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Day 19

Location: Ohio River Mile 923, Cumberland River Mile 0

Distance Travelled Today: 51 Nautical Miles

Total Trip Distance: 771 Nautical Miles

As we slipped off the Ohio River to anchor behind Cumberland Island Towhead, you could almost feel Steel Magnolia breathe a sigh of relief as she crossed the Mason Dixon Line and entered her promised land.With Kentucky on both sides of our anchorage, her little diesel seemed to perk up and begin to snort like a young foal on an autumn morning. Like the Acadians who fled Nova Scotia in 1755 and settled in the Mississippi Delta to become what we know as Cajuns, Steel Magnolia, built in Nova Scotia, has found her rightful home in the South.

While the day was absolutely beautiful, our trip up the Ohio River from the Mississippi was quite difficult. The Ohio River starts in Philadelphia and flows 981 miles to the Mississippi where we joined it this morning. Heavy rains over the last week have raised the water level to more than 30 feet above normal pool and the current is strong and turbulent. The water is filled with logs, many the size of trees, which we had to dodge all day. For most of the day, our normally eight knot speed was reduced to just over four knots, about 5 miles per hour. In 11 hours of running we covered 60 statute miles. We were scheduled to go up two locks today, but in both cases, when the water is this high, they simply fold down the dams and we drive right over them. In both cases, the entire lock portion was completely submerged. If there had been a flood in September, 1861 when General Grant followed this route to take Paducah, he would have never made the trip and the South might have won the war.

This is our third straight day of all day runnning and anchoring out at night. While I am looking forward to getting off the boat tomorrow afternoon at Barkley Lake, the lovely Laura Lee has severe withdrawal symptoms from her usual exercise routines. This afternoon, she calculated that a one mile walk would equal approximately 66 laps around the deck of the Steel Magnolia. Before I knew it, she was bundled up and walking round and round the decks, crossing in front of the pilothouse on each lap. She did half of the laps clockwise and half counter-clockwise, and in about 15 minutes she had completed her hike.

Barge traffic was heavy all day but all of the commercial traffic either turned off to go up the Tennessee River or continued up the Ohio. Tomorrow, as we move up the Cumberland River, we should have little traffic and much reduced current. Our destination tomorrow is only about 30 miles away. We are headed to Green Turtle Bay Marina on Barkley Lake, which we hear is one of the nicest stops of the entire trip. Saturday morning, I will be joined by George Broughton and the lovely Laura Lee will return to Birmingham to run our house, take care of our dogs, continue her design work, and resume her exercise routine.

I’ll report in tomorrow night to let you know we are safely in at Green Turtle Bay. Stay tuned.

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Reader Comments (1)

I love being told aboutthe history of where you are. I think it is so fasinacting. Do you just know it all or reading something? Very cool. I am glad that Laura Lee is going back home to reassume her regularities of work and exercise - I know it must be driving her crazy! Tell her hello for me. I'm gonna try to call ya'll tomorrow, your friday, hopefully I will call and be able to catch her as well. I love ya'll both....be careful
November 3, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterLaura

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