3-15-2014: Anchored out in the beautiful, clear blue water by Manjack Cay, Abaco, Bahamas

Saturday, December 31, 2011

December 31, 2011, New Year' Eve


Here's wishing everyone a wonderful 2012.  We hope it is a happy and prosperous year.  We would like to thank all of you who have been following our blog.  Up to this point, we have had 19,645 hits from 14 different countries since starting in June 2010.  We are truly amazed.  We are still working on our "Blog Book" which will cover June 2010 through September 2011 and hope to have it published soon.

We are anxiously awaiting for the end of March so we can get back on the water.  From time to time we will be posting and will start up again on a regular basis when we get back to the boat.

Take Care and Safe boating to you all.

Our front yard on 12-31-2011.  Can you believe it, last year at this time our neighbor said we had more than 3 feet of snow.  Last night we got a trace and the first week of the New Year it is supposed to be in the 50's

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Saturday, December 24, 2011 - Christmas Eve




Hears hoping you all have a wonderful holiday season.  We are spending the holidays at home in Montana.  I have been busy working on our "Blog Book".  It is a lot more work than I thought it would be but it is coming along.  If I only knew at the beginning of our blog what I know now, this process would be a lot easier.

Take Care everyone and God Bless

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Saturday, November 26, 2011 - Hunting and Visiting Family in Wisconsin

Hunting and Thanksgiving week in Wisconsin:  Hunting got off to a good start for our granddaughter.  It was her first time hunting and she got a nice, big, 5x4 whitetail buck.  She is very proud of herself and we are proud of her.  Before leaving for home the guys have 2 more hunting days to try for their deer.

Sara with her first buck

5x4 buck

While the guys and our grandchildren were hunting, I got together with my sisters and nieces for our annual shopping and dinner outing in Eau Claire, WI.   We shopped until we almost dropped, had a wonderful meal, and then stayed up until 02:00 talking and playing Wii fitness and bowling; exhausting but fun.
My sister Sharon with my nieces Lori and Dawn

My sisters;  Susie, Sharon, Annie, and me

The guys and our grandchildren went out 2 more times before we left for home and Keith tagged a doe.  So the group hunting at the farm got a total of 6 deer.  We processed 4 on Sunday, November 20th and the other 2 were still at the farm when we left for Montana on the 25th. 

Saturday, November 12, 2011

November 8, 2011; Tuesday - More Hunting in Montana (at home)

Just when I thought I was done cutting up animals, Keith shoots a 4x4 Buck about 08:30 this morning.  So, we sharpened the knifes and got the cutting boards out again.  This one went a lot faster than the Elk.  We finished de-boning and cutting by the end of the day and on Wednesday we ground up the hamburger, packaged all the meat, and it was in the freezer by noon.  I have several packages of Elk and Venison cut up, in the freezer, and ready for canning, but will not have time to can until we get back from Wisconsin.  We will be leaving on Tuesday, November 15th and returning after Thanksgiving.  Until then, we hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

CO's comments:  My 50 year old Remington, Model 600, in 308 caliber, still shoots fine.

4x4 Mule Deer taken on 11-8-2011
This buck had a deformed left, front, hoof;
we have never seen anything like that before

It is a lot easier cleaning your animal when it is hanging in a tree
rather than on the side of a mountain

Friday, November 4, 2011

October 24 and 25, 2011; Monday and Tuesday -More hunting in Montana

Monday we spent de-boning the meat, freezing it, and figuring out how to get it home. It took us all morning. In the afternoon Keith started packing the car, I helped Karen clean up the back straps and hanging loins from their elk, and Bill had to work. It was good to take the extra day to finish up.

Karen and Bill's place on the Refuge

Keith and Bill comparing antlers

Tuesday morning we finished up packing the car and left by about 10:00. We took the West Yellowstone route back to Roundup. It had been a long time since we had been in West Yellowstone; it was a beautiful day and drive. It also brought back fond memories of our skiing days when we went through Big Sky, MT.

CO's comments:   All the meat is cut, ground, wrapped and in the freezer.  It took us 4 days and we are glad that job is done.  Just think about it; how many times in a life time can two hunting partners each shoot a 5 x 5 elk on the same morning.

All packed up and ready to head home

Entering West Yellowstone on October 25th

Leaving West Yellowstone and entering the Gallatin National Forest
Keith is having a "European Mount" done

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Misscellaneous pictures from our Elk Hunt

Centennial Mountain Range

Keith and Karen scouting on 10-21-2011


10-21-2011 Trumpeter Swans on the Refuge

The Refuge put a night camera out because they had a Grizzly Bear eating on a carcass

The Coyote's liked the carcass also
Going up the mountain to get Bill's Elk
Packing Bill's Elk out on 10-23-2011

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

October 18 through 23, 2011; Tuesday through Sunday - Hunting in Montana

We had a very successful hunt so far this season.  Keith got his Turkey.  I was on my way into town so we just breasted it out and it is in the freezer waiting to be canned.

Wild Turkey taken by Keith
Nice long beard
We got to Keith's sisters on the evening of the 20th and went out scouting on the 21st; Friday. We thought we had 2 days to scout but we found out hunting season started on Saturday the 22nd, not Sunday the 23rd.   Hunting in Montana always has started on a Sunday since we have lived here but they changed it to Saturday while we were gone last year. Anyway, we found a spot that looked good to us and Bill (brother-in-law) said he had seen a group of about 50 Elk there about a week or 2 earlier. Karen and Bill picked their spot out and we decided we would split up and call each other; if or when, we got something.  Out on top of a mountain and our cell phones worked; go figure!

Sun rise on 10-22-2011 in the Centennial Mountain range

It was a pretty cold opening morning; about 30 degrees with a breeze. We were out there sitting in our spots by 07:00. I saw a Red Fox first thing. We had a beautiful sun rise so I took some pictures while waiting for some Elk to show themselves. 08:00 came and no elk, but about 08:15 I saw two hunters on top of the ridge across from us. They talked for a while and then split up so I thought they might have seen some elk and were going to try driving them out in the open so I waited. It was almost 09:00 and Keith had already started walking over to where I was sitting and then we saw them; one Bull with 6 cows.  They came up and over the ridge in front of us and started walking straight towards us. They were still to far from us to shoot. When we saw them Keith was already on the path and just dropped to his knees and didn't move. They were doing a fast walk or trot and it was hard to get a good shot but all of a sudden they stopped and looked around. The bull turned sideways and Keith took his shot. It was a good 350 yards and up hill; a beautiful 5 x 5.  Now we had to get up there, which wasn't easy as the side of the mountain was covered with sage bush with big roots.  It was very hard to walk through it;  I fell twice just getting up there. When I got there I called Karen to let them know we got one. Bill got one also; he shot his 5 x 5 just after day break and was in the process of gutting and quartering it. I helped Keith gut his and we got two quarters off but he was still too heavy for us to turn him over because he was on the side of a hill. Karen and Bill finished with Bill's Elk and left him there and went back to the house to get the horses.

While waiting on Karen and Bill with the horses we saw a cow and her calf.  They were very close to us and I could have shot but didn't take it because of the calf.  A while later we saw the heard of 50 + elk Bill had told us about.  They were all walking single file just to the left of us.  It was a spectacular sight and there were several bulls in the heard.  By this time we had been working for several hours on Keith's elk and we decided one was enough so I didn't shoot.

When they got to us it was about 15:30.  They helped us finish quartering the Elk and we put then on the horses to carry it out.   I don't know what we would have done without their horses; very rough terrain.  The 4 quarters were put on the horses and Keith and I carried the rack and head down to the car.  It was very heavy.  Needless to say, all 4 of us were exhausted by the time we got to the house; about 18:30.   I had supper already made and we just had to heat it up; we ate, shared stories, and early to bed.  What a day, two large Bull's on opening morning, it doesn't get any better than that.  Karen, Bill, and Keith went up to get Bill's Elk the next morning with the horses. I stayed home and soaked in a bubble bath and in the afternoon I started cleaning up the back straps and hanging loins. 

More to come tomorrow.

CO's comments:  So far this year it has been a great hunt.  It is making up f or my missing hunting last year.  Now we have our Montana deer to harvest and the middle of the month we head to Wisconsin to hunt Whitetail.  However; I do miss being on the boat.

5 x 5 Bull Elk taken on 10-22-2011

Notice the rough terrain
Nice rack

I was sitting up in the trees to the right and Keith was in the trees to the left

This is the ridge the Elk came over

Saturday, October 8, 2011

October 7, 2011; Friday - To Wisconsin, Minnesota, and home to Montana

Wisconsin, to Minnesota, to home in Montana:  We had a wonderful time getting re-acquainted with our grandchildren in Wisconsin.  We could not believe how much they have grown since we were gone.  On our way back home, we stopped in Minneapolis to attend a Wedding of our friends from our old marina.  We are very happy for Andy and Nora; it was good to see them and also all our friends from Bill's Bay Marina.

I've been going to update our blog since we have been home but we have been very busy.  We just got our Internet hooked up and this morning is the first time I could use it.  It was hooded up yesterday but "Wild Blue's" satellite was down all day.  I am so glad it is up and running.  The first week and a half I spent washing walls, floors, bedding, towels, and clothes that we left here while we were gone.  The worst were the cobwebs and dead bugs all over the house.  Thanks to our neighbor, Roxy, the worst was vacuumed and cleaned up before we got here.  We had a few mouse droppings; but all in all it wasn't bad.  I still washed every thing just to be safe.  We had put bar bate out all over the house, in the cabin, outside, in our vehicles, and in the hunting trailer and that is what saved us from being invaded by mice.  I pretty much have things in order now.  My next project is getting ready for Montana hunting season which starts October 23rd.  We will be going to Keith's sisters and hunt with them.  They are located just out side of Yellowstone National Park and we are looking forward to the hunt.  We will keep you posted as to how the hunt went.

Our road into our place was pretty bad before we left but now it is even worse because of the flooding last spring and summer.  Our neighbors are working diligently trying to get it drivable and we appreciated all the work they have done.  But, you definitely need 4-Wheel drive to get out to the highway.  We were supposed to go into Billings today but because of all the rain yesterday, last night, and this morning, we decided to put it off for a while.

My camera didn't work at the wedding but at the reception I was able to get a few candid shots with my telephone.

CO's comments:  I had 2 trees die while we were gone and they were falling over my range so I cut them up for fire wood.  I have my range back in order and now we can sight our rifles in for hunting season.  It's good to be home but I am missing the boat already.

N46 17.8618
W108 32.3957

Craig, Keith, and Troy
Nancy, Jen, and Kim
Dave and Len

Sunday, September 11, 2011

September 11, 2011, Sunday - Still in Pebble Isle

Pebble Isle Marina, New Johnsonville, TN:  We have been here now for 12 days and are as settled in as we can be at this time.  We do not have our permanent slip yet; we are still waiting on the other boater to decide when, or if, he is leaving.  So for the time being, we are staying in our temporary slip.  Randy, the owner, said not to worry and when our slip opens up he will move us and it will be ready for us when we get back.

We are leaving for Wisconsin and our son's early in the morning (Monday).  We are renting a car but we have to go to Nashville, TN, to get it as there no car rental agencies in this area.  So, we will use the courtesy car from the marina and drive to Nashville (72 miles away), get the rental car, come back here with the courtesy car, and load up the rental car with all our "stuff"!  It is a round about way of doing it, but, you do what you have to do.  We will spend some time in Wisconsin and then head for Montana and our home.  It has been a long time since we were home and we are looking forward to getting there.

CO's comments: What a rat race!

Pebble Isle at sun set
Beautiful sun set on 9-5-2011

Friday, September 2, 2011

August 28, 29, & 30,2011; Sunday through Tuesday

Sunday, Kentucky Dam Marina, KY, to Anchorage in Panther Bay/Spring Cove at Mile 60.2 on the Tennessee River:  After a very enjoyable evening of drinks and dinner at Mr. Bill's/Patti's last night with our good friend Craig from Minnesota, we were on our way down the Tennessee River again.  The river was a little choppy all day and we got to our planned anchorage; Heiman Cove at Mile 62.6, and found it very busy with local boaters.  There had to be at least 8 boats anchored out in the cove.  It was a Sunday and our guess was that by about 17:00 or 18:00 most of them would be gone but it was only 14:30 so we looked for another anchorage.  It didn't take long because there are so many little coves on the Tennessee.  We back tracked about 2 miles and found a beautiful, peaceful, little cove called Spring Cove and put our anchor out and enjoyed the rest of the day.  There was only one other boat anchored there.  After dinner we were enjoying the cool night breeze and we saw 2 guys on a pontoon boat carrying trees on it and dropping them into the cove.  They did this several times and finally Keith waved them over to talk with them.  Keith was concerned that we might hit them with our props when leaving.  They said they do this all the time and not to worry that they were put in 10 to 15 feet of water in order to keep fish in the area.  They were very nice men, said they were finished and told us to have a nice trip.

Monday, Anchorage in Panther Bay/Spring Cove at Mile 60.2 on the Tennessee River: We enjoyed this anchorage so much we decided to stay a 2nd day. We put the dinghy in the water and did some exploring.

Tennessee Fish Bate
The entrance to Kentucky Dam Marina in daylight

The "Red" light that doesn't light up in the dark
Doe and her fawn

Kim Jo III at anchorage in Spring Cove

N36 31.530
W88 00.817

CO's comments:  I bet this is very good deer hunting country.  Both days we saw deer scampering about at the waters edge.  On our dinghy ride we saw deer in several different areas.  Most of them were does with fawns.

Tuesday, Panther Bay/Spring Cover on the Tennessee River, to Pebble Isle Marina, New Johnsonville, TN:  We had a short day so we didn't get going until 09:00.  The river was very calm and smooth, the sky was blue, and there was a gentle breeze; just perfect.  We feel very fortunate to be back on the Tennessee River.  We got to our marina by 13:30 and our annual slip was not available yet so they put us in a temporary covered slip until the other boater moves out.  A covered slip in this heat makes a world of difference.  It is at least 20 degrees cooler under cover.

N36 03.673
W87 57.007

Co's comments:  The XO is in dire straights.  We are under so much metal that our TV antenna will not work.  This will be a few days of reading books, which is OK with me.

Friday, August 26, 2011

August 22 through 24, 2011, Monday through Wednesday

Monday; Hoppies Marina, Kimmswick, MO, to Kaskaskia Lock tie up, Modoc, IL:  Our friends from "Time Out" left early and were planning a very long day (112 miles) but we slept in some and only went 41.4 miles to the Kaskaskia Lock and Dam and tied up to the out side wall for the night.  We got there by 12:00 and just took it easy the rest of the day.  Due to the great distance; 228 miles, without a marina we have to conserve on our fuel in order to make it to Kentucky Dam Marina.  We cooked on the grill out side and didn't run the generator at all today.

CO's comments:  This is one of the very few locks in the US that will let you tie up and spend the night.  Very helpful and friendly lock master.

N37 58.874
W89 56.616

Tuesday; Kaskaskia Lock to Little Diversion Channel, Cape Girardeau, MO:  We ran the generator just long enough to make coffee and we got going about 06:45; it was a hazy morning but the sun came out later and it was very hot and muggy again.  Only thing that saved us was the wind.  We got to our anchorage at 13:00 and settled in for a very long and hot afternoon and night.  It was 90+ degrees and muggy.

Co's comments:  Just pull in, facing upstream, and drop your hook.  This is an excellent anchorage.

N37 15.051
W89 31.011

This little tree came floating by our anchorage
in the Little River Diversion Channel

Wednesday; Little River Diversion Channel to Kentucky Dam Marina, Gilbertsville, TN on the Tennessee River:  We both had a miserable night and decided to get going early and try to make it all the way to Kentucky Dam Marina.  We were up by 04:50 and on our way by 06:15.  We were ready by 05:30 but it was too dark so we had to wait.  We had 3 large tows go by our anchorage before we even left.  We have noticed that there is a lot more tow traffic this year than last year at this time.  Monday we saw 9 tows in 41 miles, Tuesday we saw 14 in 69 miles, and today we saw 23 tows; unbelievable the amount of traffic.  We only had about 49 miles left on the Mississippi and it went fast; we were running at 1200 rpm's and we got 11 knots out of it.  We started up the Ohio River at 10:30 at Cairo, IL; it was just as busy as last year.  Our first lock (Lock 53) the wickets were down because of the high water so we drove right over the dam again.  We were not so lucky with Lock 52.  We had to wait about an hour before entering.  This lock was very busy, by the time we went through there were 9 tows waiting to lock through; 4 tows locking up and 5 tows locking down.  The Tennessee River is just about 5 miles away from Lock 53 and intersects the Ohio River at Paducah, KY.  Paducah reminded us a lot like Cairo; a very busy barge area.  We got to Paducah by 17:00 and were feeling pretty good so we decided to go all the way to our marina.  Neither one of us wanted to spend another night without air!  All was going good until we reached the Kentucky Dam at Mile 22.4 on the Tennessee at 19:00.  We had to wait 3 hours before we could lock through.  We put our anchor out just out side the green buoys and waited our turn.  We were 3rd in line out of 7.  By 22:00 we were entering the lock.  It is a lot different locking through in the dark but we did OK.  Actually that was the easy part, finding the marina that we had never been to before in the dark, no buoys, no lights at the marina, and nothing marking the channel into the marina, was a huge challenge.  I called our friends from "Time Out" who got to the marina the day before and they told us how they got in, which was very helpful.  Keith put a way point in at the entrance to the marina and once we got inside the harbor, Layla and Warren met us at our slip with spot lights.  What a night, by this time it was midnight!  We did it; 122 miles.

N36 59.446
W88 17.120

CO's comments:  We got a call from the Lock Master to start heading in.  He stated a tow would be coming out and we could pass him either port or starboard.  I was maneuvering under 2 bridges and the tow coming out said he was heading for a tied up tow.  He seemed anxious so I stated to him that I would meet him on the 2 whistle and he then calmed down and realized he wasn't dealing with an amateur.  Upon taking a heading toward the marina, at idle speed, we came upon a wall.  We stopped and maneuvered around to see where we were since this was a non traditional entrance.  After getting our bearings, we very slowly made our way into the marina.  After talking with the marina later, they said there used to be lights and markers at the entrance but since the flood last spring they haven't been replaced.

Locking through the Kentucky Dam at night on 8-24-2011
8-25-2011 Kentucky Dam Marina

Sunday, August 21, 2011

August 21, 2011; Sunday

Port Charles Marina, St. Charles, MO, to Hoppies Marina, Kimmswick, MO:  After 10 days in St. Charles we were on our way again this morning.  The boat looks great; we had it pulled and the bottom checked, we had the hull cleaned and a 3 stage buffing and wax, we had the small stripes removed from the bottom and had bottom paint put on up to the water line, and we had our props fixed and re- calibrated, again (this is the 3rd time),   Boat is as good as new.  It was good to be back on the water.   We traveled with Layla and Warren from "Time Out" and went 64.4 miles to Hoppies Marina.  Fern remembered us from last year (at least she said she did).  We eat at the Blue Owl again and had a good evening.  The Mississippi River current is still going fast; we were going 1700 RPM's and getting 13 knots!

N38 21.527
W90 21.621

CO's comments:  Aren't those props good looking.    We raised our bottom line 12" above the pretty stripes that used to be on the boat.  All the stripes do are gather crap that will corrode the fiberglass on your boat.  We are heading south to the Tennessee River.  We will keep you posted.

Nice clean bottom
Props nice and shinny again

"Time Out" in Lock 26 by Alton, IL
St. Louis Arch (again)

St. Louis, MO
Warren, Layla, and Fern at Hoppies Marina

Friday, August 12, 2011

August 10 and 11, 2011; Wednesday and Thursday

Wednesday, Tall Timbers Marina, Havana, IL to Riverdock Restaurant, Hardin, IL:  We got an early  start and traveled with "Married With Her"-Jim and Cathy.  We were up at 05:00 and left by 05:45.  There was a little chill in the air compared to recent days and I had 2 sweatshirts on but it felt good for a change.  We saw thousands of pelicans flying in formation early this morning; at first I thought they were geese but Keith said they were pelicans.  It was just a beautiful morning and the river was smooth as glass.  We had our last lock of our Loop experience today; LaGrange Lock, LDB, with a drop of 10 feet.  We didn't have to wait and we were through in about 20 minutes.  This afternoon it clouded up and there were storms all around us but they all missed us.  All along the Illinois Waterway we have seen at least 8 abandon/derelict old tour boats just sitting along side the rivers edge.  I had our itinerary all planned for today and before the day was over we changed it 3 times finally ended up tied up at the Riverdock Restaurant in Hardin, IL.  It was a free tie up as long as we ate dinner there.  It was a long day with a total of 96.6 miles and we will both sleep good tonight.


CO's comments:  Now that we are done we decided no more long days; it is just too hard on us.

Following "Married With Her"
down the Illinois River
Old abandon/derelict tour boat

Kim Jo III at Riverdock tie up
on 8-10-2011
Sign at Riverdock Restaurant

Thursday, Riverdock Restaurant to Port Charles Harbor, St. Charles, MO:  Jim and Cathy got up early again and headed for Grafton but Keith and I slept in until 07:00 and were on our way by 08:00.  We had a little fog again but by the time we left it was sunny and blue skies.  We saw 3 barges first thing this morning all within the first mile-we were glad we were done with locks.  It was a pleasant drive the last 20 miles to Grafton.  All year long it seems like the end of our journey was so far away and now here we are a few miles away.  We crossed our wake at 10:36 at Mile 0 on the Illinois River and Mile 217.9 on the Mississippi.  It was a good feeling. 

We traveled 361 days, 6,365.3 miles, went through 101 Locks, and did all 5 of the Great Lakes. We met countless Loopers, other boaters, AGLCA Sponsors, and just people on the street and want to thank them all for making this journey very memorable.  We would especially like to thank our family, friends, and all our boater friends in Red Wing, MN, for following us faithfully on our journey.  God bless you all.


CO's comments:  Now it is time to re-group and plan our next adventure.

Leaving the Riverdock Restaurant
The Illinois River on 8-11-2011

Chart Plotter crossing our wake
Meter reading on 8-11-2011

Time of crossing
Putting up the Gold Burgee