Leaving early from Paducah we head the remainder of the 60 miles on the Ohio River. The current is running hard against us at an average of 3 knts. We pass a couple sailboats who are hugging the shoreline to keep out of the heavy current. They will catch up to us at our destination. The water seems to be a low level. We estimate at least 3-5 feet lower than normal. It is easy to see the shoreline water levels that seem normal but we are not sure what normal actually is. The Ohio River has some traffic but nothing compared to where we have left. Despite the arrival of railroads, improved highways, and air travel, the Ohio River continues to serve as a major artery for transporting bulk items such as coal and grain. The northern bank of the Ohio River also is the southern boundary of Ohio, separating the state from West Virginia and Kentucky. In total it runs 981 miles but we will only traverse the 60 miles to The Tennessee River.
A couple French Explorers are said to have been the first European to see the Ohio, in 1669, and he descended it until obstructed by a waterfall (presumably the Falls at Louisville). In the 1750s the river’s strategic importance (especially the fork at Pittsburgh) in the struggle between the French and the English for possession of the interior of the continent became fully recognized. By the treaty of 1763 ending the French and British war the English finally gained undisputed control of the territory along its banks. When (by an ordinance of 1787) the area was opened to settlement, most of the settlers entered the region down the headwaters of the Ohio.
The colours are changing again. That being said so are the temperatures. It’s a cool 60 during the day but the nights can run in single digits. Must keep moving south…… As we approach our lock on the Ohio River, one of the largest depths at 57 feet, the doors were open for us. We had left many boats in our wake as we traveled from Paducah. Not because we were cruising fast, more that they were traveling slow due to the strong current against them. We pull into the lock along with Dark Side and wait about 10 minutes. Scott got on the radio and said they were at mile such and such and that it would be a 2 hour wait for them. I think the lockmaster looked them up on the Nebo App and realized it wasn’t worth waiting. He locked us up but nowhere near the 57 feet. The water is just too low.
After coming out of the lock we are now in the Cumberland River. The Barkley Lock is the beginning of the Cumberland River where we then must pass through a canal to reach the Tennessee River. We stop at Green Turtle Marina in Grand River, KY, fuel up, pump out and find our slip.
We were met by “001” Canadian Permit boat “Oh Henry”. We have been chatting on social media since they received their #001. So now #002 and #001 chat about how they and us achieved the permits. We exchanged stories and found that we helped them and they helped us get across. Apparently the escalation to Washington on these permits was a conversation between several “Chiefs”. All we know is that someone in Washington “high up” allowed the permits. The rest is history.
We stay a couple nights. The town is no longer a dry county so we do not have to drive to the next county to get our sundowner supplies up. There is a courtesy car available for a couple hours if you wish to visit outside the area. If it is only for local fare a golf cart will pick you up and take you to the local Town of Grand Rivers. There you will find a couple liquor stores, grocery store, restaurants. It is a touristy town but will cater to you with their southern hospitality. This marina has a spa, if so inclined, indoor and outdoor pool, pickleball and tennis courts, cottage rental (if you just need to get off the boat) gas, diesel, pumpout, small ship store and a well stocked parts store over at the working marina portion. There is a large lift for repairs.
We walk into town along the unbeaten path. Climbing a couple small hills, going under a parked line of railway cars and find a park with a small lake. We had decided on a pizza for dinner but the only pizza place was not open. The grocery store has fresh made pizza with all included toppings. While we wait for the pizza Scott brings me across the street to look at the 20 or so feral cats lounging in the sun. They will not allow me to get close but there are a lot of young ones. Our guess is that they are drop offs to the park. This realty place must feed them so they come and visit.
After picking up the pizza we wander over to the park gazebo for a romantic pizza dinner for 2. As the acorns fall on the tin roof and the birds fly above we notice that this park is not used much. It may be off season as there is a lot of structure to be used. It looks like bands play here, kids playground is not well used though. A few cars drive through. Before it gets too dark we head back through the woods, over the hills and climb under the railroad cars again to the marina.
Now that we have met many loopers waiting for their day to continue we decide to head out in the morning. We did get in some pickleball drills too. We will say goodbye to our buddy boat, Dark Side, as they head toward Nashville, TN for a couple weeks. We also will be heading out in the direction of #001, Oh Henry, so we will meet up with them again. We will be on anchor for the next few days as we travel south on Kentucky Lake.
I almost forgot, Happy Halloweenie!