Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Going Gold - Viridian Crosses Her Wake

Clifton Marina had the best cheese burgers and onion rings for miles.  We shared another meal with fellow Loopers as well as meeting some new ones too.  It rained off and on most of the night and was drizzling when we untied this morning.  Turning up river the current was noticeably stronger today and we could only make about 6 mph at our cruising rpm.  Normally, at this rpm in still water, we can do about 8.5 mph.  The closer we got to Pickwick Dam, the stronger the current got.  The water was now up into the woods along the banks and it was getting harder to hold the bow into the current.  Rounding the bend we could see that the flood gates on Pickwick were open and water was pouring downriver as they lowered the pool in anticipation of flooding up river.  By now, we could only make 4 mph upstream with 90% throttle.  The lock doors were open for us and we didn't have to wait.  Had they been closed then we would simply have to peel off and drift down river and find an eddy to hang out in till the lock was ready.  Once in the giant Pickwick lock, Viridian tied, for the last time on the Loop, to a floating bollard.  The waters inside the lock were calm and we floated up the 63 ft to the top and the gates swung open to reveal the calm waters of Pickwick Lake.  It was now just an 8 mile cruise through beautiful mountainous scenery to the Yellow Creek Inlet where Viridian officially began her Great Loop Adventure almost exactly one year ago.  We cruised across the center line of Yellow Creek and declared the Voyage for the crew of Viridian had officially ended and our traveling buddy's, Gypsy Spirit let loose several horn blasts and their two little dogs, Josephine and Caroline could be heard over the radio barking with excitement.  We hailed the dock mistress at Grand Harbor and got our slip assignment and were soon tied up and hooked up and the Viridian's engine was shut down for the last time on our wonderful voyage around America's Great Loop.

Our original plan was to stop short of Grand Harbor, at the Pickwick State Park Marina, to wash and clean up Viridian for her grand arrival on Wake Crossing Day.  Since the weather was not going to cooperate with that plan we decided to go on into Grand Harbor without the wash job and attach our new Gold Burgee on the bow of Viridian.

The dock mistress met us with three packages; our boat registration stickers for 2019, our new Gold Burgee and a welcome package.  We celebrated with Gypsy Spirit and the dock hands, made some pictures and notified family and friends of our arrival.  The sun was going down and folks began to disperse and we hopped in the loaner car to pick up some needed things in Savannah, TN.

It hasn't sunk in yet that we will soon be sleeping in our bed at our home and walking on firm ground, driving cars and going long distances in a short amount of time.  We have been living in less that 300 square feet for a year that moves with wind and waves.  It was never uncomfortable or claustrophobic.  Now we know we can easily adjust to living smaller.

Here are some stats of Viridian's performance over the trip:

Viridian GB 36 Trawler

Engine Hours (hrs) 861.6
Distance Traveled (miles) 5881.9
Average Velocity (mph) 6.8
Gallons Fuel Burned (gal) 1634.7
Burn Rate (gal/hr) 1.9
Fuel Cost ($) $5,081.89
Fuel Economy (mpg) 3.6
Cost Per Mile ($/mile) $0.86

That's the last of the news and here are the last views:

We are here

Today's Route from Clifton to Grand Harbor

Viridian Docked at Clifton Marina, TN

End of the Day at Clifton

More Rain in the Morning

Cliff Houses

Rising River Waters

Great yard


Pickwick Lake, TN

Gypsy Spirit

Hello Grand Harbor Marina!  We're BAAAck

Happy Loopers

Saved the hat my son gave me just for this occasion

Viridian Goes Gold!

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Only 60 Miles To Crossing Our Wake

It's a bitter/sweet feeling to be this close to completing America's Great Loop.  We are anxious to see our family and friends after being at sea for a year.  On the other hand, we have made some new friends on the Loop that we may never see again.  It is difficult to summarize this experience in words because it is just too big.  Every day was something different.  Every place we faced new challenges.  We are so thankful we were able to make this trip and enjoy good health all the way through.  There were no major mechanical issues that we had to fix and for the most part the weather was close to perfect.  All of the places we visited were mostly places we would have never gone to on a road trip.  We really did get so see America from a unique perspective.  The best part of the whole trip was not the food or the scenery, all of which was over the top, but the people we met along the way.  Here is a list of boats we traveled with for at least one day, most for several days or weeks.

Moni Jean
Proper State of Mind
Dash Away
Second Wave
Noah's Ark
Mary Lisa
Oar Knot
Miss Liberty
Band Wagon
Gypsy Spirit
Miss Norma

We will always remember these people who we shared a portion of the Great Loop with and where we were when we met along the way.  It is the people who make the loop special and we are richer now that we have new friends found on America's Great Loop.

That's the  news and here are some views:

We are here

Today's Route from Cuba Marina to Clifton Marina, TN

Heading Into Weather

Look Mom!  No Hands!

Monday, September 24, 2018

Rain 100%

It was raining when we arrived at Paris Landing, it rained all night and it rained all day on our way to Cuba Marina.  There was no one else on the river but us today and the rain fell straight down with no wind, no thunder, just steady, all day rain.  It made the temperature nice on the flybridge but visibility was not too good.

This leg of the Tennessee is also very nice.  A lot of time could be spent just anchoring and taking it easy up to Pickwick Lake.  However, we can see the barn door from here and our Gold Looper Flag has arrived at Grand Harbor Marina so we are on the home stretch and heading for home.

That's the news and here's the views:

We are here

Today's route from Paris Landing to Cuba Marins, TN



Finally a Break in Rain!

Fake Rain

Sunday, September 23, 2018

National Quilt Museum and Going Down South Up the Tennessee River

Saturday, we traveled back to Paducah, KY to see the National Quilt Museum.  While we were tied up at the transient dock in Paducah, we were minutes away from the quilt museum but it was 96 very hot degrees with 90% humidity that day and we just didn't have it in us to drag ourselves out into the merciless sun away from the air conditioner.  So after leaving Paducah and boating 7 hours by way of the Ohio, Cumberland and Tennessee Rivers to Grand Rivers, Ky, we hopped in the marinia's loaner car and drove 30 minutes back to Paducah from Grand Rivers to see the museum on a cool, cloudy and slightly rainy day.  It was well worth it.  We went with Gypsy Spirit and Blue Goose and  had a really fun day.  After we oohed and aahed over all the quilts, we headed for Kirchhoff's Deli for lunch. 

That's the news and here are some views:

We are here:

Today's Route from Green Turtle Bay, KY to Paris Landing State Park, TN

Viridian at Green Turtle Bay with Blue Goose and Spiritus

Meriwether Lewis and his dog Seaman

Chief Paducah 

William Clark

The National Quilt Museum in Paducah, KY

Every Cloud has a Silver Lining  -  This is a stunning work of art but I love the story behind it.  You can read it below.

For the wedding of my beloved daughter   -  this quilt was gorgeous.
I did wonder how it came to be in the museum when it was made for a daughter's wedding gift.
A closer look at the details

Bed quilts

Quilt Wallhanging

This quilt isn't made of cotton or wool or any other fabric.  It is made of  basswood.  It was carved and painted to look like a quilt.

Beautiful Kentucky Lake

HWY 79

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Mayfly Invasion, Close Encounters of the Heavy Kind and Back in Cleaner Waters

A 0630 departure from Paducah would allow us to travel in cooler air for a while and arrive at Green Turtle Bay before it gets so hot in the afternoon.  But first, we had to deal with the massive mayfly hatch that covered the outside of Viridian and the inside of the flybridge, (flybridge, get it?).  Some cultures enjoy  making a paste from these flies mixed with mosquitos and formed into a cake for eating.  The first mate and chief cook was  not interested in taking on a new "culinary experience" so she washed them off with the hose while underway and picked them one by one out of the flybridge.  This took a good portion of the morning to accomplish but soon we were fly free.

By the time the flies were vanquished, we were turning off the Ohio River and onto the Cumberland River.  Why not just go down the Tennessee River?  That looks like the logical route to take by virtue of distance alone but Kentucky Dam has a reputation of being one of the busiest commercial dams in the country and add to that the heavy construction underway makes little pleasure craft take a back seat when it comes to passing up river.  The Cumberland River eventually takes you to the same place but the Barkley L&D is usually not busy, as was the case for us, so we took the longer way.

The Cumberland river section that we traveled on is mostly remote.  There is this huge rock crusher plant, Lafarge Aggregate,  that keeps tugs working 24-7 bringing large boulders for crushing and taking barge loads of  aggregate away for construction use.   Up the river a piece is Cumberland River Quarry and Pine Bluff Sand and Gravel. 

Before getting there the river makes a 90 degree turn to starboard.  Naturally, the AIS showed a vessel that appeared to be a tug arriving at the turn at the same time we were getting there.  The velocity of the tug was only 2 mph, which could just be one of the little service boats that help move barges around for filling.  As we approached the curve the we could see a barge loaded with boulders creeping around the bend.  Usually, we just pass on the One without yacking on the radio with the tug captains, but there seemed to be no end to the stack of barges coming around the bend.  There soon looked to be more barge than bend so I picked up the mic and called the tug captain.  We found out quickly that there was no room for a pass and were told to stop, turn around and get away because he was fixing to go to full power to make the turn.  The  narrowness of the river made simply turning left or right a non-option so shifting into reverse and backing around then turning was the way we had to go.  Normally, this is a no brainer, you just do it.  This time the engine dies when shifted into reverse.  Like popping the clutch.  This happened once before in Little Diversion Creek when we backed down on the anchor to get it set.  Long story short, we got back underway and out of the barges way and were soon safely past and on our way to GTB.  After discussing the situation with the boatyard repair shop we decided it had to be the cutlass bearing rolling up and binding the shaft when shifting into reverse.  It never happens when shifting onto forward and if a little throttle is added before shifting into reverse it transitions smoothly.  Now that we know what it is we can manage this until we get to a boatyard on the Pickwick and get it fixed.

Barkley L&D was putting a tug up and we had to wait a few minutes before we could be put through.   But soon enough we were in and out and on our way to Green Turtle Bay Marina where several other Loopers had stopped as well.  We got a ride in a 6 seat golf cart with two other couples to a pizza house and had a good time telling stories and eating pizza.

We will stay here a few days and do some scheduled maintenance before heading south to Pickwick.

That's the news and here's some views:

We are here 

Today's route from Paducah to Green Turtle Bay Marina, KY

Going to work

Sunrise on the Ohio

Dredging Operation

Looking tired

The Cumberland River Inlet

Wonder how that got skewed

Rock Crusher on the Cumberland River

Heavy Load coming around the bend

There she goes

Pieceful cruise on the Cumberland

Locking through Barkley L&D

Serious Discussions