Wow! I didn't realize how much trouble I would have writing this last post. After several years of planning and preparing for this adventure it is hard to believe we have closed our circle and come to the end of our journey. I won't deny that there have been a very few moments along the way that the thought ran through our heads, at least mine, that maybe this wasn't such a great idea. Those moments were few and far between and never lasted long enough to shed major doubts on our sanity. Before we began this trip, we both were apprehensive about all of the "unknowns" we would meet along the way. Everything that we worried about turned out to be absolutely "no problem". All in all, we have been captivated by our view from the waterways we have traveled, grown enormously in our confidence in our abilities, visited so many places we had never even heard of before, and met new friends from around the globe. Some of our new friends will one day become our old friends as we continue to include them in our lives. To borrow a phrase from one of those new friends: Life begins at the edge of your comfort zone!
A new bridge is taking shape over the Tennessee River where several years ago an unfortunate ship captain performed a slight, but costly, miscalculation as he rammed his barge into the bridge. His cargo was rockets on there way to Cape Canaveral. While there was no damage to the ship, or its cargo, the bridge did not fair so well.
Talk about having your own personal fishing pier. Obviously, this railroad bridge is no longer in service.
When the dams were built that backed up the water for Lake Barkley and Kentucky Lake many structures, including a whole town, became covered or surrounded by water.
Another beautiful sunrise greets us as we look forward to another perfect day on the Tennessee River. While we are not in a hurry to bring our journey to a close, we are getting a little excited about seeing family and friends, so we are up at the crack of dawn again.
We have met quite a few tows plying these waters, but none of them come close to the size of the ones on the Mississippi River.
As we have traveled the inland river systems, we have made a point of telling our fellow Loopers how much they will enjoy the Tennessee River. Views like this are why this portion of the Loop is a favorite for many cruisers.
So this is where river rock comes from! This dredge that looks like it has seen better day is harvesting river rock and then sending it to various markets by barge.
Other than being a little warmer than I like, we have experienced wonderful weather these past few days. There are homes tucked into the hillsides all along the river. I must say that I much prefer my waterfront property to theirs. Our foundation is the water, and we can follow it wherever it goes.
Our days come to a close with tranquil anchorages and peaceful sunsets.
Although we experienced this awesome red sky in the morning, we were not being warned of an impending storm. It was just a stunning beginning of another glorious day on the water.
After a short wait for this tow to clear the lock, we were ready to enter our final lock before we would cross our wake. We still have three more locks to go, but Pickwick is the last one that we had not already been through at the beginning of our trip.
We have gotten a little better at selfies over the course of our travels. Actually, we just discovered that Jess's arm is longer than mine.
Just a few miles east of Pickwick Dam, the Tenn-Tom branches off to the south. After watching our white burgee wave on our bow for so long, it will soon be time to replace it with our gold one.
We did it! We have now "crossed our wake"! It seems like only yesterday we were just beginning our Great Loop adventure and now we are Gold Loopers.
If you have ever used the timer on your camera to stage pictures, you have some idea of how many times we had to move and adjust to get a few decent shots. I have to say that Jess has become quite understanding when it comes to me saying: "Just one more!" Off with the old...
On with the new!
Our view of Bama Dream's bow has changed today. This time through Wilson Lock was a breeze. If you have been following our blog from the beginning you know what I mean by that!
Jess is pulling up the anchor for the last time on this trip. We are planning to stop at Ditto Landing Marina tonight, then on to our new home at Goose Pond Marina in Scottsboro from there.
Another memory from last year. This is the railroad bridge in Decatur that has to be raised for boat traffic. Slightly west of here is where we experienced our first huge storm on the water. Luckily, the storm we encountered on Lake George is the only other deluge we had to deal with.
These cliffs welcome us back to familiar waters. We have seen some breathtakingly beautiful places along this voyage, but we have to admit we may be slightly prejudiced when it comes to the Tennessee River.
Waiting patiently for the gates to open on Guntersville Lock. We are home!