Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Grand Harbor, TN to Columbus, MS

Note from previous post:  At Ditto landing, I found two bullets in the washer while doing laundry.  We knew we were in Alabama!
11/14/11    Grand Harbor, TN to Midway Marina, Columbus, MS (52 miles
A note about Grand Harbor….We were way out on the furthest dock…convenient for fuel and showers, but a long way to the dog area.  There were signs posted everywhere that dogs must use the designated area.  Asking a dog that has been on a boat 8 hours to wait until you walk a long way to shore and then wait again….not so good!  Duke did meet some local Springer Spaniels who lived nearby.  See photo. (Duke’s the cute one with the lease attached)

A note on the Tenn-Tom:  The connection between the Tennessee River and Tombigbee was completed in 1985.  Digging for the 27 mile divide cut began in 1971 and involved moving more dirt than during the building of the Panama Canal. The total cost was two billion dollars. 

Although the wind advisory from yesterday had expired, it was still very windy when we left the dock.  We pulled out just after Jolly Roger and just before Happy Hours V.  Jolly Roger travels at the speed of sound and probably made it to Columbus in one day!  At Whitten Lock, we locked through with Happy Hours (couple from Australia). We locked through all 4 locks (with one delay) and arrived at Midway Marina just at dark.  A half hour later, and we would have been challenged to find a way in.  The staff was very helpful and assisted us with docking.  This was a dog friendly marina/decent showers.  After visiting with Mike and Gail, we turned in and prepared for an early start on Tuesday.

11/15/11 Midway Marina to Columbus Marina (61.9  miles / four locks)
We called Fulton Lock before leaving the marina, and were told we could get right in, so off we went.
Our second lock (Wilkins) had an upbound tow about two miles off and we were two miles off southbound, so we were told to wait.  We anchored for a while and then got into the lock.  At Amory Lock, they were doing some repairs, so we were again told it would be about 40 minutes.  After only 20, the lock opened, so we pulled up anchor, and off we went.  Our last lock of the day, Aberdeen, was open and ready for us when we arrived.  The locks on the Tenn-Tom monitor where you are and try to accommodate by being ready for you if there is no commercial traffic.  About 3pm, we passed a unique vessel…see photo. Do you think they are loopers? 
Right now we are at 163 feet above sea level.  A few more locks and we’ll be at 0 feet.  We are currently racing (at 9.7mph) to reach Columbus Marina before dark.  Sunset is at 4:50 pm and we are 18 miles away.  Tomorrow, rain is predicted, so we may stay and visit Columbus and the Waverly Plantation. 

11/16/11  Columbus Marina
We arrived last night right before dark and were directed to one of the covered slips.  It was good that our slip was covered, because heavy rains occurred during the night and early morning, leaving us dry under the canopy.  Columbus is the birthplace of Tennessee Williams and famous for the Waverly Mansion.  Along with Mike and Gail (Happy Hours V), we toured the plantation home, built in 1852.  It is a four story home with curved staircases going to the domed viewing area.  It was purchased in the 1960’s by an antiques dealer who still lives on the premises.  The grounds this time of year are dormant, but must be lovely in the spring.  I am standing in front of a 250 year old Magnolia.

 The house seemed to need a great deal of upkeep and repair….perhaps that’s why tours are allowed as a small source of revenue.  We had lunch at Pepper’s (a chain) and plan to have dinner with Roger and Mary (Jolly Roger) and Mike and Gail (Happy Hours V). We leave tomorrow for an anchorage at Sumter Recreation area.  We’ve heard the woods are full of snakes…guess I won’t be walking the dog.  The temps are expected to drop to 28 degrees tomorrow night…maybe the snakes will be hibernating!  The high temp yesterday was 78 degrees…quite a switch. 

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