Back to Kentucky Lakes and Tennessee River

After trailering our Kismet south 680 miles, we launched her at Green Turtle Marina in Grand Rivers, Kentucky, a place we've had the pleasure of visiting twice before while on both of our Great Loop trips. We felt a little sheepish driving in to launch our boat at the marina after only a two=day drive when we knew all the Loopers docked at the marina had taken a great deal of time and effort coming down Lake Michigan, the Illinois…

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Third Time’s a Charm

We first cruised the Tennessee River in 2005 when we were on our inagural Great Loop boat trip. Back then everything about "Looping" was new to us and we were both wide-eyed newbies as we took in all the new experiences. The second time we cruised the Tennessee River we learned even more about this beautiful river by exploring it all the way up to Chattanooga, Tennessee. We were with a very friendly group of Loopers… some of whom we…

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Hoppies Needs Your Help!

  • August 10, 2012

Plan on doing the Great Loop boat trip someday? Please think about signing AGLCA's petition to help Save Hoppies. Hoppies, located on the Mississippi River at Kimmswick, MO, is an important part of American river history. For several decades they have played a major role in helping boaters transverse the mighty Mississippi, by providing the last available fuel stop on the Upper Mississippi River. Fern and Hoppie also provide a valuable educational resource for boaters unfamiliar with the particulars of…

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Last Anchorage on the River System – Little Lizard Creek

We had a long day traveling the last leg of the River System yesterday. We choose Little Lizzard Creek for the ancorage at the end of a long day. We set our anchors and settled in for a quiet, but cold night. No anchors moved and we slept like babies. We feel contented as we contemplate another completion of eastern America's amazing river system and are excited as we look forward to approaching Mobile tomorrow.When we woke in the morning…

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Lock One Anchorage

We all left Bashi Creek to more tug traffic on this final stretch of fresh water we’ll travel in for the next year-and-a-half. We also locked through the Coffeeville Lock today, the beginnings of saltwater and our last lock until we head north on the ICW in the spring.We did it in style locking through with a tug boat and his full load of coal. Hard to believe but this was the first time we have ever locked through with a tug…

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Bashi Creek Anchorage

Another early day as we depart Demopolis at 7 AM to cover 71 miles and one lock on our way to a postage stamp of an anchorage called Bashi Creek. Today, Freedom’s Turn, Our Turn, Roy-El and, of course, Kismet negotiated eleven tug boats with barges mostly on the tight twisting turns of the lower Black Warrior River. We gained another boat in our caravan today, Our Turn shared this anchorage with us tonight and will probably join us the…

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Demopolis

42º that was the boat’s interior temperature when we woke up at 6 AM to leave for Demopolis Yacht Basin. We fired up the generator and stoked the furnaces and before we knew it our bones were warm again. The Demopolis stop was the last marina and opportunity to experience any kind of civilization for the next 216 miles. We stopped to recharge, fill up water tanks and reprovision for the final three days of river travel before we reach…

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Sumter Landing Anchorage

When we left Pirates Marina Cover we headed to our next anchorage, Sumter Landing. We are traveling with two other boats now. Roy-El caught up to us en route to this anchorage and Freedom’s Turn joined us at the end of the day. We had an impromptu happy hour to review our recent Loop experiences and discuss anchorages and time tables for the next few days.

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We Were Held “Captive” at Pirates Marina Cove

Pirates Marina Cove in Pickensville, Alabama, was our anchorage on this relatively short twenty-eight-mile day. We dropped our hook in calm waters in this little cove and even threw out a stern line for good measure. Around Midnight a storm came through along with some strong winds and our boat lost its hold. We pulled the anchor up to reposition the boat and found a big surprise. The anchor had snagged a small tree complete with long roots and an…

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A Two-Day Stop in Columbus, Mississippi

We stopped at Columbus Marina in Columbus, Mississippi for two nights to relax a bit as we'll be on the move everyday for the next seven days. We've got 350 miles, four locks, a multitude of tugs with barges, locks and fog to negotiate before we make Mobile Bay and a well deserved, three day, layover.On our way to columbus we spotted two bald eagles perched on a branch beside the river and tonight we had nine deer feeding and playing…

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Aberdeen

We left Midway Tuesday morning at first light, which is now about 6:30 am. We had a long day ahead of us, mostly in light rain conditions. We went fifty-nine miles through four locks. The highlight of today's trip was to be the stop in Aberdeen, Mississippi for a great deal on fuel and their delicious ribs, potato logs and fried chicken.It's been three years since we first had the deep fried chicken in Aberdeen and it was still just…

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Midway Marina

We traveled 55 miles and went through three locks our first two days, spending the first night next to the Montgomery Lock Monday night.  It was a short jaunt to Midway Marina, in Fulton, Mississippi on the second day out. There were at least fourteen other looper boats already docked at Midway when we arrived.We had a chance to meet up here again with Roy and Elvie Short on RoyEl. and Bill and Ruth Donovan on Georgia Peach.Besides the many…

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Time to Pull

We were off early this morning to go the short distance to Lee Spry Marine, in Iuka, Mississippi, to have the boat hauled to have the props checked. Before we make our journey down the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway we wanted to make sure we had no damage from the debris we negotiated during and after the flooded waters of the Illinois River. We thought there might be just the slightest vibration, enough to warrant the pull. To our surprise the prop…

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A “Grand” Time

Sunday we returned to Grand Harbor Marina Resort where we were greeted by Chip, the Site Manager. This is a first class harbor that we have fond memories of from our trip in 2005/06.  We only enjoyed one short day and night here but for those that have never visited here before they have many amenities for boaters. They have a pool (in season) a great boaters lounge and Chip has done a great job with the marine store. P.S. they stock…

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New Friends in McKernan Creek

Our first stop after leaving Joe Wheeler was to return to McKernan Creek. We had barely gotten our anchor in the water when we were welcomed over the radio. Then just a few minutes later Pride Tompkins showed up to welcome us and invite us over to his house for a glass of wine. Last time we had stopped here we met a man named Cameron and Pride is Cameron's friend who we did not get a chance to meet…

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Back at Joe Wheeler State Park

We are now back to Joe Wheeler State Park in Rogersville, Alabama for a few days to catch up on boat chores and decide what our schedule will be on our next leg of the trip, going south on the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway. We need to have our boat taken out of the water to check the props since Jim thinks he feels a slight vibration when going a certain speed, so we are figuring that into the new plan as…

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Rafting Off in A Lock

Today we had to raft up together in the small lock so it was a little different experience. Think we had only done this once or twice before. All went smoothly and again a beautiful, sunny, warm day.

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A Beautiful Oasis

This time through Goose Pond Marina in Scottsboro, Alabama, we didn't go into town so we had more time to explore the surrounding parklands and water. We would have to say that this is one of the most beautiful marinas we have been to.

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Annie

We had the pleasure to meet Ron and Carol on Annie while we were in Chattanooga. It took them sixteen years to build the all wood boat. One of the most unusual features of this boat is the calliope that sits on its upper deck. When we left Chattanooga we found ourselves in the same lock as Annie and while going down we were serenaded as the music echoed back and forth in the lock chamber.

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Retracing Our Route – Downriver Bound

   We had to leave Chattanooga this morning due to a busy weekend Skulling race and a booked marina.So first night out, after retracing our route through the beautiful Gorge area, we find ourselves back at the Little Cedar Mountain anchorage to enjoy a spectacular evening.We celebrated the Wade's Anniversary (Diane here with her friend Mimi) and their friend Frank's birthday with Bloody Mary's on top of Kismet where the view was shockingly beautiful. This fun time was followed by…

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Happy Halloween!

Just because we are living on the water right does not mean that we can't enjoy the holidays. Most Loopers take the occasional holiday very seriously. That's what happened Friday night on the dock in Chattanooga. The only thing missing were costumes. We even had a pumpkin decorating contest (last one, bottom right was Jim's creation). Amazing what you can create while on a boat when you put your mind to it.

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Chattanooga Choo Choo, Won’t You Choo-Choo Me Home?

Once settled on the dock in Chattanooga we caught up with some old friends on Foreign Exchange, Golden Lily and Shore Thing for drinks and dinner at Sticky Fingers.We enjoyed walking around this town.We found an art district which overlooked the river. It had a well done sculpture garden right on the edge of a cliff.We spent most of Thursday at the Tennessee Aquarium. They have both a salt and fresh water display housed in two beautiful facilities that sit…

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The Winding Tennessee River Gorge

The Tennessee River Gorge is twenty-six miles of unspoiled, mostly undeveloped hills, cliffs and mountains that reach as high as 2,300 feet from the winding river. As we meander towards Chattanooga we are in awe of how the magnificent views put us in a frame of mind to just sit back, relax and enjoy the beauty. Each turn in the river seemed to provide a view that was even more spectacular than the last. 

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Little Cedar Mountain Anchorage

We left Goose Pond Marina in a seven boat caravan heading to and through the Nick-A-Jack Lock to a secluded cove where most of us rafted together for the night.This cove, Little Cedar Mountain, provided a rock cliff on the side of the mountain and served as a backdrop for a relaxing evening. We quietly watched the sun set on the bow of Bella Luna's boat as well as being their guest for a North Carolina Crab Cake dinner.The morning…

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Goose Pond Marina, Scottsboro, AL

We arrived early at Goose Pond Marina. Everyone was excited to use the loaner car to go to the famous Unclaimed Baggage Center. Actually there were so many of us we had to borrow two cars to visit this store plus make a stop at Wal-Mart (of course).We left Goose Pond Marina early after a scrumptious breakfast aboard C-Life.

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Happy Hour is Truly a “Happy Time”

   Not more than ten minutes after helping each other tie up chairs, tables, food and drinks appeared on the dock. Everyone was eager for Happy Hour and with this group it truly is "Happy." We were really excited when Louis and Diane on Bella Luna invited us to travel up the Tennessee River to Chattanooga with their caravan. Most of them have been traveling together on and off (mostly on) since they left North Carolina where three of the boats…

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Next Stop Guntersville, Alabama

A beautiful fifty-four mile cruise to Guntersville today.  It is starting to get very hilly with cliffs and valleys.We saw the famous Bat Cave today at the bottom of a huge cliff.This photo of Bella Luna (below, left) shows how big these locks are when lowered.

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First Stop Upriver to Chattanooga… Decatur, Alabama

We are traveling with six other Looper boats up the Tennessee River to Chattanooga. Our first stop on the way is Decatur, a short twenty-nine miles from Joe Wheeler State Park. It was a short run for us and with an important Michigan/Michigan State football game in progress it felt more like a Sunday afternoon when we congregated on Bella Luna to watch the game and have Margaritas. After the game we had dinner in the restaurant/bar right in the…

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Leaving Joe Wheeler

After eleven fun filled days at the beautiful Joe Wheeler State Park in Alabama we are off with a group of six other boats upriver to Chattanooga, Tennessee. We got up early, got organized and headed over to get a pump out. After sitting still for awhile we are itching to move and see some new territory. Thank you AGLCA for a wonderful week at the Rendezvous.

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Finally a New Dinghy

We have worked on saving our dinghy since July and have not had much success. So we bit the bullet and ordered a new one. The guys had a fun project putting it together. 

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Last Night of the Rendezvous

It was the last night of a fun filled four days. We met old friends and made some new ones. We laughed, we played and we even learned a few things.One of the things we the women learned was what a "Full Bouquet" means. (It is this hand waving thing you do when the captain has an "attitude problem"). We got our table to demonstrate our new skill. We were all very impressed when Fred Myers received the Skipper Bob…

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Rendezvous – Kayak and Dinghy Races

We Loopers sure know how to have fun at the Rendezvous. Between the receptions, Looper Crawls (this is where we have tours of each other's boats), Kayak and dinghy races we pack in a lot of great times.The Kayak races  were very popular and many turned out to have a chance to win. The dinghy race was a little more challenging. The driver was blindfolded and turned facing the motor of the dinghy and had to drive the dinghy in reverse while…

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River Rats Unite

The first evening of the AGLCA Rendezvous brought some attention to the "River Rats." We are a group of boaters who were caught up in the flooding of the Illinois River after Hurricane Ike ravaged much of the south. Many of us were stuck or held up much longer, at docks, marinas and anchorages, than we had planned due to portions of the river being closed and locks with debris or mechanical problems.Shortly after the initial flooding it occurred to…

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More Boats at the Rendezvous

Yes, this boat, Dad's Idea, is doing the Loop. This is definitely a dream in the making. Followed here by Lil Looper, Ron and Eva Stob's boat (they are the founders of AGLCA).We toured a lovely steel boat Amalia, owned by Leslie (below) and Greg Marsh.

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Joe Wheeler State Park Marina and AGLCA Rendezvous

Joe Wheeler has been a great stop for a number of reasons, one being that we've been able to tie up to a dock off the beautiful Tennessee River to enjoy some amazing scenery, morning fog and sunsets. The other reasons being opportunity to participate in the America's Great Loop Cruising Association's (AGLCA-It's not really a cult, it's just a great boating club) Fall Rendezvous where we are able to renew some old acquaintances and also make some new ones…

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More In-depth articles - Boat US ONLINE -  by Jim and Lisa Favors - CLICK HERE

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Goodbye Tennessee… Hello Alabama

On Monday we left the great state of Tennessee, however we remained on her river as we head southeast into Alabama on our way to the American Great Loop Cruiser's Association's Fall Rendezvous. We've not been on this part of the Tennessee before and we are finding it to be increasingly beautiful as we travel further up stream. We saw our first step lock while on this river system (see below).After sixty-eight miles we found a home for the night…

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Diamond in the Rough

Sunday we left Clifton, Tennessee and headed out to Diamond Island to anchor for the night. Diamond Island is just this side of Shiloh National Park, the location of one of the bloodiest battles during the Civil War. For us, to anchor out, on the Tennessee River as the water flows calmly by, is an experience we thoroughly enjoy. The stars, sunsets, jumping fish and refreshing fall breezes all make it worth the effort it took to get here.We took…

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A Little Like Mayberry USA

We arrived at the Clifton Marina in Clifton, Tennessee on Saturday morning with thoughts of going into town for lunch. Clifton is a Mayberry type town founded in 1840. It now has one barber, one bank, one gas station and two restaurants which we found out don't open until 5 PM, so no lunch in Clifton today. Everyone here is very friendly and helpful and they all waved to us, as we walked the mile from the marina into town,…

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Cruising & Anchoring – Densons Island

We stopped at Densons Island three years ago and were happy to return again for another beautiful evening on the hook, in paradise. We woke up Saturday morning to fishing boats buzzing back and forth on the river all eager to claim a vacant spot to fish.

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Unusual Sights

Unusual sights while in Tennessee. Not sure what the building was, the guidebook says that it is an abandoned dock that was sunk when they flooded the Tennessee River.This submarine like sailboat really caught our eye. Looks like its seen better days.

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Pebble Isle Marina – Hospitality Plus

We had always heard that Pebble isle was a place that we must visit while on the Tennessee River. We had heard how nice the owners and staff were to all the boaters who come their way. And this is exactly what we found when we stopped for a short visit Thursday. Tami and Randy (see below with cinnamon rolls), part owners of the marina have a genuine warmth which they extend to the boaters who visit their marina.Before we…

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