We departed Ditto Landing early this morning to outrun the 40% chance of forecasted thunderstorms this afternoon. Again, we didn't. It was our intent to make it to Scottsboro, AL, a 45 mile run with only one lock. But the clouds started thickening much earlier than expected. After 24 miles, we pulled into the Guntersville Marina in Guntersville, AL. One bright spot along the way today was the Painted Bluff. Here's a shot of it:
Painted Bluff--Tennessee River
There were several nice anchorages in the area and one free dock in downtown Guntersville; but again, it was 93 degrees and steamy. So, we were coveting the electric hookups for the AC. Once again, we were greeted by 3 very nice folks. They helped us tie up and hook up the electrical connection, and offered their courtesy car if we wanted to explore the area. Looking around the marina, we could see some of the metal roofs over the covered slips missing or twisted. You guessed it--results of this spring's vicious string of tornadoes. Another marina just up the river had all of their transient slips just blow away. They, therefore, are only open for permanent slip-holders. Another marina we passed on the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway was hit especially hard and the owner was killed. It's not been a good spring for the Tennessee Valley.
After getting settled in, we borrowed the courtesy car and went off to Huntsville, AL and the Rocket and Space Museum. Friends have told us that the museum is only so-so if we have already visited the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. So, the purpose of our trip was to view the new IMAX movie on the Hubble Space Telescope --awe inspiring! All right, all right, the real purpose of our trip was to have lunch at the Blue Plate Cafe in Huntsville. This restaurant was recommended to us by Jenny, the dockmaster when we told her we were looking for homemade southern cooking. AND, we were not disappointed. We had two of the three Tuesday "Blue Plate Specials". Vicki had the cube steak, macaroni and cheese, fresh peas, cornbread and peach cobbler. Norm had the pot roast, brussels sprouts (soaked in ham hocks and bacon), hash brown casserole, cornbread and peach cobbler. $7.95 each!!! Needless to say, no dinner out tonight after splurging like that.
The storms have hit here and we are writing this as sheets of horizontal rain drape the boat, the marina and surrounding area. Loud clasps of thunder are echoing off the surrounding hills and streaks of lightening are flashing the darkened landscape. The tin roof on the covered slips in front of us is beginning to peel away; still not secured from the spring tornado's. By the way, we made it back to the marina in the car, just when the drizzling started. Again, Vicki averted another storm-related meltdown.