Travels and Adventures of "Curt's Dream" a True Grit design-The Great Loop

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curtgard
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Re: Travels and Adventures of "Curt's Dream" a True Grit design-The Great Loop

Post by curtgard »

Some more pictures going through Wilson Lock on the way to Joe Wheeler lodge and marina.
down stream gates at Wilson lock
down stream gates at Wilson lock
In Wilson lock and locks on the Tenn-Tom waterway, there are several floating bollards that are recessed into the lock walls that boats tie to when locking through. When I built the True Grit, I located a cleat by the sliding side door for tying up the boat when going through locks. Only one line is required to hold the boat in place, making locking pretty easy. Good thing as there are about 125 locks to go through on the Great Loop route.
captain holding onto floating bollard
captain holding onto floating bollard
After exiting the Joe Wheeler lock, the lodge and marina is only a short distance away.
Joe Wheeler lodge
Joe Wheeler lodge
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curtgard
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Re: Travels and Adventures of "Curt's Dream" a True Grit design-The Great Loop

Post by curtgard »

We stayed a week at Joe Wheeler marina attending the Great Loop rendezvous. We meet lots of great people there and learned about what was ahead of us on traveling on South and up the East coast next Spring. There were about 50 boat there that people were in progress on the Great Loop. Later in the afternoons, people opened their boats up for other loopers and people planning to the loop in future years. Most everyone had to look at Curt's Dream as no one could believe that I had built it from scratch.
docked @ Joe Wheeler
docked @ Joe Wheeler
After 4 days of seminars and food buffets everyday along with adult beverages ever night, it was time to start traveling again. As Joe Wheeler marina is off the Great Loop route,we returned back down the Tennessee River going again through Wilson lock. There were 18 boats that left together to go through Joe Wheeler lock and Wilson lock so several boats had to raft up going through the locks. Since we were one of the smallest boats, we rafted up with a larger boat.
inside Wilson lock
inside Wilson lock
The gates are huge as we exit the lock.
IMG_5749.JPG
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curtgard
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Re: Travels and Adventures of "Curt's Dream" a True Grit design-The Great Loop

Post by curtgard »

It was quite the experience going through the huge Wilson lock.
IMG_5750.JPG
After going back downstream on the Tennessee River for a day, we make a left turn and start down the Tenn-Tom waterway that will take us to Mobile and the Gulf of Mexico. The Tenn-Tom starts out going up Yellow creek but then turns into a man made ditch for some 20 miles. This waterway was completed in the early 80's and required more dirt to be removed that the Panama Canal. There were several places where streams came into the the man made cut and these streams were often higher than the waterway so concrete baffles were added to keep the current of the stream from washing into the waterway.
stream entering Tenn-Tom
stream entering Tenn-Tom
We had met several barges with wood chips and finally came to the loading facility.
Scott paper wood chip loading dock
Scott paper wood chip loading dock
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curtgard
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Re: Travels and Adventures of "Curt's Dream" a True Grit design-The Great Loop

Post by curtgard »

There were huge piles of logs at the loading dock ready to be ground up into chips. I didn't realize that Northern Mississippi and Alabama had so many pine trees.
logs ready to be chipped
logs ready to be chipped
loaded barges ready for pickup
loaded barges ready for pickup
We traveled for several days with a 31' Ranger Tug. Back at Aqua Harbor marina, near the junction of the Tennessee River and Tenn-Tom, we had used the marina courtesy car and went with the couple from this ranger tug and had supper at The Catfish Hotel.
ranger tug
ranger tug
We are now at the Columbus marina at mm335.Tomorrow, we will continue our travels South.

Curt

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curtgard
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Re: Travels and Adventures of "Curt's Dream" a True Grit design-The Great Loop

Post by curtgard »

We did pass a milestone of sorts yesterday having traveled over 1000 miles since the launch on the Illinois River over a month ago.

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Re: Travels and Adventures of "Curt's Dream" a True Grit design-The Great Loop

Post by DrBryanJ »

Curt: That seems like a long waterway to Mobile. How long will it take you?
Bryan

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curtgard
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Re: Travels and Adventures of "Curt's Dream" a True Grit design-The Great Loop

Post by curtgard »

I'm thinking about 9-10 days to get to Mobile.

Curt

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Re: Travels and Adventures of "Curt's Dream" a True Grit design-The Great Loop

Post by Bill Edmundson »

Curt

I think that is about the time that I'll be down there.

Bill
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chugalug
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Re: Travels and Adventures of "Curt's Dream" a True Grit design-The Great Loop

Post by chugalug »

:D It sure is nice to read about your adventures.I've read Ray Mackes adventures as well as Tom Smithermans.I think Tom sold his "Knot-So-Fast but still has his genesis parked in Dermopolis,Alabama-along your route I think. :D
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Re: Travels and Adventures of "Curt's Dream" a True Grit design-The Great Loop

Post by JimmY »

Interesting trip, I had no idea about all the locks.
-Jim
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Re: Travels and Adventures of "Curt's Dream" a True Grit design-The Great Loop

Post by mrintense »

I love these updates Curt. Thanks for keeping us posted. I hope someday to do something like this on a smaller scale.
Carl

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Bill Edmundson
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Re: Travels and Adventures of "Curt's Dream" a True Grit design-The Great Loop

Post by Bill Edmundson »

From Columbus MS there are 4 more locks and 330 miles to Mobile. I think it is about 35 miles across Mobile Bay to our place. Curt, Let us know your progress and I'll try to be there.

Bill
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curtgard
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Re: Travels and Adventures of "Curt's Dream" a True Grit design-The Great Loop

Post by curtgard »

We are at Kingfisher Bay Marina today 10-26 in Demopolis mm216. We may be stuck here for a few days as the river is rising from 5+ inches of rain.

Curt

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Re: Travels and Adventures of "Curt's Dream" a True Grit design-The Great Loop

Post by Bill Edmundson »

Curt

So, you're just above the lock at 213. We haven't gotten near that much rain. Keep us informed.

Bill
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curtgard
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Re: Travels and Adventures of "Curt's Dream" a True Grit design-The Great Loop

Post by curtgard »

We decided to only stay two nights in Demopolis as the river was predicted to be near flood stage for several days and more rain was predicted. So we left on October 27th. It was 97 miles to the next dock at Bobby's Fish Camp. With the river so high, the recommended anchorages were not usable South of Demopolis. This would require me to run faster and burn more fuel while also trying to avoid all the debris floating down the river. There were whole trees along with every size branch in the 3 mph current.
whole tree with roots floating down the river
whole tree with roots floating down the river
Cell phone service was unavailable for miles but there was a pay phone booth along the shore.
antique phone booth
antique phone booth
At the Tom Bevill lock, there is a visitor center and old snag boat that was used to remove trees from the river years ago. There was a small dock at the center but it was in bad shape so we only got a picture of the snag boat.
snag boat
snag boat
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