Up (or is it down?) the Tennessee River

As we left the Clifton, TN Marina today, classic Hatteras cruiser “God’s Grace” (a fellow Looper) was passing us on the river, having enjoyed a peaceful anchorage instead of the busy marina.

We followed God’s Grace at the back of a flotilla of four boats heading upstream on the Tennessee. Upstream, against the current, but South. We traveled at trawler speed almost the entire day. It was like walking instead of running, but the day started out cool and crisp on the river, and the slower speed allowed us to set the autopilot to “heading hold” for short distances, appreciate the beautiful rock cliffs along the way…and yes, catch up on email. All of the other boats in our pack waited for us at the lock. I liked that change!

Cell phone and internet access has been a challenge on the trip so far. Cellular service providers who blanket cities and interstate highways with coverage haven’t invested much in coverage of the rural river areas we have traveled. Even though we have a cellular booster, someone recently commented to us that “you can’t boost zero.” And most marinas are geographic low points, reducing cellular signals. So we rely on spotty cell coverage and marina WiFi. And sometimes we don’t have internet or cell coverage.

Near the end of the 90+ degree day yesterday, we got a 40 foot lift at the Pickwick Lock, sped the the last five miles across Pickwick Lake to Aqua Yacht Marina to get some air moving, hooked up to shore power, started the AC units, and cooled off!

Rhonda at Pickwick Lock, sporting her PFD and the headsets that we use to communicate while docking and locking.

Saturday evening Aqua Yacht was hosting an antique and classic boat competition. I enjoyed seeing some old wood Chris Craft boats built in our new home town of Holland, Michigan.

1927 Chris Craft
1958 Chris Craft

Having seen a sticker on an Aqua Yacht pier, this morning we called and made contact with someone from Grace Chapel Pickwick that worships at Freddie T’s, a local restaurant/bar. This morning a church member picked us up at the marina for a rocking service and a good message.

We had lunch with friends Andy and Cindy from “Aquaman” and then borrowed the marina’s courtesy car for a trip to Iuka for provisions. A good day.