Kentucky to Tennessee!

Paducah, Kentucky is a pretty, little, and lively city. From the Farmer’s Market to the local Bakery to the most beautiful cafe, Paducah delivered even in the rain. It was fun venturing out in a light rain to have dinner and then to end up seated outside under an awning next to a fire pit at Max’s Brick Oven Cafe. It was another memorable experience and a wonderful evening that we will never forget.

We left the next morning to turn off the Ohio River and head east on the Cumberland River to Green Turtle Bay in Grand Rivers, Kentucky. It was a beautiful ride made somewhat difficult and slow as we were heading up into the current and had 15-20 mile an hour headwinds. The sun shone all day though! The one lock we had to pass through, The Barkley Lock at Grand Rivers, was very busy with barge traffic and we had to wait a couple a couple of hours to lock through. Ultimately, the lock operator had mercy on us and allowed us to pass with a barge inside the chamber. That was a first for us! Ultimately, our trip up the Cumberland of approximately 40 miles, took us over nine hours to complete. It was a perfect day for a ride on the river, albeit sloooowwwwwwww and long.

A Paducah sunrise over the Ohio River.
Cumberland River view.
Fellow travelers waiting at the dam for the lock to open.
Getting locked in.
Our friend, Loafer 👞 on the massive lock wall silhouetted by a tree.
Our little barge friend ahead as the doors open up after lifting us!

The Barkley Lock takes you from the Cumberland River and raises you up a whopping 57 feet in the Kentucky Lake and there is a canal that connects the lake to the Tennessee River. We stopped at a full-service marina just on the other side of the lock before the canal, Green Turtle Bay Marina. The harbormaster, Shane, was patient and kind as he patiently guided six boats in from the river and to our appointed slips. Slight flutters when I saw that our slip was located between the transient dock and the fuel dock and needed to be entered at an angle (which meant I would need to back out at an angle as well). The wind was behind me and we made it in without a hitch thanks to a great kid on the dock who caught the lines from David and held us until David could step out to help. Arriving safely before sunset was the perfect end to the day. We capped it off with leftovers and wine before we turned in early only to be waked a few hours later by a massive storm cell that went through the area. Three hours of hard rain, thunder and lightening entertained us until sunrise. (We don’t have rain in Vermont like the rain in Kentucky.) Our second night we decided to visit a local establishment, Patti’s, that “everyone” said “you have to go see and have dinner”. You can read my therapeutic and somewhat humorous review of the experience at the end of the blog. For the record, I did not post the review, I wrote it simply to exorcise the encounter.

Irene tucked in- The calm before the big storm.

The Kentucky Lake and the Tennessee River are wide and wonderful. The foliage has begun here and from the water is a magnificent way to see the trees in all their fall glory. Seeing the land from the water is a special window into the natural world. Sometimes, it’s so glorious, you just can’t believe it. And yet, there it is. Thank you, Lord, Source, God, Goddess, whatever you want to call it. Thank you.

A piece of the Tennessee River shoreline.

Over the course of five hours, we wound our way to Paris Landing State Park Marina in Buchanan, Tennessee. We had our pick of slips and I picked a big one LOL. We ran into quite a few friends we’d made along the way here. Laura and Chris from Michigan on their boat Sequel who we had first met in western New York on the Erie; Jeff and Karen who we were introduced to on Lake Huron in Rogers City, Michigan; and several folks we had recently met for the first time in Paducah and Grand Rivers. All in all, 10 of us lined up in slips end to end of the dock. But Irene (the Dream) got here first today. I was practicing hugging the cans like a race-car rides the banks and low and behold, I passed everyone just going our regular cruising speed of 1400 RPMs without having to slow pass as the Tennessee is very wide and they were mostly hanging out in the middle (even passed the Kady Krogen ;-D). Pleasure to be there to catch their lines~~~ Now, if only nearby icons Alan Jackson and Loretta Lynn would pull in. I’d grab their lines too.

From here we have several days of travel through Tennessee on the Tennessee River; a few more locks and a big one into the Pickwick Dam in Mississippi where we will stop to get some service work done. We are having the boat pulled out in Iuka at the Safe Harbor Aqua Marina to replace our depth meter’s transducer, zincs replaced, bottom power washed, oil changed, engine belts replaced and our rudder post leak patched up. Not sure how long all that will take. Stay tuned, friends.


Hope you are all getting your needs met and taking good care of the vessel you travel in, head to toe and end to end. Keep your frequency high as you are able. Eat well, drink water, grab the joy, follow your inner guidance, be kind, be grateful, and be light of heart. We love you.

Inserts Humor Here:

Patti’s Restaurant: A Betheship Faux Review

If you ever pass through the Kentucky River Valley you will definitely be urged by at least one person, to experience Patti’s Restaurant. You will be encouraged to enjoy the Flowerpot Bread with Strawberry Butter, “the pork”, and the large portion sizes. After visiting Patti’s for dinner last night, I offer this review.

Patti’s is located in a beautiful structure composed of multiple angels, large windows, high ceilings and massive doors. Once acclimated to the grandeur of the space your visual senses will be overwhelmed by the abundance of Christmas decorations hovering above every ledge. I encourage those of you with attention deficit disorder  or generalized anxiety to avoid looking up. 

You will immediately encounter a vast number of Patti’s hostesses, servers and support staff clothed in matching outfits; ill-fitting Gunnysack dresses sewn from floral table cloth fabric for the females, hokey denim overalls with plaid shirts buttoned to the neck for the males. It’s not clear to this writer why they are wearing these garments however; after dining at Patti’s, my conclusion is that they are a mocking the hillbilly history of Kentucky and playing a part in the dead theatre that is the heart of the Patti’s experience. 

The hostess will lead you, and everyone else, to your table while boasting about the many dining rooms, the ornate decorations, the Patti history, and more. Since the space is vast, the diners are many and the hostess is loud, you will know the script well by the time you leave. 

Another script you will hear repeatedly as diners prepare to order echos the tale of the Hatfields and McCoys. Regardless of obvious age or appearance, you will be required to provide formal ID in order to enjoy a glass of wine with your meal. It goes something like this, “I LOVE my job and wouldn’t want to lose it so even though it’s a silly local ordinance that I personally don’t agree with, I will need to see an official ID to serve you, sir. Because, I LOVE my  job.” Consider yourself forewarned readers. 

The menu is huge, literally and in content. Beef, pork and chicken are the primary items however there are many deep fried dark-beer battered options that Patti herself was renowned for because, “Dark beer is more tasty”. This writer did not taste any deep fried options but did note that either the dark beer batter or ancient oil created a dark brown color on the coating of the famous Bloomin’ Onion. 

The Flowerpot Bread, on the other hand, is pure white bread from the “Wonderbread” family. It has no detectable flavor, including salt. I suggest not wasting your calorie intake by even sampling this pot of gluten.

The one-inch pork chop is grilled with Patti’s “secret spices”. A more apt name for this menu item would be, “Patti’s Strong Spice Mix Shrouding a Secret Pork Chop”. The enormous baked potato served on the side was lukewarm with two ice-cream coned sized scoops of whipped butter that of course, refused to melt. (Well, one, as the other was removed to find the inside of the potato.) The best part of the meal was the Chicken and Rice Soup. While not served with a soup spoon, it was not a problem, as the humongous proportion of rice to broth made the “soup” as thick as stew and easily eaten with one’s fork. 

The one glass of wine that was served to us came mid-main course in a warm glass clearly just out of the dish-washer. Oh, Patti’s. The experience is real. Real unfortunate. Save your hard earned money dear readers and eat at home. You won’t be missing anything. 

10 thoughts on “Kentucky to Tennessee!

  1. perkks

    I am still laughing at your review of Patti’s. Sounds horrible. I love you have made so many friends along the way. It must make it “less lonely” when you see a familiar face. ♥️
    The pictures are great. I am still not sure I understand anything about locks, but they seem like a lot of work and kind of scary. 🙄
    We are in Tennessee for the next few nights before we head to Florida. Having dinner in Gatlinburg with Nicole Friday night. ♥️
    Love you – miss you lots, Patty

    1. betheship Post author

      It was something! Your experience with the keys sounds worse. I hope you are warm now and it all worked out. Pretty cool that we are both in Tennessee on our way to the same place, at last! Love you tons. Give Nicole a big hug for me. You have such beautiful children xoxoxoxo LOVE you.

  2. Kathleen Yost

    OMG! I love all your stories and I love your voice. Your forward progress is tied to so many things that are outside your control! My nails would be chewed to my elbow and I would need to go into rehab!

    Love your photos and appreciate your awe and gratitude for the beauty surrounding you.
    Patti’s visit was hysterical. I am sorry you did not get a great meal. When you arrive here George knows just the place to take you on the Myakka River! Rolls of paper towels and vintage view of river with warning not to feed alligators! Surprisingly the food is quite good.

    Love you both, stay safe.
    Looking forward to seeing you soon.❤️

    1. betheship Post author

      Ah. You’re stronger than you think! Look at all the challenges you deal with so gracefully. You can let George know that I can’t wait to eat at the vintage restaurant on the Myakka. David’s played golf in that area before but I’m not sure I know anything about the Myakka. I do not feed or eat alligators or catfish. That I know xooxoxoxoxoxoxoxxoox See you soon.

  3. Wendy Hobbins McGrath

    Thank you for the many laughs in your faux review. I read it aloud to Dan. The description of the place is priceless 😂.

    I’m glad you got through the storm. We had torrential rain here last night for hours and hours and lots of wind today. I can’t imagine how dramatic it must be to be lifted in the lock. It’s wild! I’m marvelling that someone came up with that idea! So very cool that you are experiencing so much of the country by water and bringing all of us along for the ride too! Love you like crazy ❤️❤️❤️

    1. betheship Post author

      So much left unsaid about Patti’s; better that way. It makes me so happy to thinking about you laughing. It’s the simple things. This is definitely a unique and wonderful experience. I’m not sure I would do the whole thing again, but very grateful to be here now. David thinks one could watch a video on Youtube about how locks work- They are not a new concept to river commerce. We just learn so little about the physical world and how it works when we are in school. Oh, schools. That’s another faux review in the making. Thinking of you all as JT approaches another birthday. BIG BIG love to you all.

  4. Dee

    Ha ha! I’m sitting here holding a bottle of Patti’s Seasoning, which I occasionally use on pork:). Been there, done that… my nephew is a pastor at a huge mega church in Paducah! My sister keeps me supplied with the seasoning, least I run out!!


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