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Friday, The First Full Day

Friday morning dawned and I was up pretty early. I tried fishing with crickets and caught a very small bass and a blue gill, but threw them both back in. When everyone was ready we pushed off and headed towards the lock. For navigation purposes, I had a Garmin etrex 30 GPS that I mainly used to track distance and speed. I had paper charts printed off the internet from the US Corps of Engineers, and then to really figure out what something looked like, I just whipped out Google Earth.

Our boat at dawn at the site of the launch and first night.

Our boat at dawn at the site of the launch and first night.

 

We got in line with the lock, but after calling the lock guy we found that a barge had started through so it took us quite a while to wait for the barge to get through. When it was our turn, we could see the flashing green light so we started in. Now, I had gone on Youtube before so I knew what to expect. We prepared the fenders and tied loops in the lines. I even had a boat hook. I sent Susan up to try to get the line over the mooring post. My problem was that I was not really familiar with the new handling of the boat. I put an engine steering lock on our outboard, but this meant that the boat could only be steered if it was moving, unlike before where I could turn the outboard to steer a bit. I think I made about 4 or 5 attempts to get the boat in position so that Susan could get the line over the post. We finally ended up bouncing off the wall a bit, and had to pass the line up to the lock guy who waited a while before stepping in to assist. Basic boat handling 101 but I failed pretty badly. I could only hope that lock number 2 would go better.

Inside the Old Hickory Lock

Inside the Old Hickory Lock

Susan guides the boat down the river.

Susan guides the boat down the river.

We were naturally tied up with the boat facing the wrong way, so I worked a bit to get the boat turned around, then sat back to enjoy the experience. The huge doors like something out of Lord of the Rings closed shut, the water level dropped with noise and the doors looked even bigger as the water level dropped. Water poured down from the upper areas of the doors. It was pretty cool. Finally the downstream doors swung open, and an incredibly loud horn blast signalled it was time to leave. We started the motor, cast off, and proceeded down river.

Katherine was able to get off the boat a couple of times the first day to stretch her legs and have some fun.

Katherine was able to get off the boat a couple of times the first day to stretch her legs and have some fun.

For most of the river, it was fairly narrow and we didn’t see many boats or any barges.  We did stop at a couple of parks, including one at the site of an old lock and dam, since dismantled. Actually, there were a lot of locks and dams on the cumberland, but now for the most part 3 dams handle it all. We finally stopped just upriver from Nashville and took a nap while waiting for dark. We figured Nashville would be best seen at night. Actually, we could have gone down the city courtesy docks and walked around downtown during the day, but I was definitely pretty tired.

Where to go next?

Where to go next?

Once dark fell, we slowly cruised through Nashville, and as an added bonus  an old time riverboat, the General Jackson went through at the same time. Worked out great for us! We took some photos, then kept going. Once clear of Nashville, it got really dark as there wasn’t much moon, and we didn’t want to hit something in the dark. The barges use powerful spotlights to scan the river as they cruise through the darkness, but we didn’t have such lights. Besides, we were on the cruise to see stuff, not just blast through in the dark. We dropped anchor, which on our boat is a Rocna 22lb anchor that I absolutely love. It sets in everything, first time, immediately. We have a danforth anchor that is good in mud, sand and other soft bottoms, but otherwise I hate it. After backing hard on the anchor to ensure it was set, we did throw out the Danforth as a quick and dirty stern anchor to keep the boat from swinging too much, and went to bed.

The General Jackson heads into Nashville.

The General Jackson heads into Nashville.

A barge showing off the powerful spot lights they use to see at night.

A barge showing off the powerful spot lights they use to see at night.

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