Steve discovers Harpeth Shoals

Today we left Clarksville headed for Riverview Marina in Ashland City, TN. The river was loaded with debris from the recent storms. I saw a basketball, a soccer ball, a football, a lifejacket and we partially ran over an orange and white stripped traffic barrel! You can’t make this stuff up.

Along the way we passed by the site of Fort Donaldson. Cannon covered our upriver approach just as they covered Grant’s Union troop barges and gunboats coming upriver to take Nashville. It would have have been a shooting gallery and Grant suffered heavy losses. But he had boats and men to spare and landed troops downriver and marched to surround the Confederates. Fort Donaldson’s commander, a cowardly scoundrel, surrendered unconditionally. This was the first such surrender in the War Between the States and earned Grant the nickname “Unconditional Surrender Grant”. It was here that the very first National Military Cemetery was established to bury Grant’s dead. I wish we could have gone ashore but there is no place to land even a bass boat.

This Great Blue Heron built a raft and headed downstream.

An interesting story of your tax dollars at work. The government approved a coal fired steam powerplant. They built the smokestacks 1000 feet high believing this would satisfy regulations. Those are the red and white stripped ones. Then before they opened the EPA changed the regulations and required more filters. This resulted in shorter stacks with different filters. They are 600 feet high and as you can see are working away. Because the taller stacks had become a landmark for tows navigating the Cumberland, the stripped one were just left there useless as they are. Donald Trump would not have put up with this.

This is the Cumberland City Ferry. Works constantly back and forth. It has the right of way and we have to slow to a no wake status. Road goes right through town.

We passed through Cheatham Lock. It is a very short lift. When the doors opened a large raft of trash came floating out. Somehow we managed to slide around it and get tied up. I knew there would be more when the upper doors opened to let us out. There was no way around this one so I headed to the bow pulpit with a boat pole and pushed it aside as we passed through. Steve stayed tucked in behind as he had no-one to tend his bow. it was one of the prettiest little locks we would see.

There was a nice bike path that goes somewhere.

This is what Steve does after leaving the lock. He is taking in his fenders. Notice the bow wake. His boat is moving the whole time and there is no-one aboard but him! Dangerous? No. He is on autopilot and has a remote control in his pocket. Sometimes he goes out to the bow and sits in the sun as we motor along. Wish we could do that. Looks weird for sure.

Our stop today was to be Riverview Marina where we had reservations. But upon arrival we found only a dock in front of a restaurant. There would be no protection from the wakes of passing boats slamming us against the dock and they only had a gas pump. we need diesel before we hit Nashville.

Steve had spotted what he thought was another marina half a mile back but it was hidden by a narrow entrance and was attached to some very nice condo buildings in the middle of no-where. Could be private. So Steve was assigned scout duty to take a peek in case it was too narrow or shallow for us. we sat out in the river with crossed fingers. Turns out is was a great marina and we headed in for fuel and a transient slip.

What an interesting place was Harpeth Shoals Marina. Some one thought it was a good idea to build multi million dollar condos in a quirt spot on the Cumberland. They spared no expense and went bankrupt after sellin only three out of hundreds. Every unit had a balcony with river view but location, location, location was not good. So another owner stepped in and had a fire sale and things improved until the great flood of 2010 which believe it or not reached the second floor and the whole place sits high on a hill to begin with. That brought on the second bankruptcy. Yet another owner and another fire sale. Slowly units began to fill when a third bankruptcy hit. You guessed it, a third bankruptcy and this time two seperate owners. One for the condos and another for the marina. It was probably a good idea to split things up because the marina is full and the condos are thriving. I will bet there were some great deals with two bedroom units going for under $100,000 at one time. Now they are back up to reasonable market value.

A nice couple, EB and his wife Karen, live on premises, having picked up a bargain. The whole place is clean as a pin. EB even offered to take us by boat to Riverview Restaurant for dinner and pick us up. Now that is service. We took him up on it and had a fine meal. We asked them to join us, our treat, but they had other plans.

Steve says goodbye to Trixie.

Steve announced that he was NOT going to dock with us in downtown Nashville!! He was concerned about heavy wakes hitting his smaller, lighter boat and rumors of vandals throwing beer bottles off the pedestrian bridge onto boats far below. So I phoned a friend as they say on “Who Wants to be a Millionaire?”. It was Al Bolander who lives outside Nashville and had been kind enough to respond to a request for help on the Looper Forum weeks before. He assured me that this was old news and it was perfectly secure. After the first two or three bottles hit the deck you hardly notice them any more! Just kidding.

Al not only provided information, he provided service, offering to meet us on the dock next day and catch a line. A prince of a fellow. I tried to change Steve’s mind but it was not to be that day.