against the current. This has odd implications, such as the usual river terminology of “right descending bank” and “left descending bank” (since north, south, east and west don’t mean much on circuitous rivers) feel backwards. For us, headed upriver but south, the right descending bank is on our left. The river is a mile or two wide most of the way, and has a deeper channel where the “old” (pre dams and subsequent flooding of shoreline) river flowed, and much shallower water elsewhere. So we continue to follow red and green marks here.


There are no locks in this stretch, and not much boat traffic, even on a sunny Sunday. Deciduous trees along the shoreline are just starting to show tinges of Fall colors, and we expect when we come down the river from Chattanooga in a couple weeks it will be spectacular.


There’s not a lot of elevation here. The shore is rarely more than 200 feet high, and usually not that much.


One no-longer-used railroad bridge has had most of its’ span removed, and the abandoned dock and building in the background is from the days before the river was dammed.  We’re told that what you see is actually the fourth and fifth floor of that building!


Late in the day we came upon one of only 3 tows pushing barges for the whole day, but this was the biggest we think we’ve seen since we left Chicago, as it was pushing 4 barges wide by 6 barges long, all tied together. Fortunately the river was wide, so we had plenty of space when the Tow Captain told us to “see me on the Two”, or starboard to starboard.


Our future son-in-law Justin suggested we read a book called “Shantyboat” before we began this journey. We enjoyed it immensely, a story about a couple, the Hubbards, who journeyed 1,385 miles down the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers to New Orleans on a home-made shantyboat in the late 1940s. It’s not really feasible to make that same journey today (locks, dams and commercial traffic being what they are), but we’ve kept our eyes open for the past 4,000 miles looking for a 2012 version of something like Hubbard’s shantyboat. Maybe the boat  below, despite it’s outboard motor, is as close as it gets?


Late in the day we pulled into a long bay off the river to go to Pebble Isle Marina and noticed the sign advertising “hot boiled peanuts”, something we’ve heard about but never tried. Maybe here we will?



Gary said...

I think another milestone has been reached as well, you've been on this particular adventure half a year now!

Ocean Breeze said...

Hope you had a chance to try the fried catfish nuggets at Pebble Isle...the best we had on the trip. Still using the bottle coosie I bought there with very fond memories.