Monday, 30 September 2013
Sept 30 Day 2 Tennessee River to Clifton Marina

It was cloudy today but there was not a single rain drop.  We cruised 63 miles from Pebble Isle to Clifton TN.  Pebble Isle cooks cinnamon biscuits and coffee for the overnighters.  At breakfast there were a couple of Loopers that had been with Tom and Linda  at Green Turtle Bay. It seems that there was a big celebration there as well as at Kenlake. Tom  had raised the new gold burgee there as well. Now some are wondering if they ever did the Loop. It's just like the rumours that man never landed on the moon.  We arrived in Clifton at 4:45PM. Vebbie and Roger arrived a few minutes later on Hattitude.  This marina is famous for hospitality and Sonja was there to greet Vebbie & Roger. Later Sonja cooked fried corn bread that was really good.  Tomorrow’s issue is whether the locks will be open with the government shutdown.

Posted on 09/30/2013 9:08 PM by Bob Duthie
Sunday, 29 September 2013
Sept 29 Day 1 Tennessee River to Pebble Isle Marina

The Rainiest Day

This was the rainiest day ever on the boat. It rained from 8:35 to 5:30 without a break. I must apologize to all our Kenlake Marina friends that had planned a big bon voyage party for our departure at 9:00AM.  And this after a big Grand Lakes Yacht Club party the night before.  However, checking the radar I figured we could get out ahead of the rain while we erected the mast and covered up the fly bridge.  It actually started 5 minutes later. Heading out to the main channel I caught the Delta Mariner (the ship that knocked the Eggners Ferry bridge down 20 months ago) moving toward the bridge once one more time. I held my breath until it passed safely under the proper span. There is more to write about yesterday than today.

Our friends Tom and Linda completed the Great Loop but may have set a record at 9,650 miles by boat over 21 months. They circumnavigated Lake Superior and spent one winter in the Bahamas. There was a brief ceremony to raise their new gold burgee that had been hidden away waiting for this day.  That night there was a great party with a seafood buffet with crabs legs, shrimp, scallops, sausage, and potatoes.  A photo booth had been set up that took multiple pictures of up to six people crammed in wearing different hats and glasses. This trip on the Katy Leigh will visit Chattanooga.

The adventure continues! Subscribe to our blog by email to get updates sent directly to you as they come. 

Posted on 09/29/2013 9:18 PM by Bob Duthie
Wednesday, 18 September 2013
Grand Marais Fall Rally Day 9-12

We spend the weekend camped at the very clean St Paul RV Campground visiting family. Saturday night we were joined by friends from Brainerd who were in the Twin Cities for a college football game. We had an excellent dinner at Cravings Wine Bar & Grill.  Sunday morning we went to downtown Minneapolis to Hell’s Kitchen in the basement of a large office building. In spite of the name it was mobbed with people and the line so long I never did see what the restaurant looked like.  We gave up on that place and went to an Irish restaurant called The Local. They must have imported the entire walls and bars from an old pub in Ireland. It was beautiful. They have poured the largest volume of Jameson Irish Whiskey in the world for four years in a row. We planned to take 3 days to drive the 785 miles to Murray in the View and another 115 from Murray to Nashville. We got off to a good start and after 388 miles at 3:00pm we were near my first choice destination at Starved Rock State Park on the Ilinois River. This seemed like a good choice since it is beside one of the locks on the Great Loop. Maybe we could meet a looper. However, since was still early, it would be better to keep going so we could be home by noon on Wednesday. I picked Ramsey State Park near Vandalia as our destination and called to see if it was open and had room. The lady that answered said “Heavens yes, we have room.”  It was another 168 miles which would get us there by 6:00PM.  Well we got there at 6:00 alright, but took 30 minutes to find the road to the campsites and then that road was closed as a bridge was being replaced. The next closest campsite was in Vandalia. I programmed the park name, Okaw Valley Kampground, into the Garmin and found the campground did not exist where Garmin says it is. By now it was after 8:00PM and we had to break one of our all time RVing records. We went to the nearest Walmart!  There must have been 50 trucks there with many running generators. I asked for permission to say and was told that it was quite alright just get a space on the outskirts of the parking lot near the trucks.  Our unit must attract trucks because after getting as far away from the trucks as I could two arrived and parked close to us.  We broke another record driving 575 miles in one day. Tuesday we only had to go 180 miles to the boat and were there by noon. We dropped off boating stuff and checked the beautiful new varnish on the Katy Leigh. While we were away, a couple from Florida drove to the marina and put four coats of new varnish on all the teak trim. We put the View away in the shed, and drove the car to Nashville arriving at 5:00PM.  Our next trip is on the Katy Leigh, starting September 29th travelling to Chattanooga and attending the America’s Great Loop Rendezvous on return cruise.

Posted on 09/18/2013 2:54 PM by Bob Duthie
Friday, 13 September 2013
Grand Marais Fall Rally Day 1-3

On  Monday, Day 4, we headed out early, rounded the end of Lake Superior in Duluth and then headed north east on the scenic highway that runs right beside the lake. We stopped at 9:00AM at the Split Rock Lighthouse. This lighthouse was built on a high rock in 1910 and served as an aid to navigation with a fog horn and beacon until 1969.  It was made obsolete by the inventions of radar, loran, and GPS.  It is now a museum owned by the Minnesota Historical Society.  We took the tour of the lighthouse and watched the movie in the visitors center. By then it was already noon and we still had 60 miles to go to get to Grand Morais.  Arriving at 2:00PM we walked from our campsite to the Recreation Center where the meeting was well underway.  The speaker was an engineer from Winnebago that did an excellent job of managing the crowd with their many nit picking questions. The classic was the beds are too short for 6’-4” men.  I pointed out if they would get a B model like ours they would find each bunk bed is over 84” long.

In the evening I showed my Four Corners slide show to a packed house.

Tuesday I took a short walk along the stony beach to town and checked out the restaurants. Grand Marais is a community of artists and art schools. I got photos of a couple of them probably practicing. The rest of the day was devoted to tours of our groups Views and Navions. This is how you learn of all the neat ideas people have to make modifications. One idea is to use an electronic fish tank thermometer to measure the water temperature in the hot water tank. When it reaches 97 degrees it’s the right temperature for a shower so you don’t have to fool with the cold water tap, you just turn on the hot water. Not all the modifications I saw are really improvements.  Wednesday was the dreaded technical session which is very useful to new comers but after 5 rallys I have pretty well heard it all. I left after an hour when the experts were still talking about oil and diesel. Mavis and I then walked to town shopped at the galleries and had a really nice lunch at the Angry Trout Cafe. Thursday it was time to head for Duluth and on to Woodbury, MN.  In Duluth we stopped at the Glensheen Mansion, built by Chester and Clara Congdon in 1908. Chester was a lawyer and business man that became the richest man in Minnesota by buying up land and opening taconite mines. The house has 39 rooms and was built on the water.  During the tour of Glensheen I asked if there were any ghosts in the home. Ghost stories can help market home tours like this. The tour guide avoided the question completely. However, Mavis searched the Internet tonight and found there was a murder in the house of the Congton’s daughter and her nurse in 1977.  The daughter’s ghost has been sighted a number of times since.  We are now at the St Paul RV Park and visiting family.  This afternoon we drove to Stillwater with our son, Graham, had lunch at the Dock Café, and walked down the main street spending at least an hour in a very large antique store.  Stillwater is a beautiful town on the St. Croix River. 

Posted on 09/13/2013 7:50 PM by Bob Duthie
Sunday, 8 September 2013
Grand Marais Fall Rally Day 1-3

This is a short 13 day trip to attend a View/Navion Rally in Grand Marais, MN and visit our family in Woodbury, MN.  We left Nashville on Friday Sept 6 and drove the car to Kenlake Marina to check on the varnish work being done by Donna & Ron from Brightwork.  They basically follow the Great Loop and varnish boats at the cities and towns along the way. They are doing beautiful work on our boat. We then picked up the View and left the car in the shed. Our first night out was in Effingham, IL. On Saturday while driving through Madison, WI, I was in the middle lane with the cruise control set to 62 mph. A semi passed me on the right with horn blaring. I looked down to see we were only going 54 mph. The dreaded Turbo Resonator (TR) had failed once again at about 80,000 miles. The previous two failures were near Calgary at 14,000 miles and in Jasper at 55,000 miles. The Turbo Resonator is a muffler that reduces the noise from the turbo.  I always carry a spare along with a special wrench that is required to remove the TR. We limped to the KOA Madison and called Coach-Net for help installing the replacement. They called back to say it would have to wait until Monday.  I decided to replace it myself when the engine had cooled down. We propped the front of the View up on blocks and started work about 4:00PM. After 2 hours I managed to get the faulty TR out. Another two hours failed to install the new unit. By then it was dark and we quit work. I tried to start the engine to back off the blocks but while it would start, it immediately stopped. We rolled the View back off the blocks on to the level. There was now no way to move the View.  I pleaded with Coach-Net to find a mechanic to come out on Sunday. Otherwise we would have to give up the trip to Grand Marais which was two days away.  We went to bed very dejected.

Coach-Net called at 9:45 and said they had found a mechanic who could be there in an hour.  Robert Ford showed up at 10:30 very nervous about the job but willing to try. By 11:00 he had the job done. The secret was to put grease on the end of the TR that goes into the output of the turbo. The TR then slid in as far as it was supposed to go so the 2 bolt holes lined up with the support.  Robert was able to crawl under without having to raise the front of the View. The engine started right up, no engine warning lights came on and we drove to Lucius Woods County Park in Solon Springs, WI. It is well off the main road US-53 but right beside a well used railroad track.  We are now just 146 miles from Grand Marais and should arrive before noon on Monday.  I ordered a spare TR from Amazon of a new Chinese made copy which all reports say does not fail.  This one sells for $28 compared to the $72 I paid for the unit just installed.

Posted on 09/08/2013 6:15 PM by Bob Duthie
Saturday, 7 September 2013
More News about Eggner's Ferry Bridge

It seems like the Eggner's Ferry Bridge is in the news a lot. My last post was about a boatiing accident and another post covered  one span being knocked into the river.  A new bridge is now under construction with work going on at both ends to build the approaches out into the river. This structure of several hundred tons of weight has been placed on top of a piling.  An explosive charge will then be detonated which will cause the load to bounce. Sensors on the piling will then gather data that will be used to develop design specifications for the foundation of the new bridge piers. Thanks to the WestKyStar for this information.

Posted on 09/07/2013 7:59 PM by Bob Duthie
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