When the chickens come home to roost!

No, this is not a picture of the world’s longest water slide nor are they now launching Saturn rockets from the Tennessee River. This is good old American commerce at work. The long slide is actually a conveyor that moves gravel down to barges that pull up on the river. A barge can carry the equivalent of several train carloads and is an efficient means of moving bulk goods. The rocket looking thing is a smokestack for a power generating plant.

We left Florence at 0915 this morning on a misty river. Just the two of us and it was a quiet ride. We talked to the Salvage Crew from LGYC as they made their way to Mobile. They were 5 miles ahead of us and not slowing down as they must be in Mobile in a week. Glad we do not have to meet that schedule.

Passed under the Natchez Trace Parkway at 1145. I rode a bicycle across that bridge in 1997 I think. My friends from Team Bell will be riding it again this summer but I do not think I can make it. (As it turns out I did and you can read about it in May.)

At mm215(that’s mile marker) we turned due south and began the journey to Mobile. It is 450 miles away. 

Stopped for the weekend at Grand Harbor Marina on the Tennessee Tombigbee Waterway. Here we filled up and pumped out for the first time on the trip. The fillup was only 78.43 gallons and only cost $333.24! The pumpout was to offload 36 gallons of human waste! It is not a pretty sight as it runs through a clear plastic tube attached to a giant vacuum system. You get used to it but it is still a messy job. 

Now to the CHICKENS. While we were pumping fuel a rickety looking shantyboat pulls up to the dock and two chickens jump off and begin chasing bugs around the fuel pumps. I swear this is true. A couple who appear to be in their early twenties were aboard. This raft had a 9.9hp Johnson outboard motor and looked like the Beverly Hillbillies on water. 

They said they had ridden this shack from Pittsburg on the Ohio River to the Cumberland to the Tennessee and now are heading south. I asked their final destination and was told “just south”. I guess I would rather see kids doing this than camping out on Wallstreet.

The hens roost on the boat. They lay eggs most every day and eat a mixture of 4 grains which they store in a trashcan. An owl once picked up one hen and got about 10 feet in the air when she struggled loose with seemingly no ill effects! She hit the ground and immediately laid an egg. Yesterday they were underneath some tree roots on the bank when a hawk flew down and waited on the tree but the chickens would not come out. Pretty smart chickens. Just goes to show that you do not have to have a big boat to travel. Here are some pictures you will not believe.

Yes they are sleeping on there tonight and it is going below freezing. When you are young and in love you can make your own heat. Below is a picture of Cbay as she ends the day. Tomorrow we go to visit Shiloh Battlefield. Our friends on $20 Bucks arrive tomorrow afternoon.