Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Demopolis, Mississippi

The afternoon before we left Columbus Marina, Bill from "Tortuga" had asked if he could follow our three boats down river for a while. Of course!, we said, four boats is manageable and good--we were glad to have him! So, we four left the marina in Columbus, Mississippi very early (6:30am!) Sunday, November 16th. We had a long day ahead of us and hopefully two locks—you either “get lucky” with the timing of the openings in the locks or you “get stuck” and have to wait as much as 3 hours. Like Robert (from “C-Life”) has always said, ‘I’d rather be lucky than good!’” Amen to that, Robert. We took the first lock just after we left the marina and never slowed down—that was “lucky”. We had a fairly uneventful day, not seeing any waterfowl or much else to note here—a fairly boring, but beautiful day. We wound up getting “lucky” again in the second lock late in the day, and pulled into a great little anchorage just down river of the lock— “Tortuga” rafted with the three of us (“C-Life” and “Wanderin’ L & M”). We all were invited over to see “Tortuga”—so we fixed drinks and appetizers and had a great couple of hours on his 1984, 38 foot beautifully restored boat. Thank you, Bill! We had another long day ahead of us on Monday, so we all went to bed early.

Waking up to ice/heavy frost on the boat has been an interesting and different experience for Louis and me. Thank goodness we have heat in the cabin (and Louis has rigged us a propane heater on the flybridge too!). But the generator on “Tortuga” had quit sometime early on in the evening, so Bill was really, really cold when he woke up the next morning—poor thing. Plugging his coffee pot into our galley and filling him with a nice hot breakfast helped his disposition greatly! (I’m sure he was glad he had rafted with us!) We were underway and half-frozen from pulling our anchors, but by 7am we were headed for Demopolis, Alabama—thanks to "lucky" locking yesterday, no locks today—but 43 winding miles. We figured we went in and out of Mississippi 3 times as the river took us on its meandering course—but what a pretty ride it was that day. We went through two long separate stretches where there were white cliffs rising straight up out of the water—almost like being in the Grand Canyon—beautiful, especially with the sun shining so brightly on them. And we saw several ospreys carrying fish in their feet (talons?), plus we saw another beautiful, mature eagle. I will never tire of that.

We got to Demopolis, Alabama fairly early in the afternoon, fueled at $2.89, and signed up for the courtesy car for several hours (Robert at 2pm, Larry at 4pm, and Louis at 6pm!). We toured by car some of the more historic and pretty old homes in Demopolis (just a small town), and made the customary trip to W-M. For dinner, we went to a great local place, The Red Barn. Red it was from top to bottom, rustic and good food too—another “lucky” and wise decision on the part of our Captains.

Tuesday, today, for me has been spent doing laundry, cleaning and computer blogging/e-mails. Louis has been busy organizing his tools and cleaning/polishing the windows up top. He gave “Bella Luna” a good “vinegar” bath yesterday—to get all the stubborn stains off her hull from the hard water we’ve been in recently. We’re both glad to have had this day to rest—rather—stop off the water. (There’s no “rest” on this trip for any of us!) We have 217 miles left to get to Mobile, which we think will mean three, long, 70 mile, days each one. We’ll be at anchor for those three nights in a row, somewhere just off the river in hopefully a quiet cove, and probably won’t have much cell phone service—much less any wireless. We’ll have just two more locks—amazingly, the last two of our whole trip. That’s so hard for me to believe—the locks have been such an important part of planning each day—now I wish I had counted them all. We figure the number of locks we’ve been through is somewhere around 130—beginning with our first, the small one in Elizabeth City, NC—and without each and every one of them, this whole trip of ours would have been impossible. We love locks!!!!
***More from Mobile in a few days.

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