After moving every couple of days for the past four months, stopping in one place for more than a week to relax, repair and replace is necessary and gives us a chance to ‘regroup’. Although our first week at the Kentucky Dam Marina was mostly spent working on Blue Heeler, we did manage to have a bit of fun too.
The final sentence on my last post was to ‘enjoy some southern hospitality’. At the Kentucky Dam Marina, the hospitality from the folks on Pier 2 is incredibly generous – offers of vehicles, tools, a helpful hand, a chat, some cookies, plus a drop of good ol’ Kentucky bourbon and moonshine are always on offer and much appreciated by us transients. The nearest town to the marina is the small town of Grand Rivers about 10kms away. The bike ride is flat along the highway over the Tennessee River with views of the Kentucky Dam and takes half an hour to ride there for groceries or to the post office and antique stores.
The berths at the marina are covered with a very high roof protecting house-boats and motor cruisers from snow and hot sun. Our yacht is at an open berth at the very end. Many of the berths are designed to accommodate boaters throughout the year – in some cases boat owners will have the berths opposite to their boats – here they have barbeques, cable TV, kitchens, jet-skis or pontoon boats with wind-chimes and inspirational signs stating that it’s drinking time somewhere in the world. To get around the long docks and the marina they use golf carts (great idea by the way) and some even have space to park their carts. Some of the guys, like Jeff and Herb, live on their boats all year round, while others mostly stay only during the fine months. With no salt water to eat away at electrical items or anything metal, living on fresh water certainly has benefits!
Down the pier one night last week we were invited to meet some friendly folks and taste some of Mary’s yummy pork-n-beans and hoecakes. My sobriety was tested as I fought back offers of Kentucky Bourbon and different flavours of Moonshine – Apple Pie, Cinnamon, Grape – but Wayne jumped in to taste them all! By around 8.30pm the call of “Ya wanna go on a booze cruise?” was answered by shouts of “Hell yeah!” After grabbing a warm jacket, we went aboard Mike and Renee’s 50′ houseboat for an evening cruise under the stars around Kentucky Lake’s dam and lock. Mike’s a tow operator and used to navigating many barges through the inland waterways so a jaunt in a houseboat is a piece of cake for him. The top of the houseboat is open and high up so we had to duck the roof when we returned otherwise we’d be decapitated.
During the week of fine fall weather, we did a lot of work aboard Blue Heeler. Wayne removed our old Furuno radar as the almost-twenty-year-old-gadget had deteriorated to the point that we couldn’t differentiate between blotches on the screen from potential targets. During the fog in the North Channel it was impossible to see any targets on the screen during the day and the unit would shut down intermittently, usually at the worst moment. We replaced it with a new Raymarine multi-function device – a chart plotter and radar combined with a few other cool options. There were also a few other things we had to replace so each day parcels would arrive and Brenda in the office would helpfully inform me of their arrival. Wayne kept busy all week replacing old items with new ones and spending most of his time reading diagrams and technical manuals to be certain all his cabling and wiring was correctly installed. After a slow day on Thursday trying to get a large connector into a small hole at the top of the radar pole, by Friday with the help of some fishing line, Wayne, at the top of the radar pole and me, upside down on my back in the stern locker, managed to get the cable in place.
We want to visit Nashville while we’re in the area and it’s only a two hour car trip away. Locals Rick and Michelle, who coincidentally travelled to Sydney Australia last week after we met them, offered their car to us to travel to Nashville during their absence. Scott, who works at the marina, is so helpful and knowledgeable and drove us to some places to buy stuff for the boat. To top off the week, he and his lovely wife Christa took us out for a huge and incredibly tender steak at Patti’s Restaurant in Grand Rivers last Friday night. I can honestly say we are both humbled by the welcome and genuine friendliness of the folks here. The kindness stretches beyond the marina; what bowled me over though on Saturday night was a display of wholesome generosity by a complete stranger; I’ll write about that in my next post.
Southern hospitality is alive and well in Kentucky!