Archive for the ‘old boat’ Category

Six Days On The Boat And I’m Gonna Be Home Tonight

In old boat, On the river, Uncategorized on 25/01/2015 at 14:15


Last week on January 13th I got a call from Joe Bru. Joe had been looking at a sailboat for a few months up in Florence Alabama. I had been up there a few times with him to check it out. I also drove his son and him to Florence to bring it down as far as Columbus Mississippi. Lot’s of driving later and bad weather they arrived after 135 miles on the Tenn-Tom waterway and the boat was tied up at Columbus. We picked them up and I thought it would be next month and then the boat would be brought the 350 miles to Mobile Alabama. The whole trip is 6 hours by car 9 days by water

Well the phone call came. It did not come next month it came on the 13th. “ We have a weather window and we need to leave Thursday.” He spoke like it was the last chance to see a close friend before he dies. He was hot for this boat and he had a grandbaby on the way in a few weeks and he wanted it home like we all would if it was our boat. But it wasn’t my boat and 24 hours notice is a bit much for a 6 day 350 mile trip down the Tenn-Tom.

However, I am made of  a tough polycarbonate material and not particularly the sharpest knife at the butcher shop.

This boat has no depth gauge, an engine that leaked at the freshwater cooling impeller seal and bad batteries. Last but not least it possessed no VHF Radio. But as we joked with Joe, “ It has really good upholstery.”

The game was on. I packed and grabbed my stuff . I took my heater, my GPS, my computer, my annotated charts my storm suit and fancy life jacket.  I took my hand held VHF, a spoon and a knife and a pan and a cook stove. By accident I grabbed the wrong clothes pile and ended up with 4 pairs of clean under an one clean t-shirt. I guess for a man that’s actually a good ratio.

Below is joe on day one 1/15


bru trip 3

Above me on day 3

The thirty foot 1969 Morgan. A beautiful boat with good upholstery

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The weather was quite cold in the mornings but the days were perfect. Highs in the 60’s and sunny. Old Joe could pick a weather window


Above is a screen shot of a satellite image of the river. Note the switch backs all over the place.

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Above: IBID. Check your Latin.

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Falls below Demopolis Lock and Dam are beautiful. This trip was the first time I had locked trough with another person. Piece of cake. I will hear no more complaining from folks not locking through alone.

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Mile marker at Barron’s Landing which is real challenge if there is boat traffic. This anchorage is not for weekend boaters

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I told you what I brought along. Well after the last trip when Joe’s son unpacked the boat he took some needed things like silverware. Joe with the gift of gab – he did talk me into the trip-managed to get a spoon from the lockmaster at Tom Belvil Lock.

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The old I had to walk to the  nearest phone. It was uphill both ways.

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At bobby’s fish camp We found this old Matthews. This was a 1968 wooden boat. All boats have a story. From what I gather a gentleman purchased this boat somewhere back up the river about a month and a half ago. No one knows where. He started to bring it down the river and got caught leaking fuel in one of the locks and got the big fine from the coasties. He was stuck at Bobby’s for three weeks. Being stuck at bobby’s is like vacationing in a  parking garage: not a lot to do. The part came in and it was the wrong part. The fellow told the grounds keeper he could just have the boat. He gave it to him and left. Well the grounds keeper tied it up and in the first week of January when the river flooded it foundered.


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Every time we went under a bridge Joe was worried we would hit it. All bridges on the river are 52 feet tall. I however encouraged his paranoia.

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Sometimes a picture doesn’t do it. This scene was very beautiful. The rocks were all glistening with run off and the reflection was a perfect mirror image. This scene went for about a mile. you could see the thin sheen of water shining and flickering as it rolled over the shale.

We made it in 6 days. The boat held up although we had to bail the bilge quite a bit. Boat didn’t have a bilge pump either.

Six days And I was home .

Well I haven’t been all cruising down the river. I have volunteered one day a week at the Food Bank. I sort food. They have 18 million pounds of food in the warehouse. I can sort about 800 to 900 pounds a day. These are great people.

bru trip 2


I also built a shelf for my outside galley. As you can see I had this gizmo made from an old TV wall mount. Couldn’t put a darned thing on it for fear of failure. So I built a shelf that folds down like a table leaf.



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You can stand on this one. I have to dismantle it and sand and finish the wood.

In my last post I showed work on the port lights over the galley.

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Now I am going to put a light over the sink and close up underneath.

Well ,we are all caught up.

Carl Sagan spoke for me.

“ For me it is far better to grasp the universe as it really is than persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring”

Dr Brad standing by on 16

what’s a boat trip without a sunrise

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Looks like another Solstice in Mobile

In old boat, winter in the south on 22/10/2014 at 17:30

Well my last post had this old boy summering at Grand Mariner. Well here I am still. The summer was hot and I spent a month on the road cooling  down with friends and family. Barry and Denise gave me that feel at home friendship and spending time with my sister Linda was great. I haven’t eaten as well since then.

Well since I came back it hasn’t been all polo and mint juleps. Below are a few projects I have under taken.

 painted engine 2014-10-10 001

I cleaned and painted the engine room and the engine. I also decided to pull the port lights and fix whatever leaks I had been chasing for 6 months. I found some bad wood, cleaned it out and replaced it with new wood and plastic putty. Stronger than ever and a perfect dry fit. I will  cover the panel with frp and the final pictures will be on the nest post.

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I painted the pilot house roof. Not the best job but you can always count the weather to wear down the mistakes. It really is difficult. to paint a boat by hand.

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I cleaned up the spaghetti mess of wiring I have had to stare at for about a year.

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And finally I started feeling very guilty about rides for groceries, doctors, dentists and supplies. The result of this is at the end of the following clip.

Winter quarters

Well I just wanted to get something out. I also had the alternator rebuilt – it runs like a charm- and had the bottom inspected. Need a haul out in the spring for a bottom job. So saving money for that as well as a new tender and bimini top.

Well that’s it for now. Write me if you still have the strength.

Dr Brad Standing by on 16

Post Script: Since I am going to be here awhile I will attempt to hit the town and the beach in the city that held the first Mardi Gras.

One More Season in the Books

In old boat, on the mend on 13/06/2014 at 15:13

Well, I am summering in Dog River at the Grand Mariner Marina. My adventure this season started at Goose Pond on the Tennessee River. I left there on 11/ 01/2013 and headed south. This adventure covered 2036 miles of every kind of weather, endurance challenge, mechanical and electric problem that I could take.

You know you’re alive when your out of the sight of land and having a little panic attack at every vibration or noise waiting for your boat to stop in 5 foot seas. I will be here for awhile to do maintenance and repairs. I will also head up north to see some friends and visit my sister.

During this trip I had 45 mph winds, 9 degree temps, 5 foot waves , a fried computer, a ripped wet suit,a ripped dinghy, three dead batteries, overheating engine, 2 inches of ice on the boat, and as I got into Mobile Bay an alternator that crapped out at the sight of land. I’ve got a barnacle covered rudder and a pilot house carpet that looks like a food fight arena. Blah Blah Blah! So forth and so on.

So there is plenty of stuff to bring this old tub up to non seat of my pants condition for my next sojourn. I am thinking New Orleans.

For the next months I am going to write about getting ready on the cheap.

Here’s a few final photos and videos

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Fort Morgan

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Invasion of the paddle boards

Dr  Brad standing by on 16


Leaks and Peanuts

In old boat, TN River on 29/06/2013 at 12:54

I noticed I haven’t posted since the 2nd of June. It has been a pretty good month. No money left but I am going to spring myself from Goose Pond on the 7th of July to continue up the Tennessee River. This is a great marina and I will be back for a spell on my return.

I have been chasing a leak on my port side in the head. I have messed with this for one year and had pretty much given up until stupid me decided to check the obvious. Maybe it was something as simple as worn out window sealant and the water was wicking to another spot on the roof.  With my pre-dementia I had forgotten I had a similar problem on the port side. Well, my rational that this one was different , fell like a drunk at a two for one happy hour.




Port now resealed and dry as a bone.

We also remember the original reason for the Goose Pond stop was the charger. Well after selling a small child to band of gypsies I spent the dough and here it is:



Working like a charm and the batteries are good to go for a while longer.

Who doesn’t like a good boiled peanut. Not all boiled peanuts are the same. A judge in Mississippi told me how to make good peanuts. I am not talking the mushy overcooked salty nightmares from the gas station crock pot. I am talking Dr Brad’s Spanish peanuts lightly salted with a little snap and not over cooked.

Let me know if you want the recipe. This will force me to write it down.



I also took ten days to visit my sister in Ohio, we hit three movies and ate some good comfort food, all things hard to find on the river. I had a chance to visit my aunt all in all a great little trip. I also had the opportunity to continue my love hate relationship with Greyhound. The trip up took 25 hours a mere 10 hours over schedule. The trip back was great. Reminds me of my boat.



Standing by on scan- all emergency and recreational channels. Write me if you still have the strength

You Don’t Know What You Got Til It’s Gone

In old boat on 02/06/2013 at 13:23

Left Pickwick State Park after the retreat on 5/16. Since then I have gotten as far as Goose Pond Marina in Scottsboro Alabama but not without problems. Getting ready to leave the park I noticed the battery meter was low. I checked the batteries with a tester and they were in fact low. I thought I had some bad batteries. I knew these would give out eventually but I was hoping they would last in to at least July.

Behold, not the batteries at all but a burnt out on board charger. Not good news at all. In my infinite wisdom I thought well temporarily I will buy a regular charger and charge the batteries each day and limp along conserving power on the fridge, pump and so forth until I had the money to get a new on board charger.

First I wanted to know if the charger could be repaired and what went wrong. This began my education in 12 volt on board charger 101. I eventually found out that the charger I was using was built for a different boating lifestyle.

prosport chargers These chargers are made to be used to charge batteries at rest. Some one brings back their boat after the day and plugs it in, or turns it on, and leaves. The the charger if used on my boat would charge my three batteries. As you might imagine I don’t stop and leave the boat. I use 12 volt power constantly on gauges, alarms, pumps and communication. The sport charger can’t handle this. The sport charger basically has a nervous breakdown and it ain’t pretty .

I use three series 29 batteries

my battery

and have about three hundred amp hours of power to use for 12 volt stuff. Well without getting technical to keep them charged with my little portable takes a lot of time. You have to put quite a bit more energy into a battery to gain back what you use. Thus it’d be a big pain in the behind as well

the fact I have to shut everything down to charge.

So, long story short I need a charger that allows the batteries to charge while being used. I need a charger that can over ride the batteries and provide its power directly.

Thus the three stage on board charger


“ And the answer is…”

$300 plus shipping for the charger. Most likely $300 for three mid level 29 batteries and the bonus is staying at a marina to do the installation and in fact go into a second month to have the money for both. Well It appears I will be staying in Alabama for awhile.

Will do the work and go see my sis. I will be going Greyhound. I just need to get to Chattanooga. A month in a marina is cheaper than a week. Just gotta find a place with good showers Laundromat and such.

Well other than that, “ How was the play Mrs. Lincoln?”

Had some good anchorages and stayed over the holidays at Joe Wheeler State Park. Joe Wheeler was an interesting man. Check him out. I command you.

Well here are some pics


Don't get out much

This house boat does not get out much.



This is the Wilson lock. This lock is a 95 foot lift. Remember the J C Whitten lock at 85 feet. On the bottom right is a 50 foot houseboat. Wow!


Rain falling about 4.5 miles up river near Goose Pond.


Big wide expanses of river from Guntersville toward Goose Pond


This may not look like much but this where the Marshall Space center loaded rocket parts onto a special ship for river and ocean travel to send to Florida during the space program in the sixties. They had good batteries on board.

Well this is Dr. Brad standing by on 16 somewhere out here-

P1010552PS All colloquialisms are on purpose and so are any misspellings or grammatical errors. So there!

As The Transmission Turns

In old boat, Uncategorized on 10/09/2012 at 14:59

Well all was well until about 8:30 am this morning. Had a great trip from Harpeth River to Clarksville. Spent the night last night and started the old tub up and pushed away from the dock. No forward or reverse gears. Luckily I was close enough to throw my lock-thru hula hoop over a cleat and keep from drifting off into the bay.

Well after looking in the engine room I see the shaft and transmission had come unbolted. Four bolts had come all the way off the connection. Yesterday all was well. I did feel The boat came in to the dock a little quickly and didn’t take reverse to a full stop but I just figured bad boating skills. In fact this dockage was the second here because I wanted an outside dock  with 30 amp service.

Well the boys from Pebble Isle just left. They reattached the tranny and shaft and  Putting it in gear here at the dock it is fine. Nobody can figure out what happen other than vibration at idle. I never felt any wobble or loss of power any where on the river. Thank God this didn’t happen on the river in a narrow channel with a strong current and a tow boat coming at me.

Well Here are some pictures from the last few days.

P1010028Rainy day out of Rock Harbor

P1010031 Bluff about 200 yards from my anchorage at Harpeth River


Storm on the way at Skinny Dip


Five minutes later look at the water blowing up under 30 mph winds


Getting hammered constant 30 mph wind


But you always get the beautiful sunset. You can see the lights of Old Hickory Lock and Dam.


Eye level from the deck looking up the Harpeth River at 7:00 am


7:30 am


Sight of repairs

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Clarksville Marina and embayment

Well tomorrow I will head to Dover Island and then the next day back on Lake Barkley.

I will make it. I feel groovy real groovy

Doc Brad Standing by on 16.

Last word

One very good guy and good old soul I was lucky enough to know for a number of years has passed. He is another friend I will think of from time to time for the rest of my time. He will never be truly gone from my life.

This Old Boat

In old boat on 27/01/2012 at 09:12

Nothing like making a 26 year old boat look like a 16 year old boat. I am finding out that all the windows and trim on this boat where made by hand. I am in the process of replacing the windows and slides;

jan peb isle-8

jan peb isle-11

All the frames were hand cut as well as the openings. Neither frame is exactly the same.  The beauty of an old boat. I am ordering new tracks and new safety glass. Piece of crap only lasted 26 years haa… Don’t worry, they build them good in Sweden eh Sven.

George says hi. I got the little bastard a new chair and he still wants more.

jan peb isle-14

Keep sending Lawyers, guns and money.

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