Saturday, May 24, 2008

OK Boat Trip, Day 30, 05/24/2008

Yesterday was much too stressful with engines quitting and such so we're going to lighten things up a little today. How about some culture, particularly let's say from Romeo and Juliet? "What's in a name?" Shakespeare would have been proud.

Each Lock and Dam, in addition to its number, has a name, usually from a prominent person in the area or someone instrumental in the development of the L&D. Some of the other AR River L&Ds are named Norrell, Montgomery, Ormond, Murray, etc. Not so at Morrillton, AR - they went with Toad Suck! Now in all fairness, we have seen similar names on other rivers. The TN River for example has a stretch that has The Pot, The Skillett, and The Suck, named for treacherous waters before dams were in place to control the river. So what's up with Toad Suck? According to the Arkansas River Guide by the Johnsons, there was a ferry in the area that was part of a postal route to Hot Springs in the early days. The area became a favorite gathering place for steamboat roustabouts, passengers, and local folks. Heavy drinking at the local tavern caused one traveler to remark "Those fellows suck at a bottle 'till they swell up like toads!" Impressive and definitely more interesting than Murray, Norrell, Ormond, etc.
The cats were even a little weary today from all of yesterday's excitement.

But the scenery was again beautiful and definitely calm today on the surface, but the current was still flowing pretty strong.

We had a little thunderstorm and some rain around noon, but no delays at either of the two locks. Have you noticed we've had no lock delays now for 2 days? We figured out what the problem was. About 5 locks back on Thursday, I called the lockmaster as normal on Channel 16 about 4 miles out. No response. Well, sometimes they're busy so you wait a while. Still no response so I tried again. No reponse so I waited a while longer and tried the working channel, Channel 14. Ditto. So, waited again and tried 16 one more time. Still no response and by then we were coming up on the arrival point. So, I handed the radio to Rhonda and said, "Here you try it." The words were hardly out of her mouth when a very accomodating response came back loud and clear - "Yes Maam, how can I help you?" In addition to that, several of the lockmasters have come to the railing above us while the water's rising to say hello and "visit." Fine. And for the record, I have no problem with this - just glad to be getting through the locks quickly now.

Here's the entrance to today's destination - Charlie's Hidden Harbor. We arrived around 1:30.

HMR docked at Charlie's.

The marina.

Now you need to understand that Charlie is laid back, been here fifteen years. Life is simple at his marina. When we asked how much we owed for our transient stay, he responded "whatever you want to pay me. That way, no one can say I charge too much!" He was serious so we paid the same that we paid at LRYC last night.

He has a garden that transients can pick from if interested.

And resident geese.

Here's Charlie.

And we'll close on an interesting note. Look below at the center of the dam for the yellow barges. The other day a tow was heading downstream with six barges when they all broke loose from the tow. The captain managed to retrieve four before they reached the dam but couldn't get these two. They're full of molasses. They'll drill holes in these to suck (there's that name again) the molasses out, then a crane (Big Bertha) will retrieve each barge, repairs will be made, etc. Heck, we thought it was interesting.

Got an oil change done today and we're headed for Spadra Marina tomorrow in Clarksville, AR. We are 4 days out from Muskogee!

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