Chattanooga and Chickamauga
On Thursday, July 14th, we left our anchorage at Little Cedar Mountain about 11:00 a.m. and arrived at Williams Island four hours later. The water behind the island was generally in the vicinity of 30 feet deep but we finally found a spot with 15 feet at the upper end of the island, dropped the hook and promptly got in the water to cool off.
We caught this deer swimming across the lake shortly after leaving the anchorage.
This is TVA’s Raccoon Mountain pumped storage project. Water from the river is pumped into a 520-acre lake on top of the 1,100-foot mountain. Then, during times of peak demand, electricity is generated by allowing water to flow down the mountain through giant tubes and turbines.
This area is known as the “Grand Canyon of the Tennessee.” In one section, the water is in excess of 135 feet deep as a result of an ancient fault line.
Shortly after we got in the water, a small flat-bottomed boat with three people in it started paddling upriver toward us, against a very strong current. When they finally reached us, they asked if we had seen any activity along the shore as we were coming up behind the island to anchor. Turns out they work for a local television station out of Chattanooga and had received a tip that the authorities were in the area searching for bodies that may have been buried there several years ago. But we weren’t able to see any action from the river.
As I mentioned, it was very hot so we offered each of them a cold beer and chatted with them briefly before they headed back downriver in search of their story. The Captain was kind of hoping they would do a personal interest story on “Life’s2Short” since their crime scene story wasn’t looking very promising, but no such luck!
Friday we took off at 10:00 a.m. (now in the Eastern Time Zone) for our final hour into Chattanooga. It was a cloudy morning and turned out to be a very pleasant day with temperatures staying below 90 degrees for a change. We had a nice lunch at Big River Grille and then walked around for a while before going to see a late afternoon movie (Larry Crowne starring Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts) at the downtown theater, the Majestic.
Approaching downtown Chattanooga – our favorite riverfront city!
These are the two aquariums, one saltwater and one freshwater.
The baseball stadium for the Chattanooga Outlooks.
After the movie, we made our way back to “Life’s2Short" where Todd met a local guy named Ken who was fishing off the dock near the boat. So naturally they went off fishing together. A few hours later, Todd came running back to the boat to get his camera. Ken caught one of the biggest bass Todd has ever seen – and that’s saying something!
Very nice, Ken!
Notice the “No Fishing” sign in the background?
Saturday morning we had a late breakfast at the Hilton Garden Inn, walked around town some more, cruised through the Farmers Market, stopped back by the boat to take care of some business, and then walked across the Market Street bridge to the north side of the river where we browsed in a few of the touristy shops and toured Coolidge Park.
Scenes from the beautiful riverfront park area below the aquariums.
This is called the Trail of Tears.
Looking back toward the aquariums from the Market Street bridge. “Life’s2Short” is at the far right of the concrete pillars on the waterfront.
The Southern Belle does tours and dinner cruises on the river.
This is Coolidge Park.
What a beautiful carousel!
The Delta Queen riverboat is now permanently docked on the north side of the river and has been turned into a floating hotel. Should be an interesting place to stay!
Looking back across the river at the Hunter Museum of American Art.
The ducks are a big tourist attraction.
We took the Walnut Street pedestrian bridge on the return trip and spent a couple of hours relaxing on “Life’s2Short” before walking up to The Blue Plate for a few drinks. Then it was off to Sticky Fingers for dinner. When we were taking our leftovers back to the boat, we saw Ken fishing off the dock again. We said hello and then headed for the Outlooks stadium to watch the remainder of the ballgame. As it turned out, we only caught the last couple of innings, but that was okay. And there were fireworks after the game, which we always enjoy!
When we returned to the boat, we found Argil & Robin looking for us. They had been out to dinner across the river and stopped by on their way home to say hello. And Ken was still there fishing off the dock! We met Argil & Robin by accident, literally, in the fall of 2006 when we first boated to Chattanooga. Argil had recently purchased a 42-foot Sea Ray and had some difficultly trying to dock it and in the process, managed to ram into the side of “Life’s2Short!” But everything turned out fine and we have maintained contact ever since.
It was great to see you guys, again!
Pete & Geneva drove over from Dayton late Sunday morning to pay us a visit. After a mediocre lunch at Rio Picante, we went to the IMAX which was showing The Ultimate Wave – Tahiti in 3D.
We then had a cold one at The Blue Plate before getting into the car and taking a drive up Lookout Mountain, past Ruby Falls and Rock City, and then we stopped at the Incline Railway and Point Park, a Civil War memorial park.
The view from Lookout Mountain. This is actually someone’s backyard view.
This is the Incline Railway that takes you from the base of Lookout Mountain to its top. Would be fun to ride sometime!
The entrance to Point Park.
The canon is pointed toward the Tennessee River.
When we got back to Chattanooga, Pete & Geneva came down to the boat and had a few beers with us before heading back to Dayton. We decided to stay on board that evening and Todd walked into town to get a “take & bake” pizza from a local place called Lupi’s for dinner.
Monday we left Chattanooga about noon, went through the Chickamauga Lock and continued another hour upriver to Harrison Bay where we anchored in Dog Leg Slough by 3:00 p.m. Two hours later we dinghied over to Island Cove Marina to meet Norm & Vicki on “Tide Hiker.” They had just returned from a quick weekend trip to Columbus, Ohio, and were both tired but this was our only chance to see them again, at least until later this fall since we weren’t able to get a slip at Island Cove as we had planned.
After catching up over a few drinks on “Tide Hiker,” we got in their rental car and went to nearby Las Margaritas where we had some really good Mexican food and a couple of pitchers of exceptionally good top shelf margaritas. Yummy!
We left Dog Leg Slough around 10:00 a.m. Tuesday and it was already hot! We only had about 27 miles to go to the Bluewater Campground & Marina at Mile 504.5 but we needed to make a couple of stops along the way. The first stop was at Shady Grove Harbor Marina to pump out the holding tanks and the second stop was at Sale Creek Marina (no pump out) to check out a possible slip for “Life’s2Short” while we go back to Missouri and Colorado.
So with all that, we didn’t get to Bluewater until almost 3:00 p.m. And I need to clarify that Bluewater is not a marina, at least not yet. They have plans to put one in but at this time they really just have a fuel dock with no power or water. Nonetheless, Todd, the manager, who we became acquainted with in 2009, lets us tie up on the fuel dock and it works well for us because Pete & Geneva’s house is just a few miles away.
At any rate, Todd had arranged to fish a bass tournament that evening with Pete’s neighbor Matt. So Matt picked Todd up at 5:30 and I stayed on the boat, reading and relaxing after another hot day of traveling. Todd made it back about 1:30 a.m. after a very slow night of fishing and was more than ready to hit the sack!
Pete’s neighbor Matt and his fishing companion Pudge.
Wednesday was another scorcher from the time we got out of bed. Pete picked us up at 1:30 to do a little shopping and then took us to the house where I did a couple of loads of laundry while we visited. And Geneva arranged for Todd to get his hair cut that afternoon by a neighbor down the road a short distance. Later we sat down to a nice dinner of deviled eggs, chicken pasta salad and cantaloupe with fresh blueberries.
A perfect meal on a hot day. Nice job, Geneva!
Pete showing off his piano playing skills.
Pete & Geneva picked us up early Thursday afternoon and we went to Jacob Myers Deli for lunch. Then we toured around Dayton for a little while before going back to Pete & Geneva’s. Parts of the Dayton area experienced some rain, but even in the areas where it didn’t rain, the cloud cover helped to keep the temperature somewhat in check. So we were able to comfortably sit on the back deck and enjoy the evening, especially after Pete brought out the box fan to generate a breeze.
Pete & Geneva and their kitty Jackson.
Nice flowers, Geneva!
Jackson, king of his domain!
Pete loves his kitty.
Pete is grilling brats for dinner in one of his favorite and obviously well-seasoned shirts.
Friday was a quiet morning aboard “Life’s2Short.” We finally pulled away from Bluewater about 1:30 with the assistance of campground manager Todd and Pete who came by to see us off. Thanks for everything, guys, we really appreciate it!
We only had about seven downriver miles to go to our anchorage in a small cove at Mile 498. It was hot again but we had a decent breeze, which always helps. Todd did some late afternoon fishing in the shady part of the cove and then we spent some time in the water cooling off before dinner.
Todd went fishing again early Saturday morning but that was the extent of our activity for the day. It was too hot to do anything other than try to stay out of the sun. About 4:30 we decided to move the boat downriver a few miles to the travel lift dock at Sale Creek Marina so Todd could have access to water to wash the boat. The dock where we will be leaving “Life’s2Short” has power but no water and Todd wanted to give the boat a bath because we have an interested couple stopping by on Monday to look at it.
After we got tied up to the dock and figured out where the water spigot was, we sat on the bow in the shade for a while and then had to get in the water to cool off. We are really getting tired of this stifling heat!
Sunday morning Todd got the boat washed before the sun made its way over the top of the trees and started heating things up. We then moved over to the dock where “Life’s2Short” will be tied up for the next month and promptly plugged into power so we could turn the AC on. Ah, finally some refuge from the heat!
Late Sunday afternoon Pete & Geneva and Buell drove over to Sale Creek Marina to pick us up and we all went to dinner at Steve’s Landing Restaurant overlooking Pine Harbor Marina, about seven miles downriver from Sale Creek. Buell is a fellow boater who we met in Demopolis in the fall of 2006, which is also where and when we met Pete & Geneva. Buell is passing through Dayton on his way to North Carolina to visit family. We also invited fellow boater David on “Moonstruck.” David, who we haven’t seen since we were in Demopolis a few months ago, is currently at Island Cove and said he would love to join us. The more, the merrier – right?!!!
When we arrived at the restaurant, it was very crowded and there was a long waiting list with virtually no place to wait. So, we grabbed a cold beer and waited out on the patio.
Oh my, that poor motorcycle!
After an hour or more, we were finally seated. Our orders ranged from ribs to fried seafood to blackened chicken and everyone seemed to thoroughly enjoy their selection. No wonder it’s such a popular place!
Today is Monday, July 25th, and even though I don’t have a good enough Internet signal at Sale Creek to post this update, this is where I am going to end it. Later this afternoon, we have an interested couple coming by to look at “Life’s2Short” and we have much to do to prepare for our trips back to Missouri and Colorado. The plan is to post this update at some point during our road trip back to Missouri.