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Sunday, December 26, 2010

NO BODY TOLD ME GOODBYE

Rowdy Yates was a free spirited country boy from Nashville, TN. He was being drafted in 1968 and had the opportunity to join the Navy Construction Battalion, CB's, for a short time. The only requirement was boot camp and one year in Vietnam.

Rowdy staggered into Vietnam, Danang air base, in the early morning hours in the midst of a rocket attack. Welcome to your home for the next twelve months. Rowdy settled into the Bulk Fuel Division at the Danang air base to supply fuel to all military branches and I Corp. A drop kick for Rowdy. All he had to do was work, sleep, drink and be safe until that great flight home.

Rowdy could trade a water buffalo for a jeep. He was an expert in Navy "comchaw". That is a code work for steeling military material. The southern boy was a good carpenter and made many deals building for the Marines and finding his way off the compound to the "skivie" houses. Rowdy lost two pay grades during his foray into the Dogpatch area of Danang. Alas, Rowdy had no worries, he was being discharged to return to Nashville and a career in construction.

Now there are many stories about Rowdy, but this story is not about his tour of Vietnam. Only about his return home. June of 1970 Rowdy survived Vietnam including a silent trip to Cambodia. After dodging rocket for 12 months, Rowdy was finally boarding that great bird home.

Rowdy did not know better when told to pack all his gear except a couple changes of clothes and his dress uniform. Packing all his belongings into a large box to be shipped to his home address in Nashville. Then told to find a small suitcase to pack for the flight home. Still, who cared, Rowdy was going home. Picture Rowdy and 200 other soldiers and sailors waiting outside the airbase for the best flight of their life. Rowdy enjoyed his Kentucky whiskey but was ordered to pour his two bottles into the gutter. Prior to his flight he watched a river of booze disappear into the drains. Not a problem he would be home soon.

A long 21 hour total flight time to San Francisco was no problem, Rowdy was going home. The first tip things would be different was when the plane was taxied into a hanger at Travis Air Force Base. The Vietnam veterans were deplaned in the hangar out of sight of all others at the base. Rowdy learned this was due to protests at the base against the Vietnam war. Welcome Home Rowdy.

Rowdy and 3 other vets caught a cab to the International Airport for their flights home. Remember, Rowdy was wearing civilian clothes, carrying a small suitcase, not his sea bag. Who cares, Rowdy was going home. During this period the military were required to travel in dress uniforms in order to receive a discount on airfare. Rowdy ran through the large and foreign airport to catch his long awaited flight home. Sneaking into the men's restroom, Rowdy found a stall and changed into his dress uniform. Not a problem, Rowdy was going home.

This Vietnam vet ran to his flight, boarded and settled into a seat for the flight home. At this point it dawned on Rowdy that he had to sneak into his country, dress in a restroom and run to catch his flight home. Welcome Home Rowdy.

Seated next to Rowdy on his flight to Chicago was a well dressed man. Rowdy ordered a long awaited bourbon after 21 house of flight time, going home. The passenger asked Rowdy where was he going and Rowdy told the truth, he was going home from Vietnam. Fortunately, his fellow passenger appreciated his service and bought drinks to Chicago.

Welcome Home Rowdy.

I have attended the welcome home ceremony for my step son returning from Iraq. I have witnessed strangers thanking veterans in the Nashville Airport. Police escort of buses loaded with returning warriors. Those new events where the young son or daughter are surprised by their returning Mom or Dad. These are wonderful events. I can only hope a returning veteran never has to "sneak" into his country like my friend Rowdy.

Rowdy was not welcomed home. However, I learned recently there is a more lonely experience. Most of my readers, all 10, know of my experience on the Nina, the Columbus replica during five weeks in October and November. My crew was diverse in all walks of life and age. A total crew of eleven, including the Pinta, at least three of the crew had no place to be. Not quite homeless but much alone. These sailors ranged from age 21 to 45 years and from different areas of the U.S. No one called them from home, visited them on the ships or seemed to care where they traveled. While this sounds like an adventurous nomad life, it appeared to be the pit of loneliness.   No one told them goodbye.  Coming home alone without a welcome is difficult enough, but never told goodbye is alone.  I hope no one reading this piece ever experiences either.





While our Vietnam veterans were not welcomed home, in most cases someone cared. Rowdy was given a warm goodbye in Nashville. My three crew members were never told goodbye. As is often stated in the south, " nobody ever told me goodbye before".

CHRISTMAS 2010

Each Christmas brings many changes in our lives.  This year is not an exception.  We have enjoyed our Becky visiting from Boulder, CO, (the republic).  She is a real kick to have around.  The season brought limited time with family due to travel, new locations (girls) and U. S. Army requirements (Ethan).  As "ageing" parents, we feel the empty nest this time of year.  However, the empty nest remains busy.

During 2010 we traveled at minimum of 12,000 miles in the Admiral.  We visited the northwest, south and all of Kentucky and Tennessee.  The travel experiences continue to be a major part of our lifestyle now.  I thought I had experience travel until we purchased the Admiral and the entire US was opened to our eyes.  The past 2 months our Admiral has lounged in "dry dock" awaiting the next adventure.  I anticipate a trip in January even for just a few days.  I hope the Admiral is missing us.  We are discussing a long journey to Nova Scotia and Maine in summer.  I wonder what the up Easter's will think of this southern bunch invading their neck of the woods. 

My experiences aboard the Nina remains a good memory.  The readers of the blog were very kind in comments, even the pieces on Isurf.com were well received.  I have continue to track the Nina and my former crew members as they remain a reminder of the adventure.  At present, the Nina is docked in Biloxi, MS and then on to dry dock for 2 months.  Some of the crew will remain to make repair in dock and then next March the tour begins in Florida.  It is a temptation to return for a sail of the gulf, but that may make my experience more work than adventure.  The sailing experience I missed while in the Tennessee River, but that may present a new adventure in future years.  We are working on a long term plan for another travel experience.

I feel I am easing into some sort of retirement in future years.  My professional has permitted us to travel about the US while supporting the travel habit.  The ability to provide service to clients while viewing this country is attributable to technology and my learning curve.  We hope to continue this trend during 2011 and beyond.  Now, we must calculate a way to extract Denise from her "real job" and move that to the Admiral. Mobile banking must have opportunities for a banker with her experience.  

Denise and I want to remember all the serving and veterans who have given to this country.  Both our families have several members wo served in WW II, Korean, Vietnam, and Iraq.  The service effects each one in different forms but service it remains. 

Lastly, we hope all enjoy a prosperous new year and that Christmas 2010 was enjoyable and a renewal of family spirits.  We do not know what 2011 will bring, but we plan to enjoy the year to the limit.  Who knows, we may create a new limit.

Happy days,

Denise and Barry  

Friday, November 19, 2010

Tripping Over History





















I consider myself somewhat of a history buff, but I must admit "tripping" over history on a recent trip to Nashville, TN. Ashamed of myself is the best description.

Having to arrive in Nashville, TN on Wednesday evening for an appointment for my knee replacement, we planned to spend the weekend. Now we are well accustomed to weekends in the Music City, however, a Saturday begged us to see something new.

I suggested we visit the Hermitage. During the many visits to this city we had not taken in the Hermitage. We arrived at the visitor center at bit hesitant not knowing what to encounter. Again, I fell in love with history. From the short film story of Andrew Jackson and family to walking the 1,100 acres of the farm, I was back in the 1700's. I am ashamed of my lack knowledge of this period of history. We began our walk along gravel paths to the home of President Andrew Jackson. The huge cedar trees lining the walk were a real surprise. I would expect live oaks. However, the cedars grow rapidly and some are over 75 ft. tall. Many were damaged in high winds a few years ago.

We were greeted at the mansion by two lovely ladies in full period dress. I could not resist sharing my short experience as a docent aboard the Nina, Columbus ship. They seemed quite impressed by my experience and dedication. I do have a new found respect for those volunteering for such guide duties.

We entered the Mansion for the guided viewing. However, a faint ghost, like a shadow, appeared in the wavy window pain in the drawing room. I was pulled into the 1700's. How I would like to ask her about life here. I was greeted by a slight, black woman of many years named Hanna Jackson. She explained she would be our guide for the first floor of the Mansion. She began by telling her story as the House Slave of the President and Rachel Jackson. It seemed she has served the Mansion in this capacity since the construction. She was well favored by the President and Rachael and served for her lifetime. She was so warm and knowledgeable, we did not discuss her age. She did seem quite preserved. She explained that all the furniture, books and artifacts are original to the Mansion and that President Jackson would recognize all upon his return to the Mansion. We continued our tour of the Mansion with Miss Hannah. I seem to connect with these shadows of history.
Upon walking up the stair case to the second floor we were once again greeted by Hannah. There must be another set of stairs for she just walked down the central hall to greet us once again. We were enlightened by Hannah's explanation of the original wall paper hanging in the central hall and its excellent condition. She encouraged us to walk the garden area upon our exit from the Mansion. She turned to greet another couple and was absorbed into the Mansion.

We walked quietly along the garden paths to a gazebo. There we were greeted by another guide, Alfred Jackson. It seems that Mr. Alfred has lived on the farm for a life time. He explained the graves of the President and Rachel and many other family members. His knowledge was over whelming, like he lived it each day. As we thanked Alfred and left the garden we did notice a small grave stone to the side of the President and Rachael's grave. Here lay Alfred Jackson who died at age 98 while serving the Mansion and the President. Hmmmmmmm!
Our walking tour took us to the Sinking Creek, the water supply for the farm. Over 1,000 acres, numerous cabins and the Mansion required a consistent water supply. Along side a mowed field we encounter recent scarecrows along the wood line. Again, thrown back into the 1700's with the starlings, field and scarecrows. I was intrigued by the style of the scarecrows with clothing of the period. It seems that they continue to guard the field and the square plot nearby which was the location of the cotton gin. Alas, I did not know their names but I did feel welcome along side.
We walked for a time around the grounds making our way back to our daily existence. I can only say that Miss Hannah and Mr. Alfred made our day much more enjoyable. Please take the time to visit the Hermitage and while there give our warm regards to Hannah and Alfred.

Happy trails,

Barry & Denise

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Farewell to the Nina


All things of importance have an ending. Mine occurred at 9 am. 11/5/2010. The departure of seaman Young from the Nina was an emotional event, particularly for me. I have experienced 5 weeks and endured the demands of crewing a 65 ft. sailing vessel with 4 crew members and a captain. This is a bit arduous but not beyond enjoyment of a unique experience.



I tried to summarise my crew in prior articles in this blog and Internet newspaper. I have been astonished to have visitors to our ship from all ports ask for "Barry" and the guy from Kentucky who is writing articles. Much to my surprise they have been reading about the Nina and my experience. It is rewarding to be read when the purpose of my articles is to document for myself and friends my unique experience as crew of the Nina.



I must summarize my Crew once again:



Captain: Kyle a highly experience sailor of vessels over 100 tons with experience in all seas. A great leader for the crew as well as a friend. While hard work is expected, Kyle is always on board to lend a hand and teach seamanship.



1st Mate: Vic is a sailor of sailors. Having boarded the Nina in California for an 8 week vacation and remained aboard for over 2 years, he is committed to the Nina and the Columbus Foundation. I answered directly to Vic but he was an inspiration and teacher to this old sailor from Vietnam.



Senior Crew: Andrew, only 2 months with the Nina, Andrew is the senior crew member. While

a young man, 21 yrs, he has the gift of learning and an excellent work ethic. He leads by example being on deck prior to any other crew member. No matter the celebration of the prior evening. We are sailors, remember!



Alan: A 20 yr. maritime sailor, Alan is the most experienced of the crew. Alan has sailed all seas on numerous ships including the old boom ships, tankers and cargo vessels. Having started sailing at age 17, Alan has grown up on the sea. Alan is distinguished by the 3 ft. pony tail which has not been trimmed in 20 years. His life along the coast of Florida is perfect for this shell back.



Constance: A mighty "Cookie" as well described in a previous article. She was missed by a spoiled crew and our hope is she will return to fight another day. We hope she finds enjoyment in retirement years, no matter what her adventures.



Barry: A 4 year sailor, in Vietnam having experienced the brown water navy, has finally landed aboard a sailing vessel. This old sailor has had many first experiences. One of this is working with 1,000 of the public daily, including many school children. While the crew is not paid, we do share in tips. I have never had a tip in my working life. Now I have a new appreciation for those who depend on tips for a living. I have learned the humbling life of sailor from Alan and understand like never before, the demands of the public and patience required by the servers of the public. I will remember this each time I pay a check and include a generous tip.



Farewell to our "ship's Mouse". Alas, our ship's mouse expired one day recently, having put his nose where it did not belong. After eating our bread the mouse was tempted by peanut butter. However, he was a seasoned sailor and we felt he desired an internment at sea. Therefore, we fashioned a plank with sail cloth shroud for his internment. All hands were on deck for the ceremony. Our Captained officiated saying a portion of the poem "My Captain, my Captain". At the property moment, the shroud was loosed and the body was interned in the Tennessee River. A solemn moment experienced by all.



Farewell to all who have read my articles. I hope to chronicle future adventures along my voyages around this wonderful country.




Happy Sailing to all,




Barry

Monday, November 1, 2010

Recent Happenings


Activity along the river and The Nina have overwhelmed the crew. In recent days we have toured the ships with over 2,000 school children of all ages. The school tours are the busiest days but also very rewarding. The curiosity of the children coupled with the uniqueness of the ships results in a rewarding day but a bit exhausting. The ships will relocate to Knoxville, TN in a few days and the number of visitors should continue at a minimum of 1,500 per day.




INTRUDERS!!!!!!!!

At each port the ship usually experiences uninvited visitors. Now considering we live aboard the Nina with little, if any privacy, uninvited visitors at 3 am creates high emotions. At 3 am on a recent morning our crew was awakened by our First Mate, Vic, rudely instructing two intruders to exit the ship. A bit funny considering the intruders were dressed in Lederhosen(October feast) and Fedora's. One startled visitor crashed his head into the Stern castle overhead (roof) which is hard wood and capable of a wound. As he staggered off the Nina the other intruder wanted to compliment us on the workmanship of the Nina. Needless to say, he was quickly ejected from the Nina. A dip in the river would be rewarding, except we would be required to rescue them. Something about water and alcohol does not mix.


HILL SLIDE:
Adjacent to our dock the city maintains a hill which attracts hundreds of children and adults. The fun is provided by a wide variety of cardboard sleds. A trip back in time with cardboard slides along a grassy hill. We all enjoy watching the kids be kids without phones, computers and video games. The laughter continues all day on weekends and each evening with the wonderful weather we have experienced.

For more details concerning our tour and ships, check out thenina.com.

Happy sailing,

Monday, October 25, 2010

FARWELL TO A SHIPMATE


Unfortunately, all shipmates must end their tour of duty. Thus we are loosing our "cookie", Constance. Constance joined the Nina in Davenport, Iowa for a two month tour. It is my understanding that "Cookie" gained control of the galley immediately. One must remember, our galley is a spacious 4 x 8 ft., that is 32 square feet with a head clearance of 5 ft. at most. Constance has provisioned the ship with food supply every week, including all requested specials and menu requests.

Our daily routine begins at 6:30 am. with the brewing coffee always prepared by Constance. Her shipmates stagger awake to fresh coffee, ever changing breakfast and a warm "Good Morning!" by our Constance. All this accomplished in a 4 x 8 ft. space in a ship which has logged over 300,000 miles and built in the same dimensions and similar materials as the original Nina. While we attempt to present the Columbus ship as original as possible to the public, we would not enjoy hard tack biscuits soaked in contaminated water for a meal. Our menu of fried egg sandwiches, steak and eggs, hot oats, apple cider, orange juice, chipped beef on a shingle, hash, and other favorites suits our taste. We are then ready to scrub the deck, hose the ship, raise our flags, bring all lines taught, and prepare for the 1,500 visitors each day .

Many days Constance prepares a lunch which she is not required to prepare. Each evening meal is a treat. We rarely eat out and many evenings the two ships, Nina and Pinta, share a crew meal. This evening we will be treated to a crayfish and shrimp boil with all the sides. Each evening our meal is ready at 6:30 typically below deck on the Nina. A hungry crew of 5 sailors can consume large quantities in short order. We do share the dish duty in order to spare Constance additional labors. We do insist she has a reward of her favorite wine or other adult beverage.

Our Constance departs the Nina tomorrow and returns to her Minnesota. She has plans to store her sailboat, help others and return to the Nina in March after dry dock repairs. Our crew may reunion before the sail across the Gulf of Mexico in Spring of 2011. I imagine Constance will be our "Cookie" as well as our shipmate. Our Constance will be missed.

Happy sailing Cookie,

Friday, October 22, 2010

Chattanooga Hospitality


It is a long standing maritime tradition to announce your port arrival by cannon fire. Upon our arrival near the dock we fired the Nina and Pinta Cannons. The cannon will fire a 3 lb. ball over 1 mile. However, due to safety considerations and pollution, we fire hot dog and hamburger buns. This feeds ducks and fish but permits that loud cannon explosion and smoke.


After docking in Chattanooga for a week, I feel it is appropriate to report on the hospitality of this City. As previously reported, we were greeted by the Explorer with a 21st. century escort to the docks. It seems each day brings another welcome by the citizens and business of this community.

We were "boarded" today by pirates. During our tours we were surprised by armed pirates and wenches. As pictured above, they were rather friendly pirates. They arrived with a professional photographer and light crew. I really do not know the reason except it seems they were having great fun with the idea. They entertained our guests as well as prompted many photos by our crew.

The waterfront is centered around the Tennessee Aquarium with several blocks of new piers, docks and parks. We enjoy each day the grass cardboard slides at our dock by many children in the area. It is refreshing to see children at play with such a simple slide. The many school children we receive each day can be a bit of work. However, they are interested and do know some of the Columbus history. We have scavenger hunts for the children. Such as; finding the 4 anchors on the ships, locating the 5 masts and 3 compass. This offers the opportunity to explore the ship while searching for the items.

The community has responded to our daily needs. For example, we do not have showers aboard the ship. However, the YMCA permits us to use their facilities each day if needed. This is a great relief to my crew. The Explorer Ship has invited the crew for cruises on the 21st. century ship on two occasions. Last evening Captain Mike Card invited us aboard the Southern Bell paddle wheel for a diner cruise. The Tennessee Aquarium has permitted us to tour at no charge. If you have not seen the aquarium, do yourself a favor and visit soon.

The downtown area of Chattanooga is wonderful. Many restaurants, art museums and over 12 miles of walk and bike trails are featured in the area. Most impressive is the pedestrian bridge over the Tennessee River. The bridge is over 100 years old and was refurbished from a rail to a pedestrian bridge to provide safe and scenic access to the north side of the river. An easy stroll to the north side offers entertainment, restaurants and parks.

I want to thank several visitors to our ship for mentioning my articles and blog. It seems information is traveling fast about my adventure aboard the Nina. I hope to express my joy with the experience aboard this wonderful ship and her crew. Sitting on the caprail late in the evening and listing to the music of the gently rolling ship, time falls away and my Nina reveals her lovely soul.

Happy sailing,













Sunday, October 17, 2010

Chattanooga Port



We arrived in Chattanooga, TN to a good crowd at the dock. Firing the cannons is a typical event when entering harbor. The following site is a photo of the arrival escorted by the River George Explorer Boat as part of the Tennessee Aquarium. The 15Th century escorted by the 21st. century. We were cruising at 5 knots and the hydrofoil spun a 360 degree along side. Show off!


A warm crowd welcomed us at docks and good press coverage. Nina and Pinta are docked side by side with huge crowds. Saturday saw over 1,200 visitors and Sunday near the same. My favorite visitor Sunday was a 95 year old sailor. We continue to compile our most unusual questions. One of the new questions was, "How did you get the ships here"? We have a number of answers to this questions. The crew favorite is "we flew them here by helicopter". We really get some odd looks on this one.
In Guntersville, AL the average was about 1,500 per day or a total of 12,000 visitors in port. All seem to be amazed at the small size of the Nina and that she is a working ship. I continue to be rewarded waking up each day in history. To be sailing along with Nina and the wonders expressed by our visitors could be a once in a lifetime experience. Each community rewards us with special meals, and even offered homes for showers and laundry.
A crisis is approaching! Our "cookie" Constance is leaving Nina in about a week. As she spoils us with great food, not permitting us to wash dishes and counsels all during the working aboard in close quarters. However, we do have plans. We have fashioned very comfortable "shackles" for her in the galley. The chain will permit access to galley, bunk and head. We will let her on deck only while underway to our next location. With this extreme measure we will be assured of the continuation of our great food and professional counseling. We will not alert the Coast Guard.
I continue to look forward to another day about our Nina. Fair sailing,

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Daily Life Aboard the Nina

Daily life aboard our ship the Nina is anything but routine. My day begins about 6 am with the coffee pot and quick trip above deck. If we are very lucky, "cookie" has planed breakfast for the hungry crew.



Due to the crew quarters being 12 ft x 15 ft. for 6 sailors, a quiet beginning to the morning is impossible. Sneaking out of the bunk,trying to dress and start coffee usually results in hitting your my on a beam. I do not always remember that our galley has a head clearance of about 5 ft. and hard timbers are not forgiving.



After a breakfast of steak and eggs, it is time to swab the deck, literally. We hose the deck and ship daily in order for the wooden ship to swell with the water and close cracks in the planking. This is necessary in any wooden ship to prevent leaking. We raise the four flags of the Columbus fleet, swab the deck and prepare for the daily tours.



A typical week day begins with 2-300 children from surrounding schools of any age. We tour the ship with groups of about 20 per guide. The Nina is the most historical of the ships but also the smallest. Columbus loved the Nina and purchased her after his first voyage. She is a sweet ship. After the group tours we quickly grab a lunch and begin the daily visits from people in the area. It does amaze me people will drive 1-3 hours to view of Nina. Today a small family group allowed me to present the Nina and they were a joy. Later, they returned with my lunch from their family picnic. We have had visitors take crew members out for dinner or home. The Nina brings us all together.



Visitors absorb the history about the Nina and Columbus. I have learned so much being aboard the Nina. I tilled the ship from Huntsville and was amazed at the response of the bow. We guide the ship with a tiller and 7 ft. rudder. The ship responses immediate to the tiller. The gentle rock starboard to port and the soul of the ship is felt. Columbus tilled the Nina 25,000 miles and our Nina has sailed over 300,000 miles. The years are sailing off this old sailor.



The evening is consumed with meal preparation, particularly if Cookie has been away from the ship. Last evening we had cheese and meat ravioli, steamed vegetables and fresh fruit. Cookie often prepares hot cider to calm the sailors. However, the evening grog is poured and the crew sails into calm seas. Each evening I sit along the cap rail watching the shipping lanes and the fog roll into the harbor. The air cools over the water and the crescent moon rises above the mountain.


Life aboard the Nina is not our everyday reality. I have a glimpse of the sailors life aboard Nina, without the hardships the young sailors experienced. My daily needs are met, work is easily accomplished and sailing away without cares. The morning brings anew the ship routine until the fine day we sail to our new port.



Sail Away,

Saturday, October 2, 2010

BOARDING THE NINA'




LET THE ADVENTURE BEGIN! Sunday midday my adventure aboard the Nina began. My wonderful wife, Denise, scooted me right aboard. I said my goodbye's to my girls, Denise, Bailey and Bella. The entry to the Nina was made easier by the friendly crew who invited us aboard Friday evening to get familiar with crew quarters.

The Nina is the most accurate of the replicas. She is 65 ft. length, 18 ft. beam and carries about 1,900 sf. of sail. She has a small diesel motor for river and harbor navigation.

We sailed the up river to Guntersville, Al. A beautiful sail with a wonderful crew. The Pinta sailed to our stern. We locked up 7 miles down river from Guntersville. The cannon shot signaled our arrive and is a wonderful back drop to the 1500's with Columbus. Vehicles lined the bridge and many locals met our ships. I managed to till the Nina for several miles. My ship mates are either foolish or confident in this old sailor. It is amazing how responsive the Nina is to the tiller.

My crew mates are a varied lot. Our cook, "chef" Constance is a gem. She has been aboard 2 months and has not duplicated a meal as yet. If I do not gain weight it will be my fault. Constance spoils all the crew and we cannot understand how she sleeps in such a crowded bunk with all her cloths, etc.

Andrew is a loose cannon but such a hoot! Andrew is from Mitchell, IN and as he said, nothing but corn. Andrew is a good sailor with moves of a monkey along the rigging and a mouth of a sailor. He has been kind to this old sailor, teaching me the lines, rails, kegs, and other strange terms. An education I am receiving. Also, an education in the life of a 21 yr. old. Life is good.
Blake is the ladies man sailor. His motto is "Catch and Release" for the ladies. A Wisconsin native who has traveled coast to coast with the experience of a 40 yr. old. He constantly tells us he sacrifices much for the "Goddess" of Nina. I think he closes his eyes to my mistakes and continues to be patient with the old Sailor. He indicated he is the best looking fellow on the ship, however, we have not had that experience thus far on the cruise. He is optimistic.
Vic is the First Mate and has been aboard for over 2 years. His sailing experience is legend and has become a mentor to many volunteer sailors. While he will not endure slacking, he does offer the opportunity to all.
Our Captain is Morgan Sanger from the British Virgin Islands. Morgan was involved in the building of the Nina and Pinta in Brazil. The owner of a shipyard, experienced seaman and grand fellow. His son Steve is Captain of the Penta, following the faster Nina each day.
My experience has been grand thus far. We sail from Guntersville in one week for Chatanooga, TN. I anticipate dropping the sails along the way with the wind to my back and the sun over my shoulder. Sail away.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Nina and Pinta




We travel the US and experience many places and people. But imagine traveling 4,000 miles of the Atlantic Ocean in a 65 ft. ship with all your possessions and the unknown world ahead. The Nina and Pinta were docked at Green Turtle Bay this weekend. The Nina is 100% scale of the original ship and the Pinta is 200% scale. Extremely small for such a crossing.




I snook a look via kayak on Thursday night! Paddled across 2 bays and had a good visit with Constance aboard the Nina. So much fun. In fact, Denise and I took the tour of the ships on Saturday to get the full view. The crew was wonderful, explaining all parts of the ships and their sailing schedule. Constance was our friend and gave us a great tour of the Nina. I am over whelmed by the history of the ships.




Now, the unusual. I have volunteered for a crew position aboard each ship. I can crew for 4-6 weeks and experience the sailing of these ancient vessels. Denise has encouraged this adventure and if I can gain a berth I am on my way. We did meet Capt. Kyle on the Nina and he encouraged me. He explained He enjoyed his whiskey and I promised to provide Kentucky's best, Woodford Reserve upon my arrival as part of the crew. So, we will see. I applied today and hope to catch the ships at Huntsville, AL. You just never know when a berth will be available.


It appears that the best shot at a berth is if you are a Cook. Well, I am adapt with crock pots, and grills. Constance encouraged me to be a cook. I did ask Capt. Kyle if the crew got their daily allowance of "grog". He answered the are sailors. So, I promised to provide Kentucky's best bourbon, Woodford Reserve. He mentioned they do not drink while working, but the are "sailors". Sounds good to me.


Look for the Nina and Pinta in your area along the Tennessee River. If you spy a slightly drunk sailor with a few years on his head, that might be me.


Have fun, Happy Trails,



Barry Denise, Bailey and Bella

Canal Arrival

The Canal Campground (COE) Park in our home base. After traversing Missouri and the Current River, I arrived back at Canal. WOW!. The dogs and I are glad to be back in Kentucky. The worst roads were at western Kentucky crossing the Ohio River. The Narrow bridges really puckered the rear. Of course I met 18 wheelers on each bridge. Why they travel these narrow 2 lane roads I will never understand.

Rolling into Canal was like home. The hosts are friends and welcomed the dogs and I like we belonged there. Denise came down the following day and we had a wonderful weekend. I keep mentioning to all readers, Denise is a charm around my neck and puts up with my travel wonder lust. It is good to be back in KY but my heart is in the northwest. We had a high of 80 deg. on our trip and when I hit KY with over 89 Deg. I knew we were home.

Happy Trails, all

Barry, Denise, Bailey and Bella

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The CurrentRriver


After another day of driving, we determined to see the Current River. My Kentucky horse friends recommended the river and I may have time to kayak. The "girls" Bailey and Bella will have to stay at home. The drive was uneventful until I left Highway 60 at Van Buren, MO. Now I was not prepared for the climb up to the Yogi Bear Campground. Having called in advance, the owner indicated a 50 amp site was available. However, upon my arrival I attempted to back into the site. Yuck!! My rear jacks were dragging on the concrete pad. This was due to the severe slop up from the drive. Not wanting to damage the jacks, I opted for a 30 amp site nearby and moved. Not a problem.

View Larger Map
Next was my plan to paddle a portion of the Current River. I enlisted the cooperation of a campground staffer to lead me to the town ramp in Van Buren and leave my vehicle for the return trip to Yogi. She was experienced in all kayaking and returned me to the campground and my kayak. I put in at the campground gravel/dirt ramp and floated away.

My expedition down the Current was wonderful. The river has a good steady current but you can exit the current and just drift or remain still. Just a few riffles were found in the 1.5 hours and 3 beers I drifted. I did encounter two small groups tubing the river. The river is busy during the weekend but quiet during the week. The little town of Van Buren did have a couple of eateries but I opted to dine with my girls.

Tomorrow is planned for the Trip to Grand Rivers, KY and the Canal Campground, our weekend home. That should continue to be an adventure.

Happy Trails,

Denise, Barry, Bailey and Bella.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Joplin Missouri - KOA

Well the return trip to Kentucky continued. After a long drive to Dodge City, Bailey, Bella and I decided a bit earlier stop was in order. Therefore, Joplin, MO. seemed about right. I must say the KOA was adjacent to the interstate but a good stop and limited occupancy during the week. The sites are long pull through with 50 amp electric and full hook up.

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The trip across Missouri was uneventful except for many delays due to road construction. It seems the Obama administration is spending much $$$$ on road construction. This is good for the country and I for one do not complain. Best spent on infrastructure than unemployment checks. But, not a fun topic. I did manage to drive a short distance "standing". Worked great and permitted a bit of a stretch. Fuel was easily obtained near the KOA and made for a quick and easy exit from the Joplin area.

Off again. The nightly stay with Bailey and Bella seems a bit of a routine now. However, I did meet an interesting couple in Joplin. Parked adjacent to us was a well groomed class A motorhome a Damon. The gentleman exiting the motorhome was using a walker and assisted by his wife. I of course offered may assistance and learned quickly that he did not need me. We did strike up a conversation about the Workhorse Chassis we shared and became engaged. It seems he is a retired Air force Colonel. Way above my Navy rank. We talked about our Vietnam tours and his aircraft. A very interesting 32 year career. Their Damon is a 2004 with over 70,000 miles. The colonel has been battling Hodgens disease but is over the treatments. Good to see a happy couple of their ages traveling. They are heading to California from St. Louis area. A real inspiration.

Onward to Eminence MO. tomorrow. So, good night Gracie and see you on the road.

Happy Trails,

Barry, Denise, Bailey and Bella

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Gunsmoke - Boot Hill


The return journey continued into the wilds of Kansas. Now, my plan was not to travel the dreaded I-70 across the void of Kansas. After consultation with a 75 yr. old traveler at Dakota Ridge Campground in Golden, Co. I determined to drive Highway 54/400 across Kansas. This avoided I-70 and hopefully offered superior scenery.



Leaving Pueblo, Co. I found my way on a 4 lane, state highway East. I was determined to reach Dodge City, KS my first evening. I even drove standing up, that is right, upright, for several minutes to relax a bit. Arriving in Dodge City at the Gunsmoke Campground I slide into a site only ready to relax. Bailey and Bella rolled out of the Admiral roaming the wilds of the campground. The new smells were romantic to the girls.


I did ask the owner if any restaurants were within walking distance. However, his respond said it all, "the casino will send the shuttle to pick you up". Now, I called the Boot Hill Casino to inquire about free camping. They assured me I could camp free in the RV park. However, upon inquiry I discovered the RV park was the parking lot with no facilities. Also, being a bit tight with a $ I determined paying for a site at Gunsmoke Campground was less expensive than a visit to the Casino. RIGHT!


We relaxed at Gunsmoke, but I did not find Miss Kitty. I suspension Festus ran of with Ms. Kitty when Marshall Dillon was not watching.

View Larger Map


The next AM we rolled out to Highway 54/400. I checked the GPS and discovered my next TURN was in 300 miles. So, on we ventured along this highway. Well, the trip was none eventful but I did meet a traveler that has all the complicated parts eliminated. This traveler was stopped at a rest stop in rural Kansas. He had traveled to California and most western states in the reverse tear drop. What a simple rig. Becky would be proud to make her way across the US in such a rig.

Onward I travel home to Kentucky. Traveling the less trodden path is rewarding and I-70 Is not one of the less trodden. I would recommend Hwy. 54/100 across southern Kansas into Missouri.

Happy "Trails,

Barry & Denise

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Boulder Co. - The Republic



We arrived in Boulder area and stayed in the Dakota Ridge Campground in Golden, Co. This is only 20 miles south of Boulder. As Becky described Boulder, "3 square miles surrounded by reality". We relied on Ms. Becky to introduce us to Boulder.

No for those who have not had the opportunity, Boulder is like an upscale college town with a good supply of Weed. That is right Weed. As we walked Pearl Street it seemed 50% of those we encountered were "happy". The community is wealthy, educated and free spirited. Legal Weed sales are plentiful and the community endorses a free life style. However, the high education level, good employment opportunities and a thriving college community mixed with wonderful weather and mountains makes Boulder an attractive community.

While Becky toured us around Boulder, we heard more about Nederland. This is referred to as "ned". Becky escorted me to Ned and I must say it is more relaxed than Boulder, if that is possible. Ned is the home of the Frozen Dead Guy Festival. It seems a wealthy resident had himself frozen solid at death and they continue a festival annually with hearse parades featuring the dead guy. Now I ask you, were can you beat these opportunities. Ned is about 8,500 ft. elevation and above Boulder. The drive up to Ned is beautiful with a river and many camping and boating opportunities. The small community features many head shops, hippie style clothing shops and art exhibits. I understand there is a small "wookie" community.

Now all must partake of the Boulder experience. We managed to hit Pearl Street for food and drink, the Saturday Farmers Market which was more about entertainment than food and the Nederland experience. All was a good experience. Later I was escorted up Flatiron Mountain for rock climbing at its Best. Now this old, fat guy was along for encouragement and provided some beer. The young set included Matt Henderson and His finance' Rosie who are the expert climbers. Watching Matt scale 150 ft. up like a monkey was a wonder. Becky and Chris climbed and I just offered encouragement. Hell, the hike up did me in at the over 9,000 altitude. But, what fun with these healthy, energetic young adults. Makes me want to live part of that over.

I would suggest all visit Boulder and Nederland. This hiking, kayaking, food and night life is excellent. The 3 square miles surrounded by reality is fun. As they say in Boulder, " we live our bubble"!

Happy Trails,


Barry and Denise

Thursday, August 26, 2010

South Dokata Trail


We have begun our journey back to Kentucky. Reluctantly we leave this mountains for the hills of home. We will travel down mountain to the plains of Wyoming on our journey to visit Becky in the Republic of Boulder. In our rear view mirror are the views we enjoyed and the pull of the mountains. We will return.

Our journey takes us to a vast plain of Southern Wyoming down Highway 191 south of Jackson Hole. As beautiful as the mountains are, the vast plains remain inspiring. One wonders how the settlers ventured across these plains in winter and heat westward. The winds are constant and strong. Tumbleweed must be the state flower. We plan to venture to RV World along Highway 80 East. Now RV World is a bit of an exaggeration. The park is good and just off I-80. World is another description. The park is located in Rawlins, WY. The area bustles with work from Sinclair oil and gas and railroads. The winds are constant blowing all along the highway. Grass is not existent and guarded if it exists. Trains here seem to reach the horizon which is miles in eithter direction.

The park is open all year however, the snow can be a problem. The snow fences are located along I-80 to prevent drifting. You know you are in snow country when you have chain lanes along the intestate. We stayed the evening and would recommend to all traveling the area.

So in your travels across southern Wyoming, this stop is good for the evening but do not expect entertainment. However, the evening sky is spectacular.

Happy trails,

Barry & Denise

Grand Tetons Adventure


After four full days in Yellowstone we venture to the Grand Tetons. This mountain range is only 40 miles south of Yellowstone but seems much farther due to the unique shape and size of the mountains. Little did we realize that the Tetons would capture us. We have seen the Canadian Rockies and the Tetons mirror the size and shape. What we did not realize is the lower number of visitors in the Tetons which was welcome.

The Colter Bay RV Park was a welcome location. The park is near the waterfront on Lake Jackson and includes full service hook ups. The sites are wooded, spacious and all should stay here. Another campground, Colter Campground adjoins the RV park and well suited for tent camping. The park adjoins the general store and visitors center. Baily and Bella and I ventured to the general store each morning for coffee and their beef jerky breakfast. They are watching their cholesterol now. I continue to drink my red wine to combat the arterial clogging.

The only Internet and cell service was obtained at the Lake Jackson Lodge. The bar is welcoming and serves very affordable drinks. The view of the Tetons from the lodge is spectacular. If you choose to stay at the Lodge, bring barrels of cash. The Grill Restaurant was good and much more affordable than the upscale dining. So, have a few drinks, enjoy the view and dine with the common folk.

Bring your camera for the views and wonderful moose. These majestic creatures are found more readily in the Tetons than in Yellowstone. At least that was our experience. Hike the trails and drive the roads and you will be beckoned for a return visit. Jackson Hole is 40 miles south and is worth a day or night visit. Be aware on the return drive for those large creatures on the highway. The Snake River awaited us.

Now we are beginning kayaks but the local ranger recommended the drift below Jackson Dam down to the Oxbow in the Snake. Sounded great to us. We ventured to the dam and put the kayaks in for a float. We gently floated down river for a hour, estimating the paddle up river that the ranger said would not be a problem. However, after viewing coyote, otter and the wonderful views we turned about and began the return journey. Now, it was about 6:30 pm and time for a well deserved beer. We made it easily for a short while till we encountered a large bend in the river. Past the bend we encountered a real river current. Little did we know that the dam had opened gates and greatly increased the current. When we paddled like mad for 15 min. looking at the same stump we determined the work was futile.

Like the brave explorer I am, I paddled to the rock shore and decided to summon help. Fortunately several souls were viewing the river nearby. The first "gentleman" I asked for help informed me they had just arrived and would not be leaving soon. Now, the drive back to the dam was all of 5 minutes by road. Offended, I asked another couple and they agreed and the Wife remained to visit with Denise while I attempted the rescue. I only hope the Jerk that declined to help us would encounter a situation in which he needed help and can be declined.

We avoided the long night on the river, fighting off bears, coyote, wolf and all other creatures. The Snake River was beautiful and we recommend all try the float. Just remember to plan ahead and have a pull out drive arranged. The skeletal remains float away soon in this part of the river.

All things considered, we enjoyed the Tetons and will return. Yellowstone was wonderful in its own way, but something draws us to the Tetons. We are on our way to Boulder and Golden, CO to visit Becky who we have not seen in 8 months. We well venture to southern Wyoming along Hwy. 191 finding a stop along the way. Please, please, make this trip. Your soul will feel the mountains and replenish the body.

Happy Trails,

Barry & Denise

Monday, August 23, 2010

Yellowstone Party























We entered Yellowstone Ntl. Park at the East entrance. The drive over the Bighorn Mountains and to Yellowstone is impressive. Cody would be a good stop over for an entertaining evening, particularly the rodeo. However, we were more interested in Yellowstone.

Entering the park cost $50. for an annual pass which is needed for more that 7 days stay. It is also good at the Grand Tetons so we purchased the annual pass. The Fishing Bridge RV park is 27 miles from the East entrance. However, a beautiful drive. The Fishing Bridge Park is the only park in Yellowstone to accommodate up to a 40 ft. RV. The sites are "tight" but passable. We discovered you are not in the campground except to sleep. We traveled all the Yellowstone roads and viewed the park except the very northern Portion. This required a number hours driving but you can take advantage of the many turnouts and the roads are excellent. Look for people stopping and viewing some creatures. We were fortunate to photo Elk, Deer, Grisly and Black Bear, Wolf, Coyote, and Prairie Dog. The Bison are every where and easily aggravated.

We made a point to view several of the lodges, all built many decades ago. We were most impressed with the Lake Lodge along Lake Jackson and the Roosevelt Lodge in the northern portion of Yellowstone. These accommodations are fairly reasonable at about $150/night plus food. But for a few days an entertaining stay. The Lodge at Grand Tetons is another story.



We ventured to all parts of the park and were most impressed with the Lamar Valley near the northeast entrance and the Madison Area at the West entrance area. The meadows are spectacular to say the least. The beauty is such that it seems you are whispering and catching your breath at each turn. We desperately wanted to launch our kayaks in the meadow creeks or rivers, but alas there is only one small area where canoes and kayaks are permitted. It did not seem worth the effort. The ranger explained they did not have enough rangers to pull the bodies out each year. Of course I commented we cannot protect all from themselves 24/7.



The upper and lower falls in the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone are impressive. This was one of my must sees. I was not disappointed. The canyon is vast and the lower falls are 300 ft. Much large than the upper falls. We did not walk the trail but viewed from above. Too much to see in only 4 days. We will return for about a week and hike, explore and find more of Yellowstone.


Please, please, take the time to explore Yellowstone. The views are awe inspiring and you will understand the grandeur of this county.


happy trails,


Barry & Denise

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Buffalo, WY and Bighorn Mountain Crossing

The expedition continues with the eventful crossing of the Bighorn Mountains. We chose to stay the evening in Buffalo, WY. to rest up from Badlands excursions and the drive. I managed to obtain some expert advice about which pass to cross and Highway 16, Powder Cloud Pass was the best. We had 7% grades but navigated the pass without brake or engine problems.

The views were just stunning. The pass reached 9,966 Ft. above sea level but our Admiral managed well. At one point we were full throttle, 4,500 RPM's and lower gear to generate 20 MPH. But the grade brake and gears took us down to Ten Sleep, Wy. We rested for lunch at the Ten Sleep Bar which was an interesting point for the day. The population is very small, however, they were preparing for NOTWOODSTOCK IX. We could not stay for the festival as Yellowstone was calling.

We pressed on to Yellowstone to the Fishing Bridge RV park 27 miles East of the East park entrance. This place is one large park. We arrived at Fishing Bridge in the early afternoon as the sky parted, rain ceased and sun greeted our arrival
View Yellowstone and Badlands Expedition in a larger mapal. The Fishing Bridge RV park is the only park in Yellowstone with utilities. However, this year no electrical service due to a rebuilding of the grid to upgrade to 50 amp., service. We used the generator morning and evening which was not a problem. Daily travel in Yellowstone was a priority and little time was spent at the motorhome. The sites are very close, but since we did not spend any number of hours there, not a problem. The best of the park is the location in the central portion of Yellowstone. All portions of Yellowstone can be accessed from Fishing Bridge and many service are available.

Our exploration of Yellowstone will continue in later postings. Internet and cell service is not available in Yellowstone with any reliability. We are catching the blog up from Grand Tetons Lodge. The journey will continue.

Happy trails,


Barry and Denise

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Blackhills and Custer Park - Day 4



After traveling hard for 3 days we ventured into the Black Hills and Custer State Park for a visit to Crazy Horse Mountain sculpture and Mt. Rushmore. As evidenced by the photos posted on Denise's Facebook, the views and mountain roads are stunning.

Our day adventure began in the Badlands for about 1.5 hour drive to the Black Hills. Entering the Custer Park gave us a glimpse of the day ahead. I would estimate a minimum of 200 motorcycles waiting to enter and pay for the pass. This was one occasion that being in a vehicle sped up the service. The roads cross the park and several narrow, very narrow tunnels must be navigated. One lane road through the tunnels and most had traffic control people to prevent the over sized vehicles. The tunnels are about 10 ft. high and 8-9 ft. wide. Great for the Harley's.

Crazy horse Monument is a view. If you visit, always see the movie. The dedication of the original sculpture who I believe carved for 47 years prior to his death for little or no $$. His wife and 10 children continue to project today. To get a feel for the size of Crazy horse, the Mt. Rushmore carving would fit into the face of Crazy horse.

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The journey continued to Sylvan Lake for a one hour paddle in the kayaks. Wonderful mountain lake with granite natural dam and blue skies. The water was about 65 degrees. A perfect break for lunch and entertainment out of the car.




Returning to the Badlands KOA was a scenic drive again at sunset. The reds appear in the rock formations (once the sea floor) and temps at about 70 degrees and falling. Strong winds from the south west are most typical. This evening we plan to gravel the Sage Creek Rim Road at dusk in search of sheep, prairie dogs, antelope and all other creatures. Hopefully, more pic posts will appear on facebook.




Tommorow is the continue journey to Yellowstone and the Big Horn Mountain Pass.




Happy Trails,




Barry & Denise

Monday, August 9, 2010

Western Mitgration-Day 3


BADLANDS!!!!1


Departed Sioux Falls, SD am Sunday to make our way to the Badlands. The fooler part of the trip was traveling the open land of South Dakota with only on grade of 5.5%. Leaving I-90 going to the South you enter a land seeming to arise from the center of the earth.

The picture on left is near the beginning of the scenic drive through the Badlands National Park about 2 pm. The red is beginning to show in the rocks. We plan to view this area and more today at or near sunset to get the real colors. We will post to facebook and in the blog. If you are traveling in the area DO NOT MISS THIS STOP!
We are settled into the Badlands KOA which we can hardily recommend. The campground is located just past the drive through the Park and is not near the interstate. Quiet park with all the services. Good location to drive to Badlands, Mt. Rushmore, Crazy Horse and Black Hills. We plan to make the trip today.
We encountered even more bikers traveling to Sturgis, SD for the rally. I must say they were well mannered on the highway and represent every age and walk of life. We were told 400-500,000 bikes would converge on Sturgis. We will not be visiting. Shame, we brought our chaps, dew rags and leathers for this trip. I suppose I could drive Admiral through Sturgis with Denise on the kayaks on the car rack. Now that would be a blog picture. I will let you know if we get this accomplished.
Happy Trails,
Barry & Denise




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Saturday, August 7, 2010

Western Migration - 2nd Day


As the 2ND day began, the sun rose over Independence, MO. we looked fresh for another day making our way West to the land of honey in Yellowstone. Little did I know that Bailey was ahead of us in anticipation of the journey. When she was discovered in silhouette at the dash of the Admiral. Her early morning get up brought all of us to the floor. Bella joined in and my early morning coffee had to await the necessary "walk" . Good thing they make those doggie bags on a roll.


We evacuated Independence at 9 am. making our way along I-29 North to Sioux Falls, SD. Now, the good people of South Dakota deserve good highways. However, the stimulus money must have arrived. We would reach cruising speed only to encounter construction for miles with washboard roadways. We may have to have the dogs teeth examined for damage. The land is wide open with miles to the horizon of corn and pasture. The day was hot at over 90 degrees but a strong west wind and lower humidity did seem to help.

We were passed by hundreds of Harley's of all description and color. Many trailer the bikes to Sturgis, however, more seemed to be riding. We arrived at the Sioux Falls KOA campground at 5 pm. in need for rest. The entire park seems to be bikers readying for the last miles to the Sturgis Rally. KOA has every blade of grass and gravel occupied and most will clear out in the AM. We plan to make our way to Interior, SD tomorrow and start the exploration of the Badlands. We have the dogs, kayaks and no Harley's. I knew I should have loaded the bicycles.
Happy Trails to all.

Western Migration - Day 1




We arrived in Independence, MO. late afternoon on Friday 8/6/2010. We managed about 500 miles the first leg of our trip and were more than ready to stop. Due to my expert planning, we settled in a small campground in the middle of a Reform Morman Campus. Go figure!

The campground was perfect for a short stay and staff more than helpful. Unknown to us, we were in view of the Spire of the Community of Christ Church International. See the attached pics. Harry Truman would be proud of his hometown. The town was so clean you could eat of the side walks. We met two couples who are traveling many states this summer. They truly had much more experience than us Rubber Rats.
Tomorrow we plan to continue the expedition toward Sioux Falls, S.D. Another 400+ mile days but this will put us in position for a short 3rd. day to the Badlands. We plan to stay at Interior, SD for 3 nights and they push on to Yellowstone. All seems well with coach, dogs and the plains. We are not accustomed to this wide open country with constant wind and very few tree. However, the farms here are about the size of Kentucky.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Up a Creek

We completed our first camp at Cedar Creek (COE) Park along the shores of Old Hickory Lake, Mt. Juliet, TN.

Arriving after Dark on Friday we found the park and access very easy. The sites are large, well spaced and most have at least a lake view. All sites have 50 amp power and water. Largest rig seen was about 42 Motor home.

As per the pic the boat travel was part of the plan. The park has a boat ramp, sandy beach and two small bays to tour. A word to the wise. They close the gates to the park at 10 pm., however, arriving after 10 pm you can pull the pin at the gate and enter. Seems to be a slight plan to deter cruising the campground by those not registered. However, could be a problem should one spend a bit of time at the nearby marina bar and try to drive back.

We had a new experience on this trip. After launching the Kayaks a few times prior, we tried our Dogs, Bailey and Bella in the Kayaks. What a treat. They both did well. Bailey is a bit heavy at 40 lbs. and the paddling was more work. I may attempt letting her swim and tow the boat. She does have a life jacket after all. Bella was quick at home. Denise accompanied Bella. Now, Bailey has a desire for better wine and I had to curb her sipping due to her driving. She attempted to exist the boat on every leaf and twig, rocking the boat.

A moon lite evening cruising the lake with Denise and two dogs. Where can you beat it? We are enjoying the boats along with dogs as we extend our camping. Only about 10 days prior to our 4,000 mile journey to Yellowstone and Tetons. That should lead to more posts for the host of followers on the Rubber Rats.

I am currently parked in the lot of Camping World for small repairs prior to western trip. At least things are breaking now and hopefully not in the Badlands of South Dakota. We will enter the Badlands on the first day of the Sturgis Bike Rally so we should have many new and "interesting" pics for all.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Taylor Bay Dry Camping




WOW! Little did we realize how pretty and pristine Taylor Bay would greet us. The Forest Service Ranger who recommended the campground was right on. This was our first attempt at truly dry camping. The campground does not offer any utilities, with only a single vault toilet.


However, the camp sites are spacious, gravel and well shaded. The campground includes a paved boat ramp and small dock. The location is near the Energy Lake and Nature Center of Land Between the lakes (LBL). The only requirement is purchase of a $20 annual back country camping pass and all the LBL is yours. I recommend you do yourself a favor and explore the LBL and back country camping. Dispersed Camping is available in all federal lands only for your asking.
We enjoyed a shaded site fairly level and with a good view of Taylor Bay. We could launch our Kayaks from the boat ramp and tour the bay and creek located at rear of the bay. We have so enjoyed our new "boats". We only have to launch a 45 lb. boat and paddle our way around in quiet waters. I can even fish from the boat. No motors, noise or pollution from the kayaks.
We survived dry camping for 4 nights on our water tanks. We showered in the motorhome and utilized the generator sparingly. We enjoyed company from home on Sunday, cooking steaks on the grill and playing in the lake with the kayaks.
We had a near full campground for the 4Th of July holiday. However, not a full campground on such a holiday is great. During the fall we should have the place almost to our selves and a much more quite experience. If I included a map I would have to kill my readers to keep the place a bit secret.
I do recommend you tour the LBL and visit the back country sites. You may camp anywhere off a paved road unless the are is prohibited. This is dispersed camping at its best. Have fun and save my some fish fillets.
Happy Trails,
Barry

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Campground Characters 2010


Good ole Boy, Pantie Girl, nude naked picnic table sun bathing, 80 yr. old with motor home having 200,000 miles, Wayne is trouble dog, Vietnam chopper pilot, 70+ sunbather, GOLF CART SERENADE,


"GOOD OLE BOY!"

Now you just never know the mind of a camper. While walking my trusty Dog Bailey, we ventured to the boat dock. This area lends itself to not only fishing but the "soap box" of the campground. While Bailey and I were lounging on the dock, we struck up a conversation with two local fishermen. A husband and wife team, that is.


Somehow the conversation evolved around new medical procedures. This must have been prompted by my mention of a new bionic knee replacement I am in hopes of. My explanation of the need for a new knee set off the seismic response and lecture of the current boat dock preacher. Little did I know?????


The Good Ole Boy just left the set of the "Beverly's" or Andy Griffith. I am sure the used furniture of the household is on the porch or possibly under the canopy of the RV in the Canal Camp ground. But one should not stereo-type. At best the "Boy" can speak English under the vernacular of western Kentucky.


It seems that he has the opinion, based somewhat on his daughter's experience in the nursing field, that some odd experiments are occurring in the Space Lab. That would be SPACE LAB, not Lab on the porch. It seems she has had some limited experience in grating parts to people in need of parts.


His hypothesis is that some experimental cloning is occurring in the space lab. Why would the nations involved go to all the trouble and expense of flying various craft to the stations, building these "wings" just to watch the sun and moon. I mentioned maybe later exploration of other planets, but this fell on deaf and hairy ears. Not to mention the braided nose hair, cut off jeans and shredded shirt with plaid patterns, but I digress.


It seems that "Boy" has the certain opinion that the nations of the new World Order are cloning humans in their mold, zero gravity, in the space lab. That must be It! He extrapolated, (in broad daylight), that they were creating the perfect human to plant among us and finish the World Order formation. Of course I was struck with this expansive and well thought out idea of world domination. After all, his nurse daughter found that grafting skin to burn victims was a common practice. Soooooo, why not create new human beings. Makes since.


Now, all my readers are accustomed to my quiet, shy demeanor and lack of opinions. However, in this case I felt a compunction to mention my kidneys. That's right, particularly my right kidney. It was my response that if I needed a right vs. left kidney, and "they" could grow me one, just put that sucker in my body. I would take my chances with world domination of the new order. Well, this did not bring much response from the "Boy" except to mention that he would never accept such a growth in him.


I just say, "give me his good kidney"!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Dog Pound





Herding horses, goats, pigs and cats cannot be as difficult as herding two vivacious DOGS! Now, granted, they had not had a couple glasses of wine, but bodily requirements seem to be utmost in demand. Now, the puppy, Bella, seems to have a gastrointestinal problem with auto travel. How does a 7 lb. dog puck up 5 lbs of food? I think she does this just to spite Bailey. You know, the alpha female.

Well, needless to say, she grossed up my back seat with puck. Good thing she does not like red wine. Now, no one has lived till they have to pick up poop from two dogs with 6 ft. leashes at one moment. Opening the poop bag, entwined in dogs, smelling each others ass, while I attempt to be calm picking up two piles of poop in full view of all camp ground visitors. I am beginning to know what an octopus feels like feeding all eight arms. Good thing I did not have to wipe asses.

Now, walking two dogs should not be a problem, right. I dare you to try this while sober. For some unknown reason, both dogs want to walk in front of me, crossing leashes and smelling butts. It is even more fun when another dog in the camp ground shows its ass and mingles with my pack. A Chinese fire drill all over again. By the time this walk was over, I wanted to shit all over all dogs. Cats are starting to look Good. I now understand why the Louis and Clark Expedition traded anything to the Indians for dog meat.

Well, they are now laying at my feet like little angles. They must know I am spilling the truth about their behavior. It is really hard to kill them when they are being good. Suckers are born every day. I think I will have to tie them to my leash and walk them all over the campground, smelling all scents on earth and make them pick up my poop. HEY YES, that would be a unique event.

Ok, no more talk of poop. I will be calm in the AM and walk dogs to their heart and butts content. Eureka may sink under the poop, but let it never be said I did not walk my dogs. I just want to know who designed the dog poop bags that are advertised as recyclable!

Happy Trails,

Bailey and Bella

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Canal Fog

There are visions in each day when the beauty of the world displays itself at unexpected moments.

The late afternoon "fog" fell upon the Canal Campground gently and was embraced by the welcome sun. I shared the moment with my 2ND best girl, Bailey.

It is my experience, although limited, that the best moments seem to be those most unexpected. Now, this moment occurred while walking Bailey toward the Canal entrance with a good view of the trash dumpster. Sublime light. However, the moment presented itself and my thoughts jumped to those souls lifting upward into the sun on a beautiful late spring day. I do hope more days end in this fashion. After all, this experience has to surpass the traffic, noise, rush to home that many experience. I am blessed to have the opportunity to enjoy this moment.

A thunder storm rolled in shortly after this moment, but the lower temps and cool breeze makes the rain a soft evening. Soft days are to be embraced and kept in the memory. Like holding hands with your best girl, sitting by a fire watching the water changes colors as the sun sets. Now that is bliss.

Now, this moment of bliss has passed and the dogs, Bella and Bailey are wrestling at my feet, the rain has returned and bison burgers are on the grill. Not a dull moment on the canal.

Happy Trails,

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Weather Forcasting 2010

As the weather in the Commonwealth of Kentucky can be varied and unpredictable, the advent of scientific forecasting has enhanced the camping experience in the Lake Barkley area. Hence the reliable forecasting stone.

Situated at the entrance to the Canal Campground, the forecasting stone is consulted by campers, rangers and all inhabitants of Grand Rivers, Ky.


Although during the recent record rains and resulting floods, the stone remained above water but water pooling under the rock predicted the resulting flooding of the campground. The following conditions are a reliable predictor of weather in the immediate area.

1) Stone wet on sides = rain

2). Stone jumping up and down = earthquake

3). Stone white on top = snow

4). Stone swinging side to side = windy

5). Stone gone = tornado



As you can read on the sign, these are just a few of my favorite predictions. The Corp of engineers should be commended for their insight into all things weather related and retention to a since of humor. As always, Happy Trails to all.

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