Monday, October 31, 2016


     We get back to Columbus Marina mid Thursday afternoon. We check on SummerTime, and make an inventory of supplies needed to resume our journey. We drive the rental car back up to the shopping area of town. We buy the few provisions we think we will need for the next four days. We are to be at Grand Mariner Marina on the Dog River Below Mobile, AL the coming Tuesday, 18Oct. We had scheduled to have SummerTime there the coming Monday morning for a bottom cleaning and paint job. Also they are going to repair the diesel leak on the engine. Since our interruption, we have re-scheduled our arrival to hopefully Tuesday, 18Oct, mid day. So where before we had a leisurely trip to Mobile, we are now going to have to work to cover the 335 miles in 4 days. Enterprise is near the marina, and they drive us with the rental car and our provisions back to the marina. We spend Thursday afternoon prepping the boat to leave.
      Friday morning we are up and fill the water tank. We want to  make sure it is as full as can be for the next few days, as there are only two available stops for supplies in the remaining miles. There are other boats already at the Stennis (Columbus) lock waiting to lock down. A sailboat pulls out to join them as we head for the fuel dock. We put in 63 gallons, and I think that we have the tank totally full. We will need this as we do not plan to stop at the two fuel stops that are between Columbus and Mobile.
      After our fueling of the boat is complete, we call the lock. We are told there is a short wait for an upbound (lift) tow. We wait the time and call back. We enter the lock to head down with another boat. It is well after 9 when we get out of the lock, so our goal to cut some time out of this trip to Mobile is not good. It is mostly river going down this route, no wide parts like a reservoir. There are a few houses, mostly weekend, along this route.

There are some quarries along the way. And a couple of yards where they have logs stacked for perhaps the paper industry. It appears that logging and excavating are the primary industries along the river. There are no towns that can be seen. At mile #307 we get to the Tom Bevill Lock and Dam. There is a visitor center here that I want to visit, but  we do not have the time. The last steam driven boat built for the ACOE to pull trees out of the river with is here. it is called a "Snag Boat". It can be seen well before you get to the lock, as it has been placed up high in an impoundment that I am going to assume is meant to protect the boat from normal floods.

We lock down and continue on our way. We hope to make 80 miles today. It is not going to be. It is getting late when we get to the Sumter Recreation Area. There is a sand bar in the entrance to the recreation area, but by the guide books we should be able to clear it. We do, and as the books quoted, we have over 10' of water to anchor in. We move to near the head of the little bay just in case other boats should show, there is room for them to anchor also. We run the generator for about an hour to cook. After dinner I notice another boat has arrived, and is just inside the entrance across from the boat ramp. It is quiet until just after dark. And then I hear a strange noise that I have not heard in many years. It lasts only about a minute, and then it is quiet again. It takes a few minutes to recall what the noise is. It is a pack of coyotes gathering with yelps and yips to start their evening hunt. I have not heard this since living in Seneca, Illinois in 2000. It is beautiful and eerie if you have never heard it. Just before turning in for the evening, I hear the pack again. After that, all is quiet.

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