1342 miles to Nashville…

A dear friend of mine, Judge Michael Peters from Houston, TX, once tried his hand at writing a country western song. The title to this blog is all I remember but it seemed appropriate since that is our destination today.

We pulled out of Harpeth Shoals after first pumping out our waste tank. We wanted to hit Nashville empty since we would be there awhile and there is no pump out facility downtown. As Steve was preparing to leave he accidentally dropped an electrical pigtail into the water. It was 15 feet deep. That pigtail, which allows a 30 amp cord to be plugged into a 50 amp plug, costs $175 plus tax and he will need one in the future. I phoned Al Bolander and asked if he might tell me of a marine supply store around Nashville. He did and offered to drive me there as soon as we docked. I then phoned West Marine and they had one in stock and would hold it for me. And it was on sale for Memorial Day for $131 plus tax. How about that?

Steve would drop off at Rock Harbor Marina about 18 miles from Nashville by water but only about 10 by car. His plan is to stay in rock Harbor and cab in to meet us. He will soon learn that getting a cab to Rock Harbor is about like threading that camel through the eye of a needle. But more on that later. Rock Harbor is appropriately named. It used to be a rock quarry and when the rock was all dug out someone had the bright idea to just cut a short canal to the river that ran alongside and flood the quarry. So they have one of the deepest harbors you ever saw.

 
 
Cliffs on the Nashville approach.

 
 
First sign of civilization, or NOT. Funny this can only be seen from the water??

We followed Steve in to give Trixie a pee break and then we shoved off for our final destination. Going into Nashville is a winding journey through a heavily industrialized area and then opens up into a fairly large city right on the river. As we passed under the many bridges that crisscross the river our anxiety is building. We had no idea what to expect. Would we have a difficult docking due to wind or current or traffic or a tight space at the dock? We never even thought about a 300 foot long boat that is 63.5 feet wide blocking the river.

 
 
General Jackson taking up the river.

 
 
They take our picture, we take theirs. Jan is busy avoiding her.

It was the General Jackson Showboat, a paddlewheel steamer that was coming to town twice a day with hundreds of tourists. It would squeeze under the pedestrian bridge where we would be docked and then slowly turn around right in front of Broadway. There was barely room to do so. We had never been told about it and by the time we saw it and radioed it was too late. When I asked the Captain whether he wanted us on the one or two whistle side he radioed back that he did not want us anywhere because he would be taking up the whole river turning. I told him that was not an option and we were there but would give him all the room we could. I was on the bow with a remote radio mic and Jan was listening at the helm. She asked what do we do and then she decided to cut close to the city side docks and then as soon as the General passed we would cut across her wake and head for our dock on the other side. Boaters at the city side dock were shouting to slow down, no wake, but you cannot lose headway in a situation like this or the wake from the big boat would push us over against the tied boats. It is simple physics. So we forged ahead and made it through. No real problem for old sailors.

 
 
Al, Terri and Betty.

Our friend Al Bolander was there as promised with his wife Terri and a friend Betty. We had plenty of help and our pick of locations as only one other boat was there. So we opted for the spot closest to the ramp to shore. Makes it easier on Jan and Trixie plus it would take Mickey Mantle to throw a beer bottle fron that bridge to Cbay! It was perfect. 

 
 
Safe and secure. Even Mickey Mantle could not hit Cbay with a beer bottle at this distance.

After tying up, Al and I immediately left for West Marine and the ladies settled in to discuss our Loop trip as Al and Terri are preparing for their Loop next year. I did not realize that it was 20 miles to West and 20 back. This was really too much to ask but Al would have it no other way.

 
 
Just some of the fancy BBQ rigs.

There was a national BBQ Cookoff in the parking lot above the dock. That parking lot was huge because it was for the Tennessee Titans football stadium which was right there. The smell of BBQ was wonderful and Al had been getting free samples.

The trip went smoothly and Steve’s pigtail was in the bag. If it had been me, I would still be back at Harpeth Shoals diving in that 15 feet of water! 

 
 
That evenong Jan and I walked across the bridge to dinner. It was a long and arduous walk because we did not know a secret. We ate at Joe’s Crab Shack and I had the obvious.

 
 
Crab Shack on the other side of the walking bridge.

 
 
An exhausted tourist takes a well deserved rest.

 
 
Others set up a more elaborate campsite right outside our dock enclosure. Trixie pees on that grass and worse! They were gone by morning.

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