The day I threaten to shoot a boat…

Up early again today with 75 miles to cover. The water was smooth as glass compared to the washing machine when we arrived yesterday. We are off to Pickwick Lock, the tallest on the Tennessee and second tallest in the world. It will drop us 110 feet which is a pretty deep hole for a boat.

The Lockmaster took us right in. There are many tows with barges running this river and if you get in line behind one of them at a lock it can mean a wait of several hours as commercial traffic takes precedence. The government built all these fine locks to accomodate moving goods, not to cater to pleasure boaters. We are just lucky they do not charge to ride the water elevator.

It was a downright beautiful ride today through residential settlements and rock formations. Of course we had to make a Trixie stop and Jan chose Clifton Marina. We had stayed here before and it is sheltered which is good because the wind is kicking up this day. 

We called on the radio and asked if we could tie up for ice and a dog to pee. The people were so nice we felt guilty and stayed for lunch. It was okay and the ladies were impressed with Jan’s boat handling.

Earlier in the day we had a run in with a fool driving a 50 foot Carver. We were in a narrow channel and he comes roaring up at full speed waking everyone in his path. First a small ski boat was going toward him and made the mistake of turning and running for the shore. his boat was nearly thrown up on the bank! Then he passed Steve and his wake upset a salt lamp on the table and Steve radios that he will report him to the Coast Guar. We were next in line and he was not slowing. But we learned a trick on the Loop when big sportfish boats would blast by in tight quarters.You move over closer to them to crowd them and confuse them as to what you are doing. Sometimes it slows them. In this case it did not. Then wheny he comes beside you spin the wheel hard towards him and scare him to death. But what you are really doing is cutting 90 degrees directly behind his boat and jumping into the trough he has made. Then immediately you spin back 90 degrees to fall in right behind him. All depends on precise timing but we have practice. This way you only have one small bump on the bow rather than being hit broadside and having everthing not bolted down thrown to the floor.

I grabbed the radio and said one like him was born every minute. He suddenly cut his engines and turned broadside blocking our path. I radioed that if he did not move on I would put “one” into his hull below the waterline. Apparently he believed me and took off and me having left my gun in the car in Guntersville. Sometimes it is more important to sound like you mean business.

A short time later he swamped a small boat with all women aboard. their engine was smoking and they had the hatch cover up limpimg for shore. We tried to offer assistance but they had no radio and the water where they were was too shallow for us. We idled in the channel until they reached a dock where workers came to assit them. This guy driving that boat needs to be cited. Later in the day we would hear a tow operator warn him to slow down. we have his boat name and home port. some action will be taken.

Naked and Unafraid!

We arrived at Mermaid Marina, which has the distinction of having the most interesting sign on the river. It is pure country at it’s best with pontoon boats full of bikini clad girls and guys who have been overserved all day. They hoot and holler till the sun goes down and then go home to get ready to work on Monday.

Everyone seems facinated with our big city slicker boats. One bleary eyed young man asked, “How much does a boat like that cost?’ I naturally padded the price and added $100,000 just to watch his eyes bug out! I can never seem to break myself of the habit of healthy exaggeration.

Tonight Jan served pot roast, mashed potatoes and peas with carrots. We ate on the flybridge table with 50’s music playing. Everyone who drove by looked envious. It was a great end to an interesting day.