Sunday, October 24, 2010

Day 59       Joe Wheeler State Park, Rogersville, Alabama,  MM 277 Tennessee River       
Saturday, October 23, 2010

Docktail party

Lots of peel-and-eat shrimp and other goodies

                                    Peel-and-eat shrimp docktail party

Joe Wheeler Lodge provided a shuttle back and forth to Rogersville, so we took advantage of another opportunity to shop.  While we were waiting for the shuttle in front of the lodge we met fellow looper Bonnie who, along with her husband, passed through our home port of Lindsay while on their way to the rendezvous.  They happened to meet our friends Eddie and Paul Jones who acted as “harbor hosts” for Bonnie and her husband – inviting them to their home and to dinner at Steventons, a local restaurant.   Eddie and Paul told Bonnie to be on the lookout for Dream Catcher.  We enjoyed shopping and lunch with Bonnie.
A special docktail party in the evening – fellow loopers Jimmy and Linda Tant on Riff Raff provided peel-and-eat shrimp for everyone.  The rest of us brought dishes to share – quite a feast! 

 Day 58       Joe Wheeler State Park, Rogersville, Alabama,  MM 277 Tennessee River          
Friday, October 22, 2010
A work day to get ready for the rendezvous – laundry, pump out, and boat cleaning.  We took the canvas off of the top, scrubbed it, and put it back up.  Not an easy task.  Remind us to not do that again real soon. 
A pleasant surprise of the day was the arrival of Bobbie and Keith on Kim Jo III.  Jim first met them as they passed through our home port of Lindsay, Davenport, Iowa, on the first leg of their trip.  We have followed their blog for a couple of months, but have not seen them since Lindsay.   
Another arrival was Pat and Dick Danly on Gypsea.  We first met Pat and Dick at the Great Lakes Cruising Club a few years ago, and then reconnected with them at the AGLCA rendezvous in Myrtle Beach last April.  They returned to Joe Wheeler after a side trip of Chattanooga where they celebrated Dick’s 80th birthday.  Happy birthday, Dick! 

Day 57       Joe Wheeler State Park, Rogersville, Alabama,  MM 277 Tennessee River       
Thursday, October 21, 2010

                                   Wheeler Dam from the hiking trail

                                     Becky and Brenda hiking the trails

Evening docktail party

A quiet day at the marina -   we got some things done on the boat in the morning, and then in the afternoon we took a long walk on the park trails with Becky and Carlton.  It was an enjoyable workout.  Docktails by the pool lasted until after dark.

Day 56       Joe Wheeler State Park, Rogersville,

 Alabama,  MM 277 Tennessee River       
Wednesday, October 20, 2010

                                                       Savannah Cafe

Lynn and Jack on Felix

Hair cut day for both of us.  (Okay.  You can tell that we’re retired – EVERYTHING becomes a project!)  Becky and Carlton generously loaned us their car and we drove to Rogersville where we not only got haircuts, but also stocked up on groceries and other supplies. 
The hair stylist was recommended by Melissa who works at the front desk at Joe Wheeler Lodge.  It turned out to be a good recommendation.  Lee Barkley did a good job, and we would recommend her to anyone who is in this area. 
We ate a late lunch at “CafĂ© Savannah” where all of the soups, salads, and most of the breads are made from scratch.   Needless to say, lunch was delicious.
Back at the marina, we were surprised to see how many additional boats had arrived during the day – and there was a “docktail” party in progress.  We reconnected with Lynn and Jack Robinson on “Felix” (a catamaran sailboat) whom we first met at Pebble Isle.  We enjoyed a wonderful dinner on “Felix” along with Leslie and Greg Marsh who have just completed the loop on “Amalia”.  Dinner was followed by a game of “pig” where each player tosses 2 small plastic pigs (like dice) and scores points based on how the pigs land.   We know … sounds like an Iowa game … but it wasn’t!   Wonder if they have a “corn” game to match … then we’ll feel like we’re back home! 

Day 55       Joe Wheeler State Park, Rogersville, Alabama,  MM 277 Tennessee River       
Tuesday, October 19, 2010

           Carlton, Becky, Jim, Brenda

More exercise!  The park provides marked trails through the woods, so we hiked a couple of the trails.  Again we had a beautiful fall day for a great walk.
Becky and Carlton Moore from “Seamoore” joined us for appetizers and cocktails on Dream Catcher, and then we enjoyed a delicious ham with all the fixins’ dinner on Seamoore.  A great evening.  Thanks, Becky and Carlton!

Day 54       Joe Wheeler State Park, Rogersville, Alabama,  MM 277 Tennessee River       
Monday, October 18, 2010

    Dream Catcher docked at Joe Wheeler

View from our port stern

View off our port bow.  Under the green cover on top of this boat is a 
3-wheeled car

Docktail party

Docktail party

Docktail party

The first bicycle ride of our trip - from Joe Wheeler State Park to Rogersville and back – a little over 4 miles each way.   We tackled the hills and made all but the first one (and the steepest) out of the park.  We stopped at McDonald’s for drinks and then made all of the hills on the way back.  Some good exercise for a change.
Of course, we needed to bulk up after all the exercise, so we ended the day with dinner at “Daniella’s on the Park” restaurant at the park lodge. 

Monday, October 18, 2010

Day 53       Joe Wheeler State Park, Rogersville, Alabama,  MM 277 Tennessee River       
Sunday, October 17, 2010

          Gold flag loopers celebrate completing the loop at a "docktail" party.

"Docktail party" Oct 17th at Joe Wheeler

More and more loopers (boaters traveling America’s Great Loop) arrive daily for the AGLCA rendezvous at the end of the month.    It’s fun to meet them and tour the boats. 
Tonight we attended a “docktail” party for 2 boats that have just completed the loop.    

Day 52       Joe Wheeler State Park, Rogersville, Alabama,  MM 277 Tennessee River       
Saturday, October 16, 2010
Did some exploring in the dingy before the 2:30 Iowa vs Michigan football game.  And guess what … the lucky T-shirt worked!  Iowa beat Michigan at the Big House!  Go Hawks! 
A beautiful fall day … a great game … finished off with a seafood buffet at Daniella’s on the Park restaurant.   Our first peel-and-eat shrimp of the trip.

Day 51       Joe Wheeler State Park, Rogersville, Alabama,  MM 277 Tennessee River       
Friday, October 15, 2010
Received a box of mail from home.   It included a surprise Hawkeye T-shirt so that I can dress for Iowa football game tomorrow.  Can’t wait!  Thanks, Gussie! 
  Grilled steaks on board for supper.
Day 50       Joe Wheeler State Park, Rogersville, Alabama,  MM 277 Tennessee River       
Thursday, October 14, 2010
Another beautiful fall day.   The fall colors are just starting to appear. 

Day 49        Joe Wheeler State Park, Rogersville, Alabama,  MM 277 Tennessee River       
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Margie and Denny left mid-morning, but we’re looking forward to reconnecting in the next few months.  What a great time!
 We ate breakfast at “Daniella’s in the Park”, the lodge restaurant, and then worked on the blog.  
We were invited along with Nancy and Dick White on “Emerald Lady” to have cocktails on “Seamoore”, a 40-foot Mainship, owned by Carlton and Becky Moore.   Thanks, Carlton and Becky for some of that famous southern hospitality.  They will be starting the loop after the AGLCA rendezvous at the end of October.  Nancy and Dick have been living aboard for 3 years.  It’s always fun to hear about everyone’s experiences.   

Day 48        Joe Wheeler State Park, Rogersville, Alabama,  MM 277 Tennessee River       
Tuesday, October 12, 2010

A delicious lunch at Shea's Express


Exhibits inside of the Space Center

Hampy had to shave the top of his head so that he could fit in the capsule 

Apollo capsule

Lunar lander

Moon rover

The challenge:  to get Jim and Denny out of the Space Center before closing time.

Does this space suit make me look fat?

Rocket engines

Hampy tries out the sleeping bag which hangs on the wall of the zero-gravity space craft on his way to the moon

Captain Denny prepares to eject Hampy from his sleeping bag

Brenda, Denny, Margie

Our goal for the day was the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama, but we first stopped at Shea’s Express, a local restaurant in Huntsville, for a delicious brunch.   Highly recommended!   And what a small world … we mentioned to the hostess that we were from the Quad Cities, and she asked if we were familiar with Scott County Seed.  It turns out that she is Phil Smoker’s cousin Elizabeth Brown. 

The Space Center is incredible, and we spent hours exploring the exhibits.    What an amazing story of the past and future of space flight.  Thanks, Margie and Denny, for taking us to one of the highlights of our trip. 
Dinner was in Athens (Alabama, that is) at Logan’s Roadhouse … peanuts on the floor, cold drinks, good food.     Margie and Denny were then gracious enough to stop at a grocery store so that we could buy some “milk and bread”.    When we came out with 8 bags, Denny thought that there was a good sale on bread!   Okay, we restocked some of the basics since a car was available.  Thanks again, Denny and Margie!           

Day 47        Joe Wheeler State Park, Rogersville, Alabama,  MM 277 Tennessee River       
Monday, October 11, 2010
We had brunch on Dream Catcher with Margie and Denny, and then took a boat ride on Wheeler Lake.  The water was calm, but it was mostly cloudy (and, of course, we had to blame Margie and Denny for bringing the clouds from Iowa).    Spaghetti dinner was followed by game night – our usual rummikub tournament and a new word game called quiddler.   Thanks Pam and Chuck for a new fun game!     

Day 46        Joe Wheeler State Park, Rogersville, Alabama,  MM 277 Tennessee River       
Sunday, October 10, 2010

Margie and Denny on the balcony of their room at Joe Wheeler lodge

Our first visitors from home – Margie and Denny Stierwalt stopped to see us at Joe Wheeler while on their way to Florida.  They had a room for 3 days at the lodge right next to the marina.    It was great to see them!   We had cocktails on the dock and then dinner at the lodge restaurant.  This is a dry county, but we were able to enjoy a glass of wine with dinner – as long as we kept the wine bottle in a brown bag on the floor at our table.  Interesting … a dry county, but wine glasses are provided. 

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Day 45        Joe Wheeler State Park, Rogersville, Alabama,  MM 277 Tennessee River       
Saturday, October 9, 2010
Laundry day – and it turns out that the laundry room is a LONG way from our boat slip.  So we lowered the dingy and used it to go back and forth – a fun, relaxing way to go to the laundromat!
 We enjoyed the afternoon watching the Michigan vs Michigan State football game on Satisfaction, a 53-foot Carver parked next to us.  John and Pat are on their way to Chattanooga with friends Blake and Donna.  Thanks, John and Pat for your hospitality!

Total miles: 0       Total bridges:  0      Total locks:  0
Day 44         Joe Wheeler State Park, Rogersville, Alabama,  MM 277 Tennessee River       
Friday, October 8, 2010

         Approaching Wilson Lock

Double chambered Auxillery Lock at Wilson Lock

                   Gates closing

         Looking up at the concrete wall & lock gate holding back Wilson Lake.  Hope it holds ... ignore the water pouring from the seams ...  

           Tied to a bollard for locking

           Looking up the bollard chamber

Upstream gate lowering so that we can pass over it

After a quick shopping trip, we ate breakfast at a small cafe in Florence – the first grits we’ve had on our trip.  We then headed to Wilson Lock – the largest lock on the loop with a 95-foot lift.   Eva called ahead for us and there was no wait.  The lock is awesome.   It takes an incredible 50 million gallons of water to fill the chamber. 
The next next lock was Wheeler where again there was no wait.  Wheeler is smaller than Wilson, but it still takes 26 million gallons to fill it. 
We checked in at Joe Wheeler State Park Marina in Rogersville, Alabama.  We are planning to stay here for a few weeks until the AGLCA rendezvous. 
Total miles: 21       Total bridges:  5      Total locks:  2

Day 43        Florence Harbor Marina, Florence,
 Alabama,  MM 256 Tennessee River       

Thursday, October 7, 2010
Florence Marina

"Dream Catcher" at Florence, Alabama

Local businessman's 140' yacht at Florence

Wood fired pizza oven from Italy

Great staff at Ricatoni's

 A long boating day for us.  We left Grand Harbor Marina about 10:00 and arrived at Florence Harbor Marina about 4:00.  Eva, the marina manager, was very friendly and helpful and gave us a ride to downtown Florence.  We enjoyed pizza at Ricatoni’s.  The pizza is hand rolled, tossed, and baked in a wood-burning oven.  Delicious!  A fun evening.    
Total miles: 41       Total bridges: 1      Total locks:  0
Day 42      Grand Harbor Marina,  Counce, Tennessee,  MM 215 Tennessee River       
Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Morning fog at anchor

Homes along the river

"Dream Catcher" at Grand Harbor

Courtesy vehicle from Grand Harbor

               Replica of Shiloh church for which the battle was named.

Iowa mounument commissioned by the state of Iowa

            Iowa 2nd Regiment: 490 total, 68 killed & wounded, 4 missing.

Landing site for union reinforcement troops that helped win the battle.

 We left Wolf Island about 9:45 and had no wait at Pickwick Lock so we were through in a half hour.  We arrived at Grand Harbor Marina in Counce, Tennessee, about 1:30.  A new 4-door courtesy pick-up was available, and we headed to Shiloh National Military Park.  On the way to the park we listened to a CD that explained the famous 2-day Civil War battle.  The CD was compliments of boaters Bob and Deb Koerner who left it with Grand Harbor Marina for other boaters who were interested in learning more about Shiloh.  Their boat card in the CD simply said that they hoped others would enjoy it.  How thoughtful!  Thank you, Bob and Deb.
The park visitor center featured a 25-minute film that introduced the battle.  A driving tour of the area then further explained the troop movements and actions that occurred over 2-days.  Over 23,000 men died in the battle.  It was a very moving experience.    
On the way back from Shiloh we stopped at Freddy T’s for supper.    
Total miles: 23       Total bridges:  1      Total locks:  1