Saturday, October 22, 2016

West bound and down

We are anchored in Lake Guntersville, on the Tennessee River, near the community of Scottsboro, Alabama (map). We're now at an elevation of just 594', and we've moved into the Central Time Zone. We've also moved more squarely into fall.

A little fall color in a beautiful gorge view yesterday.

Yesterday we woke to a cold, blustery day, the first in recent memory, just as hordes of paddlers were getting set up and practicing for the Chattajack-31. Seeing stand-up paddleboarders covered from neck to ankles and  working hard against the wind and the chop was quite a sight. It was challenging enough just getting the tender alongside and onto the crane.

These paddlers from Florida arrived in a serious off-road rig, complete with enduro bike.

After decking the tender we made our way to the city quay underneath the Market Street Bridge. I took the last of the recycling and trash off the boat and went over to get the scooter, which was on deck and secure by noon. Our friends Chris and Alyse arrived around 1:15 and we met them at Tony's Pasta Shop at Bluff View, more or less directly overhead of the boat by about 80' or so.

Vector under the bridge. The wall says "Ross's Landing" in Cherokee.

We had a nice visit with them over a very long lunch. We returned to the boat around 3pm and immediately got under way. We wanted to put as many miles as we could between us and the start of the paddle race before we ran out of daylight.

Some much warmer paddlers on their way to Audubon Island Wednesday afternoon for a weekly beer meetup. They stopped to invite us along,

We managed to get about 20 miles downriver, dropping the hook in a wide spot just downstream of the Raccoon Mountain storage facility (map). As the crow flies, we were just six miles from where we started, and we could still see the Chattanooga tour boats on our AIS. We figured that even the fastest paddlers would take three to four hours to cover that same 20 miles. With an 8am start, that gave us plenty of time for a leisurely start in the morning after a relaxing cup of coffee.

We woke to this view this morning at our anchorage.

As it turns out, we were up early anyway, and under way by 9am this morning. We passed the Hales Bar takeout area a little before 11am, and folks there were just getting set up for the festivities. The parking lot, just as the ones at the starting line, was packed with vehicles sporting roof racks.

My chart plotter has ears.

We locked down through Nickajack Dam before lunch, and shortly afterward we set the ship's clocks back an hour. We're now making such good time, with over a knot of current behind us, that we'll probably make Florence by Tuesday afternoon. Louise will try to get Wednesday and Friday PT appointments there, and we'll meet up with some RVing friends there as well. Tomorrow we'll lock down through Guntersville Dam and anchor somewhere in Wheeler Lake.


  1. My dad worked on the Raccoon Mountain storage project in the 70's. Water is pumped up the mountain during periods of low demand and allowed to run back down thru power generating turbines during high demand periods. Wikipedia says the reservoir at the top has a surface area of over 500 acres and that there are only 10 facilities like it in the US - only 2 with more capacity than Raccoon Mountain.

    1. Thanks for your comment. I could not find the tidbit about relative size on the Wikipedia entry, but it seems small to me, having spent more time than I can remember at San Luis Reservoir in California. Of course, San Luis serves a dual purpose, with storage of fresh water for use in the southern part of the state being more prominent than the storage of hydroelectric power.

      We anchored close enough to the tailwater that I briefly considerd tendering back to the facility to see whatever could be seen from the public part of the facility, but ultimately laziness won and we did not splash the dinghy.


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