Oct 1-14, 2008 - Cruising Log for S/V Freedom - a Gemini 105 - Jim and Deb Faughn

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 Oct 2 - Monday, Pat and Paul drove over from Puxico to pick me up along with the sewing machine. I won't be taking it along with the supplies along with me because together, they weigh about 50 pounds plus take up too much space. Afterall, I need room for my guitar and amp...... Priorities.

After visiting here and then lunch, we were off for Puxico. Deb elected to stay behind because I had made a mess of the port berth for the last two months and she had cleaning in her mind. She is pretty sick of the boat looking like a project room.

We arrived and unloaded the equipment and then we talked over the projects for the next few days. While we were driving the market dropped 777 points and people in the market had lost a total of 1.4 trillion bucks in one day. I am now thinking up some options for Deb and I if things don't turn around. Hopefully we won't have to stop in Pensacola and just hang out for six months to a year while the economy comes back. Who knows but it is back to sewing talk.

We planned the screens for his boat and decided to start early on Paul's sewing education. To plan this out, I drew up the plan to the right. It involves sewing a 1/2 inch cording and then attaching the cording to more material so it can be turned and the screen will be sewn in the middle. Bottom you see Paul starting to layout the cuts and to the right he is learning to set up the sewing machine.


This picture shows the cording attached to a second piece of material which will be wrapped around the bug screen. You can see the first piece sewn to the screen lower left. Why the blue tape?

The blue tape was my idea to give us a way to sew the material exactly where we wanted it on the screen. We first taped the screen to the window then we used the blue tape to establish the edges of the window. Next we measured in from the edge of the window and established the sew line. The amount we measured in was to allow the cording to lay on top of the window trim. You might be wondering why the cording. That idea came about because most bug screens allow bugs to get in. I've not seen too many bugs go around tight corners so that is what we came up with. The picture you are looking at on the lower right is with the first screen installed and it is taken from outside Paul's boat. You can see the cording wrapped in material laying on top of the trim. This is on the outer portion of the boat and you can see the bug screen going upwards.

The picture to the right shows the screen installed and the material that is used for snapping it to the window frame.

The picture to the left shows a fairly large portion of the screen installed to the window.

Overall, the result was very good. We are both sure it will keep bugs out but it was labor intensive to complete. The other issue with these screens is they won't roll up and become compact. We figured he will store them under the mattress of the bed.

Now for the door screen. After we quit work on Tuesday evening, I took some material along with some cording in to play with. I wanted another way to sew cording in so, I folded and played until I came up with another way to wrap the cording without using two pieces of material. On top of that, I needed the cording to lay on top of the trim instead of come outside the door. This project came off very good too.

Below, you can see Paul inside the boat looking out through the screen and to the lower right you can see him outside the boat looking at the gap seals made up by the cording.


 Next I took some pictures of the cabinet he made inside their berth which is forward of the steering station. If you look below left you can see a picture of the stained glass Paul made while he was in Florida last year. I took this picture laying down in the space that will be their berth.

As you can tell lower right, the stained glass windows were installed in the doors leading to the berth. In addition, you can see the helm station along with the chair for Pat to use as they explore all the rivers and lakes in their future.


 Behind Paul's chair is the one burner stove that also serves as a cabin heater.


This is behind Pat's chair and this is the galley sink.

We were able to get out of Puxico by 2 p.m. and arrived back at Kentucky Lake surprising Deb at about 5 pm. (We had to make two stops so I could pick some things up.) Paul took off quickly so he could get back home before it got really dark and we both had a good time.

By the way, on Wednesday morning, Paul built me a box with a Plexiglas front cover to use in our head. (bathroom for the non sailing readers) This will go above the water heater I changed out but I'll show you those pictures in a week after I get it installed.

Also, we aren't sure what our future holds but we are hoping the people in Washington D.C. pass something. I also hope they figure out that they are the ones responsible for this mess, stop blaming others, and get this thing fixed for the long term. Why does the average person have to be the person paying because lawmakers want Pork in bills, won't balance the budget and don't keep their eye on the ball?

 Oct 6 - Hi from Freedom. We have finished our projects!!! I guess I should say, we have finished our scheduled projects. I'm sure something will break in the next few days and I'll have something else to fix but the big thing is I'm getting ready to ride my bike to the store and pick up fresh ingredients for an Alfredo sauce. Too good!

To the right and below, you can see pictures of last Friday night when the sailing club was having a Friday dinner. They invited us to come by and mooch some food so we took them up on it. To the right is Kim and Dick who were one of the hosts for this dinner.


 Above and to the left are some more pictures of the dinner. Everyone had a great time.

To the lower left, is a picture I took of Kentucky Lake on a bike ride Sunday afternoon. This was a great bike ride but as you can see a bad day to sail. We saw some boats out there with their sails up however I thought I could pass them in a rowboat. It definitely wasn't the day to sail on Sunday afternoon.

Below is the box my friend Paul made for me. I mounted it above our Excel heater and you can see I added an aluminum heat shield to the bottom of the box. I think it looks great and after running the water heater for two minutes, it didn't get really hot up there so we were very happy with the results. Thanks Paul, Deb is really happy with the result.

It is supposed to rain tomorrow afternoon and continue until Wednesday afternoon. We are all set to leave on Sunday and it looks like we will have a good trip south. If the market continues to crash down, we will execute our "hunker down" plan and just hang out at Pensacola if we can get some cheap dockage. I guess we will just have to see.


 Oct 7 - It's raining and I have all of my projects finished at least until something else breaks! So, I took some time and caught up on my Where is S/V Freedom link to Microsoft Live. I had stopped entering anchorages for some reason and I caught them up. However, I found they have some new things now. I can now draw on the map showing our offshore crossings so I did that for our last crossing from Tarpon Springs to Panama City. In addition, you can only put 200 entries into the collection so now there is a second link which picks you up along the Tenn-Tom going north to Green Turtle Bay.

Now all I have to do while it rains is to get my friend George Victory's site updated and we are ready to leave. Back to work.....

Oct 7 - about 4 pm. - It is a dreary day and the "Loopers" are at Green Turtle Bay in force. A number of them arrived yesterday and stayed given the bad weather have stayed on. More arrived today after locking through. The marina is almost full and they are finding places for more people to stay. Great news for the marina because it has been a tough season. Here is to Loopers. For those reading my website that don't know what that means, these are the people that are using the waterways so they can go from Chicago to Mobile Bay to the Keys up to New York and back to Chicago by way of the Erie Canal and the Great Lakes. Of course it doesn't matter where you start as long as you complete it. We just have no desire to do the loop so you won't be reading about it from us. However, they are all heading in the same direction we are so that means full locks and busy marinas from here on out.

 Oct 11 - We are getting ready to take off but there are a couple more things to do first. And the main one was to go to Bette's birthday dinner. You are going to see a number of pictures with Bill and Bette over the next few weeks because we are traveling down the waterway with them.

Bette is to the right and the happy birthday girl.

Below is a picture of Bill with his daughter and to the right is a picture of some of their great friends, Mark and Susan. In addition, Mark is a canvas guy extraordinary!

 Bill had picked up a beautiful centerpiece for the event and the flowers were extraordinary.
There always seem to be presents at parties. Isn't that great!

To the right is another Bill. This is the other Bills son.

We had a great time which was just enough motivation for me to get to work and PolyGlow the hulls of the boat. It looks great again and shines like new. I also resealed a hatch because it started leaking a couple of days ago. Then yesterday afternoon, I resealed a number of windows on Bill's boat. I'll get pictures of their boat as we travel down the Tenn-Tom.

Today, I'm helping out as a traffic guy at the parade in town and then we will fill the boat with fuel, check all the oils, fill the water and be ready to depart tomorrow.

ONE DAY and we are back to CRUISING. As much as we like it here, we are ready to get back to moving on the water again.

 Oct 12 - When you are in a small town, you either volunteer or you get volunteered to help out. In this case, I had a great time helping out as the guy who was responsible for traffic duty at this street. It turned out pretty cool because the parade came right by my "post."

The Chief of the fire department was taking orders from me and even the guys from the forest service lined up where I thought they should. Lots of equipment and great people. In this town, the people who "man" the $250,000 fire trucks are volunteers. They have several of them here.


I really wish my camera would have focused properly for this picture. Bette and Bill were the Grand Marshals for the parade. They have done so much for the town and are one of the top three employers of the area.

There were many floats as there are always in a parade. In addition, there were also a flock of golf carts all decorated for the occasion.

In the afternoon, we had Sue and Jim come by to catch up and we really enjoyed their visit. We have known them since we arrived at Green Turtle Bay in 2001. It was great having friends who understood and celebrated our adventures.

After Jim and Sue departed, we headed over to the fuel dock to fill up with fuel. I was fortunate or if you are my friends Gary and Shirline, you would say lucky. As a matter of fact, they say I'm the luckiest guy they know. The thing was they dropped the price of diesel by 50 cents a gallon three hours before I filled up. Maybe they have something on that lucky thing.

Here is to the day everyone gets to achieve their dreams.

FREEDOM RETURNS TO SEA - Once again, on schedule, we left to get back to cruising. Behind us was Green Turtle Bay and in front of us was the Tenn-Tom along with the Ocean. We are ready and we are traveling south with our friends and as it happens, the Grand Marshals of the parade. Bill and Bette.

You can see their boat in front of us.

As we went through the cannel connecting Barkley and Kentucky Lake, the colors of the leaves changing just happened to tell us this was going to be a good trip. At the same time, there was a little knot in my stomach just to remind me to stay aware on the trip. It's been three months since we were really moving so if something was going to break, it would be today.

When we left in 2006 we immediately encountered cold weather. It appears this time we just might not have as cold of an adventure. Now you might be thinking, what about that enclosure you just spent three weeks sewing? I say, KEEP IT STOWED! Someday it will come out and save the day. Hopefully that day will be next year or longer but who knows.

We passed under the bridge in the canal and were off in the Tennessee River heading against the current. Bill and Bette travel a bit, read that a knot, slower than we have. I'm beginning to understand this trip is to teach me to slow down. In case you are wondering, that is a very good thing.

We are in an economical crisis and what are we doing? We are going back to cruising. Is that just a ridiculous expense that should be criticized? NO, it is simply a way to transfer dockage to fuel and by the way, we are now saving fuel like never before. I'm already amazed at how slowly the fuel gauge is falling. Of course we aren't going as fast so the real test will be when we have to change tanks. Then the math takes over, remember math - that science thing that is full of data to prove if your opinions are really fact. I love proving or disproving theories. So we will have some great data in the next few days.

More trees were showing their colors as we went south. We anchored under an almost full moon. It was a wonderful evening with very good friends.

I didn't have much light but you can see we have anchored in a nice bay at about mile marker 69 on the Tennessee River. After we planned tomorrows trip, we also had some great conversation. Who knows what problems of the world will be solved during this trip.

Oct 14 - We departed yesterday to beautiful clear air and more colorful trees in their full foliage transformation. Just a few more miles up the river we encountered our first lift bridge. This one is for a railroad train so there is always the possibility you may have to wait. I guess it is still cheaper to man this bridge than to build another one.

The other good news today is there has been a major correction in the market so that made our day quite a bit. Of course you already know about that unless you've been in hiding under the dog house. Time will tell if it stays up or goes back down.


 Bill had a problem with his inverter so we went into a relatively inexpensive marina tonight. This was at Cuba Landing and it was only a buck a foot. For us, that is a new low for pricing of a marina. It was nice that we went in because our hot water heater wasn't working so I was able to run the hot water without the gas on for 25 minutes to recharge the igniter battery that is integrated into the heater. It's working again so I guess that fixed it.

We left early again on Tuesday morning and it was clear at the marina. However, two miles down the waterway, we encountered fog. THICK fog. You can see to the lower left that you can just make out Bill's boat and the bank. We hug the bank to ensure if a tow was coming down the river we would be out of the way. Of course we also made a few radio calls too.

Below you can see what my navigation screen looks like on the laptop. I like it because in the upper left we get a big picture of what's coming up. Lower left is a picture taken from a satellite and finally the big screen is so I can see where we are. Our only worry at this point is hitting a channel marker but there aren't any in this stretch so we decided to poke ahead at about a knot and a half. (Land lovers, that is about 2 miles per hour.)


 We got out of the fog in about an hour and guess what greeted us. More fog.You can just make out Bill's boat in front of my dinghy as he enters the next fog bank. And then we were lucky enough to clear it out and of course run into another one. At this time, we've been traveling for a little over two hours ranging from 1.5 to 4.5 knots. The fog finally burned off and we were back to our 5 knot average as long as the current is flowing too much against us. We will really encounter the current in a couple of days right before we lock up into Pickwick Lake.

It was time for some fun and I saw this sign somebody had placed on the dock outside their house. Just in case you can't read it, the sign proclaims - DANGER Shark Infested NO SWIMMING.


One thing I do as I travel the waters is to look for interesting homes. What do we want to build??? Well this one may not be what I will build but it is interesting. This is in an area where the river floods the ground. Most homes are on stilts but this one chose to build on floatation and have four poles that will hold it in place when the water comes up. I'm not sure what they do if a tree ends up lodged under it when it comes down but I guess the idea works for them.

At about mile 145 we encountered this dredge pulling rock from the river bottom. It was there when we came up so I guess it just works this section of the river. You can see one of the rock sorting arms dumping rock on the top of a barge to be unloaded just about a mile back down river.

I really wanted to emphasize this is a much different trip than we made two years ago. So far it hasn't rained and we are still in shorts and T-shirts. Isn't life good?????

Below is a piece of history. During the Civil War, a gentleman by the name of Nathan Bedford Forrest rose from private to lieutenant general during this war and one of the reasons why is he figured a way to attack General Sherman's supply lines. In the process, he had a major victory for the Confederate Army. However, Sherman had already decided to take off and "live off of the land" and said he would "make Georgia howl" until he could reach seaborne supplies at Savannah. Still, Sherman said, "That devil Forrest must be hunted down, even if it costs 10,000 men and bankrupts the Federal Treasury."

I'm not sure how it all ended but it is pretty obvious the pictures below are from a cannon placement or just a place to ambush supply ships from a fortified area.

As far as bankrupting the country, I'm sure many more will be happy to do that today.

 We anchored on Wednesday night and it was great. I simply rafted up to Bill and Bette and they came over for dinner after we had Bette's wonderful salsa and a few drinks on Bill's boat. I had dreamed up a new dish and it came out great. I will post the recipe the next time I cook it because Bill and Bette gave me some suggestions for improvements. It was good this time but will be delicious next time.



 More great conversation and it was time for bed because tomorrow was going to be another day of motoring up the river.

Once again, the moon was full and it was another great day with friends. We are missing Mark and Susan but they had to stay behind.

After we got underway in a brief encounter with fog, the scenery was similar but I did have to take a picture of this house. I'm wondering if it will be there again when we come back up the waterway at sometime in the future. You can see in the picture to the lower left that part of the fence is missing. Of course if you look further down the hill, you can see the fence. It truly makes you wonder when you are going to see their living room down the hill. I happened to also notice and you can just see it in the picture that the glass on the left side is cracked. That, I'm guessing, is because of the shifting foundation. Glass doesn't like to shift!

We had been passed by a bunch of boats and knew that we had two possibilities. First would be they would have just locked a group up and it would take an hour before it got back to locking us up. However, two things happened. Bill suggested that I call ahead sooner than normal and let them know we were coming. The other was everyone was held up because there was a tow that locked through first. That means everyone had to wait until the tow was done and then they would come back for the pleasure boats.

As you can see below, there were a bunch of people wanting to go up. 14 people locked through on this lockage. This was the first time I've ever seen boats rafted up locking through. It was also the first time Bill and Bette have seen this so that means it was pretty unusual!

They brought us up slowly so everyone didn't bounce around too much and everyone was appreciative that they made it through.

You can see my sail cover in the picture to the left (doesn't it look so good? That new cover is just tight and doesn't block the view at all. Behind the cover is Gary. Gary was the person we rafted to. The way it works is you put the big heavy boats on the inside and the light small boats raft to them. It really makes for tough work for the guys on the inside.

As we were locking up, five more boats called asking to lock through. The lock was going to go through the paces today!

Below left, is a picture of the crew of Beauty and the Beast. I helped him fix one water problem and we thought that was it. However, in the lock he told me about another problem. I thought it through on the way up and think I gave him the solution before they departed. Who knows if I will ever find out.

Below is the lockmaster. She was very patient and I'm betting this is the larges number of boats locked through in quite a while.


 We made it to Grand Harbor Marina yesterday and Freedom docked right next to another Gemini 105. From right to left you see Alley Cat, Freedom and Tortuga Verde. As it ends up this was the Green Turtle Bay boats. Why? Alley Cat left from Green Turtle Bay on Friday and we caught up with them. They are very nice people and we had a great conversation this morning sharing boat talk.

Since it rained most of the day today (Thursday) we didn't leave. So tomorrow morning we will probably all leave together and go through the Continental Divide. Our plan is to anchor in Bay Springs and then move on down the Tenn-Tom. Bill has a new inverter that will be in Columbus on Monday so our goal will be to get there, pick up the inverter, reprovision, and then the next day move to an anchorage where we can explore the town.

We probably won't be updating again until Monday when we will get wi-fi again.

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