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
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...
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
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
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:
Click here to jump to Gaineswood Tour Day
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