Side Trip to Nashville – The Cumberland River

We enjoyed staying in Green Turtle for three days. It gave us time to clean the boat really well and get some other things done.  Joe, from Bandwagon helped us get the mast put back up.  There was a definite learning curve on that task, but it went back up and all the guy wires tightened well.  We hiked into the village to do some grocery shopping and caught the shuttle back.  It is a nice area here in the “Land between the Lakes”.  As we walked over to The Thirsty Turtle for dinner, a bunch of deer were frolicking about and unconcerned about us.  We ran into other some Loopers there that we already knew and met others that we didn’t.  We met one couple, John and Gina, who would be starting the Loop on Friday aboard Alysana.  They are local to this area and advised us on the best next stop on our way up to Nashville.  Green Turtle Bay has an awesome spa and Jane and I both took advantage and booked massages which were fantastic.  I cleaned the air conditioner filters which is a chore because the one at the evaporator is just about impossible to reach.  I was hoping that my friend Jere and his wife, Barbara, aboard Ellie Jack would make it before we had to leave, but they broke down in Paducah, so we’ll have to catch them later closer to the Gulf.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018:

After a breakfast of pancakes and a visit to the marina store, we shoved off at 1055 for the short trip to Prizer Point Marina and Campground. Barkley Lake is beautiful and makes for wonderful cruising.  The channel is well marked as we followed the Cumberland Riverbed.  We passed the Kentucky State Penitentiary.  That is a very odd use of waterfront property.


After the 23 mile trip we docked at 1400 in a covered slip.  It was hot so after checking in, we walked over to check out the pool.  There were a bunch of kids there, so we decided to skip swimming.  We were glad the slip was covered.  I worked on the blog and we turned in early after dinner on board.

Thursday, October 4, 2018:

We were up at 0420 and prepped for a long day cruise. We were out in the channel just around sunrise.

A bunch of bass boats whizzed by, I guess in some tournament.  We were mostly alone on the river, but at 0915 we overtook the up-bound H.B. Stewart pushing coal while avoiding the down-bound Alvin Johnson with his load.

10.4.0919At 0926 we crossed the state line into Tennessee.  Then at 0945, we met the Amber Brittany on the two whistle (passing starboard to starboard).  The day was so hot and with almost no breeze, Jane brought up the fan to the fly bridge.  At 1545 something in the water caught my eye and I backed off the throttle and turned to port to make sure I wasn’t looking at a body in the water.  It turned out to be a bloated dead deer.  Sorry about the deer, but glad we didn’t have to deal with a cadaver, we continued on.  We bumped over a submerged log, but there was no damage.  We cruised upriver for ten hours to get to Clarksville listening to music and talking.  We arrived at 1650.  The dock master, Tim and a Looper, Mike, from Haley Rose came out to help us dock in the covered slip.  We always appreciate the help, even when we don’t need it.  Clarksville has a small, but very nice marina.  We showered and stepped just up the hill to the Liberty Park Grill for an excellent dinner.

Friday, October 5, 2018:

On engine checks, I discovered that the shaft seal was leaking. It was not much, only about one drop every five or ten seconds.  I knew just enough to wait and check it after we got underway.  I would know better the extent of the problem then.  We backed out of the slip at 0805.  At 0847 we passed the H.B. Stewart again with his nine loads of coal.  He was pushing it to the left descending bank to avoid a down-bound tow still aways around the bend.  We knew that we would not have to be delayed at the lock since the H.B. Stewart was delayed.  Jane had earlier downloaded the new Shipfinder App to her iPhone.  We don’t have an AIS system, but the Shipfinder App shows us the names, direction and speed of the commercial traffic.  At 0950, I checked the shaft seal and it was steadily leaking around 10 drops per second.  I knew, I’d have to address this soon.  At 1120 we entered the Cheatham Lock for the 28 foot lift to get in the upper Cumberland.  We started up, but then the lockmaster let us back down to wait for another pleasure craft.  It was hot, hot, hot, but by noon we were out of the lock.  Cruising up the Cumberland was pretty and peaceful despite the heat.  We found the narrow entrance to the Commodore Yacht Club and meandered through the winding channel.

We stopped at the fuel dock for a pump-out assisted by Ron, the harbor master.  He also got us checked in and we were tied up on the tee-head of B dock by 1545.

We thoroughly enjoyed our side trip to Nashville and staying at the CYC. CYC has a free ice machine, free laundry and transients are welcome to use the clubhouse as their own.  In Nashville, we spent lots of time with our son, Scott, and his girlfriend, Jessica.


We got to go to their church on consecutive Sundays.  (Packed house with many young adults.)  We got to watch Scott in action climbing.  He’s good, but it’s still a little unsettling for a parent to watch.


Saturday we hung out in the floating “clubhouse” at the CYC to watch the Gators on TV beat up on LSU.  We enjoyed meeting some of the members, like Ernie Jones (Me and Mrs Jones) and Rosie the dog.  On Saturday night, we went out to Ray Steven’s place, Caba Ray and took in his show.  That was fun and we may have been the youngest people there.  Our friends and other son’s in-laws, John and Louise Stevenson came over from Maryville on Monday for a boat ride and overnight visit.  It was great to catch up with them and facetime with the granddaughters while we were all together.


Our daughter, Meredith, flew in Tuesday night for a six-day visit.  We rented a car for a week, so we wouldn’t be stuck out at the Yacht Club.  We dined in lots of restaurants, took a bus tour, and did some needed shopping and restocking.

On Thursday, the 11th, we headed up the river for an overnight stay on the Nashville Tee-Dock across the river from the honky-tonks of Broadway.  It was three hours from dock to dock.  At first, we mistakenly tied up in the reserved spot for the Pontoon Saloon. They only have a yellow line to designate their reserved spot, but we had been warned.  Of course, they showed up right then with a fresh load of 30 inebriated souls, so we pulled Sabbatical up by hand into the proper space to get out of the way.  The Tee dock is just over the walking bridge and has electric service, but no other marina amenities.  Scott picked us up and we went to Wild Cow for lunch and the walked around the 12 South area for a while.  Later, we entertained a dozen or more of Scott’s friends aboard Sabbatical for docktails.

Our old friend, Clark Thomas, was able to also come by and being a professional photographer, he got a great picture of the group.


As the group thinned out, we later walked over the bridge and grabbed dinner on a rooftop.

Our instructions were to be off the dock by 0500 because the workers would be coming early to set up for the crew regatta. I got up just before five and looked out.  There was nothing happening.  I made coffee and started reading the paper on line.  At six I looked out and still no activity. At seven, I still detected no one out to set up anything, but since it was finally light, we dropped lines at 0705 and eased back down the river to the Commodore Yacht Club and docked there at 0910.  I never did see anybody setting up anything for the regatta.  We used our rental car and picked up Scott from his house and we down to Franklin for lunch.  Franklin is a cool little town.  We ate at Mojos Tacos (Scott knows the owner) in the Factory.  After lunch we did some window shopping and then stopped by the Tractor Supply so I could stock up on motor oil for the boat.  By midafternoon we were back on Broadway to find our group of friends that were in town for the Gator-Vandy football game.  We caught up with the Bells and Stubbs gang on a pub-crawl at their last stop in the Wild Beaver Saloon.

It was a large group and we enjoyed watching some of the group and others try to ride the mechanical bull.  Rule one:  if you can’t get up on the bull without help, maybe, just maybe, you shouldn’t try to ride it.  We ran into more folks from G’ville that we knew and made it for a round at the famous Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge.  Later we had a great meal at Barcelona.

Saturday, we slept late and really had to hustle to make it to the tailgate with the gang from Gainesville. The gang headed in for the early kickoff and we headed over to The Tavern to watch the game on TV.  Jessica’s mom, Caroline, showed up and it was a delight to meet her.  It’s a good sign that these two are getting serious.  After the game we had time for a nap before meeting Scott, Jessica, and Caroline at Rolf & Daughters for a really nice dinner.

Sunday it was rainy, but Clark and Judy Brashear came by the boat to visit for a while. It was nice to catch up with them.


On Monday, we took Meredith back to the airport and we were sad to see her go.  Jane had a heyday doing laundry.  We also got our flu shots at Publix.  Nashville was great and there’s still a bunch we haven’t done here.  I’m sure we will be back soon.  One strange phenomenon at the CYC:  We kept hearing a knocking on our hull and on the other boats as well.  I couldn’t figure it out but Ernie explained it.  They have a bunch of carp here that feed on the algae of the boat bottoms and they make a whack sound when they suck.  It’s quite unnerving.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018:

We slid away from the dock at Cumberland Yacht Club at 0955 under partly cloudy skies with 49 degrees showing on the thermometer. The river was glassy, but the rains had muddied the water somewhat.  The current assisted us and we were cruising at ten miles per hour running at our standard 1800 rpm’s.  We arrived at the Cheatham Lock just ahead of the Marc Myasaki, but the commercial traffic gets preferential treatment, so we had to wait.  We stayed out of his way, as he got lined up to go in the lock.  By 1342, the tow had been let down and we were in the lock secured to a floating bollard.  It was a quick ride down and we were back on our way at 1355.  We overtook the Marc Myasaki again at 1420.  We met the Rick Hamich heading upstream at Macadoo Creek.

By 1635 we were back in slip B8 inClarksville after getting the holding tank pumped out.

Thursday, October 18, 2018:

We eased out of the slip at 0735 headed for Lake Barkley Marina. It was another beautiful day – cool and sunny, perfect for a 71 mile cruise.  We called ahead and spoke with Tina for our slip assignment.  We would be using Covered Dock 2, Slip 32.  I looked at the map of the marina to see exactly where we would be.

At 0850 we passed the Danny Whitford with benzene.  At 1115 we met the upbound Cumberland Hunter on the one whistle (port to port) at Dover Island.  He was pushing 15 barges.  At 1232 we overtook Marc Myasaki and his 12 barges (again).  By 1450 we were easing into slip 32 of Dock 2 at the Lake Barkley Marina.  Oops!  The roof is too low.  Good thing I was at a dead crawl going into the slip.  The mast guy cables touched the eave and I quickly reversed, peeved that they didn’t ask what our air draft is and peeved that we didn’t ask the height of the cover.  Lesson learned.  They rerouted us to a slip on Dock 3 and it was fine.  We docked by 1505.  After dinner we went for a walk and checked out the Lodge.  We saw a lot of deer grazing on our way over and back.

Friday, October 19, 2018:

We backed out at 0915 and began the meandering channel to return us to Lake Barkley. At 1221 we passed the Roger Sensenbach pushing 12 barges.  Just after that we entered the Barkley Canal that crosses the Land between the Lakes and joins Lake Barkley (Cumberland River) with Kentucky Lake (Tennessee River).  We entered Kentucky Lake at 1239.  We swung through the old quarry at Pisgah Bay just to see the graffiti there.


By 1405 we were pulling into Sugar Bay, just one of the many beautiful anchorages available. We anchored in 15 feet and enjoyed the solitude of the place, sharing it only with a few fishermen returning to the nearby boat ramp.  Jane made soup and we turned in early.

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