Greetings From Mississippi

Along the Tennessee River.

This past Saturday we traveled from Clifton, Tennessee- to Iuka, Mississippi. Iuka is on the border where Mississippi meets Tennessee and Alabama. It was a long and rainy travel day with the Tennessee River current against us the entire way. After about seven hours underway, we finally reached the Pickwick Lock and Dam. The lock raises boats up 55 feet from the river into the Pickwick Dam. With a stroke of lucky timing, we drove right into the waiting lock that already had 15 boats tied up and we took the last bollard before they closed the doors! Amazing~~~ At that point we felt incredibly fortunate to be inside without waiting and subsequently, we welcomed the rain and wind as we held Irene on the wall against the forces of nature and the turbulence of the water filling the lock.

Irene is the last boat on the far back, right side as you look at the lock. This photo came from the lock’s fb page. Who knew locks had fb pages? You can see how massive the chambers are to accommodate barges and ships. You can also see that that there was a bass fishing tournament happening by the bass boats heading into the dam.

Exiting the lock, the Pickwick Dam greeted us with a gusty WNW wind and big waves. Our destination, the Safe Harbor Aqua Marina, was just over five miles from the lock. It felt longer, but once we turned off the dam into a wide creek, actually called “Pickwick Lake”, to head to the marina, the wind was somewhat blocked and the waves subsided. Another bit of luck as the dockage was tight. So tight, I actually asked to have our slip reassigned. They accommodated the request (sometimes you just have to ask for you want). Without complaining, I will say this about the slip we ended up in- We are sharing it with the biggest spiders we’ve ever seen and a large colony of turtles. I am good with one of those.

Neighboring turtle.

We took advantage of a sunny Halloween Sunday to scrub Irene and defrost the freezer. The less glamorous side of life on a boat. On the brighter side, we had dinner with Looping friends that live aboard their boat Sisu, Jim and Kristi. We had met them on our two day trip from Peoria, Beardstown, and Hardin, Illinois and then later, we docked in front of them in Paducah. We caught up and shared stories, made hopeful plans to meet again, most likely in Florida but, who knows? This kind of traveling is truly dictated by the weather and by where you can anchor, dock or tie up for the night. You just have to go with it and greet the moments as they present themselves to you.

Irene’s out there under the cover.

Irene is scheduled to be hauled out today. We’ve spent over a week communicating with the service department about the work and yet, it’s 10:44AM and we have yet to see anyone at the boat. We did walk up to the boat yard at 8AM to greet them and it was obvious that the “system” (sometimes the absence of a system is apparently the system) and the workers (gracious and calm) are a bit submerged by the backlog of boat work and promises made. There were already two folks ahead of us to greet them. I have a sinking feeling that we will be staying in Iuka longer than we anticipated or desired. One of us is taking the news and the probable waiting, a lot better than the other 😉

I recognize that waiting can be difficult. I believe the secret to successful waiting is to change the story we tell ourselves and to acknowledge that our needs will be met, in good time. If any of you dear readers need some practice at developing better waiting skills here are a few ideas. Seriously. 1) When you are in a store and heading to the check-out line, go to the longest one. 2) Practice driving more slowly and welcoming red lights. It’s an opportunity to be present. 3) Always slow down as soon as traffic lights turn to yellow. 4) When you feel yourself getting pissy, heart rate rising, maybe frustration or anger surfacing, practice “recovery breathing”. That is, breath in deeply through your nose and hold it a few seconds, then blow out your mouth. Maybe these things will help to remind you that we are not ruled by our bodies and our blood pressure. We are minds and we are spirit and we are free to choose how we respond to everything. 5) We need to tell ourselves better stories. Reframe folks. Reframe. 6) Maybe sing this little song out loud:

“Data” Update: Monday, November 1st, 2021

  • We have been in 18 states
  • We’ve been traveling for 194 days
  • We have traveled approximately 4800 miles
  • We are 450 miles from Mobile, Alabama
  • From here, we will go 10 miles across the dam then turn into the long downhill of the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway to Demopolis, Alabama
  • We can expect a lot of current against us-
  • While I have lost count of the number of locks we have been through, I do know there are 10 locks in the Tennessee-Tom Canal
  • The average drop in the locks will be 30′ but the Jamie Whitten Lock has a whopping 84′ drop!
….and every step. Peace ya’ll. Peace.

10 thoughts on “Greetings From Mississippi

  1. kathyyost01

    Great update!  It left me feeling a little overwhelmed for you♥️  So happy you are now pointed south.  My instincts suggest that some of the toughest travel is in front of you.  I am not sure what inner reserves you are drawing from to have the energy, determination, drive and patience to move forward every day you are able to.  I hope they have finally started work on your boat and that you are both enjoying your shore leave! Weather here is becoming more fall like cooler nights in high 40’s low 50’s but afternoons warm up nicely into high 70’s low 80’s…perfect! Since I have retired I am much more patient waiting, in lines, for return calls, for appointments etc.  George not so much🤣. It may be genetic. We are so happy to be back here.  Enjoying every day and many of them are quiet.  Waiting for Patty and Ron to arrive, hopefully tomorrow then you will be the last one. Wishing you smooth seas, good docking spots, great food and enough air to breath those big intakes!♥️  Stay safe.I love you both!  Kathy

    Sent from Yahoo Mail for iPhone

    1. betheship Post author

      Florida sounds dreamy. It’s actually beautiful here and I am doing better at the things I am impatient about and David is working on lowering his expectations LOL. But those strategies are real 😉 Thanks as always for the well wishes, the love and the positivity. Here’s one for you: “Always remember you are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, smarter than you think and loved more than you know.” xoxoxo

  2. Jennifer

    Wow! I never knew this part of the trip was so grueling. I always assumed river travel would be easier than the Great Lakes! I hope the service to Irene goes well and that you enjoy your time on solid ground! Ed and I are back in NC. It was sad to leave Vermont but I’m glad to be back in warmer weather. We’re planning on heading to Florida at some point this winter so hopefully we can hook up! Much love to you both! ❤️

    1. betheship Post author

      The Great Lakes are like the Atlantic- This is unique and beautiful. Not sure we’d do it again, but loving all the things- especially the natural world. What a beautiful world. 46F tonight and we look forward to warmer weather AND seeing you both again. We’ll be in Punta Gorda in December and then in Marathon, Jan. – March. We have a care there too. I left mine at my brother’s house last spring. So much to appreciate here and to look forward to there. All the feels. Tons of love, xoxoxo b&d

  3. Wendy Hobbins McGrath

    I think your blog has a book in its future. So much truth in the adventure and most of all in your interpretations and framing of it. An object lesson in presence, impermanence, spirit, faith, courage, connection, and love. Everything about it is inspiring! Big love to you both!!

    1. betheship Post author

      XOXO. So nice to hear from you on JT’s birthday~ I was there in DC when she turned 2……OMG, blinked. Ginormous love to you and all the Hobbins-McGrath beautiful beings. Thanks for always holding a thoughtful mirror for me to reflect on my interpretations of experiences. What a world. What a life. Happy birthday, “Mum” ❤

    2. betheship Post author

      LOL Realized after I went to bed that it’s only November 1st (5 more days) and then text JT who tells me, “I claim the entire month of November for my birthday haha”. LOVE her. Excuse my tired brain~~~

  4. perkks

    Love hearing about tour adventures. I am so curious to know more about the lockes, how they work, what you need to do to prepare. I guess I should check out a You Tube!
    We just left Tennessee, I never even thought I may have been able to connect with you. 😙
    I have been trying the patience thing, it is a necessity. Have you ever met Ron???!!!
    Looking forward to having you in Florida. Do you have an ETA?
    Love you lots. Patty

  5. betheship Post author

    Well, I thought about trying to connect and when I realized we were across the state, I knew t was not going to be in the stars. We will be at Fisherman’s Village from 12/9-12/26 (staying at Kathy and George’s on xmas eve). Not sure on exact dates because between the weather, the boat and how we feel, plans change. I know we have reservations in Marathon from Jan 1 – April 1. Not sure what we will do after that! Talking through a lot of scenarios now but really, enjoying this adventure and it takes almost all of our energy and time. As for patience, David and I go back and forth on whose turn it is to stress out. We are in Mississippi now and should be in Mobile in the next 10 days. Then, on to Florida~ After we cross the Gulf of Mexico (gulp). Love you tons xoxoxoxoxoxo ❤


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