Cruising on Last Dance

This blog archives the adventures of Glen and Jill Moore and provides a means of communication for friends and family. Exploration and adventure have been synonymous with boats and water for centuries. The joy of adventures shared while exploring new places and meeting new people has built a strong bond for Glen and Jill. Last Dance is the platform for the exploration.

"The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page." St. Augustine, 354 - 430

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” Mark Twain, 1835 - 1910

"There is nothing -- absolutely nothing -- half so much worth doing as simply messing around in boats." The Wind in the Willows, 1908, Kenneth Grahame, 1859 - 1932

"I've never believed speed and ease are conductive to living fully, becoming aware, or deepening memory, a tripod of urges to stabilize and lend meaning to life." River Horse: a log book of a boat across America, 1999, William Least Heat-Moon,1939 -

The Great Loop -- The current adventure is a circumnavigation of the Eastern United States, cruising north up the east coast through New York into Canada, across the Great Lakes to Chicago, navigating multiple river systems south to Mobile, along the Gulf coast to the Florida Keys and back to St. Augustine. This trip by boat is commonly referred to as the Great Loop. Progress and current location are indicated by the red line on the map to the right. It was titled the Traceless Path in recognition of a German sailor we met in St. Augustine who published booklets of his travels with hand-drawn, detailed maps describing his travels across the water as the Traceless Path.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Cumberland River

For those on the Great Loop, cruising the Cumberland River is a side trip, in that it is a dead end.  Traveling up the Cumberland River requires one to travel back down the river to then join the Tennessee River and continue on the Loop.

The Cumberland River begins in Kentucky, flows westward through Tennessee, then turns north back through Kentucky, emptying into the Ohio River upstream from Paducah, KY.

Cruising upriver from the Ohio, boats are lifted 57' by the Barkley Lock.  It is the first of a series of locks that provide deep water for navigation and water-generated power.

One sight along the river, not far from Barkley Dam, is KSP, Kentucky State Penitentiary.  Built in the late 1880's, by Italian stonemasons, it resembles a castle more than a prison.  It is known as "The Castle on the Cumberland".

The river shores are mostly undeveloped.  Miles and miles can be traveled without seeing anything but nature   - flora and fauna abound.

More Blue Herons were observed between Barkley Lock and Nashville than in any waterway along the Loop.

Ospreys, which seemed to be nonexistent on the Illinois, Mississippi, and Ohio Rivers, displayed themselves along the Cumberland.

Remember those White Pelicans that were heading south on the Illinois River?  Well, they make a stopover on their journey south on the Cumberland River.  Last Dance is traveling at a pelican's pace.

Fall continues to follow Last Dance down the rivers.  The leaves were displaying their colors along the Cumberland.

The geology of the river is beautiful, interesting, and sometimes puzzling.  Much of the river has one bank lined with high cliffs, the other is low flatlands.  This changes from the left side, to the right side, and back again in the space of a few miles.

Entering the Harpeth River, Late Afternoon

There are few tributaries and coves off the Cumberland to provide the secluded, quiet anchorages preferred by the Last Dance crew, but the ones that are available are lovely.  The first stop back downriver from Nashville was a spot a mile up the Harpeth River.  Tree-lined banks, quiet waters, sounds of nature, all added to this enjoyable spot.

Leaving the Harpeth River, Early Morning

An interesting visit to the Bumpus Mills fish camp brought another view of the river.  Small trailers provide housing for vacationing fishermen.  The marina does not have a dock large enough for cruising boats, so Last Dance was tied to the floating building that serves as office, fuel dock, and store.  The ridges of the countryside were a challenging hike and there is beauty throughout the Cumberland as evidenced by the evening view from Last Dance's deck, below.


Waterways were the transportation means during the development of the United States.  Because of the transportation and commerce, cities grew up along the rivers.  But, not the Cumberland.  The natural shorelines are rarely adorned with structures and only two cities are along its shores, Nashville and Clarksville.

One of Clarksville's claim to fame is that it is the hometown of Olympic Champion Wilma Rudolf.  She is memorialized with a statue in the riverfront park.  Down the hill, far below, is the city dock.  A measure of the 2011 spring floods is that the water level came to Wilma's ankles.

They are big on statues in this city.  The one at left commemorates the day tornadoes screamed through the downtown, damaging many historic buildings.  Clarksville is justifiably proud of the rebuilding accomplishments and resulting comfort and beauty of the downtown area.

The old post office is a collection of architectural styles.  This has to be a one of a kind building and certainly no other post office in the country shared even similar style.  It now serves as a museum.

The accomplishments of humans upon the land is enticing, but the beauty of the Cumberland River was there millions of years earlier and is still existing there in all its unspoiled majesty, best viewed from the waterway.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Cumberland River - Nashville

Last Dance Entering Nashville, by Lynda on Erika Lin

Nashville is a beautiful city located on the Cumberland River in middle Tennessee, with history, architecture, music, and state government as attractions.  The city has a dock in downtown that provides easy access to town.

Last Dance and Erika Lin at the Town Dock

The Cumberland River is a beautiful waterway, worthy of a side trip to explore.  The lure of the river was greatly increased for Glen since he has many relatives and friends in Nashville, which lies along the river’s shore.   Professional colleagues Jay Stele and Michelle Wilcox are now working with the school system in Nashville.   And, Raleigh Sapp is now retired in nearby Clarksville, home of his Alma Mater, Austin Pea University.  It was wonderful to have the opportunity to visit with these friends again.

Nashville is also home to Glen's Mom’s sister, Aunt Louise (Chris to everyone but Mom and Glen), two cousins, Emily Passino and Martha Stinson, and their families.  Distance and busy work schedules have kept visits much too infrequent.  A ride up the river helped reduce that statistic.

The location on the river was interesting as well as convenient.  The city dock is under an old bridge that has been converted to pedestrian use only.  It was a wise move on the part of the city to save a beautiful, architecturally interesting structure and convert it to other uses.  Some weekends it gets heavy use as the Tennessee Titan’s football stadium is across the river.  (If you look closely at the bottom of the above photo, you can see Last Dance’s bow rails.)

Knowing that Last Dance and crew were staying in Nashville, the city celebrated with a fireworks display, conducted over the river, immediately behind Last Dance.   Such a generous act on the part of this city.

Nashville is filled with interesting commercial and government architecture, both old and new.  The building in the background, originally the Bell South Building, now AT&T, is the most photographed because of its resemblance to Batman.  The new buildings vary in design and function.  There are a number of successful highrise condominiums in downtown. 

The state capitol is actually on a tall hill, only a couple blocks from the river – gives real meaning to “Capitol Hill” in this city.  The two photos below of the capitol only capture one of many of the magnificent government buildings.  In the Nashville Centennial Park, (yes, the 1876 centennial) there is a replica of the Parthenon, full size and accurate.

A weekly free concert on the courthouse lawn (which is actually the roof of an underground parking garage) provided a great evening of entertainment – not only the music, the people watching (there were thousands on the lawn), and the interesting line of food trucks (a new phenomenon – who wudda thunk selling grilled cheese from the back of a truck was the road to riches), but with all these interesting aspects, the two large, lighted statues of a male and female torso were most captivating.  They moved (only when you weren’t looking).  The profile changed.  No, they were not rotating as if mechanically driven, they just moved once in a while.  Art in the park.

While the city of Nashville is worthy of a visit, the real reward of this side trip up the Cumberland River was time for friends and family.

Glen, Aunt Louise, Cousin Emily

Aunt Louise had the whole clan to Sunday brunch at her apartment complex.   A buffet lunch requires a lot of walking to settle the always-too-much-eaten-at-the-buffet syndrome, which the beautiful grounds of the complex provided.  

Cousin Martha and cousin-in-law Art operate a construction company, Trace Ventures, focusing on rehabilitation of older homes.  Viewing the portfolio of their work brought more great architectural experiences.  Makes one want to own an older home in Nashville but, alas, the home prices have not plunged in Nashville like in Florida.

Cousin Emily, cousin-in-law Mike, and first-cousin-once-removed Anne (all cousins really, but in an attempt to be accurate in writing brings the more complex relationship titles) joined the crew to pilot Last Dance from Nashville, through a lock, and into Old Hickory Lake.  Emily, in particular, seemed to enjoy the experience and began talking about opportunities to crew for longer trips in other venues.

Emily did crew again as Last Dance left Nashville, heading downriver.  As evidenced by the images, lively conversation and an enjoyable stint at the helm for Emily were among the activities as the cousins visited along the river.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Cumberland River - Green Turtle Bay

For cruising boaters who have been to the Abaco Islands in the Bahamas, Green Turtle is a cay (island) with the town of New Plymouth.  For mid-country river cruisers, it is a bay on Barkley Lake/Cumberland River.  Yes, there are turtles there -- they are not green turtles, they are red-eared sliders, an invasive species, but cute anyway.

The Green Turtle Bay Marina is very popular among cruisers for many reasons, one being that it is the first marina south of Alton, Illinois worthy of the title marina.  It is a long way from Alton, IL, to Grand Rivers, Kentucky.  Everyone needed a break, made the marina an extended stay, and the number of Loopers kept growing.

Bob and Kemba DeGroot completed the Great Loop at Green Turtle and replaced their tattered white burgee with a new gold one.  They actually began the Loop a few years ago in Texas, but had made a side trip up the rivers to Green Turtle.  So, when they turned into Green Turtle Bay, they "crossed their wake," joining ends of the circle.  Bob and Kemba are aboard Spirit Dancer, a 49' DeFever cockpit motor yacht.

The acquaintance with this couple began at a DeFever Rendezvous at Cabbage Key, Florida.  Always interesting how paths of cruisers keep crossing.  Such an occasion brought about numerous celebrations, one which included cigars on the aft deck and two-fisted drinkers.

A dinner at the Yacht Club had Bob entertaining everyone on the guitar, including his newly-penned song, "The Great Loop."

The small (tiny, minuscule) town of Grand Rivers has a hidden gem that Lynda (Erika Lin) and Jill found on a bike ride through town -- Sugar and Spice.  Thinking it was a bakery they stopped as the guys continued back to the marina.  They didn't find a bakery inside the older home.  It held a teaching kitchen and restaurant operated by an accomplished chef, Marilyn Kunz.  She operates the restaurant in the evenings, when and if she has reservations.  The menu changes monthly, with German food theme for Octoberfest.

A group of ten piled into the Green Turtle shock-less courtesy car -- Bob and Lynda (Erika Lin), Bob and Kemba (Spirit Dancer), Steve and Beth (Gemini), Mark and Terri (TerrMar), and the Last Dance crew.

The back room of the home was both the dining area and demonstration kitchen, bringing the entire dining experience close and personal.

A culinary delight, an amazing experience, an adventure through foods.

Dinner ended with Marilyn's stories of operating a restaurant in an old mansion and her publishing experiences as a cookbook author.  Jill has another dessert cookbook in her collection.