Saturday, June 18, 2011

Outrunning the Storm.........

We spent today's 5 hours of travel watching the Weather Underground radar showing storms steadily sinking south from Nashville toward our route in Northern Alabama.  Scary!  Fortunately, the storm dissipated most of its energy by the time it hit us about 5 minutes before docking in Florence, Alabama.  Vicki is a real fraidy-cat about encountering a storm while underway, so the day was quite stressful for her.

Florence is quite a nice little town.  Home of University of Northern Alabama, the campus is beautiful. The mascots are lions Leo and Una who reside on campus in a deluxe enclosure -- beautiful cats. 

What an incredible cruising ground this is!  After the last lock on the Tenn-Tom, we cruised out into gorgeous Bay Springs Lake which reminded us both of Canada. Clear water and dense tall trees growing all the way down to the waterline.  Pickwick Lake at the intersection of the Tenn-Tom and the Tennessee River is equally as beautiful and reminds us of the Wisconsin Dells area. 

Most marinas have courtesy cars enabling us to see some of the sights of Mississippi and Alabama.  We drove to Tupelo one day and stopped at a hardware store looking for a fan.  This hardware store just happened to be where Elvis Presley got his first guitar.  The story is that his mom brought him there to buy a bicycle for his birthday, but Elvis decided he wanted a gun instead.  His mom was reluctant to buy a gun, so they compromised on a guitar.  Great story!

Wednesday we caught up with Todd and Brenda at Aqua Yacht Harbor Marina in Pickwick Lake.  It was wonderful to see them again - always a fun time. We stuffed ourselves with excellent fried catfish filets at Hagy's Catfish Hotel on the Tennessee River.  This place was originally discovered by Norm's sister Joyce in 2001 when they did the Great Circle route.  Norm remembered the Catfish Hotel (and Bobby's fish Camp) as having the best-ever catfish, and he wasn't wrong.

We locked up the tallest lock on the Tenn-Tom--83Feet. Since Mobile Bay, we've been locked up over 400 ft. This was the last lock on the Tenn-Tom which created Pickwick Lake, a beautiful body of water that reminded us of Canada's lakes.  Here are some video's of the locking.

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Yesterday, we visited the civil war interpretive center in Corinth MS which has fabulous displays about the battle of Shiloh which was fought over control of the railroad crossing in Corinth.  The center was built 2 years ago and is the best civil war museum we've seen.  We plan to stop at the Shiloh Battleground Park on the way back south.

Today was our first day on the Tennessee River.  What a magnificent body of water - really wide for a number of miles.  About four miles into our journey, we detoured into Todd and Brenda's #1 anchorage, Waterfall Cove, where they were anchored.  Todd gave us a freshly caught batch of bass filets and snapped some photos of Tide Hiker in front of the waterfall.  And, we deliverd oil and ice to him.  Then we were off to outrun the storms; which you read earlier, we didn't.

Vicki, Brenda and Todd at Hagy's Catfish Hotel Restaurant.

Life's 2 Short at Anchor at Waterfall Cove.  See how he get's snuggled up to the beach and ties to a tree.  Life's 2 Short is very protected.  Todd and Brenda have a wonderful view of the waterfall that is behind us.

Todd, just after dropping off some fresh-caught bass and picking up some oil and ice.

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