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Day 22

Location: Pebble Isle Marina, Mile 96.1 of the Tennessee River (Kentucky Lake). 8 miles from Loretta Lynn’s home.

Distance Travelled Today: 64 Nautical Miles

Total Trip Distance: 866 Nautical Miles

The lovely Laura Lee headed home yesterday morning and was replaced by George Broughton. She is, of course, always my favorite first mate and galley wench and I will miss her. She managed to sign on for the toughest portion of this trip with treacherous river currents on the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers and nowhere to stop for the night other than anchorages. However, she handled it all in good spirits and she too has now bonded with the Steel Magnolia. Thanks Laura Lee. I’ll be home soon.

George and I spent Saturday changing the oil in the generator and engine, a long and messy job. With new clean oil and coolant topped off, the main engine is running great at the right temperature. I’m feeling good now that I’m free to run the generator all I need for heat and power the rest of the trip. We also tried to figure a way to get the mast raised back up (it was lowered for the low bridges in Chicago) so we would have radar, but we figure it weighs between 600 and 800 pounds and we could barely lift it a foot between us. We’re going to have to wait for some help or a forklift to get it back upright. Since we couldn’t budge it, we decided to have a beer and watch football for the rest of the afternoon. We dined on homemade chile sent up by Gail and we turned in early.

This morning, we had planned on departing at a civilized 8 am. However, I was up by 4:45 so we went ahead and departed Green Turtle Bay at 7 am. We went around the corner and through the short canal connecting Barkley Lake to Kentucky Lake and turned south at Mile 25.4 of the Tennessee River. We will continue to Mile 215 of the Tennessee River where we will turn off into Yellow Creek to join the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway (usually called the Tenn-Tom).

Kentucky Lake, created on the Tennessee River by the construction of Kentucky Dam, is the largest man-made lake in the eastern United States. It stretches for 184 miles across the western edge of Kentucky and Tennessee. It has 2,400 miles of shoreline, about double that of Lake Martin back home.

On our left much of the day, between Kentucky Lake on the Tennessee River and Barkley Lake on the Cumberland, was an area known as “Land Between The Lakes”, a beautiful national park and wildlife sanctuary. Set up during the Kennedy administration in 1963, the area has always been devoted to creating natural habitats for all kinds of wildlife. It has hundreds of miles of trails and camping and hiking are supposedly fantastic. As we have been on the entire trip, we are a little late for the peak fall colors, but we still had beautiful colors and scenery as we ran down beside the Land Between The Lakes all day.

While travel on Steel Magnolia is slow and leisurely, there are occasionally startling changes which make you realize you are making progress. This afternoon when we stopped, I realized that in two days of travel, I have come from the Ohio River in Illinois to just 60 miles west of Nashville. We’re just down the road from Loretta Lynn’s house and not too far from home. The weather is warming up and the water temperature, which has been in the 50’s since Sturgeon Bay, is now in the 60’s.

George is working out to be an excellent first mate. He is several inches taller than I am and has managed to bump his head on every conceivable part of the boat with no visible signs of injury, thus earning him the nickname hardheaded George.

We’re staying at a nice little marina which operates a small grill where we had dinner tonight. Tomorrow, we’ll move on up the Tennessee River and probably reach the northern end of the Tenn-Tom on Tuesday. We’ll catch you later. 

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Reader Comments (1)

It's great to know Steel Magnolia is finally going again. No Blog since Friday!
I was worried that you were lost going neither Up or Down to Mississippi.

Your Blog has become a daily ritual for me. With the maps and your comments, it is close to VIRTUAL BOATING....Thanks-
Walter Mitty
November 6, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterPerfect DHead

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