Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Arkansas River Trip -- Days 20 and 21 -- Ozark City

After we cleaned our catfish from last night and put them in the ice chest (no ice but the water in there is cold enough), we sailed to Ozark City and anchored in the basin at the boat ramp of the Corp of Engineers park across the river. 5 Star bathrooms ! I tried to stay in the shower until it ran out of hot water but finally had to give up. Even Major got a bath and I must say the boat smells much better now.

The next day we sailed the Sherpa across the river and went under the railroad bridge to a city park that has a boat dock and ramp. We left the Sherpa and walked all over Ozark City. There are many antique shops, a railroad museum, and restaurants, but everything is closed on Monday! We wound up going to Subway and had a picnic. Major was with us and it would have been better if we had left him on the boat because he gets quite sullen when he has to go hiking.

After our walking tour we returned to the boat and left the anchorage. Lock 12 is at Ozark City so we traversed the lock and then sailed/motored about 3 miles to the best anchorage so far !! It had 300 ft. cliffs on one side and was covered in fall foliage. We saw 2 eagles on the way (that makes 5 so far).

This was the highlight of the day:

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Arkansas River Trip -- Days 18 and 19

We left Fort Smith about 1:00 this afternoon and sailed almost all the way to our next anchorage, Big Creek, at mile marker 281.5. It's cold !! We fished but didn't have any luck, made grilled cheese sandwiches and soup for dinner, read our books, and were both asleep by 8:30.

The sound of the motor makes Major sleepy. Correction: everything makes Major sleepy.

 Frost on the solar panel this morning:
We sailed to Mulberry Creek the next day and caught 4 catfish that evening. Catfish for dinner tomorrow night !

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Arkansas River Trip -- Days 16-17 -- Fort Smith and Poteau River Side Trip

We made it through the lock the next day and sailed for Fort Smith. We took a side trip up the Poteau River and anchored there for the night since we didn't want to arrive in Fort Smith after dark.

The next day, we sailed out of the Poteau River and onward to Fort Smith. There was increased tug/barge traffic but it wasn't that bad. The railroad bridge at Fort Smith is unique in that it raises and lowers for trains. We were so busy looking at the bridge that we ran into a channel marker! We had hung a cushion across the front of Sherpa to keep her from getting dinged up and thankfully it was in just the right spot. We had a scary moment when it looked like the Sherpa was going to wrap herself around the channel marker. All is good, though, except for the cushion which suffered some damage.
We arrived at Wildcat Marina just about sunset, where we tied up at the fuel dock. They have wifi, free laundry, and showers so, since there is a cold front coming in, this is a good place to wait it out. We took a cab to Walmart and got everything we need for the next few weeks, including Arkansas fishing licenses. Our friend, Phillip Allen, came by to see us and we went out to dinner.


Arkansas River Trip -- Days 14-15 -- Cache Creek

Leaving Applegate Cove early in the day, we sailed 14 miles to Cache Creek.
 We anchored for the night and left early the next day to get through the lock. We needed to get through early because there is not a good anchorage on the other side of the lock until Fort Smith. When we got to the lock, it was busy with a tug/barge so we anchored to wait. Eventually, since we were running out of time, we tucked into this cove to wait until the next day.

Arkansas River Trip -- Days 12-13 -- Applegate Cove Marina

We stayed at Applegate Cove Marina for 2 nights. We started out the first day by taking care of a huge stack of laundry. After that was finished, we got out our backpacks and hiked about 2 miles to a convenience store but, as we expected, the prices were too high to buy much. We had passed Shad's Catfish Hole on the way there and on the way back, we stopped in for a catfish dinner. I guess we like catfish. Waddling back to the boat, we were picked up by Doug & Kaylee, marina staff, who gave us a ride back to the boat. We really enjoyed our stay at Applegate Cove Marina. Nice facilities, great people! There were a couple of dogs at the marina that Major enjoyed meeting. That's the joy of cruising -- seeing new places and making new friends!

Applegate Cove Marina:

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Arkansas River Trip -- Days 10-11 -- Windy !!

A cool front arrived overnight and it was pretty windy this morning. We listened to NOAA on the radio and it said wind at about 20 knots, gusting to 40. We decided it didn't look that bad and left anyway. It was fine -- for a while -- then we came to a spot where the river widened and, yes indeed, we had a gust of about 40. Surfing downwind under mizzen alone, we gybed and wrapped our sprit around the mizzen mast, bending it in half. We took shelter in the first little creek we could find. It turned out to be a great spot near an abandoned park in Tamaha, Oklahoma. Chris made a splint for the mizzen and we were good to go for the next day. Note to self: NOAA doesn't lie.

 This is an old jail in Tamaha, Oklahoma. The water in the background is the little creek where we anchored.
 The next day we sailed to Applegate Cove Marina. We are in a slip for 2 nights and will recharge our batteries, take showers (the 2nd one this month!), do laundry, and buy a few provisions. Another beautiful sunset !!

Arkansas River Trip -- Days 7-9 -- Illinois River Side Trip

The Illinois River empties into the Arkansas River and is stocked with trout. We spent the next 3 days fishing for trout with great success. We got Caprice up as far as we could, getting out and shoving her around shoaled areas, and anchored for the night. The next day we took the Sherpa up as far as we could, looking for a good fishing spot. We had to row, pole, push, carry, and drag the Sherpa to get there but it was well worth the effort. The rainbow trout we caught were delicious that night !

We took a side trip on our way out of the Illinois River and hiked over to this historical area, the Cherokee court house near Tahlequah, Oklahoma.

Arkansas River Trip -- Days 5-6

Someone wants to go ashore!
A big storm came in last night and we were really glad that we were securely anchored. We had a good north wind today so we sailed downwind under the mizzen alone, to Brewer's Bend Park. We did our laundry (by hand) and it came out about as clean as the Arkansas River was going to get it.

It really is pretty here.
Napping again.
My acorn collection.
The next day we went through our first lock, number 17.
The lock attendant was very helpful.
It wasn't as scary as I had worried that it would be.


Arkansas River Trip -- Days 1-4

We left Three Forks and sailed to Coody Creek, a distance of about 3 miles, where we anchored for the night. The next day we sailed to Maynard Bayou, about 2 miles, and then motored about a mile up into the bayou. We were hot so we jumped into the cold water and (briefly) swam. That night, I caught a large catfish.
On day 3, we stayed at Maynard Bayou as it was raining and cool. Chris installed some new cleats for tying up the Sherpa and we basically just hung out. It feels so good to do absolutely nothing :) That catfish was pretty tasty !!

The next day we motored about 10 miles to Spaniard Creek Park. It was upwind the entire way, no matter which way the river turned. We cooked a great omelet that night. We sauteed a can of mushrooms in butter, added 6 scrambled eggs, and topped with sharp cheddar cheese. It turned out great!

Arkansas River Trip -- The First Few Days

We are finally getting started on our trip. We launched at Three Forks Harbor near Muskogee, Oklahoma and our final destination is Pine Bluff, Arkansas. Our good friends, Mike and Jackie Monies, helped us with the launch and will store our truck and trailer at their house in Eufaula while we are gone. This is a picture of Major in his normal sailing position. The only thing that varies is the location.

This is where we cook:
And sleep:

Thursday, October 11, 2012