Sunday, July 1, 2012

Baking lakeside

We are at the Corps of Engineers' Canal Campground on Lake Barkley, near the village of Grand Rivers, Kentucky (map). This is a familiar stop for us, ideally located a short ten-minute ride away from the boat we came to look at, over in the Green Turtle Bay marina. As I shared on that last visit, we've looked at boats in that marina before, so that, too, was a familiar stop.

This is a popular campground, and on a hot weekend just before the July 4 holiday, the campground was sold out. As I wrote here on Thursday, I booked the last reservable site on the theory that we might get aced out otherwise, even though we knew that site was too far under the trees to get online. What I did not know was that backing into the site required a tight reverse turn up a steep hill with the left drive wheels in the gravel, and that turned out to just be impossible to achieve -- the wheels just spun trying to push 24 tons against both gravity and steering.

I probably could have made it into the site by going around the loop in the wrong direction and pulling in head first, which would have kept the drivers on the pavement the whole way. But that would have necessitated using our 50', 50-amp extension cord, and with park voltage already overtaxed in the heat, that seemed like a bad idea, not to mention how testy people can get when you drive the loop the wrong way.

Fortunately, when I asked at the kiosk, this site all by itself over near the boat ramp was available, albeit for an additional $4 per night. It's in full sunlight, but we have a good shot to the satellite, and it's away from the madding crowd. We feared we might be boxed in by boat trailers over the weekend, but I think the heat has kept many people away from the lake. We have 50 amps and a hose bib, which I have been using to spray cool water on the bus periodically to reduce the A/C load. As a bonus, they did not charge me the extra $8 for our two nights' reservation.

Things started to get comfortable again an hour or so after plugging in, and after the hottest part of the afternoon had passed, we dragged the scooters out to be ready for boat viewing. I managed to reach someone at the yacht sales office to set up the viewing for first thing yesterday morning, 9am, which was fortuitous as the boat turned out to lack air conditioning. It was in the high 80s as we rode over to Green Turtle Bay and in the high 90s by the time we rode back, less than two hours later.

The boat turned out to be in pretty good shape for having been neglected for a long time. The layout mostly works for us, although the forward V-berth is a little cramped and would be a limiting factor on guests and crew. But it is seriously overpriced for the condition, and given that we'd have to add a bow thruster, air conditioning, water maker, batteries, alternators, and laundry facilities, it's probably more of a project than we want to take on. Nevertheless, it will stay on our "short list" until we see some better alternatives.

After synching back up with our broker afterwards and discussing options between ourselves, we've asked him if there is a possibility of seeing another boat we've been eyeing in Florence, Alabama. Our next stop will be North Carolina, assuming we are not called anyplace by the Red Cross, and Florence is just a 150-mile detour, making it worthwhile to look at this boat that is otherwise a long-shot.

Unfortunately, despite leaving more than one message with the listing broker, our broker has been unable to get a definitive answer on this. Since Florence is a very different direction than the more direct route to the east coast, we decided to spend one more night here to see if we can get an answer first. This is not the first time this has happened to us, so a word to the wise for anyone wanting to sell their boat: get a listing broker who at least answers their phone messages in a timely fashion.

When I re-upped the site for another night, I had to pay the full $24 rate. Add to that another $1.30 for the Redbox DVD I picked up on the way here, figuring we'd have no TV under the trees, but can't return until we get back under way. Plus another buck for running the air conditioner for two hours tonight on batteries -- the power has gone out here from 8-10pm the last two nights running, and when I went to renew we found out they expect it to be out again tonight. We ended up running the genny for half an hour each night, not knowing if the power would be out for two hours or 20, and wanting to get some charge back on before 10pm quiet hours. Now that we know the power will be back on around 10, we'll just let the batteries run the A/C for the two hours tonight.

Even still, $26.30 to spend another day here with enough juice to run every air conditioner we own is a bargain in this unrelenting heat. Checkout is 3pm, and I expect we'll stay here most of the day tomorrow as well. Whichever direction we head, there will need to be a power outlet at the end of tomorrow's drive as well.


  1. Yup, we are hiding out in a park with electric hookups too this week. It's only 30 amp, but we are alternating between using the back and the front AC units. At least we are in the shaded trees. Hope you search goes well on the boats!

    Karen and Steve
    (Our Blog) RVing: Small House... BIG Backyard

  2. Sean, Green Turtle Bay was where we picked up that 82' Sommerset houseboat and started on our treck back to Oklahoma. Nice place... Steve


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