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Monday, June 26, 2017

Saturday June 24, 2017. We return to Guntersville, AL

This morning I radioed the Nickajack lock operator and asked about their schedule for the morning before we untied from the pier. If we had to wait, I'd rather do it while we were tied to a dock than when floating around at the face of the lock. Fortunately, the lock master responded  that he had no one else locking through and he could have the chamber ready in a few minutes. We arrived at the gate about 10 minutes later, and entered the chamber. Dakota took duty with me on the forward deck this time. Her regular job for this trip had been to manage the dinghy at the rear of the boat, but I wanted her to see how to tie off to the bollard too.

A quick, uneventful ride 57' down and we were back on Guntersville Lake, 65 miles from our destination at Guntersville Marina. Within an hour of exiting the lock we spotted the first of four bald eagles of the day.

We made good time with the current and arrived at the marina about 3:45, where I motored into our slip with both antennas up. The antennas are (or were) about 3' taller than the roof of our slip. I didn't let it bother me too much though. We had a fantastic 5 day trip on the water with 2 wonderful grandkids that I adore. Thanks Dani and Dakota for sharing your time with us.

Riding in the dinghy was a fun diversion for the sometimes boring "big boat" ride.

 One of four bald eagles that we saw today!

 Dakota did not drive as much as Dani did, but she did a good job when we needed her to.

One of the few eagles on this trip that sat still long enough to get a good picture.

Glenda says:
Last day of this adventure.  After a stormy damp night at the TVA camp, we got an early start.  Both the girls were still in their bunks when we cranked up and headed to the lock.  Dakota got up in time to help papa up top.    It rained on and off most of the morning but by late morning the sun was out.  Dani finally joined us in the pilot house as we watched for various wildlife.  After much deliberation Tom decided to let the girls pull the dinghy along side the boat and climb in.  I let the line back out and the girls enjoyed bobbing along in the dinghy behind the boat for a bit.  We started preparing for arrival since we knew we had a 2 hour car ride home.  We pulled back into the slip at guntersville just before the.  I had been assigned the task of reminding Tom to put down the antennas but I failed to do so.  Both got broken off.  Bad memories get expensive!   But we had a successful trip and I hope made memories the girls will treasure for a lifetime.

In Nickajack lock, ready for the ride down.

About to exit Nickajack Lock on the lower side.

Dani says:
I woke up around 8. We talked  awhile in the pilot house while papa was in the shower. After we just talked. Dakota and I eventually went down to the bunk room and ate a few pieces of candy. Then GG came down to shower so we went to talk to papa. After GG talked to papa he let Dakota and I ride in the dingy while he drove.

Dakota says:
Well today was our last day on the boat trip sadly we had to go back home but we had lots and lots of fun today. I got up early enough to help papa get through the lock in the morning and then we mostly slept the day away but papa eventually let us ride in the dinghy behind the boat which was AWESOME!!(thx papa) we also had to organize our stuff to take back home. I really liked this trip and I hope to do a few more before I'm really a teenager and don't want to go anymore. Which won't happen Any time soon. Until the next.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Friday June 23, 2017. Leaving Chattanooga.

The rain stopped early this morning and a check of the weather indicated we would have dry conditions for at least most of the day. Since we were only planning for 40 miles today, we were in no hurry to leave. We all got up and walked up to Puckett's Restaurant for a HUGE breakfast. The owner was kind enough to give us a bag of ice to replenish the cooler.

The females walked to the candy store after breakfast while I took the ice down to the boat and got it ready to leave. Fluids were checked and the water tanks filled by the time the crew arrived, and we cast off about 11:15 CT.

Dani loves to take the wheel.

The sun was out and the wind was up by the time we left, and running downstream we were moving at about 8 to 8.5 mph. We made 39 miles or so in about 5 hours, and tied up at the same pier above Nickajack dam where were stayed on Tuesday night. We got more rain and pretty strong winds this afternoon, but the girls had helped me secure Genesis well to the steel dock.

Here are some assorted scenery shots of the mountains.

The mysterious log river monster!

We saw lots of ospreys today, but no eagles! Out of 10 trips through the Gorge since 2010, Wednesday and today's trips are only ones when we didn't see multiple eagles. Life doesn't carry many guarantees, though. One of the ospreys put on quite a show for us when she thought we were getting too close to her nest.

First she screamed at us .....

Then she glarred at us in a starring contest ....

Then she turned and showed us her profile (still screaming at us) .."..

And finally she threatened a full frontal attack. We decided to leave.

Glenda says:
Across the river from the TVA campground is a straight section of railroad.  From this side if the the river you can see the entire train from engine to the caboose.  Its a unique perspective compared to the usual, sitting at the crossing seeing one or two cars at a time and not knowing when the last car will come by.  

Dani says:
I woke up this morning to Papa on the phone. Before we left the dock we went to pucketts and had breakfast. It was really good! Papa left before GG Dakota and I to take the ice back to the boat. GG took Dakota and I to the brick couch for a picture. After asking and asking GG finally let go to the candy store. We got a bag to fill up and the lady working there said to fill it up to the top.

Me and GG on the brick sofa

I wanted so badly to go across a bridge that went over nothing that GG took a picture of me and Dakota on it.

                  Even though there was no water Dakota and I played in a puddle.

                        This is the little stream that I played in by the aquarium.

On our way up to Chattanooga I saw this rock and thought it looked like the turtle from the "Neverending Story " and forgot to take a picture so I did on our way back.

This a picture of a Indian statue that Dakota and Abby saw on their trip too.

The wind was blowing and the storm was about to come....I loved it! After this picture was taken I was splashed by a wave because the wind was blowing so hard.

Dakota says:
Today we had to leave Chattanooga and head home but we got to stop for breakfast at pucketts agian before we left. The owner of the restaurant was kind enough to give us 5 pounds of ice for our trip back which we were greatful. After breakfast me dani and gg all went to find the brick sofa that me and abby sat on when we were there last we even stoped at a local cany shop to have some for the trip back. Dani was kind enough to buy a bag for us to share because i didnt have any money with me. After that we all headed to the boat to get ready to leave. After that i pretty much napped the entire way back to the camp ground we stayed at before. Thats about it for today though but we also had some storms but none to bad. A little rain never hurt anyone. Anyway untill tomorrow.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Thursday June 22, 2017 -- RAIN, RAIN, RAIN ! !

Starting last night and going all day today, the remnants of TS Cindy brought a steady rain to Chattanooga. Thankfully though, we didn't get any damaging weather this far North, and it looks like the bulk of the rain will be over in time for us to begin our return trip to Guntersville in the morning as planned.

Last week, when I checked on tickets for the aquarium, I found that Glenda and I could buy a one year membership that's good for unlimited visits for us and any five children, for a full year. The amazing thing was that the membership was less than we would spend on two visits with two grandchildren each time. There are also discounts for the iMax movies, special tours, etc. that come with a membersip. (It's also fully tax deductible!) 

The aquarium was amazing! We went to the River Journey building first, and started at the Seahorse Exibit. I could have stayed right there for hours. The complexity of God's work in the creation of these animals is mind-boggling. They are such a combination of beauty, delicate features, magical appearance and unimaginable design. 

Before we could explore the rest of the River Journey building, an escalator malfunction forced us to move to the main Ocean Journey building while repairs were done. Our first stop there was the penguin exhibit. We learned that these chubby little guys in tuxedos, who don't really look like they should be able to swim, are FANTASTIC swimmers. In fact, they can swim 4 times faster than humans!

All of the exhibits at the aquarium are great, but the Seahorses, Butterflies, and various levels of the River Journey were my favorites. At the River Journey (which we returned to after lunch) you take a LONG escalator ride to the top floor, which opens up to let you walk through the forest of the Appalachain Mountains, where the water flow to the oceans begins. As you descend down sloping walkways, you follow the path of water from the mountains to the rivers, lakes, deltas and estuaries, while looking at all the fish and animals that inhabit that part of the water's journey.

The aquarium visit was planned to keep the children entertained for our full day in Chattanooga, and while I know they enjoyed it too, I think maybe I enjoyed it more than they did!  I could kick myself for not taking the good camera so I could give you a better idea of what we saw, but since it was raining this morning, I left it on the boat. But, with a season pass and 11 grandchildren, I'm sure we will be back!

Assuming the weather is OK tomorrow, we will head back through the Gorge to Nickajack dam sometime before noon. We will probably stay at the TVA pier again, just North of the dam at the TVA campground there. (On an earlier post, I think I mistakenly referred to it as a Corps of Engineers campground). 

Hopefully the eagles will cooperate for our return trip through the mountains.😉

Glenda says:
Wet! Wet! Wet!  I woke up early this morning to the sound of rain.  The aquarium didnt open until 10 so I fixed me some coffee and let everybody else sleep.  Once everyone was ready we collected our umbrellas and walked the half of block or so to the aquarium.  We especially enjoyed the butterfly exhibit.

Dani tried for a long time to get a butterfly to land on her finger. Just as she was about to give up,..... this happened!

These butterflies were BRIGHT blue on the top of thier wings. Thier colors suprised your when theyopened thier wings!

Dani wanted to experience it all.
Stingray petting area.

We enjoyed the morning.  Then ate lunch at Pucketts, just a short walk from the aquarium.  I was beginning to feel a little soggy but not too bad.  We went back to the aquarium after lunch and spent the rest of the afternoon.  Surprisingly we got out of the gift shop without spending any money.  Just took a quick photo op.

We came back to the boat to rest a little but the rain began to slow and finally stopped.  We decided to make the mile walk to publix and get supplies for the trip back to Guntersville.  Of course when we came out it was raining.  So it was a soggy walk back.  Just another one of those little adventures.  
Since they were already wet Tom and Dakota emptied the dinghy.

Dani says:
I changed to the bottom bunk and it helped me sleep better because there was no window.  I was excited to go to the aquarium.  I really liked the touch pools.  I touched a snake and it felt really rough not like a regular snake.  I liked the butterflies but it felt weird when it was on my head.  At pucketts I had chicken tenders and French fries.  I ate all my lunch and part of Dakota's fries.  I was hungry!  I had fun splashing in puddles when we walked over to publix.  On the way back my foot started hurting so it wasnt as much fun.  GG said it was 2 mile round trip.  Now I'm tired.  

Getting close inside a bubble in one of the fish tanks.

Dani in the shark cage.

Dakota says:
Well thankfully we didn't have to wake up at a certain time today except to go to the aquarium which was AMAZING. The whole experience was awesome but the thing that stood out the most to me was the turtle exhibit. Turtles are so cool and how they used to be biger than my arms legth and a half. And how there are so many different types of turtles and tortisises. 

Desribed as a "Masterpiece of living architecture", yet some would say they were formed by a series of random mistakes (??)  God's work is evident everywhere!

Also the butterfly exhibit was super cool because there were so many of them and some would even land on my hand. As we were walking one landed on a guys head and he didn't notice untill they were leaving. There were so many things to enjoy there but before we went to see the otters at the other building we stopped for lunch at pucketts and i got a burger which for some reason was the best burger ive eaten in a while (exept for when papa makes burgers). Sadly we have to leave tomorrow but there is still time for another adventure. Untill tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Wednesday June 21, 2017. Nickajack to Chattanooga.

Here is the link to our track for today:

We covered about 39 miles in a little over 6 hours today. 

Last night was quiet at the TVA pier, with only a couple of fishing boats arriving at the ramp after dark, and only a couple more that launched just before daylight. The weather was cool and we all slept pretty well.

The next 40 miles would take us through some of the most georgous scenery anywhere. The "Gorge", also known as the Grand Canyon of the East, winds between Racoon Mt., Signal Mt., and Lookout Mt. before ending in downtown Chattanooga. 

We threw off the lines at 6:15 this morning, after Glenda took a picture of the doe deer wading in the water across the slough from us.

A short distance upriver we passed the old Hales Bar dam and power plant. This was the first dam to be built across the Tennessee River, but after years of expensive maintenance casts due to leaks in the foundation, it was replaced by the Nickajack Lock and Dam. At the old Hales Bar site, there is now a marina which is home to the annual "Gathering" meeting of amateur boat builders on the third weekend of September.

The old Hales Bar Power Plant.

As we passed Oatley Island, I spotted something black and white in the trees. Four years ago we got some great photos of two adult eagles and three juveniles at thier nest on this small island, and I was excited about seeing them here again. Sadly, it turned out to be an osprey - not the eagle I'd hoped for. In fact, we did not see a single eagle all day. I believe this is he first trip I've made through the Gorge without seeing one. We did however, see lots of ospreys and of course the beautiful mountans!

We saw lots of kayakers, paddleboarders, and families out fishing.l

Racoon Mt. in sight!

Racoon Mt. has a 528 acre manmade reservoir on top of it, that is used to produce power by the TVA during times of high demand. The lake's dam is 230 feet tall!

The Racoon Mt. Resovoir overflow valve (to the right) dumps into the river at the base of the mountain. Signal Mt. is on the left.

Lookout Mt. comes into view as we approach Chattanooga.

Riverboat out for a short lunchtime tour. 

Our dock is just ahead, between the bridges.

Everyone helps at docking time! The girls have learned a lot about boating in two short days!

From the Bluff Dock to street level on the north side, you climb 142 steps!

Lots of interesting art work to see at the riverfront.

From the Walnut Street bridge, with Genesis in the background. 

A 10 year old on a carousel:

A14 year old on a carousel:

After crossing the river on the Walnut Street pedestrian bridge, the girls cooled off at the splash park.

Part of the amphibious vehicle fleet of tour boat/trucks.

Glenda says:
Got up bright amd early this morning and was rewarded with seeing a  large doe stepping carefully in the water near the bank.  She was beautiful.  Dakota and I sat out front most of the morning talking about how beautiful heaven must be since there is still so much beauty in our fallen world.  We also talked about how fun it would be to live in a hobbit house but that's another story.  The mountains in this area are amazing.  I got my 10,000 steps in today even though I spent the first half of the day riding on the boat.  We tied up the boat after arriving in Chattanooga and headed to Moes bbq.  It was delicious but just between us...the girls and I are tired of bbq.  Chattanooga is a beautiful city with lots to do.  The girls enjoyed splasing a little at the splash pad in the city park.  Tomorrow they will probably get wetter since everywhere we go we will have to walk in the rain.  

Dani says:

I couldn't quite get up this morning so I fell asleep in the pilot house. When I did finally did get up I saw a rock that kinda looked like the turtle from "The Neverending Story". When we were about to turn in to the dock I saw a DUCK BOAT! It was so cool I was so surprised when I saw it go out of the water! While we were walking around we saw the stairs from a picture of my sister and cousin sitting on them. I was very disappointed when I saw that the water from it in the picture was not there. But the day got better,we went to the moon pie factory where I found out that there was a strawberry moon pie! After that I played in a little stream at the Tennessee aquarium. Before we headed back to the boat we walked across the bridge to the park where we rode on the carousel. We did that before we went to the fountains where animal statues squirted water out at us. After that we went back to the boat and ate a pbj for dinner. For dessert I had a strawberry moon pie that my Papa bought for me.

And of course we had to make a stop at the Moon Pie Store!

Dakota says:
 Well today was a slow day to start with. Had breakfast and watched some birds. At about lunch time we still weren't at Chattanooga so we ate something small. Once we arived we turned on the air conditioning and went to find some lunch. Usually there are stairs that have water running down them but for some reason there was no water.  Dani was disappointed. After lunch at once again moes bbq, we walked to the moon pie store and bought some stuff. Then we came back and changed clothes to go play in the animal fountains. After that we headed back and i took another nap and I'm pretty sure I'm still half asleep.  Having a wonderful time wish you were here.   Untill tomorrow.