Thursday, October 16 - We had a pleasant cruise up through Watts Bar Lake to Caney Creek Marina. Our friends, Vicky and Chuck, were off cruising on their boat (a Californian, too!) and had offered their slip to us for the night. With the threat of showers that evening it was a welcome offer for Lucy's sake!
We had trouble this morning getting the dinghy back up on the boat and had towed it all day. The wench that pulls the dinghy up was slipping. Wayne worked with it after we docked that evening and slowly got it back up in its resting place.
Friday, October 17 - Today would be a short day. We left Caney Creek around 9 and arrived at Ft. Loudon Dam just as Bear Cat, a large towboat, had locked through with several barges.
We pulled into Ft. Loudon Marina and set about getting the boat cleaned up for homecoming!
Saturday, October 18 - We had invited about 10 couples to join us at Choto Marina for a celebration at 12 noon this day. As we paced our journey up the familiar Ft. Loudon Lake we were continually surprised at the changes/additions during our year's absence. More and more large homes are cropping up on both the Knox and Blount County sides.
As we rounded the bend nearing our home stretch we heard on the radio, "Detour, calling out to all Looper boats...Over." It was Pam and Jim from their boat, Detour...there to meet us and chronicle in pictures our trip back into Choto Marina! Pam and Jim will be doing the Loop in a year or so and we're dying to return the favor now!
Seeing our friends gathered at the dock as we came into Choto gave us an emotional experience equal to only a few other events on this trip (I'm thinking the entrance into NYC harbor and the Statue of Liberty comes close.) It was so nice to have the love and support from these people as we took this trip...and so nice for us to be able to share the experience with them. Some had visited us along the way and others had been regular contacts by phone or email. It meant a lot along the way, and it meant a lot to see them there today.
To all of them, and all of our friends and family who gave us well-wishes and offered prayers of safe keeping on our behalf...THANK YOU!
I had a camera ready to document the afternoon, but never took a picture. Fortunately, Jim and John were there and were kind enough to give us a photo chronicle of the day.
We're back on the Tennessee River, back home. I'll summarize, for our benefit, some of the stats of the trip in a later blog entry. For now, we have to say that coming back to the Tennessee River and its lakes makes us realize even more how lucky we are. These are some of the prettiest cruising areas we've seen on our travels so far.
I read a quote from T.S. Eliot and it rings so true for us.
"And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time."