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.
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.
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 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: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fkYL1b7MCEw
“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!