Monday, November 20, 2006

Mississippi - the state!

It's been a busy few days since leaving Nashville. I'm sorry it's been so long since our last update - we've had no internet service.

On 11/14 we left Pebble Isle and traveled down to Cuba Landing. The weather was cloudy and it rained a bit. We stayed here for 2 days due to lousy weather. While here we met a musselman (harvests mussels). After chatting a while about how he does his work and mentioning that I had built the boat and also played the guitar, he gave us a handful of mussel shells. These shells are the ones used to make mother-of-pearl and also for seeding oysters to make pearls. I can use this mother-of-pearl to make inlays for the guitar or maybe some part of the boat. Once I figure out how to do it and get the time, I'll post pics of the result.

11/17: It was very foggy in the early morning, but it had burned off by around 10. We made it down to Perryville Marina, about 20 miles further south ("up river" here is south - the Tennessee river flows south to north.) The staff at Perryville made us feel very welcome, gave us coffee, etc. They really exemplify the term "southern hospitality." We recommend the Perryville Marina very highly.

11/18: Another 26 miles south to Riverstone Marina. This is a very small but brand new marina near Bath Springs TN. The marina facility has no showers, so the harbormistress, Sharon, let us use the showers in one of the rental cottages that was not being used. Thanks, Sharon! We really needed those showers. The weather was just about perfect this day - clear blue sky, sun and temps in the 60's. Couldn't ask for more.

11/19: What a contrast! Today it was overcast, gloomy and cold, temps in the 40's. See the pic of me bundled against the cold. We made another 33 miles south to a little spot called Diamond Island. There's absolutely nothing here, but a little island that protects a narrow channel away from the main navigation channel. We pulled into this small channel and dropped the anchor. The current was so swift here that all night long we could hear the water rushing past the hull. As long as I was sure the anchor was holding, the sound was quite soothing. The anchor held and we had a very peaceful night. At one point we heard an owl hoot!

11/20: Another brilliant day. Lots of sun but a north wind at 15 to 20 mph made is rather cool all day. We locked through the Pickwick Dam into Pickwick Lake, leaving Kentucky Lake behind us. At one point on Pickwick Lake we could see three states at one time - Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee. All three states border the lake. After about 10 miles on the lake, we entered the Tenn-Tom Waterway at Yellow Creek. We are now 450 miles from Mobile, AL.

All along our trip "up" the Tennessee we have been treated to some of the most beautiful scenery we've seen on the whole trip. Some of the way, the leaves have been off the trees, but we've had nearly 2 months of fall colors, so we can't complain. We started seeing fall colors as we left Chicago, and we've had color most of the way. Even here in Yellow Creek, there are still some trees with leaves of orange, yellow and red.

The Tennessee river valley is dotted with areas of sheer cliffs along the water's edge. I won't call them palisades as the striations are horizontal rather than vertical, but who's to quibble. At some places the water has eroded the cliff from underneath, leaving overhangs, and in some places, caves.

We've also seen quite a few of what we've decided to call "Redneck Rivieras." These are cottages, trailers and/or mansions built on stilts all along the shore. There's so much to see here, it really warrants a return trip in better weather to fully explore it.

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