This page contains all stories posted since 2003 in reverse chronological order starting with the most recent. Use the indexes found under tabs RV TOURING and BOAT CRUISING to find where trips begin. Use the search box to locate specific information contained in any of the over 775 posts. Subscribe
Clayton was one of our favorite towns along the Great Loop and here we are again minus the Katy Leigh. We are still early in the season so it is not crowded. We parked at the Antique Boat Museum and walked downtown to Bella's Bistro for a late lunch on the deck overlooking the St. Lawrence River. It was excellent and I had the silk pie (silk=chocolate + whipped cream) for desert. I spent the afternoon at the boat museum and Mavis went shopping. The museum is better than ever with a neat new exhibit on canoes.
I also spent time aboard a 1924 42 ft Elco raised deck cruiser with a trunk cabin aft and an enclosed deck house. It is a lot like our boat the Katy Leigh. The galley was in the v-berth where the servants were housed.
On the way up we took the coastal route along the eastern end of Lake Ontario. We stopped at Henderson Harbor and admired the fancy summer homes and gardens along the harbor road. We received the great news tonight that the Eggner's Ferry Bridge knocked down by a large ship on January 26th will open Friday at 1:00PM just 4 months after the disaster.
The Rally was a lot of fun and there were 50 motor homes like ours. Navarre is near the center of Amish Ohio. We saw two horse drawn buggies on the way to the campground. The campground was Baylor Beach Park. The beach was a tiny pond. However, the sites and facilities were first class. The whole area had gone all out with a front page story in the local newspaper and a lighted sign at the Football Hall of Fame. Winnebago sent an design engineer in a new 2013 model to get feedback. Monday night was pot luck and after dinner an Amish family came in their buggy and sold bread and pies. It was a mob scene but I managed to get a loaf of bread and a rhubarb pie.
Tuesday instead of seeing the sites, Mavis caught a bad cold and I had to fix the galley faucet. The hot water tap would only produce a trickle of water. So I spend the best part of the day on my back under the sink. There were a number of experts whose advice ranged from buy a new faucet to just clean the crud out of the tap. The latter advice was the best but I went after complete removal and replacement only if I couldn't fix it. Whatever was plugging it up disappeared on its own.
That evening I did my Newfoundland slideshow complete with music over the PA of the Newfoundland National Anthem. The talk was well received by one man who said how much money I had saved him because he was no longer planning to go. He was the exception as many others said they wil continue their plans to do the maritimes and Newfoundland.
Today was a lot of driving to Phelps where the GPS took us to a location on the north side of I-90 while the campground is on the south side. The road was cut off by the interstate. I told the front desk they needed to change their address so GPSs would get it right. She said it is a common problem.
This short 2 week trip is to attend my college class 50th reunion at Queen's University in Kingston. We picked up the View in Murray and spent Friday and Saturday nights on the Katy Leigh. The big event was to film a Great Blue Heron swallowing a large fish. When the camera turned on the heron had speared the fish and jumped up on our dock. The fish was the wrong way around to swallow, so he dropped the fish and before it touched the dock he had flipped it around the right way. He raised his head and before you know it the fish was down the hatch wriggling away bones, head and all. When I was filming it I thought he had dropped it in the water. Only watching the film did I realize what he had done. Watch the video here.
Saturday was gorgeous and we went out and tested the new Garmin electronics. Over the past 3 weeks I installed a new touch screen chart plotter, AIS (shows the position, speed and direction of tow boats), radar, and depth sounder. There is quite a learning curve to use all this stuff but the basics come quickly.
The new Eggner's ferry bridge is now in place and the concrete deck was poured today. If all goes well it will be opened for traffic next weekend
Saturday night was a Grand Lakes Yacht Club party. This morning we left at 7:20 AM and drove 372 miles to Wilmington Ohio. Tomorrow we drive 188 miles to Navarre, OH for a two day rally of Winnebago View folks.
On Sunday April 15th, Bob and Mavis with two friends needed to return to Kenlake Marina from Green Turtle Bay Marina. The weather forecasters had issued a Wind Advisory. This means winds of 25 to 39 MPH and gusts of 35 to 57 mph are expected. Coming out of Green Turtle Bay it was windy but there were no waves. The canal between Barkley Lake and Kentucky Lake was flat calm but making the port turn into Kentucky Lake the lake was a sea of breakers. Expecting rough water we put anything in the cabin that could slide around in safe places. However, we didn't expect the 40" TV would rock back and forth so it was quickly disconnected and placed flat on the floor. It is on cruises like this you realize how important hand holds and hand rails are.
Check out the 18 second YouTube video here. The video was taken in high definition with an iPhone 4s.
You can also access the video from a smart phone using the QR Code shown at right:
I always enjoy the electronics aisle at Costco. Monday an iHome App-enhanced dual alarm stereo for $60 caught my eye and I brought one home. It lets you charge your iPhone at night and wakes you up in the morning. Setting it seemed a little complicated, but without reading the manual I thought I had figured it out. However, after two mornings with no radio alarm I got out the manual. Compare this new device to an old alarm clock where you set the alarm time and pulled out a button to "arm" it. The iHome sets the alarm by executing the following 18 steps. This is my summary of the manual.
- Press and hold Alarm Button until alarm time flashes
- Press + or to set alarm time
- Set AM or PM
- Press and release Alarm Button to confirm
- Press + or to set alarm schedule (weekdays only, etc)
- Press and release Alarm Button to confirm
- Press + or to set alarm source = Radio
- Press and release Alarm Button to confirm
- Press + or to set radio as AM or FM band
- Press and release Alarm Button to confirm
- Press and release Preset Button
- Press and release Alarm Button to confirm
- Press + or to set volume (use 10)
- Press and release Alarm Button to exit setting mode
- Two beeps will sound
- Alarm icon will be lit
- Disarm alarm by pressing Alarm Button once, rearm by pressing it again.
- When alarm sounds press Power Button to turn it off and reset for the next day.
However, this is not all, there is a set of iPhone Apps the ihomeaudio.com website says "Welcome to a new level of hardware and software integration. From music to sleep to connectivity, we are committed to making your home the most interactive experience available. This is only the beginning." For me I hope it is the end. One of the apps called iHome Set provides a touch screen interface on the iPhone.
You dock the iPhone and instantly you have just 5 steps to set the alarm. But that is not all you can control the equalizer, turn on 3D sound, listen to your iTunes music, put yourself to sleep with music, take a nap and more. One really great feature;you can sync the clock time to your iPhone's time so you never need to change settings for daylight saving. I think I will keep the iHome clock radio
We summarized the engine and took the Katy Leigh out the past Sunday and got a good look at the gap in the bridge from the north side. In looking through the gap it occurred to me that this view has never been possible until now. The bridge was built 77 years ago in 1935 to cross the Tennessee River.
The view before the bridge was built would not be the same as it is today since the water level was much lower.
The bridge was raised in 1943 in preparation for the rising water from Kentucky Dam about 1945. Accordingly the photo below could be the first photo ever of the view through the gap. It may be the only photo as when the span is replaced soon this view will not be possible.
We got back Monday. Thursday it rained all day. I took the View into Cullum and Maxie, our Winnebago Dealer, to get the radio antennae a trip ripped off in St. Petersburg, replaced along with a number of other small maintenance items. Friday afternoon we drove to Murray, put the View away in the shed, and drove the car to our marina. The Katy Leigh was summerized quickly without difficulty. Our good friend Brandon was beside us on Billaboat. It didn't take long to discover all the stuff we forgot to bring. Like my computer that was left on the motorhome. We went back today and got the stuff we forgot, took the view to the carwash and saw a the movie, Iron Lady, at the Cheri Theater while the crew worked on the View. Then it was back to the shed, to drop of the View and get the car and go back to the boat. Of course we forgot stuff we bought in Murray and left it on the View. It was a beautiful day and we headed out on Billaboat to see the bridge with its missing span. The Governor was here last week to announce that the missing span will be replaced. They found all the original drawings and let a $7 million contract to replace the span no later than this coming Memorial Day weekend. It seems that the ferry idea would not work. There are 2,400 vehicles per day and the ferry can only handle 40 vehicles per hour. Given these numbers the waiting line at the end of the first day would be 6 miles long. Clearly not practical.
I learned that the ship was repaired in Paducah in 2 days and that most of the damage was to its bow handrails. The Governor said the shipping company is suing the state since at least one bridge light was not working. He said in law a good offence is the best defense. I doubt if the shipping company will win that one. The Coast Guard has now installed 4 new channel buoys marking the main channel. Formerly there were only 2 red buoys each ¼ mile or so from the bridge. It is interesting to note in the close up there are only 5 horizontal rods holding the span from sliding off the bearings. Apparently it doesn't take much to knock a span off the abutments on these old bridges.
Since Thursday we are at a new park, Live Oak Landing, near Freeport. There are 50 motorhomes here just like ours. Many of the people we have met before at similar events. It is much like boating rendezvous with pot luck dinners, presentations, and tours of each others' units. The park has a beautiful party room with a screened in porch for cooking and a large meeting room with teak tables and chairs. Monday we head for Nashville.
This property was spotted near Live Oaks Landing. Questions you will want to ask before visiting.
- How many bedrooms does it have?
- Is it on the beach?
- Does the owner live on the property?
- Is the nice sign included in the deal?
- Are the alligators included?
We toured the Greek shops for our fifth time since 2003, bought balaclava, and had lunch at the same restaurant we ate at on the Great Loop after 24 hours cruising across the Gulf of Mexico. That evening we stopped at the Village Pines Campground RV park at Inglis with full hookups, no reservation, and $16 for the night. This is unheard of in Florida during "high season". However, the next night we stayed at Torreya State Park, that was only $17 and no reservation required.
We spent the day with friends, Bart & Ellie, in St Petersburg on their 49ft Defever MY. We took the dinghy out for a spin around the harbor and saw the sailboat Greenpeace Rainbow Warrior out of Amsterdam.
It's been a busy week for boating. Monday we had lunch with CruiseGuide writer, Fred Myers, in Cape Coral at Perkins. While in the restaurant, Great Loopers Bob & Ann came by. They are spending the winter in Cape Coral on their 42 ft catamaran. It seems there are so many Loopers in Florida there are get-togethers with groups that cruised together.Then it was on to Burnt Store where we dry camped in the parking lot behind Hans and Ria's condo. Wednesday Hans and I went out for a cruise on his 36 Catalina sail boat. The weather was perfect with a steady 10kt wind. Charlotte Harbor is one of the best places to sail in the country. It is about 10 miles square with no Gulf swells and about 10 ft deep throughout. At one point a flock of pelicans discovered a school of fish near the surface and bedlam began with the pelicans diving straight down. That night we ate at a new Thai restaurant in Port Charlotte. It was very good and for the first time in years I had fried ice cream for dessert.
In Bradenton we stayed with former Kenlake boaters Doc and Eileen. We had dinner at Limber Lodge an old Florida backwoods restaurant decorated with stuffed alligators, snakes, fish and other animals. This past weekend we stayed in the driveway of new friends, Gary and Carol at their Anna Maria home. This town is old Florida with modest homes, long beaches, and a beautiful breeze. Gary just retired, sold everything in Nashville, and will live here most of the year except when cruising. I came to help him learn his 1991 Grand Banks 36 ft Classic trawler. We spent most of the day going through the boat and finding where everything was hidden. With 2 engines there is a lot more stuff and fewer places to put it. The engine room is a masterpiece of compact design. It took most of the day to find the 30 gallon holding tank which turned out to be under the Northern Lights generator. Gary bought the boat from a man who spared no expense in equipping it. I also got a chance to play with a Garmin 5000 series chartplotter. After 2 hours we gave up trying to set an offset on the depth sounder. We measured the depth and finally determined the 3.9 ft reading meant there was 1.1 ft under the keel. There is a long learning curve to these integrated chart plotters that put radar, charts, depth sounder, weather, music, TV all into one screen. It was windy and we never felt like going out.
Today we left early afternoon and are camped at Fort De Soto CP. This is a beautiful place with campsites in tropical woods right beside a beach. It is full with many RVs that stay for 2 weeks. I lucked out getting a reservation this morning as we needed a pump-out before heading to St Petersburg in the morning.
It's been a busy week for boating. Monday we had lunch with CruiseGuide writer, Fred Myers, in Cape Coral at Perkins. While in the restaurant, Great Loopers Bob & Ann came by. They are spending the winter in Cape Coral on their 42 ft catamaran. It seems there are so many Loopers in Florida there are get togethers with groups that cruised together.
Then it was on to Burnt Store where we dry camped in the parking lot behind Hans and Ria's condo. Wednesday Hans and I went out for a cruise on his 36 Catalina sail boat. The weather was perfect with a steady 10kt wind. Charlotte Harbor is one of the best places to sail in the country. It is about 10 miles square with no Gulf swells and about 10 ft deep throughout. At one point a flock of pelicans discovered a school of fish near the surface and bedlam began with the pelcans diving straight down. That night we ate at a new Thai restaurant in Port Charlotte. It was very good and for the first time in years I had fried ice cream for dessert. In Bradenton we stayed with former Kenlake boaters Doc and Eileen. We had dinner at Limber Lodge an old Florida backwoods restaurant decorated stuffed alligators, snakes, fish and other animals. This past weekend we stayed in the driveway of new friends, Gary and Carol at their Anna Maria home. This town is old Florida with modest homes, long beaches, and a beautiful breeze. Gary just retired, sold everything in Nashville, and will live here most of the year except when cruising. I came to help him learn his 1991 Grand Banks 36 ft Classic trawler. We spent most of the day going through the boat and finding where everything was hidden. With 2 engines there is a lot more stuff and fewer places to put it. The engine room is a masterpiece of compact design. It took most of the day to find the 30 gallon holding tank which turned out to be under the Northern Lights generator. Gary bought the boat from a man who spared no expense in equipping it. I also got a chance to play with a Garmin 5000 series chartplotter. After 2 hours we gave up trying to set an offset on the depth sounder. We measured the depth and finally determined the 3.9 ft reading meant there was 1.1 ft under the keel. There is a long learning curve to these integrated chart plotters that put radar, charts, depth sounder, weather, music, TV all into one screen. It was windy and we never felt like going out. Today we left early afternoon and are camped at Fort De Soto CP. This is a beautiful place with campsites in tropical woods right beside a beach. It is full with many RVs that stay for 2 weeks. I lucked out getting a reservation this morning as we needed a pump-out before heading to St Petersburg in the morning.
Our 6" Aligator Tonight we are camped at Gator Park in the Everglades about 6 miles east of Miami. Since this is a holiday weekend it was hard to find a campsite. I called about 4 RV Parks and they were all booked up, didn't answer the phone, or told me they only accept 40 ft Class A motorhomes and ours doesn't qualify. Too bad; I'll bet they don't have 6 ft alligators a few feet from their campsites. I like the alligators better than (most of) the folks with the 40 footers. For the past 2 days we had some fun times with Great Loopers Greg and Susan, Phil and Alice, and, Tom and Linda. We had dinner Friday at the Key BiscayneYacht Club and Saturday at Greg & Susan's. We feasted on a fresh caught mahi-mahi we bought at the Green Market in Key Biscayne. Mavis and Susan toured the Quiet Garden at Crandon Park. It wasn't very quiet with peacocks and sandhill cranes (Click here to hear the racket). Tom and Linda had just arrived that afternoon on their 42 ft boat from Nassau. Their trip took 33 hours with only 5 hours of sleep at anchor on the way. Tomorrow we cross to the west coast of Florida and start to work our way north.
Tonight we are camped at Gator Park in the Everglades about 6 miles east of Miami. Since this is a holiday weekend it was hard to find a campsite. I called about 4 RV Parks and they were all booked up, didn't answer the phone, or told me they only accept 40 ft Class A motorhomes and ours doesn't qualify. Too bad; I'll bet they don't have 6 ft alligators a few feet from their campsites. I like the alligators better than (most of) the folks with the 40 footers. For the past 2 days we had some fun times with Great Loopers Greg and Susan, Phil and Alice, and, Tom and Linda. We had dinner Friday at the Key BiscayneYacht Club and Saturday at Greg & Susan's. We feasted on a fresh caught mahi-mahi we bought at the Green Market in Key Biscayne. Mavis and Susan toured the Quiet Garden at Cradon Park. It wasn't very quiet with peacocks and sandhill cranes. Tom and Linda had just arrived that afternoon on their 42 ft boat from Nassau. Their trip took 33 hours with only 5 hours of sleep at anchor on the way. Tomorrow we cross to the west coast of Florida and start to work our way north.
A good part of the afternoon today was spent on the Rickenbacker Causeway that goes out from Miami to Key Biscayne. There is parking right beside the beach. The sea breeze kept us cool. In between telephone meetings I put together a 5 minute video of the Olympic Sailing Trials I attended on the committee boat a couple of weeks ago. Check it out on YouTube or use your smartphone with the QR Code below.
Saturday was very windy. Ed and I sat around and he got me started on Apple's new multimedia authoring system. Apple is going to try to repeat its success in taking over the music business with the text book business. They have a free authoring tool, and an iTunes like ecommerce site where books cannot cost more than $15. Apple keeps $5 and the publisher gets the rest. Really beautiful books can be produced with sound, video, animation and interactivity. However, the books can only be viewed on the iPad. As I have learned over the years the labor required to produce these books is substantial, but if you can sell a million copies its very worthwhile. You can see video of the Jan 19, 2012 announcement here.
Sunday we went to Key West. Lunch was at the Blue Heaven restaurant where only breakfast is served all day. Mavis had the lobster BLT (see photo). It was more like a eggs benedicts with lobster, bacon and tomato. After breakfast we toured the Truman Little White House and wandered about the Truman Annex (old naval base) which is much like Seaside, FL but very old. Tour buses are not allowed so it is very peaceful. On the way back we passed the last remaining piece of the Flagler Railroad Bridge which was converted to a road by putting the roadway on top of the spans. Could this could be a solution to the Eggners Ferry bridge missing span? On one of the Keys we went down a side road Ed knew and saw the Key Deer getting into everyone's gardens. We are going to stay here at Pelican RV Park until Thursday.
Easterlin proved to be a good stop right in the city and not far from the farthest north water taxi stop. Jeff & Marla picked us up and we had a superb dinner at the Greek Islands Taverna in Fort Lauderdale. Wednesday we headed south for the Keys and camped in the rain at Fiesta Key RV Park. It was formerly a KOA and needs a lot of maintenance. Thursday the sun came out and it is amazing how much better the place looked on a sunny day. Thursday night Bob & Ginny picked us up and we went to a good restaurant the Islamorada Fish Company. The owner of Bass Pro shops built it along with a huge store and bar in an old marina. The store has the restored sister ship to Hemingway's Pilar, a 38 ft cabin cruiser built in 1933. Hemingway's boat is preserved in a museum in Cuba. Today we drove 19 miles southwest to Marathon and I went out in Ed and Daisy's 44 ft sailboat along with two other couples. Mavis elected to stay on shore. We cruised out to the reef and Gulf Stream and then explored the waterways in Marathon.
This was my second day on the water. Joined by Larry and Marsha from Nashville, we cruised all around the Intracostal Waterway and New River on the Yellow Water Taxi. It's a good deal. For $17 each you can get on and off at any stop all day long. The boat is an interesting design as it is a diesel-electric hybrid. The diesel generator runs all the time charging batteries and the propulsion engine is electric. The steering wheel can rotate the propeller in any direction and a single lever controls engine speed. The boat docks to let passengers on an off at right angles to the seawall. The engine is then left running slowly to keep the boat firmly against the seawall. The boat is quiet and very maneuverable. Our first stop was in downtown Fort Lauderdale where we had lunch at the excellent La Bonne Crepe.
The restaurant offered a large number of different crepes stuffed with all kinds of meat and vegetables. Each was very good but the photo I took didn't make my crepe look very good so I am not showing it. I did show the desert I had at our last stop. The most impressive boat we saw was the 276 ft Seven Seas belonging to movie director Steven Spielberg according to the taxi driver. It is #39 on the list of the largest mega yachts. We also passed by the "white house" owned by the man who invented the clutch for the automobile air conditioner. Tomorrow we re-position to a Broward County park, Easterlin, close to a Greek Restaurant we will visit tomorrow with Jeff and Marla.
What a great day. I spent most of it on the KBYC committee boat watching the Olympic Sailing Womens' Match Racing Trials. It was the last day of the event and the main competition was Denmark vs Argentina. There was a crew of 3 in each Sheboygan Class 6 meter boat. These boats were strictly for racing. The matches were very close and the teams aggressive. Match Racing is very complicated with all kind of rules. The net effect is very exciting. The courses are short and the winner has to win 3 out of 5 races. Denmark won in a match that went all 5 races. The committee boat crew was at least 10 people and they had to work like crazy to keep up with all the scoring that is required. Each sailboat was followed by a "security" boat so the races were very colorful. One woman continually reported on the races using Twitter. Over 250 people watched the Twitter Feed. ESPN won't broadcast these races as it is not a "major sport". I took lots of video and at the awards event the team leader from Denmark copied my SD drive to her computer. Mavis had a good time with Susan at the Symphony and a flea market in downtown Miami. We'll be back to Key Biscayne for the Miami Boat Show in two weeks.
Today was my talk. The room was set up for 150 people and over 60 attended. 80% of the audience was there looking to buy a boat. My talk was about cruising the Great Loop and giving people a good reason to buy a boat. Mavis ran the store at the back of the room and did a lively business. Tomorrow we are going 30 miles south to Key Biscayne to visit boating friends Greg and Susan. Greg is Captain of the committee boat (his Krogen Whaleback) that is running the finals in the women's Olympic Trials. I'll be going with Greg, and Mavis is going to a concert with Susan at the new Miami Symphony Hall.
We were out at 7:15AM and arrived at Yacht Haven RV Park and Marina at 1:00PM. Checking in at the Bahia Mar where TrawlerFest is held, I then had a chance to see the boats. By far the most spectacular trawler for sale was the Wanderbird. I wish I could have taken photos inside it is magnificent. It was build in Victoria BC for an owner that just enjoyed the construction project. I was told he spent $12M on it. It's for sale at $3.5M. A real bargain for anyone with that many millions to spend on boats. The galley was across the stern, a very unusual positioning. The boat was loaded with original paintings many of boating scenes. Some were really beautiful. It had beds for 6 and a crew quarters forward for 4. The height was like a sailboat with a really tall mast and what appeared to be two roller reefed steadying sails forward. Midship were large flopper stoppers. Aft were two large dry stacks for the engines that made it look like a cruise ship. . . which it is. It is not a loop boat because of the height, but if you want to go to Australia this would be the boat.
The brochure reads "Blue Spring State Park is the winter home to more than 200 manatees". This year that claim is slightly exaggerated. We saw 2, a mother and baby. It seems that the warm weather has kept the St Johns River above normal temperatures and it is unnecessary for the manatees to seek out the 72 degree water from the Spring. Manatees can't survive in water under 60 degrees. Today it was 84 degrees in the shade. We were here in December 2007 and there were 172 manatees. I was all set today to put a magnificent video on YouTube, but 2 manatees just doesn't do it. Tomorrow we drive 250 miles to Fort Lauderdale.
In the morning I did the month end accounting, printed checks, and visited the post office. The we drove 60 miles or so toe Tomoka SP. The road in goes for miles through the jungle with live oaks and Spanish moss shading the road. This is a beautiful park with the oldest live oak trees in East Florida. The camp sites are all shaded by the huge trees. There is some access to the Tomoka River but not near any of the sites. Forget about TV here, but there is good Internet access via Verizon. We walked a couple of miles to the park store get some exercise. The store operator was keen on 33 rpm vinyl records and had a huge collection he played and talked about. Mavis got to hear the original Eagles albums
Gail's Fabulous Breakfast It's hard to believe I could get so screwed up over the time of day. Breakfast was set for 7:00AM, I set the alarm on the iPhone, checked all the clocks and watches but didn't wake up until 7:45 EST. It seems that the iPhone unlike regular cellphones didn't change with the time zones. After breakfast we headed down I-75 through Atlanta and on to Tifton. I-75 is in great shape with 3 lanes and nice smooth concrete. It was so good instead of heading east through Waycross we just kept going stopping overnight at Tifton. I selected an RV park, based on the description in the app RVparking.com that no extended stays were offered. This park set new definition of an extended stay, like several years.
We packed the View yesterday, slept on it so we could see what we had forgotten. About 2 blocks from home, Mavis remembered 2 things we had forgotten. We stopped at a very nifty new Tennessee Welcome Center. The old one welcoming visitors from Alabama was wiped out by a tornado. At Chattanooga we stayed in the driveway with our good friends Bob & Gail. They provided the original motivation to get a small motorhome. We had a beautiful dinner, shared Alaska photos and got to bed early.
In less than a year we have read about the Defever Trawler sinking on the Tenn-Tom, then the Le Costa Concordia hitting rocks, and now a huge ship the Delta Mariner has ripped a span out of the bridge we cross 2 or more times every weekend on the way to the Katy Leigh at Kenlake Marina. This photo by Brandon Griffith is the first that really tells the story. It was taken from Kenlake State Park on the west side of the river. It shows 6 main spans. The second span from the left is the main navigation channel where the Delta Mariner and every other commercial vessel normally passes under. On last Thursday at 8:10PM the Delta Mariner attempted go under the 5th span from the left. You can in this photo that the clearance is less under that span than the main channel span. Even the Katy Leigh with its 22 ft high mast has never gone under that span. We'll have to watch the proceedings over the next few months to learn how that giant ship could have been so far off the proper course.
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.
The concert hall at the Syndey Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 29,000 times in 2011. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 11 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.Click here to see the complete report.
Our Winnebago View got lots of use this year with trips to Florida, Alaska, Baltimore, and Toronto. We drove 16,224 miles and spent 133 nights aboard. All this was at the expense of the Katy Leigh which only saw us onboard for 99 nights and cruising for only 34 hours. We were home in Nashville for just 133 nights and found our neighbors hardly know us any more. In 2012 we plan to spend more time on the Katy Leigh and less on the road. A quick and useless analysis of the cost per day spent in each of our residences shows the View is by far the least costly at $46 per day, v.s. the boat at $124 and the house at $122. Costs are for operating costs including utilities, repairs, property taxes, and storage. Our home is a better deal on a per square foot basis. If you divide the annual operating cost by the number of square feet of living space our home comes out at $7, the boat $41 and the View $60.
Some 17 years ago, Duthie Associates, Inc. commissioned our son Graham to paint a large pastel triptych for our West End Office. Graham attended public schools in Nashville for from 1977-1982 so he can be considered a Nashville artist. The concept was to illustrate Nashville as in the 90's about 80% of our business was with economic developers. The painting has been very popular, so with our office lease expiring, I wanted to find a public place where many could enjoy it. As the painting illustrates the many historic and newer iconic buildings in Nashville, I felt the best location would be a city owned property like City Hall or the convention center.
I talked to Mayor Karl Dean last June and he suggested it would fit in the waiting room outside his office at City Hall. He also suggested the company could loan the painting to the city. A loan agreement was drawn up by the city law department and approved by the Arts Commission, Works Department, and City Council. It even required a change in some legislation. This all got done and the move took place today. The painting was picked up in a Works Department truck and re-hung in City Hall. The artist was here for the event and played a major role in the move. It's now in a perfect location and really suits the space and the decor. Graham's work will now be seen by the many visitors that come to visit the Mayor and his staff.
The other reason to visit Toronto this late in the year was the 75th anniversary of my high school not my 75th anniversary. We drove the View to the school parking lot early at 9:00AM and got a space to park with no problem. I had breakfast at a coffee shop on Yonge St. and walked around our old neighbor taking photos. The trees were in autumn mode with lots of colors. At 12:30 there was an opening ceremony in the auditorium that was inaugurated when I was there from 1953-58. Now 53 years later they are trying to raise money for new seats. What impressed me most about the school was how little has changed. The classrooms have only changed with new desks. They still teach Latin and have great music and art programs. The lockers on the first and second floor were fairly new but the old style were on the 3rd floor and pretty beaten up.
The girls' choir and a full symphony orchestra kicked off the ceremony and were really great singing the Winter Olympic theme song. I captured it in HD stereo and thought about putting it on YouTube but thinking about all the legal ramifications made me decide against it. Each graduating year had an assigned classroom to meet with other grads from the same year. Our class of 1958 room was jammed and it was great to see so many people I had not seen for 53 years with only a few exceptions. Many people also went to same K-8 school. Few people looked the same so when a lady would approach and say "Oh, I remember you." I would have to ask her to turn over her tag and hold it up so I could read the fine print. Finally we learned to get a marker and write our names large and then hang them on our back. That worked so well that a girl friend of mine in 12th grade came up to me at the dinner and introduced herself. Eleanor looks great and lives in Collingwood along with a lot of other classmates and has an art glass shop. Toronto is just too big and getting around too difficult so the people that can afford to are buying homes in smaller towns 50-75 miles away.
Another friend, Freddy, I knew from 1947 lived two doors west of our house. We relived some of the capers during our school years. Freddy had a starter's pistol and drove his parents 1957 Chev. I would walk along a neighborhood street and the car would come up, Freddy would fire the pistol out the window, I would fall down, and get stuffed into the trunk, and the car sped away. Mavis pointed out that if we had done that today, someone would have shot real guns at us. One time when Freddy's parents left for a couple of weeks and took the car keys, Freddy hotwired the car. At the time the government kept increasing the legal age for a driver's license and Freddy kept having to wait another year. He was driving along very carefully and made a left turn at a busy corner he knew well. What he didn't know was the corner had just been posted as a no left turn and there was a cop waiting to catch people. Freddy couldn't produce his license so he was told that he would have to go the station and the cop would drive the car. When Freddy couldn't produce the key and had to show off his hot wire circuit board with starter button, the cop had him drive the car to the station where it was to be seized. He then had to sit in a chair for hours waiting for the next shift so he could be escorted home. He got off with a $15 fine for not being able to produce a license. The ticket would be mailed to the house. Freddy parents were due home so I was enlisted to visit the house each day until the ticket arrived. I found it in the mail and Freddy paid the ticket. His parents, now deceased, never found out. Those were the good old days.
The iPad presentation worked almost perfectly using the iPod as the control. Trying to use the iPod and a laser pointer at the same time did not work as I needed a third hand. I had to resort to pointing with one hand at the screen. There was one point after maybe 100 slides where the next slide refused to work. I advanced the slide on the iPad and was able to regain control and show the rest of the slides using the iPod. On Friday I rode out to the Club on three Toronto Islands with RCYC member Jim, in the club ferry boat, Hiawatha. This originally steam powered boat was built in 1895 and has been restored continuously since then. It was the new ferry in 1895 as the club was started in its current location in 1852. The club is vast with over 3,000 members and docks for 500 boats. It is 99% sailboats with only a few powerboats. The club trains and supports the Canadian Olympic sailors. Some members take their boats south to Newport for racing. One member we talked to on the ferry, had just brought his 40ft+ Beneteau up from Newport RI. While on the Erie Canal hurricane Irene shut the canal down. He had the boat shipped by truck to Rochester and then sailed it across Lake Ontario to the club.
We walked around and observed the activity hauling boats out of the water for winter storage. I remember those days well at the Brockville Yacht Club. The big difference at RCYC is they have staff to do all the work you need done. Most members with boats have lockers to store their stuff on the island. Some lockers are even equipped with refrigerators and microwave ovens just like we do in the south on our covered docks. The main building with its dining rooms and bars was closed for the season.
Last December I purchased an iPad so I could experiment with the latest techno toy. I should have waited for the iPad 2 as it apparently fixes many of the problems below with the iPad 1. During the year I have used the iPad to show photos to one or two people. It works great for this even in restaurants before or after a meal. This week I am giving a presentation on cruising the Tennessee River to a group of boaters at the Royal Canadian Yacht Club in Toronto. I thought it would be cool to use the iPad connected to a projector and avoid having to carry my laptop computer and a remote control. Follow me through the procedure:
Step 1: Purchase the Apple VGA iPad connector for $30
Step 2: Load your photos into the iPad via iTunes on the Windows laptop
Step 3: Connect the projector to the iPad using the cable in Step 1.
Step 4: Discover that the iPad will show only photos and videos via the projector. (This has been fixed on the iPad 2 but is not retrofitable to the iPad 1.
Step 5: Discover that the only way to show photos via the projector is to select SlideShow which will have no pause feature so you can control the presentation.
Step 6: Discover that for $10 you can buy an APP called Keynote for the iPad that will let you show PowerPoint developed presentations on the iPad. Download Keynote into the iPad
Step 7: Discover that for $1 more you can buy and APP called Keynote that will let you control the iPad presentation from your iPod Touch or iPhone. Download Keynote remote into the iPod Touch
Step 8: Insert 194 jpg slides into a PowerPoint presentation on the laptop resizing each photo so it will fit the PowerPoint window.
Step 9: Connect the iPad to the laptop computer with the Apple USB cable and open iTunes.
Step 10: Select iTunes menu item APPs and scroll down till you see a window called FileSharing. Select Keynote. Click Add in the lower right corner. Find the PowerPoint presentation and click Open. The file will now appear under Keynote Documents.
Step 11: Open Keynote on the iPad. Touch the + sign in the upper left corner. Touch copy from iTunes and the file to be transferred. Keynote running in the iPad now converts the PowerPoint complete with most effects and transitions. That is impressive.
Step 12: Touch the PowerPoint Icon and start the presentation. Note that the projector screen is black and the projector is looking for a computer. You have to touch the Play symbol to show your presentation.
Step 13: Start the Keynote App in the iPod Touch. Touch the tool symbol in the iPad and touch the name of the iPad. A 4 digit code appears. Key in the 4 digit code and the iPod and iPad will connect and you can control the presentation from your iPod Touch (or iPhone).
The screen on the iPod will show the slide on the screen and the next slide that is being queued up. That's a neat feature. The only thing missing is a laser pointer which Apple has not built into the iPod or iPhone. However, I still have my laptop remote control that does have a pointer and I'll use it. I wonder if anyone will notice how cool I look using an iPad to give my presentation on Wednesday. My bigger worry is some smart guy will say, you dummy,there is a simpler way to do it than the 13 step procedure. Of course, so I'll have backup if something goes wrong, I'll still have to carry my laptop to the meeting.
We are on our way back to Nashville now spending the night at a KOA near Huntington, WV. It was a 400 mile drive on I-79 through the West Virginia mountains with the trees turning to gold and red. It is a beautiful drive with only a few trucks.
On the trip east we spent a night in Harpers Ferry, WV. It is a Civil War era town that changed sides several times during the war. At the junction of the confluence of the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers, at one time boats could go from Chesapeake Bay through the town to the Ohio River. If only the C&O were open today we could get from Kentucky Lake to the Chesapeake by boat in a whole lot less time than going around Florida. Lewis and Clark set out on their expedition from Harpers Ferry. The Appalachian walking trail runs right through the town.
TrawlerFest was held in two locations on the Baltimore Harbor. The seminars were at the Hyatt Hotel and the boats and exhibits at Harborside Marina which is a ½ mile walk from hotel. We had to park the View at Harborview Marina which is another ½ mile. Altogether in the day and half we were in Baltimore we walked 6 miles. The most exercise in a long time. Thursday we toured the restored 1854 Constellation battle ship and the 1930 Chesapeake Light Ship.
We had a very good fish, chips, and beer dinner at the Wharf Rat, a great pub in Fells Point owned by the brother of a Nashville friend. Owner Bill Oliver has his own brand of beer naturally called Olivers. The pub is decorated with an unbelievable amount of stuff covering the walls and especially the ceiling
The two seminars were well attended with 15 for "Keeping In Touch" and 45 for "Great Loop". After lunch I walked along the dock looking for interesting boats.
The highlight was a 26 ft, trailerable, Cutwater built in Washington by the same company that builds the Ranger Tug. It has lots of room and lots of storage with a single Yanmar 180 hp diesel engine. It reminded me of our first boat, a 26ft Fjord built in Norway. Dinner that night was held to celebrate the 100th issue of Passagemaker magazine. We really enjoyed the company of 3 couples all planning retirement and looking for boats to do the Great Loop. All had attended my talk at one time or another. It was easy to remember names as there were 3 Bob's and a Steve. One couple was cattle farming in Texas, another operated an RV repair business, and the third were career army.
On this past Friday, Sept 30 there was a terrible boating accident on the Tennessee -Tombigee Waterway at mile 317. A 1979 43ft Defever, MOONSTRUCK, capsized and sank behind a tow. The 4 people aboard managed to get in their dinghy which was being towed behind. The tow captain said he was drafting 11 feet and the water depth was just under 13 feet. He speculated that the tow had sucked the water from under the DeFever. The DeFever captain stated that the boat did not hit bottom but felt that it was pushed over. It rolled on is side in less than 10 seconds and sank in less than 5 minutes. The above is from an AGLCA post by another cruiser that responded to a call from the tow. Mavis and I have been thinking about this accident and talking about it all day long today on our drive to Baltimore. The following is our pure speculation. I checked a map and confirmed there is a very sharp S turn at about mile 317. It is safe to assume was Defever going southbound and met a northbound tow. They probably passed on the "1" or port to port. The turn was probably a starboard turn for the tow and the Defever. Both vessels were on the outside of the turn which is where the water is deepest, with the Defever closest to the shore. On such a sharp turn the aft end of the tow would "slide" across the river narrowing the amount of water available to the Defever. As soon as the tow passed the Defever turned sharply to port to get away from the shore. I am guessing all 4 people were on the flybridge causing the center of gravity of the boat to be higher. On such a turn the Defever would lean over to starboard. At that instant the prop wash behind the tow would hit with a strong current building a relatively high wave. That pushed the Defever on its side. The Defever could not recover and sank. There are lessons to be learned from this accident. Only use of an AIS would have shown the name and position of the tow on the waterway. Radar is useless because of the sharp S turn. If you know a tow is close but can't be seen always ask for passing instructions. If you know the name of the tow it is easy. A tow captain might say to wait on the straight if there are sharp bends. It is better to wait for a tow to pass than get caught beside it on a turn. Finally never attempt to cross close (less than 1/4 mile) behind a tow, the waves in its wake are much higher than you think. I speak from experience on this point.
Bob DeGroot Analysis
Bob DeGroot sent me the following analysis and gave permission to post.
Interesting analysis. I do think the water depth along with the draft and speed of the tow made a big impact.
When I was on a 100 foot flat "tow" bottomed buoy tender (CGC Rambler) with a 6 foot draft in the right conditions we created a tsunami along with Seiche like water drop and rise. The right conditions were relatively shallow water in a narrow space. At 10 mph In 12 feet of water with sharply rising banks, our hull would literally pull water from the bank and drop it to an easy 5 + feet 75 + feet from shore before tapering off creating a Seiche like condition with the tsunami not looking nearly as tall because it was being created in a low water condition. That would go on from 50 feet to couple hundred feet behind us. When the water came back it washed well over the bank. We looked like an accelerating Sea Ray but with the wake further behind and much lower in the water.
Now all boats will do this, not just tows or Sea Rays. Try going fast in the Dismal Swamp. Not only do you pull water from the bank but you will also suck logs off the bottom. The suction is enormous. The boats behind have to slow way down or get clobbered with debris while they are now touching bottom in the lowered water. So the point is that the narrow area with relatively shallow water for the tow played a huge role.
So in the spirit of pure conjecture, suppose a one whistle situation did put him closer to shore than is comfortable, and suppose the tow was accelerating causing it to suck more water. Then suppose the DeFever was moving away from the bank after the tow passed but was also being pulled from the bank with the falling water. If the skipper wasn't exceptionally vigilant at that moment he would hardly notice the extra pull, maybe just an odd sensation of going faster (like heading down the Mississippi). There would also be a sinking sensation (no pun intended) because he was not only moving from the bank, but he was also being lowered in the water as it flowed out from under him.
Now if for any reason he was then turning to starboard or port putting him anything but square on the wake (going around the corner, turning into the tows wake, eddy current, etc.) and then got hit anywhere from slightly forward of beam to as far aft as a quartering sea, the tsunami of the returning water flow plus the rapidly rising water would indeed push him over with very little he could do to correct the situation. If he was heading into the visible stern wake, he could have been a victim of the less obvious Seiche style rapid water rise. Round bottom full displacement boat + tsunami + Seiche = perfect storm.
With corrective action the 44 DeFever underway will self-right with up to a 65 degree roll. The 44+5 can go over further but is less likely to because of the different bottom shape and keel. So this 43 had to be pretty much stopped (or in flow with the falling/rising water when it took the push and rise on the beam. This rise and fall of the water would be like pulling out into a fast moving current and not realizing just how fast it's taking you sideways until you're quickly approaching something that would cause and abrupt stop.
If you hear anything, let me know please. We own a DeFever 44+5 and are obviously interested in the outcome of any investigation Otherwise, it may just be a case of the tow company buying a DeFever if it can be shown that the tows wake was a factor.
In so far as being responsible for damage caused by his wake, size matters.
"10. What are the regulations concerning wake effects, wake damage, and responsibility? Regarding one's wake, vessels over 1600 Gross Tons are specifically required by Title 33 CFR 164.11 to set the vessel's speed with consideration forâ€¦the damage that might be caused by the vessel's wake. Further, there may be State or local laws which specifically address "wake" for the waters in question.
While vessels under 1600 GT are not specifically required to manage their speed in regards to wake, they are still required to operate in a prudent matter which does not endanger life, limb, or property (46 USC 2302). Nor do the Navigation Rules exonerate any vessel from the consequences of neglect (Rule 2), which, among other things, could be unsafe speeds (Rule 6), improper lookout (Rule 5), or completely ignoring your responsibilities as prescribed by the Navigation Rules.
As to whether or not a particular vessel is responsible for the damage it creates is a question of law and fact that is best left to the Courts. For more information, contact your local Marine Patrol or State Boating Law Administrator."
12. When do I need a Look-out? According to Rule 5, all vessels are responsible for maintaining a proper look-out at all times this includes one-man crews, unmanned crafts, and recreational boats.
The term look-out implies watching and listening so that he/she is aware of what is happening around the vessel. The emphasis is on performing the action, not on the person. Still, in all but the smallest vessels, the lookout is expected to be an individual who is not the helmsman and is usually located in the forward part of the boat, away from the distractions and noises of the bridge. While no specific location on a vessel is prescribed for the lookout, good navigation requires placement at the point best suited for the purpose of hearing and observing the approach of objects likely to be brought into collision with the vessel.
The size of the vessel and crew effect this answer, however, the emphasis in every legal decision points to the need for a proper, attentive look-out. While the use of radar to evaluate the situation is implied in the requirement to use all available means, that is still understood to be secondary to maintaining a look-out by sight and hearing.
Many tows now have a crew member riding the bow of the lead barge so they can "see" around the corners.
Also, state regulations make simple rules, like "Handbok of Tennessee Boating Laws and Responsibilities" Although they are written for recreational vessels, they do not specifically exclude commercial vessels.
So in a winding seaway where visibility is limited and in my way of thinking prudence would suggest the need for eyes forward. Did the tow have a lookout posted on the bow of the lead barge? Did the tow contact the pleasure craft with passing instructions (it's a two way street on making contact or signaling danger)? There are many questions that are yet to be answered that could shed some light on what happened and how it can be prevented in the future.
Next week (Oct 4-10, 2011) we head for Baltimore Harbor in the View. I will be speaking twice at TrawlerFest on Friday morning. My talks are titled "Cruising America's Great Loop" and "Keeping in Touch with Friends and Family - Alternatives to the Post Card". Click here to see the full program. In the afternoon we will tour in the water boats, have dinner with the attendees, and then head back early Saturday. We will take 3 days to get to Baltimore and 3 days to get back. On Monday, Oct 3rd, the View makes a service call to Neely Coble Freightliner to get an oil change, transmission oil change and new shocks. Hopefully the new shocks will reduce the rolling on curbs and improve handling in high winds.
The Alaska Loop covers an 8 week loop to Alaska in Jul-Aug 2011. The first 11 days cover the trip from Nashville north across the Missouri, Nebraska, Wyoming, Idaho and Oregon to Anacortes, WA. We drove north on Vancouver Island to Port Hardy and took ferries to Haines Alaska arriving on Day 20. Our destination was Seward, AK which we reached on Day 24. The return trip took us around Alaska then back via the Alaska Highway, the Icefield Highway, Montana, North Dakota and Minnesota. We spent 5 days with friends and family in Minnesota and returned to our boat in Kentucky on Day 55. Click here to start this trip from the beginning
This was our last day on the road. Tomorrow we will get the tires checked and a wash in Murray and put the View away in the storage shed. Tonight we are on the Katy Leigh for the first time since June. About the most interesting sight today on the road was the Kentucky Tourist Welcome Center in Paducah. In 1983 the state restored a beautiful old mansion, Whitehaven, beside I-24. At one time it was owned and occupied by the mayor. It's well worth a stop. Next week I'll make one more post with the trip statistics.
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