TX TO TN TO TX CRUISE
TRIP 2 SUMMARY
27-July 12, 1998
Knoxville, TN-Chattanooga, TN
The plan for Trip 2 was to cruise the rivers in that part of East
Tennessee and see the headwaters of as many rivers as possible.
We also hoped to see family who lived in that area.
Our Carver 440, ILLUSIONS, was docked on the Tennessee River, Ft
Loudoun Lake, after Trip1, in which we traveled from Houston to the
Trip 2 was
two weeks long, but we only traveled 523 miles.
We ran the engines 45 hours and the generator 173 hours.
We went through 4 locks, beginning at elevation 814 and ending at
elevation 682. It
was hot and humid, with very little rain, on most days, but cooler and
nice at night. Also, it was
hazy most days, which really made us appreciate a minor cold front, which
cleared the air. Angela loved
to see those mountains, and so did I.
We flew to
Knoxville, TN on Saturday, June 27, bought groceries, and ate out with my
mom. She dropped us at Dick
and Sue’s, where we were keeping the boat; and then she drove home to
try and get there while it was still light outside.
We carried our purchases down the 150-ft hill and into the boat,
which was hot. What was
worse, our freezer had defrosted and refrozen one or more times, and we
could smell the spoiled meat. Angela
spent hours that day and in the days after that trying to clean the
refrigerator and get rid of that smell.
we explored the upper end, the head of navigation, of the Tennessee River.
The river is formed by the junction of the Holston and the French
Broad Rivers, neither of which is navigable very far above the junction.
We met with family and friends for a boat ride, some neat photos
and videos, and lunch in downtown Knoxville, Mile 647.5.
Angela and I returned the boat to our temporary dock at Mile 604.1
June 29, we went up the Little Tennessee River to the head of navigation,
Mile 31, which was 31 miles above the dam at Lake Tellico, which was only
a mile or so from our dock at Mile 604.1 on the Tennessee River, or Ft
Loudoun Lake (these two lakes and rivers have dams immediately adjacent to
each other and are connected by a short canal).
We anchored in the river, since it was not likely we would have any
sizeable boat traffic upstream of us.
day, Tuesday, we took the dinghy and went up the river a few miles to
Chilhowie Dam, the first of four TVA dams on this river without locks.
Then we motored downstream to the intersection with the Tellico
River, and we turned upstream. We
found a nice cove to anchor in, but our anchor rope was coming apart, so
we tied ropes fore and aft to trees for the night.
Wednesday, July 1, we took the dinghy and explored the upper reaches of
the Tellico River and saw Ballplay Creek, Notchy Creek, and the Tellico
itself, all of which were beautiful and unspoiled.
We were having battery problems, so we got a slip at the Ft Loudoun
Marina for the night and did some laundry there.
Thursday, the mechanics fixed our battery charger and replaced the second
bilge blower of this cruise. Angela
cleaned the boat, and we had friends and relatives for lunch and dinner at
the boat. We returned the
boat to Dick and Sue’s late that night, with our water supply
replenished (happiness is a full water tank!).
July 3, we borrowed Sue’s car and drove to a boat store to pick up a new
anchor line and some other supplies.
Then we drove up Hwy 129 to see Chilhowie Dam and the other dams on
the Little Tennessee River. The
other three were Calderwood, Cheoah, and Fontana.
Fontana Dam was the tallest dam in the TVA system at 480 feet, and
Fontana Lake was beautiful. I’d
like to rent a houseboat (which we saw a lot of in this area) and spend a
week on that lake.
saw a portion of that road called ‘The Dragon’, from its curvy shape
as viewed from the air. In 11
miles the road has 318 curves; it is almost never straight.
Motorcyclists from all over the country come to test their skills
by driving this road as fast as they can, which is usually 20 miles per
hour-it’s really curvy.
July 4 was spent getting the new anchor rope spliced onto our chain and
changing all the oil and filters in the engines and generator. We left the area on Sunday, going downstream through Ft
Loudoun Lock on Sunday morning. We
motored down the Tennessee about 30 miles and turned into the Clinch
River. We traveled upstream
about 38 miles, past the Melton Hill Lock and Dam, and anchored just off
the channel in a wide cove. The
game warden visited us that evening, checked our registration, and gave us
some information about that lake we were glad to have.
July 6, we motored upstream to Mile 62, just above the head of navigation,
and anchored in the river in about 11 feet of water. We put the dinghy in the water and proceeded to try to get to
Norris Dam, which Angela and I had seen on a previous automobile trip to
this area. We
went about 4
miles before we ran out of water, and we were still 14-15 miles away from
the dam. These mountain
streams were cold, and the slope of the bottom is much greater than
streams in Texas. (Leaving
the upper end of the Little Tennessee River, I noted the depth went from
13 feet to 33 feet in about 6 miles; that’s a substantial drop.)
greeted us on Tuesday morning, and we got some great photos and video
footage as we
went downstream with the fog covering the water.
We called the Ft Loudoun Lock, who provide the personnel to open
Melton Hill Lock, in advance and set a time for our locking through.
After the lock, at Mile 4.5 on the Clinch River, we turned right
and went upstream on the Emory River.
After motoring 12 miles upstream on the Emory, we came to the head
of navigation at Harriman, TN. We
turned around and went back downstream, photographing all the pretty rock
bluffs we could see. After
the lower 4.5 miles on the Clinch River, we were once again on the
Tennessee River, Watts Bar Lake. We
traveled 20 more miles downstream and pulled into Blue Springs Marina for
Wednesday, July 8, we traveled downstream through the Watts Bar Lock to
the Chickamauga Lake. At the
intersection with the Hiwassee River, we turned left and went upstream
about 30 miles. We anchored
in the river above the head of navigation in about 13 feet of water.
I would have liked to go further up the river, but our previous
experience indicated we should not go far above the dredged channel for
fear of going aground.
the night at anchor, and proceeded downstream on Thursday morning.
We had managed to miss all the ‘drift’ in those rivers up to
that point; but we finally hit ‘something’, never seen or identified,
at 10:50am that morning. Apparently,
no damage occurred to the hull or running gear, but it scared us.
We were at the fuel dock at the Chickamauga Marina at 12:30 when a
small squall blew through.
Friday we spent cleaning the boat and
making arrangements for the boat for the next two weeks.
High on the list was getting the overheating problem in the
starboard engine cleared up. Also,
we ordered chain for our anchor rode; the windlass was tearing up the
rope. The third and final
bilge blower was dying and needed to be replaced.
None of the florescent bulbs in the heads would work anymore, and
so on. We rented a car and
bought some CAT filters and other supplies.
we went sightseeing in Chattanooga, primarily up on Lookout Mountain.
We also drove up to the Ocoee River and saw where the 1996 Olympic
whitewater rafting was done. There was a very involved, complex system installed for that
purpose, including the redesign of the riverbed for a mile or two.
Also included were several dams, powerhouses, flumes, pumps, and
pipelines to divert the river over a mountain, etc.
It was very interesting: I left there wanting to go whitewater
rafting. We returned to
Houston on Sunday, July 12.
We had met
our goals of reaching and exploring the upper reaches (head of navigation)
of the Tennessee River, the Little Tennessee River, the Tellico River, the
Clinch River, the Emory River, and the Hiwassee River. We prepared two videotapes of this trip.