Cruisin' The Loop Aboard Kibon
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Thursday, September 19, 2002
We planned on leaving Marina Cove this morning fairly early... for us this means by nine o'clock... but we wanted to check our e-mail, send off the latest web pages and top up the fuel tanks. An e-mail from someone was taking an eternity to download. After almost 45-minutes downloading four megabytes and with an unknown number of  bytes to go, we assumed it was something with lots of pictures coming in from (hopefully) a friend. At ten-cents -a-minute the download was becoming not only frustrating, but expensive. We're out at the end of a long string with a tin can attached; technology is a bit slow in these parts -- see our editorial on cell phones in the last section. Eventually we had to cancel the program. Unfortunately there were three other messages behind the big one that we couldn't get either. Please, please, friends, we love to get e-mail... keep those letters coming; but, please keep them short and pithy. And hold up on the pretty pictures, cartoons, live-action jokes, singing greeting cards, long-involved attachments or those fwd, fwd, fwd, etc., messages that have gone through hundreds and hundreds of addressees most of whom are complete strangers. Needless to say, we didn't get away by nine. It was closer to eleven. Then, wouldn't you know it, two barges were approaching the Tom Beville Lock, one northbound one south. That means another two hours, at least. While we waited we could get a good view from  the river of the Tom Beville Visitor Center and the Montgomery snag boat we had visited yesterday.

Finally, about 2:00 pm, we locked though along with two other boats who had been waiting for hours. We asked permission to pass -- they were slower trawlers -- kicked Kibon up on the plane and whizzed away. But not for far. Only about thirty-five miles or so down river is the last decent anchorage before Demopolis. We had planned to do the Demopolis run, but it was too late to do that hundred miles. Sumpter Landing anchorage is a small, deep cove off the river -- the only one for miles around. The Baron Rose was already anchored. We had met the Baron several locks up-river. Her homeport is Toronto and the folks aboard are from Fenlon Falls and Pentanguishene in Ontario, both places we visited while passing through Canada. Small world, huh? Baron Rose is going to Ft. Meyers, so we'll probably be seeing each other for a while. This is one of the big pleasures of this trip... falling in with fellow travelers along the way. We're ahead of the other Loopers we met in Kagawong, but we'll be stopping for a week or two in Caravelle... hope they will catch up. 
Friday, September 20, 2002
There's not much scenery to report on during the sixty miles to Demopolis. The most impressive sight was the "famous" White Cliffs of  Epes. These are large white limestone cliffs - reminiscent of the White Cliffs of Dover (remember the song?) - which line the right downbound side of the river for several miles. Fred Meyers in his Tenn-Tom NittyGrity says, "Get your camera ready..." as this is one of the few high points on the Tenn-Tom. Fred is right... the cliffs are everything to write home about! What geologic event took place eons ago to form this natural wonder can only be imagined... there's probably a museum somewhere hereabouts than can explain it, but we haven't found it. The cliffs are truly gorgeous and are a grand relief to the mostly monotonous river scenery.

If there is any focal point on the Tenn-Tom Waterway, Demopolis is it. The Demopolis Yacht Basin is the last stopover, refueling and resting spot for the next hundred miles. It's right at the intersection of the Tombigbee and Black Warrior Rivers, the point where the Tennessee-Tombigbee system ends and the Black Warrior-Tombigbee begins. We're about halfway on this system to Mobile and the Gulf of Mexico. The parts for the windlass caught up with us here -- Rich Karrasch at Silverton did his usual great job of keeping Kibon going -- we now have an anchor that works (again), there is a good restaurant right in the marina, we've done laundry and tomorrow we take the courtesy car to do some serious shopping. Hurricane Isidore is moseying around in the Caribbean, so might just hang around here to see where he will end up before moving on. What a life!

Saturday - Sunday, September 21 - 22, 2002
The food locker's gotten so thin re-supply is number one priority... and what a supermarket we found on the outskirts of Demopolis! We spent an hour roaming the aisles, filled the cart to overflowing and wondered where we would stow all the stuff. No problem! Kibon has plenty of crannies and Kay filled them all. 
Next: a bicycle tour of the town. Demopolis was founded in 1817 by French officers, refugees of the Napoleonic Wars, who came to establish a "Vine and Olive Colony." Both the land and the Officers were ill-suited for grapes and olives, so the colony folded. Cotton became king and ruled until the end of the Confederacy. We visited Bluff Hall, an Antebellum Home and Museum, that was built in 1832 as a wedding present for Francis Strother Lyon and his bride. Lyon was a lawyer, cotton planter, politician and statesman. He served in the congresses of both the U. S. and the Confederacy. During the "War of Northern Aggression," Bluff Hall received many Confederate Officers and dignitaries as guests including, in October, 1863, President Jefferson Davis. A frequent visitor was General Leonidas Polk, a Corps Commander in Johnston's Army of  Mississippi (CSA) and Pearce's fourth cousin, three times removed. In fact, the General's youngest son, William Mecklenburg Polk, married Lyons' daughter, Ida Lyons. All these relationships make the area particularly and personally interesting. The house is full of magnificent period furniture and is maintained by the Marengo County Historical Society.  We recognized several tables and dressers that Pearce's parents passed on to his sister and us.  There were even pictures like the ones that hung in the Baker's house.  There were several christening gowns that are in the same style as the one that Pearce's mother, he, all four of our children, and our oldest grandson wore when they were christened.

After leaving Bluff Hall we rode our bicycles around the town.  There is a lovely town square with a band stand and fountain.  There is the memorial to the Confederate soldiers.  The intersecting main streets are lined with buildings from another era.  The stores are trying to hold on, but the usual story of strip malls lining the main highway on the outside of town has emptied many of the beautiful old buildings.

We've been very fortunate to have very little rain fall on us.  Many of the storms have come through during the night, and this summer has been unusually dry.  The rain finally caught up with us on Sunday.  The storms swirled around us.  It was fascinating to watch on the radar as they gathered and passed over us to continue on toward the east.  Kay had thought to do some laundry today, but she decided that she didn't want to risk washing and drying the clothes to have them drenched again on the walk back to the boat.  It was a day to find things to do inside.  Pearce decided to pay some bills and check on e-mails.  Kay decided to reorganize the files and to read a book.  What a way to spend the first day of Fall!

Monday, September 23, 2002

We looked at the Weather Channel and decided that we would not be wise to head toward Mobile.  The weather mavens still think that hurricane Isidore can still threaten the Gulf Coast.  The marinas around Mobile  have sent the word upstream that they don't have room to berth transients.  We'll stay here another day or so to see what happens.  Pearce decided that this was a good opportunity to scrub down the back and side decks of Kibon.  The sun shone brightly after hiding for a day, and the decks were soon clean and dry.  We had thought to ride our bicycles to visit another antibellum house, Gaineswood, but we spent too much time on clean up.  That will be on tomorrow's agenda.

Tuesday, September 24, 2002
Still waiting around Demopolis to see which way Isidore will blow... starting to look like it will be a week or so. We go to tour Gaineswood. Wow! What a place. What a history. What a scene... much too much for this page. So here is another side-trip special... It's mostly pictures, so be patient while they load:

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