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The End Arrives

Sunday morning opened with rain showers for a bit while we hunkered in in the bunker. I finally just put on some rain gear and crossed back to the Cheatham Dam Rec area to dump our portable toilet. Katherine definitely likes to use this toilet which actually is pretty nice. But emptying it after only 2 days surprised me. We might have been 80% full and could have probably made it, but since this wasn’t a Carnival Cruise, I wasn’t going to risk exposing my passengers to an overflowing toilet. Thankfully, the job was not that bad thanks to the holding tank chemicals. No smell at all, and the toilet was well designed to make emptying it an easy thing. Thankfully the rain stopped.

The day started very overcast and raining. Here the boat is tied up while I empty the portable toilet.

The day started very overcast and raining. Here the boat is tied up while I empty the portable toilet.

 

Susan took Katherine for a walk while I reset the toilet, and added a couple of gallons of water to the flush tank and changed out water jugs. We carried 4, seven gallon water tanks and during tank changes I would have to move the tanks from the v berth to the sink. I know that some Macgregor owners have created clever pump systems so that this is not needed, but my system worked just fine. With Susan and Katherine back on board, and house keeping complete, I prepared for the next lock.

Inside the second lock.

Inside the second lock.

These ducks swam in as well.

These ducks swam in as well.

Photo showing the scale of the locks.

Photo showing the scale of the locks.

Over the last two days, I had gained new experience in how the boat handled and so I figured on a new way to approach the lock. Instead of using the engine to push the boat sideways since I couldn’t turn it, I simply motored parallel to the lock wall aiming for a post about halfway down the lock wall. I also decided to just handle everything myself and to use the aft mooring line out of the cockpit to hook up vs the bow lines. This time was nearly perfect accept I was still just a little fast when I grabbed the post with the boat hook. I ended up bending the hook a bit but other than that the maneuver was painless and worked nicely.

Looking back at the dam.

Looking back at the dam.

The earlier cloudy skies gave way to sun as we neared Clarksville.

The earlier cloudy skies gave way to sun as we neared Clarksville.

Passing the time.

Passing the time.

We noticed that some ducks swam into the lock when we entered and we were not sure if this was accidental or deliberate on their part. As the water level went down, they swam around the walls, pecking at something in the wall scuzz.  Again, the lock signaled it was time to go with an ear splitting blast of a horn, which Katherine didn’t like very much. We motored down the final 25 miles and noted familiar sites from a previous canoe trip. The cloudy skies seemed to keep the boaters away for a while, but as we pulled into the Clarksville Marina, the place was packed with boats. Our ride wasn’t here yet so we anchored for 30 minutes then spent a while in a holding pattern until I told my work buddy to just get in the conga line of vehicles. He ended up backing down into the water and we drove right on! Within an hour, we had the boat prepped for moving and headed home, where the job of emptying out the boat and drying out anything wet remained.

Inventorying supplies at the end showed that I had drastically overestimated fuel consumption. I had figured our fuel burn would be about 0.5 gallons at 5mph when in fact we actually burned far less. Truth is, the boat would only go 7mph and would reach this speed at only 50% throttle, so we were burning less fuel than Nissan’s figures, which were at full throttle. For our trip, our 6hp Nissan ran pretty slow and we cruised around 6mph with fuel burn of 0.3 gallons per hour. We burned less than half the fuel I had predicted we would, not even 4 gallons. So while this engine is not super powerful, I’d say it is pretty economical.  We used up about half of our water, and this was after taking a couple of “showers.” And finally our big battery still had about 75% charge left. I just wished I’d purchased more holding tank chemicals!

Breaking down the boat.

Breaking down the boat.

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