Wednesday, May 26, 2010
I would like to thank everyone for making comments on the blog; I can't read them everyday but do catch up on the messages and it means a lot to me to see everyone's interest. I am back in civilization here in Fairhope, AL on the east side of Mobile Bay. Boated from Bobby's Fish Camp leaving the first and final lock of the Tenn-Tom at 8:00 AM and arriving at Eastern Shore Marine around 2:00, 135 miles. Entered Mobile Bay from the north, passing through the ship channel into open water and then taking a GPS tack to the eastern shore through a rain shower. I’ll experience saltwater and tidal conditions from now until the Erie Canal.
I have now completed the first "leg" of the trip - boating about 700 miles to Fairhope. Tomorrow I will travel 20 miles down Mobile Bay to the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway and head in the direction of Carrabelle, FL, about 250 miles east. Fred Martin may join me for the trip across the Big Bend of Florida if he can make flight connections with his co-pilot friend to near Panama City. Some of you know Fred as he and Janet and children, Chris and Sarah, lived in the Eagle Valley for many years.
For several days, I traveled in contact with three Alabama gentlemen, Earl, Cliff and Ray. I met them at Pirate's Cove Marina near Aliceville. They are 3 long-time friends, including a banker and the owner of an insurance agency, who always wanted to do the Tenn-Tom River. And so they did - from Pickwick Lake in their pontoon boat with their 40 hp engine (earlier I said it was 75 hp but I'm an optimist). We would meet for breakfast and depart through the first lock and I would see them at the end of the day several hours later. Yesterday, Earl's son, Keith, took them out of the river at Bobby's Fish Camp and provided me valuable information about the Gulf Coast. They joked about my 250 hp Yamaha, or was it envy, but that's another story. The bantering between these 3 friends, offered unending comic relief for all, and a study in trust and dependence among friends. I will miss them. Thanks for introducing me to Alabama and the southern gentleman.
This evening, at the best restaurant I've been to since leaving Colorado, I heard the single lady behind me say to the waitress, "This looked a lot better on the computer than for real.” And on it goes... I'm seeing this great country through the people who make it so.
Photos: Suspension bridge over the entrance to Mobile Bay; Train swing bridge 20 miles north of Mobile; Alabama gentlemen, Earl, Cliff and Ray on their pontoon boat in a lock.