Thursday, January 17, 2013

Camping with the Corps

We are at the Army Corps of Engineers' Service Park Campground, on Coffeeville Lake (map), an impoundment of the Tombigbee River.  The river/lake is well past flood stage, as we knew from a weather alert I received on my phone while still en route, and we were warned about it when we checked in.  Another few feet and it will be in the campground.

The river is also zipping by at a good clip.  From the numerous snags and other debris racing by, including a full-size chest freezer this morning, I would estimate five knots or so.  A couple of tows went by upstream last night after locking through Coffeeville, and they were working hard, engines screaming.  Our new boat has been by this very spot once before, when the current owner brought it down from Wisconsin, and if we can deal with the extra height he has added to the boat in the form of a fixed canvas top, we'll come by here in it ourselves some day, preferably not in this much current.

This is a lovely park, apparently recently reopened after a major renovation of the camp sites.  We have 50 amps of power for our $20, and a lovely view of the river (non-riverfront sites are $2 less), along with all the usual CoE ammenities.  We're parked just one site away from the comfort station and Louise has been taking advantage of the laundry facilities.

Yesterday's drive was scenic and mostly relaxing. We stopped for fuel at a Murphy (Walmart) station in Laurel, MS, which had diesel for $3.529, the cheapest on the remainder of our route.  It took about an hour to put in 200 gallons, an amount that required four transactions as the station limits them to $200 each.  While we were fueling I kept checking my email, as we were waiting for revised closing documents on the boat -- the ones we had printed out first thing in the morning turned out to have Louise's name misspelled.

We left Laurel when we were done fueling, not realizing that Laurel was, in fact, the last town until Dothan, Alabama which had either a UPS or FedEx shipping location where we could overnight the documents back.  We couldn't make Dothan before last pickup, and we did not want to turn back to Laurel when we discovered this a half hour out of town. After much research on the smart phone, Louise finally located a lone UPS drop box in front of a bank in Waynesboro, MS, with a pickup time of 4pm.

We parked a block away from the drop box at about 3:30 and it was all we could do to download the revised documents, print them, sign them, and get a UPS label printed before the deadline.  We dropped the envelope in the slot right at 4pm; at 7:30 I got an update from UPS saying that it was in Laurel so it had traveled right back the way we had just come.

Around midnight I got another update from UPS saying our package had been in a "transportation accident" and we had visions of it on a desert island with Tom Hanks.  But this morning the tracking said it had arrived in Jackson, MS around 1:30am, so we are hoping it will still arrive sometime today at the documentation company in Fort Lauderdale.  One of the things that is in that envelope, by the way, is the paperwork to change the name of the boat.

After many hours of discussion and rumination, with hundreds of names considered, we have chosen Vector as the boat's name.  It derives from the Latin verb "to carry," which makes it suitable for a carrier of people, pets, and dreams, and it also has numerous meanings in navigation, computing, math, and science, which makes it suitable for a pair of geeks.  Our hailing port will be Bear, Delaware.  The blog will remain right here, though, as we will still be on our odyssey.

Today we will continue east on US-84 across the Tombigbee at Coffeeville, through the rest of Alabama, and past Dothan (hi, Debbie!) before ending the day somewhere near the Chattahoochee, which is the Georgia state line.  Assuming, of course, the road is not flooded between here and there, which is a distinct possibility if the river racing past us is any indication.


  1. Sounds like a very good name for a boat. :))

    Bill Kelleher

  2. Thanks so much for sharing. I'm looking forward to the new nautical adventures.

  3. Vector is a great choice and will be readily discernable over the marine band radio. Let the nautical adventures begin !

  4. Looking forward to your new adventures aboard Vector!

  5. I am looking forward to the next chapters of your Odyssey, whatever you call it.

  6. "whats your vector victor"?

  7. I had a feeling we would be heading towards the directional nautical puns.

  8. Bear,Delaware? Summit Marina perhaps?


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