Monday, November 30, 2009

November in Demopolis

On Saturday, November 7th, we went over to Rick & Peggy’s house on the Black Warrior River to watch Alabama play LSU. After we consumed a variety of snacks, Rick grilled some top quality ribeye and fillet mignon for dinner, accompanied by baked potatoes and salad – an excellent meal! And Alabama beat LSU so everyone went to bed happy.

Sunday afternoon one of the other boaters organized an hors de oeuvres get-together at the Boaters Lounge. It was a nice day and a number of boaters attended, many of them transients waiting out tropical storm/hurricane Ida.

Monday morning we moved to the other side of B Dock so that we would be facing into the wind and rain we were expecting from Ida. The Captain’s back was feeling better so he changed both engine impellers and put a new zinc in the generator. The rain started about 3:00 p.m. so we stayed on the boat until sometime after dinner when we walked over to the bar to watch part of the Broncos game.

The rain finally stopped about 3:00 p.m. on Tuesday, 24 hours after it began. According to some reports, we had over seven inches. Regardless, the river was on the rise and not many boats were moving. We went over to the bar that afternoon for happy hour with Mike & Harriet and tried the shrimp bisque, which was quite good. But the rolls they served with it were to die for; I think I could’ve eaten a dozen of them!!!

Harriet and I headed to Wal-Mart about 9:15 a.m. Wednesday to pick up a few things to supplement lunch at the Boaters Lounge. Fred had decided the previous evening to bring his famous seafood gumbo for all the boaters and Harriet and I were in charge of the rice and bread. We had a huge turnout and were amazed at the number of people. We didn’t realize there were that many people staying at the marina!

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The rice & bread goddesses!


The boaters gathered along “The Wall” for the gumbo feed.



That afternoon we went up to "The Wall" with Mike & Harriet for happy hour and then walked over to the bar briefly to hear a boater who was playing guitar that evening until 8:00 p.m.

Thursday was the dreaded haul-out day. However, we were pleased at how good the bottom still looks after two years so we only plan to do some touch-up around the water line and repaint the running gear. Todd busied himself cleaning the brown mustache off the boat and then we went over to Rick & Peggy’s for pizza that evening.

The haul-out process, it’s always nerve-racking seeing your home up in a sling!


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Friday was a tough day on the hard. We determined that we need to replace the cutlass bearing on the port side, but we aren’t having any luck pulling the shaft. After much frustration (and no luck) with that issue, the Captain finished washing the boat so it would be ready to wax on Saturday.

Keith, a local friend, came by on Saturday to help Todd wax the boat. They were finished in a matter of hours and Keith took off about 2:00. We then went over to Rick & Peggy’s about 4:30 to watch the Alabama vs. Mississippi State game. An upset was predicted by some, but Alabama won by a wide margin and remains undefeated. Roll Tide Roll!

The Captain pulled the other prop off Sunday and got busy grinding it down to bare metal. Rick & Peggy stopped by that afternoon and joined us at "The Wall" for a little while before heading off to Wal-Mart. This was our first happy hour with B Dock residents Dale & Joy who returned from a two-week road trip a few days ago. Welcome back, guys!

This is the infamous “Wall” where the local boaters gather for happy hour. The reason we all gather there this time of year is because the sun heats “the wall” and it stays warm long after the sun sets!


After much cursing and gnashing of teeth, and with Mike’s (“Dual Dreams”)" support and assistance, the Captain finally got the coupling off the port shaft Monday morning. He then removed the shaft and cut out the cutlass bearing without further difficulties. Yeah! That evening we celebrated by going to the New Orleans Bar & Grill for dinner with Mike & Harriet.

Tuesday was much cooler, with the high only reaching the upper 50’s. It looks like our mid-70-degree days are over for the foreseeable future. The Captain stayed busy repacking the rudders, installing the new cutlass bearing and reattaching the shaft, among other things. By 4:00 it was quite chilly so we stayed close to the boat that evening.

Wednesday morning I made another trip to Wal-Mart with Harriet. The sun stayed buried in the clouds all day so it was even colder than the previous day. Todd washed down the running gear to get it ready to paint while I worked on a big pot of Southwestern pulled pork chili. Then we taped the boat off in preparation for bottom painting.

The Captain works on his running gear.



Life on the hard is hard work. Just getting to your bed requires a climb up the ladder.


Look at the pretty waxed bow, the river moustache is now gone.


Again, by 4:00 it was getting awfully cold but the Captain decided he wanted to walk the docks to check out the boats that had pulled in that day. So we walked down to the fuel dock where there were two boats in excess of 90 feet tied up and then checked out the other docks.

There are always some interesting watercraft cruising the waterways. Here is a 20 foot homemade pontoon (“River Rat”) that a guy is doing the loop on. It comes complete with a mast, screen door, flat-screen t.v. and an outdoor kitchen. Hard to believe that this boat is planning on crossing the Gulf…as are the two boats below.


Here are two twelve-foot boats that are doing the loop. The one on the left has twin 2-hp Honda motors, the one on the right has a single 4-hp motor but it also has a sail. WOW!


We also stopped in to visit with Mike & Harriet on “Dual Dreams," which allowed us to warm up a bit, and then went over to the bar for a brief visit before heading back to “Life’s2Short.”

The sun returned full force Thursday; unfortunately, the morning began with more cursing and gnashing of teeth by the Captain due to some issues with the props. By the end of the day, though, we had new prop keys and the running gear was back in place and ready for painting.

Matt Hansard, on the right, supervises the installation of a bow thruster on “Moonstruck.”


That evening we went over to “Dual Dreams” for a great lasagna dinner. They had also invited friends Tom & Sheila who were boating through on their way to Marco Island for the winter.

Dinner on “Dual Dreams” with the crew from “Life’s2Short” and “The Magic Journey.”


“Dual Dreams” first mate Mo relieves his thirst via the sink faucet.


Friday was another beautiful, sunny day and we put a couple of coats of primer on the running gear. The morning low was somewhere around 30 degrees so we had to wait until almost 10:30 for it to warm up enough to apply the primer! We then had to allow the first coat to dry for about four hours before applying the second coat, so it was pretty much an all-day project. We joined Mike & Harriet at the bar late Friday afternoon for a few happy hour drinks before retiring to “Life’s2Short” for a quiet evening.

Rain was forecast to move in on Saturday so we took the day off from bottom painting. Rick called early Saturday morning to see if the Captain wanted to go fishing, which of course he did. Rick picked Todd up at 8:00 and off they went. They were back by noon and the rain finally started about 4:00 p.m. We walked over to the restaurant around 2:00 to grab a bite of lunch and watch part of the Alabama vs. Tennessee-Chattanooga football game in which Alabama “rolled” over the opposition with a 45-0 win.

Sunday was a cool, gloomy, misty day – a good day for a movie – so we went to Meridian, MS with Rick & Peggy that afternoon to see the new movie 2012. Like most doomsday movies it was a bit unrealistic, but it was entertaining with good special effects and fast-paced action. By 7:30 p.m. we were back at the boat where we settled in for a quiet evening.

Monday was still cool and gloomy but we went ahead and applied the final coat of primer to the running gear and then the first coat of bottom paint about four hours later. I focused on the running gear while Todd applied bottom paint around the water line on the rest of the boat.

It was somewhat warmer Tuesday morning and continued to get nicer throughout the day as the sun finally broke through the cloud cover. Matt’s workers came by mid-morning to move our four new Lifeline 8D AGM batteries into place in the engine room so the Captain could hook them up. We then applied the final coat of bottom paint and started cleaning up our dry lot mess so we would be ready to go back in the water Wednesday morning.

Late Tuesday afternoon they brought the travel lift around to “Life’s2Short” so it would be in place for our re-launch Wednesday morning. Matt even let the Captain drive the beast!



Wednesday morning they moved “Life’s2Short” to the launch area and put her back in the water. We asked Mike (“Dual Dreams”) to come with us while we took “Life’s2Short” on a test run to make sure everything was working properly after the many projects the Captain had completed over the past few weeks. We traveled a few miles up the river and all seemed to be in good working order so we stopped back by the fuel dock to pump out and take on a few hundred gallons of fuel before pulling into a slip near “Dual Dreams” on B Dock.

After visiting with some of the other boaters at “The Wall” late that afternoon, Mike & Harriet came over for dinner. They provided some wonderful grilled salmon that we supplemented with mushroom rice and salad. After dinner we introduced Mike & Harriet to Catch Phrase and I’m sorry to have to admit that the guys triumphed over the girls. Nonetheless, we all had a good time and the guys didn’t gloat too much!

A close-up of “The Wall” at the Demopolis Yacht Basin.



Thanksgiving morning we learned that a member of a family we are very close to was killed in a car accident. Those who have followed our blog from the beginning know that our boat is named “Life’s2Short” in honor of our best friend, Duane Teale, who died suddenly in 2005 at the age of 57 while we were vacationing together on Pickwick Lake. The person who was killed in the car accident early Thanksgiving morning was his only son Jason, age 35.

Because of the holiday we weren’t able to rent a car but fellow boater Buell, who is pictured in our last blog update, agreed to let us use his and we were off to Springfield, Missouri, shortly after 9:00 a.m. Ten hours and nearly 600 miles later, we arrived at the Hayes residence and spent the next few days offering what support we could to Jason’s mother, Susan, and his two sisters, Lisa and Kelli. You may remember Kelli from our Labor Day blog update when she drove to Knoxville to spend five days with us aboard “Life’s2Short.”

Saturday we helped Nila & Everett prepare brunch for the Teale family before heading to Houston, Missouri, to spend the night with my parents before continuing the return trip to Demopolis Sunday morning.

The chefs extraordinaire prepare brunch in the Hayes’ kitchen.


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Susan’s sister Sandy poses with Kelli on the left while Kelli’s sister Lisa looks on.


Aunt Sandy and Kelli.


Lisa with Susan’s brother Bill and hostess Nila.


Today is Monday, November 30th, and we are making final preparations to leave Demopolis for points south. As we wrap up this blog update, we want the Teale family to know that our hearts go out to them as they struggle to cope with this senseless tragedy. Jason was much loved by his family and friends and will be sorely missed, especially by Kelli who was very close to her brother and considered him her best friend.

Below are some photos in memory of Jason Teale, may he rest in peace, and may his family find peace in the coming months as they strive to mend the hole left in their lives by Jason’s untimely death.




Don’t forget to tell those you love how much they mean to you and how much you appreciate having them in your life because life really is too short!

Friday, November 06, 2009

Bay Springs Lake to Demopolis, AL

We hauled anchor and were at Bay Springs Marina by 10:00 a.m. Saturday, October 24th. Chuck & Pip (“Miss Pip”) were there to meet us and help us tie up. “Just Rosie” pulled in to the marina a short time later and after we got them situated, the Captain started on laundry while I began preparing appetizers for an afternoon cookout on the dock, courtesy of Chuck & Pip.

Don & Rosie try their luck at fishing on a chilly afternoon at Bay Springs Lake.


Fall colors on Bay Springs.

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Todd’s parents, Bill & Marilyn, arrived before noon and then left to take their motor home to a nearby campground for the evening before returning for the afternoon festivities. Even though it was a little breezy and definitely cool in the shade, we had a beautifully sunny area on the dock for the cookout, complete with a television to watch the afternoon college football game.

Bill meets the legendary Mo.


Chuck the Grill-master!


What a lovely afternoon for a dock party!


We borrowed Mo’s camper van Sunday to shuttle Bill & Marilyn’s motor home to Columbus. Todd dropped me and Marilyn off in Tupelo to re-provision while Bill took the motor home on to a campground in Columbus. They picked us up a few hours later and we made our way back to Bay Springs for a quiet evening aboard “Life’s2Short.”

We just happened to be driving over the bridge on our way back to the marina when this tow was exiting Whitten Lock.


Ah, the joys of re-provisioning on a boat!


Monday we took off from the marina about 11:30 a.m., went through four locks and covered 36 miles before anchoring just above Wilkins Lock for the evening. “Just Rosie” left the marina when we did but they kept going and got another couple of locks under their belt before calling it a day.

Downbound at 84-foot Whitten Lock… thanks for the photos, Rosie!



Ginger enjoying the sun on the bow on our first day on the Tenn-Tom.


Marilyn & Todd take Ginger to shore for a potty break.


It rained overnight and remained gloomy and damp all day Tuesday. We went through Wilkins and Amory Locks and traveled the remaining 19 miles to Blue Bluff where we planned to spend a couple of days tied to the dock. A boat named “I Love Lucy” was tied up on the left side of the dock so we went in on the right side. Ed (of “I Love Lucy”) came out to grab a line and we met his wife Lucy a short time later. The rest of the day was spent reading and relaxing and trying to stay dry.

Hauling anchor on a wet Tuesday morning.


As we are traveling, Mama Lanning checks her e-mail on the flybridge…


…while Papa Lanning reads on the sundeck.


Even the rain can’t keep the fisherman indoors.


Ginger, however, has NO desire to be outside!


Wednesday turned out to be a nice day. While Marilyn was out taking a morning walk, she met a retired coach who offered to take Bill to Aberdeen to get a hair cut. Bill & Marilyn wanted to take us out for dinner that evening, so Todd went along to scope out the local restaurants. Coach Tom ended up loaning us his vehicle to tour town and use to go out to dinner that evening. What a nice man!

Bill gets a haircut in Aberdeen, MS.


Wednesday afternoon we were joined at Blue Bluff by two other trawlers and a sailboat. One of the trawlers was “Roy El” who we met at Tellico Marina a few months ago and then again at Spring City Marina on Watts Bar. “Roy El” ended up rafting to “I Love Lucy” while the other two boats anchored nearby.


The Captain tows Ed back to “I Love Lucy” when his dinghy motor quits on him.


That evening we went to the Town & Country Steakhouse where Todd and Marilyn had steak while Bill and I had the catfish. Thanks for treating us to dinner, Bill & Marilyn, we enjoyed it!

Thursday was a nasty morning with virtually no visibility through the pouring rain. When the rain let up we left Blue Bluff, went through Aberdeen and Stennis Locks, covered 48 miles and were anchored in a nice, protected cove above Bevill Lock by 4:30 p.m. After the morning rain passed, it turned out to be a pretty nice day with some sun and temperatures in the 70’s.

Ginger is ready for another trip to shore.


Ginger getting her exercise chasing sticks.


Friday was very windy and warm as we made our way through Bevill Lock and downstream another 38 miles to Sumter Landing with strong current and a lot of debris to watch for along the way. We saw speeds in excess of 12 mph below the lock and probably averaged 10.5 mph the entire trip. Gotta love going downstream!

Leaving Bevill Lock on a windy, overcast morning.


We were off to our final lock, Heflin, about 8:30 Saturday morning. We’d had more rain overnight and it was another cool, cloudy morning. By the time we arrived at the Demopolis Yacht Basin, six hours later, the sun was finally out!

The White Cliffs of Epes, AL.


Fall colors on the White Cliffs.

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When we pulled up to B Dock, our good friend Rick who lives in Demopolis was there to greet us and catch a line and was soon joined by Mike off “Dual Dreams.” We were surprised to see Mike & Mary Hall on the dock. They had stopped by to visit with Mike & Harriet on “Dual Dreams” on their way from Mobile back to Tuscaloosa where their boat, “What Daze It?",” is currently located and just happened to be passing through on the same day we arrived.

B Dock resident Buell off “Dale B” meets Bill & Marilyn.


After visiting and catching up for a bit, we went over to the New Orleans Bar & Grill for a brief happy hour with Mike & Harriet. Rick & Peggy joined us there, took us on a tour of their new house on the Black Warrior River and then treated all of us to dinner at Batter Up. Thanks, Rick & Peggy! After we returned to the Yacht Basin we went back up to the bar for a little while but the music was so loud we didn’t stay long and decided to turn in for the night.

Harriet & Mike (“Dual Dreams”) enjoying happy hour with the Lanning’s at the New Orleans Bar & Grill.


Peggy dressed up as a clown for her grandson Clay for Halloween and decided to wear the outfit to the bar to pick us up. Isn’t she adorable?!!!


On Sunday Todd borrowed Rick’s truck and took Bill & Marilyn back to Columbus, MS where we had left their motor home while I caught up on laundry and various other chores around the boat. We hope Bill & Marilyn enjoyed their time aboard “Life’s2Short” and wish them a safe journey back to Boulder, CO. That afternoon Todd and I both napped for a while and then went over to Rick & Peggy’s for a light meal of some wonderful appetizers Peggy prepared.

Todd hurt his back Monday morning while helping Fred, the owner of the Yacht Basin, with a boat he was hauling out and was back on board “Life’s2Short,” immobile on the sundeck, by 9:00 a.m. In fact, Mike used a wheelchair that was in the Boaters Lounge to get Todd to the far end of B Dock where “Life’s2Short” is docked and helped me get him on board. That afternoon Mike stopped by and helped me get him to the aft cabin so he could rest more comfortably.

Harriet and I made a run to Wal-Mart on Tuesday while the Captain continued to convalesce. Later that afternoon I joined Mike & Harriet at the bar for happy hour. While I was gone, Rick & Peggy stopped by the boat with several pieces of Peggy’s famous homemade pecan pie, which the Captain loves. I have no doubt that his back will heal faster after having eaten some of Peggy’s pie!

Wednesday was another quiet day aboard “Life’s2Short,” but Todd was at least able to get up and walk around some. We joined Mike & Harriet at “The Wall” for happy hour and then returned to the boat for a quiet evening. Mike came over Thursday and helped us take the boat over to the fuel dock to pump out our holding tanks. We had planned to haul out Monday and pump the tanks then, but that has been postponed until the Captain is able to get up and around better than he currently can.

Today is Friday, November 6th, and Todd’s back is improving a little each day. If he feels up to it, we will probably have the boat hauled early next week so we can begin some of the many projects on the “haul-out” list. In the meantime, it is supposed to be a beautiful weekend in Demopolis, AL and we hope it is also a beautiful weekend wherever you are!