September 22-Duncan Bay to Sugar Bay, Kentucky Lake
We woke up early to a sunny, humid day with 83 degree temperatures expected. Last night, as I sat outside waiting for Bob and Murphy to return from shore, I saw a flash of light in the distance. We determined that it must have been heat lightning. There were no storms in the area. It was an unusual sight! After checking the weather we decided to move down the lake to Sugar Bay for a day or two. We had breakfast, did some business on the Internet, and got ready to haul anchor.
Bob did the anchor again which was filled with clay. It took awhile to get the anchor cleared off so we could move out. We moved the 2.5 miles south to Sugar Bay and decided to change our anchoring strategy. Normally, we would choose a place out of the wind to have the calmest, quietest spot available. But today was different. Without a breeze today, it would be unbearable with the heat, so we entered the bay and stayed in the main body of water. We pointed our bow into the wind and dropped anchor.
That way we’d get the best benefit of what little breeze there was. We were thankful for every cloud that covered the sun, even if it was for only a few minutes. We took Murphy to shore at the boat launch and looked around the campground. It was empty of campers, but this park has the cleanest, best smelling outhouses we’ve ever seen. This particular one looked brand new. Even the toilet paper rolls still had the wrappers on them!
This is one of life’s little pleasures. Back at the boat, I took a swim to cool off. Bob found a cool, shady spot up on the bridge, so that’s where we hung out during the heat of the day. A breeze was blowing and all was quiet, except for a few fishing boats coming and going. The fishermen around this area run around (at 90 mph) in some really fancy bass boats. Later in the day I suggested we do a little cleaning project, but Bob’s comment was, “You know we don’t want to stress ourselves. If we do it all today, we’ll have nothing to do tomorrow.” He talked me out of it. We decided to go swimming instead.
Later we had margaritas and did some reading until the day started to cool off around 5:00. We took Murphy to shore before supper and did a “flyby” around the bay in the dinghy as the sun was setting.
The water was like glass. We grilled dinner as the last of the sun dipped behind a cloud and set in the sky. It was a pleasant night and we watched a DVD before taking Murphy to shore. It was pitch black with no moonlight to see anything. Bob took his flashlight and made his way to the boat landing. While I waited at the boat I looked at the millions of stars in the sky. Over from the direction of the boat landing, I heard an owl hooting. At first I thought it was Bob, but it wasn’t. The owl’s call was crystal clear and it echoed over the water. The night air was cool and felt good after the heat of the day. Again, there were no mosquitoes. When Bob got back, he got out his 1 million candlepower spotlight that he used for tracking deer in the woods. It is so bright that it makes it look like daylight. He shined it on the shoreline to look for deer or other creatures who might be out at night. No eyes reflected back at us, so there was nothing to be found. Not tonight anyway. We’ll try again tomorrow night. We closed up the boat and went to bed.
September 23-Sugar Bay, Kentucky Lake
The air was hazy and the sun was just rising above the treetops when I got up at 7:00. The temp.was 63 degrees, but it has been getting down to the upper 50’s at night–great for sleeping! The forecast for today is sunny and hot –88 degrees with a slight breeze. It will be a little warmer than yesterday. When Bob got up we took Murphy to shore and ended up talking to a local man about some things that we’ve been noticing around the lake.
He told us he was a “noodler”. For those of you who have never heard of the sport of “noodling” (and I’m one of them) here’s what it involves. A noodler is someone who fishes for catfish using one of these contraptions. It is a partially submerged 55 gal.drum or old bathtub, with a hole cut in the side.
The catfish swims inside because catfish like to live in holes. Then the noodler comes along and sticks his two feet in front of the hole to prevent the catfish from escaping. Next they stick their hand inside and grab the catfish. Of course, the catfish tries to bite your hand, but then you reach in with the other hand and grab it by the lips and pull it out. Many noodlers do this for fun, but some do it for profit and are commercial catfish fishermen like the nice southern gentleman we talked to. That is the sport of noodling! ( Check it out: www.okienoodling.com) Another thing that we noticed around the lake are the groupings of sticks stuck upright in the water to form a square or rectangle. In the center there is a white PVC pipe also standing upright.
These are fish attractors and they are usually covered with water during the summer season. Now that the lake is down 5’ in its winter pool mode, they are exposed. When they are covered, the white pipe sticking up in the center lets the fishermen know where these fish habitats are located. They attract crappies and bluegills. This local fisherman fishes more in the winter than in the summer, when the boating traffic is less. We really enjoyed talking with him. We went back to shore around 10:00 before it got too hot to walk around in the campground.
We discovered that it is a primitive campground where you have to pack out all your garbage. We were back at the boat after 30 minutes since it was getting warmer out. Then we spent an hour trying to locate a dog groomer for Murphy on the Internet. We found one in the next town of Murray, near the marina that we will be staying at. Success! He’s got an appointment for Thursday morning and we can use the marina courtesy truck to get there. Maybe we can find Bob a place to get a haircut in town, too. I went up to the bridge to sit in the shade and catch a breeze. Bob put on another coat of varnish and then joined me. Later we went swimming to cool off. The breeze came and went all day, but the water was cool and refreshing. We ate an early dinner before the sunset and enjoyed the evening as the cooler air set in. I baked some cookies for dessert and we watched a DVD. (Note to self: Jello doesn’t set up if you don’t use hot water to activate the gelatin. So we had Jello soup for dinner.) Bob and I took Murphy to shore and we sat in the darkness and checked out the stars. Back at the boat we shined the spotlight on the shore again to see what we could see. There was nothing out at night. We called it a night and went to bed.
September 24-Sugar Bay to Kenlake Marina, Kentucky Lake
I woke up at 2:30 and couldn’t sleep due to the wappa-wappa noise on the hull, so I moved to the salon couch. I read for awhile and then was able to doze off and on until 7:00 when Bob woke up. There was steam on the lake and the water felt like bath water.
As the sun rose, it lit up the trees on the shore with colors of red, orange, and yellow.
We donned our fleeces and sweatpants to take Murphy to shore. The dinghy was somewhat deflated in the chilly morning temperature of 60 degrees.
We had breakfast back at the boat and took our time waking up. An early morning tow with barges quietly made its way up the lake towards the dam.
Aside from the low rumble of the engines as it passed, you would never know it had gone by. We prepared the boat to leave this anchorage this morning and head south to Kenlake Marina, about 2/3 of the way down Kentucky Lake. We pulled anchor around 9:45 and motored at 17 knots the 8 miles to Kenlake Marina.
It is a 2 year old facility with new docks, cable TV, high speed WiFi, but no showers. It is located on the shores of Kenlake State Park. We arrived at 10:30 and our friends from WI on the sailboat, Journey, helped tie us up to the floating transient dock.
Kathy and Ned had been here for 2 days and were on their way south to other anchorages. We chatted for awhile and got caught up on where we’ve both been and where we’re going from here.
We settled in and started the wash and some needed cleaning. We took a break and treated ourselves to lunch at Cindy’s on the Barge Restaurant. Bob had a Big Louie burger and I was dying for a BLT. We shopped in the marina store where everything was 40% off. Bob found a shirt he liked. Back at the boat we finished the wash and worked on the Internet. It was relaxing to know that we were tied to the dock and could hook up to electricity. The day was sunny and hot-90 degrees.
When the day started to cool off, I took a bike ride up the steep hill to the top of the bluff to inspect what the state park had to offer. The ride was steep, but shady so it wasn’t too bad. At the top of the bluff, I discovered some rental cottages. They offer 1, 2, and 3 bedroom cottages that look very nice.
I rode a little further to find a 9 hole golf course and the Kenlake Hotel.
It is a 48 room facility with a restaurant and a pool on the premises. It has a beautiful view of the lake from the balcony.
I took the easy ride back–all downhill. Before dinner, the Murray State University students came down to the lake to have a crewing workout.
I made dinner and took Murphy for a walk before dark. We watched some long awaited TV and went to bed later than usual. It was an easy day. We enjoyed the luxury of staying at a marina. We’ll definately sleep well tonight!
September 25-Kenlake Marina, Kentucky Lake
It’s another sunny, hot day. We have a busy day planned today, so we set the alarm (what’s that?) for 7 AM, had breakfast, and were ready to go to Murray, about 20 miles away, to run some errands. The owner of the marina lent us the courtesy truck (also used to haul garbage) for the price of the gas and we were on the road by 8:15. Our first stop was to drop Murphy off at the Westside Vet Clinic for a grooming appointment.
They were very nice people and I felt confident about leaving Murphy in their care. They are also “horse certified” to handle horses and other large farm animals. We saw a dead horse lying on its side, its feet in the air, on the side of the driveway when we came to pick up Murphy. Bob noticed that it had a broken leg and maybe had to be put down. I couldn’t look for long. It was too sad for me. While the groomer had Murphy for 2 hours, Bob and I ran some errands. The first stop was at the local barbershop so Bob could get a haircut.
Our next stop was the Verizon store to solve a phone problem and the post office to mail some letters. Then we went to Radio Shack to buy some parts to fix the TV antenna. Lastly, we went to WalMart for odds and ends and groceries. We had a little extra time to do a driving tour of Murphy State University –an undergraduate college in town. The football team, the Tigers, are a so-so team, but still a huge part of the Murray community.
We drove through the old downtown district, with the traditional town square and all the southern architecture.
We picked Murphy up at 11:00. He looked great and had gotten a special fall scarf from the groomer.
We drove back to the marina by noon and had lunch. After lunch, Bob worked on his little repair projects. There was no one around the marina today. We were planning to take a dinghy ride around the area today, but decided to do it tomorrow. Instead, we had cocktails on the pier in the shade of the boat as we watched the Murray University crew team practice again.
Before dark a boat called Charm, from Montreal, came in and docked in front of us. They were on their way to Miami by October 15th. They had come 100 miles today after getting hung up for 9 days north of here because of the flooding on the rivers. They said that they had been with 42 other boats that were also delayed waiting for the opportunity to go south when the time was right. They were French speaking and spoke limited English.
After helping them dock, we went back inside and had dinner.
After dinner, we relaxed by watching some TV before going to bed early. It had been a long day for everyone, including Murphy.
September 26-Kenlake Marina, Kentucky Lake
We slept in and woke to sunny skies. The temps were expected to be in the low 80’s with less humidity and more wind. We walked Murphy and talked to the marina manager about rumors of a gas shortage in TN, KY, VA, and SC due to a particular pipeline that transports oil to the northeast having problems with flow due to Ike. Something else to plan ahead for and maybe worry about down the road. We have also been able to stay abreast of the country’s economic problems with cable TV that we have had at the marina. I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing. Bob washed the boat and the windows on the bridge. I helped where I could and Murphy was feeling a little under the weather so he just slept.
The stronger winds today caused whitecaps on the lake, but we’ll take a dinghy ride later to check out the area. Still, there was no one around after the Montreal boat left early this morning. We relaxed most of the afternoon reading and I had a chance to do my nails.
At around 3:00 we took our dinghy ride around the marina. I found two interesting boat names. Cute boat names #34 and #35.
People started arriving at the marina to spend time on their boats for the weekend later in the afternoon. Even a sailboat pulled in for the night. (Later those 3 guys on board did some pickin’ and playin’ on the back of their sailboat once darkness fell.) We continued on our dinghy ride and motored across the inlet to the point. Bob let me out to see what I could see.
I had a good view of the bridge across the lake.
The spit of land had a good vantage point to see all the way down the lake.
It was still kind of wavy so we didn’t go far out into the lake. There was a heron sitting on the breakwall as we entered the marina.
Once we got back, we had drinks in the cockpit and visited with people who came by on the dock. Everyone was friendly and wanted to know where we were going. The sun set behind the hills at 6:30 as Bob grilled dinner on the boat.
The sky changed colors and people milled around and did their dinner thing. We watched some TV and listened to our neighbors do some playing and singing.
I took Murphy for his last walk and we turned in for the night. We plan on moving south tomorrow to Paris Landing, TN at the most southern end of Kentucky Lake. We have enjoyed our stay at Kenlake Marina and recommend this marina to everyone who might travel through the area. They are a friendly and helpful bunch of people.
September 27-Kenlake Marina to Paris Landing, Kentucky Lake
Bob woke up before me and I slept in for a change. We had breakfast and readied the boat for leaving. We pulled away from the dock at 8:30 and went to get our holding tank pumped out. That went quickly and then we moved over to the fuel dock next. We gave one of the local boaters a tour of the boat since he was dying to get inside and see it. We left the marina about 10:00 and motored slowly out into the main channel of the lake. The ride was beautiful passing rocky cliffs and forested hillsides.
There are many bays along the way and the fishermen were out in droves. We even saw a few houseboats moving around today. It was a bright, sunny day, but quite breezy. There were a few small whitecaps on the lake, but we were traveling with the wind so the ride was smooth. We arrived in Paris Landing Marina, TN at 11:30 after a trip of about 26 miles.
It is a marina with a well-equipped ship store and good facilities on the shores of a state park.
We took a spot on the face of the end pier, near a houseboat that tells us we are in the south with 8 Confederate flags flying high.
A Conservation Officer came buy and started up a conversation with us. He told us he had made an arrest last week of some people who were boating drunk. He confiscated the beer and since they were pleading guilty, he didn’t need the evidence anymore. He gave Bob 11 beers and asked him to get rid of them (wink, wink) for him.
We’ll add them to our supply since we’re still in a dry area. We had lunch at noon and made our family phone calls home. They have a really cool lake level marker here that shows the level of the summer and winter pools. The top crossbar shows the top of the dam at flood stage.
There is also a huge Coast Guard Station located in the bay near the marina.
The view from our boat at the dock lets us look out at the lake to see any boats entering or leaving the marina.
There was a bass tournament going on today, so we wandered over to the boat launch when the weigh-in occured later on in the afternoon. There was a steady stream of bass boats returning to the marina as the afternoon wore on.
It was interesting to see all the fish that were brought in by fishermen from all over the country and as far away as California.
We walked the piers on our way back to the boat and met some interesting women who were the captains of their own boats. We cleaned up after standing out in that heat and got ready for dinner. We would be picked up by the park ranger who would give us a ride to the Paris Landing Inn for dinner. Tonight was the all-you-can-eat prime rib buffet. It was a short mile ride through the park. We had a great dinner of prime rib, shrimp, and BBQ ribs with all the trimmings at a table overlooking the lake.
The park ranger was waiting for us when we finished dinner and took us back to the marina in the Blazer with a fugitive cage in the back. I hope no one saw us and thought we were criminals!
Back at the marina we ran into one of the boats from Michigan that was at Green Turtle Bay with us. They had arrived after the office closed and needed a shore power connector. We needed to take a look at the Fred Myers Tennessee River Cruising Guide before we went up the river towards Chattanooga. So we exchanged what we needed with each other and agreed to return them in the morning. We sat outside as the sky darkened and night fell. It was a nice, cool evening with no mosquitoes. Once it became too dark to see, we moved inside to watch some TV before turning in. I think we’ll be staying another day.
September 28-Paris Landing, TN, Kentucky Lake
We had a great night for sleeping and woke up refreshed and ready for the day. Bob made us the usual Sunday breakfast of bacon and eggs. The guys from MI stopped by to return our power connector and we gave them back their book after making some copies of the pages we needed in the office. Then they left for a marina south of here. We’ll probably see them again along the way.
We took a bike ride into Paris Landing State Park that is adjacent to the marina before it got too hot. Today it would be 83 and sunny…..again. There was not a cloud in the sky. We rode into the campground and across the street to the beach, amphitheater, fishing pier, and swimming pool. The campground was pretty deserted with a few people left over from the bass tournament yesterday. Most of the marinas seem to be deserted of people, too. People have been telling us that the boating season comes to a halt pretty much after Labor Day for a lot of people. That is unbelievable to us! With so many beautiful spots to boat around here, we can’t believe they waste this gorgeous weather in Sept. and Oct. Other locals say they can pretty much boat until Thanksgiving before it gets too cold to go without heat. Many northern boaters would give anything to be able to have a longer boating season. The people around here don’t know how lucky they are. Back at the boat we sat in the shade with a cool breeze blowing, watching some boats coming and going from the boat launch. There were some people out on the lake today using their sailboats, houseboats, bass boats, runabouts, and jet skis, but no one on their boats in the marina. Like I said it was a beautiful day to be on the water staying cool. We had some lunch and tried to find the Packers or the Jets on TV or radio. No such luck when the Tennessee Titans are playing at home. We read that people anchor in the Cumberland River during the football games and party. It’s like tail-gating on water. The boaters are known as the Tennessee Navy. We watched the Titan game only because I needed my Sunday “football fix” and they occassionally showed plays from other games, including the Packers and Jets. I was happy. After the game we took a dinghy ride for something to do and it was cooler by then. We followed the marked channel along the shoreline to the next bay called Swan Bay. There we found a condo complex/marina called The Breakwaters.
We wandered around there looking at the boats and saw a few people around, but not many. We took a slow ride back to the marina and found ourselves alone there. The guy in the houseboat with all the Confederate flags was leaving to head back to his home marina.
We were the only transient boat in the marina tonight and it was kind of spooky. Bob cooked dinner and I got to do some reading in the cockpit as the sun went down. I love that time of day when it cools off and the sky changes colors. We watched some TV before going to bed.