TOTAL MILES TRAVELED TODAY: 71 NM
After a night of rain, Quest cast off from the yacht club by 8:30 on this beautiful morning. We had unreasonable visions of making it to Chattanooga today.
As we approached the Comer Highway Bridge (MM 386) we found they were busy with new construction. We were asked to slow it all the way down to a low idling speed to protect the workers on the floating barges.
|COMER HIGHWAY BRIDGE STATE HIGHWAY 35 WITH CONSTRUCTION BARGES UNDERNEATH|
MM 391.6 brought us to the Bellefonte nuclear power plant with its 587’ cooling towers. Even though construction on this facility was begun in 1974, it was never completed. At MM 408 we passed the towering stack of the Widow’s Creek coal-fired power plant. Here is a train transporting coal to the power plant.
We passed from Alabama and back into Tennessee at MM416 and spied the privately run Bridgeport Ferry. Soon we were looking at the Cumberland Plateau that towers 1,100 feet above the river. Looks like someone is anticipating duck season too.
Our one lock for the day was the 81’ high and 3,767 wide Nickajack Dam at MM 424.7. This replaced the old Hales Bar Dam six miles up the river. Someone planned ahead and designed it with room to add another lift between the existing lock and the north end of the dam.
|Image via Wikipedia|
|NICKAJACK LOCK AND DAM|
ROOM FOR EXPANSION TO THE LEFT OF THIS
|CHATTANOOGA'S FLOATING COCA-COLA STAGE|
The old Hales Bar power house stands right in front of the marina. The original idea was to create a dam that would generate hydroelectric power and improve upstream navigation. The project seemed doomed from the get-go. During the eight years of construction, accidents caused many injuries and several deaths. Violent labor disputes erupted during this time too. When things were finally completed, Chattanooga celebrated in a big way. However, soon serious problem with water leaking through the rock strata under the dam and finally this dam was replaced by the Nickajack Dam in 1967. It is an eerie sight, standing there with its equipment stripped out and looking forlorn.
We didn’t pass but one tow and barge today and that didn’t occur until late in the day. We were feeling like we were missing something in our day.
|HEY MR TOWMAN GOOD TO SEE YA|
All the places we thought we might drop our anchor were silted or drowning in water milfoil. We threw in the towel and headed back to Nickjack Marina for our night. We called and found they were leaving for the day in 10 minutes but got directions and a slip assignment. We pulled in behind the Hales Bar and snugged up to the T dock with a view of all the cute little floating cabins. All was good for another peaceful night.