Oct 25 Day 31 A Father of a Day!

We said goodbye to Florence midday. Really a great town with lots of things on the tourist calendar: from mega-golf to a storytelling extravaganza (and lots in between—including all that music!).  After yesterday’s tourist extravaganza, here are a few parting shots:

Just to give you some idea of the intensity of music history and roots here!  We are in Florence/Muscle Shoals (midway-triangle btwn Nashville and Memphis) (obviously I like maps!)

We stopped at  the Alabama Music Hall of Fame- very long list of successful and famous Alabamans in the music industry.  And did you know the first Rock and Roll song was from here??  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e0mhgyTgxtw

I like the part about the amplifier falling off the truck.

Can’t forget Sam Phillips the Father of Rock and Roll  (with Elvis, duh!):

Sam Phillips launched Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins,  Roy Orbison, Johnny Cash, Charlie Rich and many others.  Even in the 50’s and in the South he had no racial biases…only what sounded right (and probably moved right) was what mattered.  He said he was only “looking for that little piece of soul magic.” 
The Golden Country Car, a 1960 Pontiac convertible adorned with more than 500 silver dollars and 17 silver guns….but still not sure WHOSE car it was??! haha

So aside from being the birthplace of Rock and Roll, Florence is also the birthplace of W.C. Handy, Father of the Blues:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZGqBmlZR3dc  — recorded BEFORE outbreak of WWI  …wow !

Besides our “tourist” things we golfed and walked.

Look at this cool frisbee golf course in Mcfarland Park…can you see the next “hole/target” way through the trees on the grassy knoll?  And Nick thinks HIS courses are challenging!


Nick’s last (for now) day of golf on the Robert Trent Jones Trail –the Father of all Golf Trails.  At least THAT pin/hole can be seen!

And then we arrived late in the afternoon back at Grand Harbor Marina Iuka, Mississippi

On the way, we enjoyed perfect weather, water and scenery:


Largest boat we’ve seen yet….and, for that matter, hardly any boat traffic of any kind today.

Little islets near Sevenmile Island Wildlife Area (see above feature photo too)                     Good bye Tennessee River!

We are now positioned for the Tenn-Tom Waterway section that we’ll start tomorrow.


Oct 23 Day 29 Carpoolin’ Fun in Florence, Al

Yet again another nice marina and great dockmaster couple: Kyle and Eva who, despite being inundated w/ Loopers heading downriver after the annual “Looper Convention,” they still made us feel special in our little boat. (fyi, we did not attend the “convention”…just wingin’ it, I guess)

Picturesque Florence Harbor Marina: Although we did just now discover there is no fresh water on our “small boat/sailboat dock” where we have, as usual, been relegated and are spending a few days….so I guess we’ll just have that much more practice docking/tying up/maneuvering around the big Loopers when we go over to the main dock and re-fill the tank. A small problem compared to the rest of the world’s.

Just a block from the marina is a lovely 3+ mile long river park that includes a forest of these great pine trees for our morning walk.

The fallen-pine-needles-fermenting-in-the-warm-sun smell is not, unfortunately, photogenic!

Nor was Ziggy particularly photogenic for this shot…but she wanted to show off her Seahawk spirit today:


We borrowed the marina courtesy car and B was back to carpooling as if the kids were little again.  B ushered Nick off to play at a nearby stellar Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail  (one on the trail that he missed last year when he came to Alabama with his Tacoma golf buddies to tackle the Trail).


Fighting Joe Course at Muscle Shoals l0st to Nick today.  Good game!

While in carpool mode, B stopped by a nature preserve and let Ziggy romp on the trails. Ziggy, for her part, let B romp too.  Besides the cool old, moss-laden remnants in feature photo above, a few other discoveries:


Since all mushrooms are fungi, but not all fungi are mushrooms…safe to say: Nice fungi!


Hmmmmm, couldn’t pass this up.  I guess it’s an armadillo….so much for its armor!

And to wrap up the carpool loop, we all had lunch together afterward to enjoy N’s good golf day:

First country club lunch for Ziggy …or was it jail?   

Watching Seahawks struggle now……

Tomorrow will be a full-on tourism day in Florence,Al…stay tuned.

10-19 Day 25 Stayin’ Put in Pickwick


As seems to generally be the case, just when we tentatively plan a day or 2 in advance, we un-do the plan.  We have been battling what all boaters fear: ”that smell” that emanates from some unknown area and even worse for some unknown reason. Of course, it’s worse in the cabin when we sleep because we shut the back door and there is less air flow; so we awaken to the odor and declare all out war.   Thought we handled it yesterday with a 2 hour endeavor of syphoning dirty, disgusting, oily water from the engine (thanks for that last messy oil change, Dude-at-the-Marina!), wiping down with de-greaser (while doing Houdini contortions in the small space….ie me….b/c Nick doesn’t fit/bend very well!)( Yay for hot yoga class!), running about 5 rinses of fresh water through the black water holding tank, flushing even more times, pumping out each time, running the chemical thing through, etc….oh and if you’ re wondering (and I KNOW you are)  ONLY yellow goes down our toilet….nothing else…not even toilet paper!) (Altho that was NOT the case for the prior owner –so it seems that might be (part) of our problem as caked old stuff seems to be dislodging with each pump out….pleasant!)

Here’s the “clean” engine! (yes, there’s still more to clean, but you should have seen it before.)  That oil ring (center bottom of pic) and little bit of water re-accumulated after 12 hours of being totally dry and “clean”…ugh!

Also, that Dude-at-the-last-Marina thinks it’s normal to have standing water in the mid-ship bilge…but frankly 2 big painter buckets full does not seem normal to me!  So we syphoned that out ….and….it was yellow, btw…. Hmmmm…., but not smelly.

Here’s the clean/nearly dry midship/fore bilge.  There are actually 2 pump thingies here..one regular bilge and then the box thing for the shower water…but we have yet to shower inside.

We were quite pleased with our work but alas woke up again to the same smell (although slightly less strong.)  So more wiping down and letting it all air dry today at the dock w/ all the hatches wide open, fans inside blowing, and powerful sunshine (hopefully) dissipating the oil.  Another round of pump outs and refills w/ clean water too….but with temps in the 90’s again…yikes!… certain odors could exponentially reach their own new highs).

Today’s pump out w/ sister-boat captain, Don, adding a bit more than mere moral support, while B rocks the boat to loosen the “crud” during pump out.

All that was the lead up to explain that things happen and plans change quickly. (and yes, WAY more techno-talk/pix than I like!)…so now tomorrow we will head over to a full-service Marina with hopefully a better Dude-Mechanic and get it fully solved—even tho it seems substantially better.

In the meantime, while we let the sun work her magic on the oil smells, Nick had another round of golf.  He was the only one there so not only played by himself but also didn’t have anyone in front of him making him huff and puff w/ inpatience! He got the course done in record time of about 2 hours. (Yes, it was 18 holes!)

Over 150 years ago cannon balls were flying through here. Now, it’s Nick’s golf balls!  Whoa…just think about that for a little. Seriously.
Nick back from the office  with a happy welcoming committee 

And Ziggy and I went for a great loop hike around the Pickwick Landing State Park.



This almost looks like Puget Sound at low tide…but just really low water in the “lake/river”

Wrapped up the day with an evening “cruise” to get appetizers (see top feature photo for view from restaurant…note our tiny dingy and the geese flying south w/ us!), beers and even a “Dark and Stormy” (good memories, always– Right, Anonymous in Dunedin (aka Jeanette and Alan)  and Sue and Steve??)



Oct 15 Day 21 Flowin’ by Not Flowin’ at Paris Landing, Tn

I’ve realized that once you decide to stay two nights in one spot it becomes much less of a “search and destroy-survival” event and instead  more of a leisurely flow—which is what I thought we were doing already!

So Nick jaunted off for his first golf outing since his rib incident 5 weeks ago.

Off to the “office” with his “briefcase” 
4th Hole

And Ziggy and B went for a “hike” along the lake that turned into a scramble after the trail petered out…..and then a jaunt through a parking lot.

Kentucky Lake
Leaves starting to change! Yay!


Unhelpful sign in parking lot!  I wanted the trail!

But then  Ziggy and I happened upon the Confederate Army Reenactment Camp

Confederate Encampment Life
And death.

We did actually flow a bit on the river on our “sister-boat” for a dinner outing to Fat Daddy’s where we snuck in in 2’ of water! Yikes!  Just a little silt kicked up. Nice to be able to raise the prop!

Wondering if Don and Nick meet the requirements of this sign?  (as an aside and despite the sign, there was NO Budweiser!)  I think the dogs make them look credible, right?
Got some dancing in too with these hot guys.

After dinner we returned to our quiet, peaceful and what we thought was empty-of-all-life marina and were greeted by the last Harvest Moonrise of 2016 (see feature photo above!).  We had planned to go see the Cannon Ball extravaganza at the Confederate Camp but the ranger told us it was nothing special. Sitting dockside in the dark, the cannons pounded in the distance at least 6 times and echoed even more.  Inky (our sister-boat dog) ran away crazed.  She did return out of the shadows of the woods but not after the four of us and a very nice couple who live aboard searched and called for an hour (I guess it WAS a search and survival kind of day after all).  During that time we all came across, to our surprise,  quite a variety of fellows on their boats at this marina… I’m sure if you let your imagination go, you could come up with a few visions and conversations.